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HISTORY OF SOHO - THE FIRST TWENTY YEARS

Twenty Years of Preservation Efforts in San Diego
By Kathleen Flanigan

Beginnings

Save Our Heritage Organisation, a nonprofit historic preservation institution, traces its origin to Robert Miles Parker and his campaign to save the Sherman-Gilbert house in 1969. On January 1, 1969, the artist and teacher posted a "Save This House" sign in front of the Chalet Victorian Sherman-Gilbert residence located at 139 Fir Street in San Diego, with his phone number. People called and a historic preservation grass roots association was born, comprised of individuals who ranged from, as Miles Parker said, "hippies and glitter people to wealthy dowagers."

The founding of SOHO followed the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act by the 89th Congress, which was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966. The impetus for this legislation stemmed from national concern for historic buildings slated for demolition due to urban renewal and highway expansion. In the late 1950's, San Diego, like other areas, compelled to deal with blight within its inner city, needed new buildings and roads to accommodate the influx of immigrants to the area and to entice visitors. It became imperative that the city initiate a major urban redevelopment plan. In a review of the downtown architectural stock, old often waxed synonymous with bad and decadent while good was anything recently contrived, freshly painted, and box-like in appearance.

SOHO, the first San Diego organization dedicated to the cause of historic preservation, took upon its shoulders in 1969, a huge responsibility. Not only did it strive to preserve the Sherman-Gilbert house, but it also sought to educate the public about historic preservation, a public that in most cases had recently arrived in San Diego and had no reverence for, nor connection to its history. The organization persevered from 1969 through 2009 and continues to fulfill its objectives. Annually, the group lends its support to threatened historic buildings and districts in the county, offers tours through various San Diego neighborhoods, and provides public workshops on a host of subjects including: building designation, general home restoration for period houses and restorative techniques. Since 1983, the group has sponsored the annual "People In Preservation" Awards during National Historic Preservation Week, which honors local individuals and firms who have contributed to the retention of San Diego's historic past.

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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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