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HISTORY OF SOHO - THE FIRST TWENTY YEARS

Twenty Years of Preservation Efforts in San Diego - 1988
By Kathleen Flanigan

BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President Robin Webster
Vice President David Swarens
Secretary Anna McPherson
Treasurer Charles Sykes
Dan Conway
Bruce Coons
Stephen Doyle
Rick Garbini
James Guthrie
Kathleen Kelley-Markham
Suzanne Lawrence
Ann MacCullough
Jacquoline Williams

A major historic preservation battle loomed in early 1988 over the fate of two historic structures in the Aztec Brewery site on Main Street, in Barrio Logan, and artwork created by renowned artist José Moya del Pino connected with an adjunct rathskeller tasting room. The Historical Site Board voted the rathskeller murals historic at a March 23 hearing, thus paving the way for the 1911 and 1915 industrial structures to be torn down by out of town developers in order to build a warehouse complex. However, even with this designation, the owner had quietly stepped in before the meeting and removed the murals and other related art items. SOHO President Kathleen Kelley-Markham and Al Ducheny, of the Harborview Community Council, protested. In April, they began an intensive letter writing campaign to the mayor, city council and Historical Site Board members. Because of this bombardment of publicity, the matter of the historicity of the two structures was put to a vote at a Historical Site Board meeting on May 25. At that time, the Board determined that the buildings as well as the artwork had historical significance.

The decision of the Site Board, appealed to the City Council in June by the owners and potential developers, was overturned after an impassioned debate. This prompted the Harborview group to file a lawsuit on July 14 against the City of San Diego, the property owner, and the developers. The suit claimed that the City should take legal action against the intruders for "violating historic preservation laws because the artwork was taken down without environmental reviews first." Ducheny continued, "Local and state laws require environmental reviews before historically valuable property is altered, demolished or removed."

On September 7, a judge issued a preliminary injunction to prohibit demolition of the brewery and ordered the owner and prospective buyer of the property to "preserve any artworks taken from the building, to provide 24-hour a day security to protect the old structures from further vandalism and to remove nothing else from the site."

On December 12, a Superior Court judge denied the request of the Harborview Community Council to block the City Council's plans for commercial development at the brewery site. The judge claimed the Council acted within its discretion with its decision. As of October 1989, the buildings still stand, the artwork is still at an undisclosed location, and SOHO continues to fight to preserve.

SOHO produced a "How-To" Workshop on Historic Preservation on August 27 at the Lakeside Community Church, a recent SOHO award recipient. Speakers focused on how to properly designate historic sites, and participants received a manual, which contained resource materials including bibliographies, lists of libraries and research facilities within the State, public record sources, and a reference list of individuals who have volunteered to review draft nominations and provide guidance. In addition, the names, addresses, and meeting schedules of all cultural resource and historic site boards in the area was included.

SOHO co-sponsored another workshop, which emphasized new state building code standards for old buildings in September at 846 5th Avenue. Knowledgeable speakers such as city planner Ron Buckley and State Historic Building Code expert and architect John Henderson, were featured. This one-day session was the fourth planned throughout the state to discuss recent modifications to the State Historic Building Code, which aims to save historic buildings at the same time modern earthquake standards are implemented.

Also, in September, Robin Webster was elected SOHO president. Her first duty was to coordinate SOHO's president. Her first duty was to coordinate SOHO's participation in the National Trust for Historic Preservation's "Community Organization Effectiveness Program." Significant because SOHO represented one of only three community participants involved in this year-long program. Webster sought an accurate assessment of how SOHO stood in the San Diego community, as well as desired to strengthen the group's internal organization to make it more effective in meeting SOHO's goals. Included in this study was a goal identification retreat with Western Regional Director, Kathryn A. Burns.

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ABOUT SOHO

HISTORY OF SOHO
- THE FIRST 20 YEARS

Preface | Beginnings | 1969

1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974

1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979

1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984

1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989

- THE SECOND 20 YEARS

Four Decades of Historic Preservation
in San Diego County

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2476 San Diego Avenue · San Diego CA 92110 · Phone (619) 297-9327
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