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SOHO Speakers Bureau

By Allen Hazard

On the 10th of May, I presented the first lecture for the new SOHO Speakers Bureau at the San Diego Historical Society's Showcase House in Mission Hills. SOHO is looking for members to join the Speakers Bureau and speak to community groups about preservation issues in San Diego County.

During the lecture I described how SOHO was born in 1969 as a grass roots organization and has since evolved into a politically savvy preservation organization that has been responsible for "saving" many of San Diego's fine historic and cultural treasures, starting with the Sherman-Gilbert house and progressing to the Warehouse District in East Village. As the lecture took place during National Preservation Week, I attempted to address the state of preservation in town and what it means to be a preservationist in San Diego.

The National Trust has put out an "11 Most Endangered List" every year since 1988, and SOHO devised its own 11 Endangered List years ago. I reviewed the fate from the list from the past few years to emphasize how many of our historic structures are indeed hanging by a very thin thread. Various buildings and structures have made the SOHO Endangered List for several years and are presently in great danger of being lost forever: such as the Red Roost & Red Rest in La Jolla, the S.S. Catalina and the Coronado Railroad. The Hotel San Diego is going going gone, I recently toured the outside of the Hotel with my wife to say goodbye. The Bertha Mitchell House (Irving Gill and William Hebbard, 1904) in Bankers Hill and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant's home on Sixth Ave and Quince are now bittersweet memories. I told how when the Mitchell house was being torn down last year, I convinced a workman to give me ONE clinker brick as a memorial, which I have used in the hardscape of my backyard. I think of the late great Mitchell house every time I walk over my single brick.

Attendees were asked to join and support local grass roots historical district designation movements around town. I explained how several SOHO members are organizing to preserve their little part of town across the City. Last year the National Trust listed older historic communities on its Endangered List. If we truly deserve the title "America's Finest City" we need to preserve our older communities. There are folks in University Heights, South Park, North Park (28th Street and Pershing), Park West and Kensington that are all forming their own potential historical districts. They need your help. I urged the audience to find out who these people are.

So far, this was the largest audience to hear a lecture at the Showcase House; the 1913 Hay-Burke house on Trias is NOT protected. Someone could buy it tomorrow and tear it down. I don't think they would, but they COULD!

I concluded my lecture by telling the 1960s story of how Mission Hills residents got together and defeated an attempt by the owner of the Town and Country to widen and pave the old Allen road (by Café Mio on Fort Stockton), a dirt trail that used to lead to the dairy farms in Mission Valley over 100 years ago. Imagine the permanent damage that would have been done to a quiet and peaceful neighborhood if such a busy road had been built. Preservation is usually the work of normal everyday people who care deeply about their community, whether it is the Sherman-Gilbert House, or historic structures that we grew up with, or it is the very homes that we live in, places that we work in, cultural landscapes that we play in.

Please contact the SOHO office if you are interested in preservation and would like to be added to the roster of the new Speakers Bureau or if you'd like to have SOHO speak for your event or organization.

2003 - Volume 34, Issue 3


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Adding to the Controversy

A Salute to Our Volunteers

Announcing San Diego's First Modernism Weekend

San Diego Modernism Weekend

Julius Shulman

Vintage Trailer Show Rolls In

SOHO Volunteers Needed for Modernism Weekend

Most Endangered List of Historic Resources

Preservation Revolving Fund

People In Preservation Award Winners

An Evening with People In Preservation

Cross-Border Preservation Updates

Irving Gill in Oceanside

From Seismic Event to Spanish Style

Time is Not on our Side

The San Diego Old House Fair In Review

Annual Call For Board of Director Nominations

Rancho Guajome Celebrates 150 Years

Governor Appoints Dr. Susan Hector

Highway 101 Museum

Let's Talk Stucco

Thank You

Wish List

SOHO Congratulates the San Diego Historical Society

Whaley House Docents & Volunteers

The Verna House to be Renovated

SOHO Speakers Bureau

Volunteer Appreciation Party

Annual Meeting

Strength in Numbers

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