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Fire & Rain Again

Message from the Executive Director

By Bruce Coons

Happy Holidays. This year we have many blessings to be thankful for and although many have lost their homes, most still have their lives and their loved ones and that is truly something to be thankful for. I hope that you and yours were spared from any devastation of the fires. It has been a grim reminder of the fire ecology we live in but an important reminder of the necessity of proper management.

The Littlepage house. Photo by Bruce Coons

At this time County Park and Rec officials are still surveying the losses to their historic sites. We have been traveling the backcountry this week to assess damage to private property as well. There are many important out of the way sites. We are happy to report that the historic structures in Descanso are safe with the exception of one of the 1920's granite bungalows along Viejas Blvd. The Headquarters of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, the historic stone Dyar house was gutted, though some of its important collection of Indian artifacts may be salvageable. Wayne Donaldson believes the house can be rebuilt. As you know, the Town of Julian was spared, as was the Spencer Schoolhouse at Wynola. Many structures were lost in Pine Hills, but the historic lodge and its outbuildings survived even though it was surrounded by devastation. The Store and Mission at Santa Ysabel are safe, as is the Sawday House at Witch Creek, though the fire came within 100 feet. The fire does not appear to have reached the Winter Ranch or the Adobe Chapel at Mesa Grande. At Ballena, the Littlepage house was completely surrounded by fire, but the house escaped, it is surrounded by bareness. The Warnock Adobe at Santa Teresa was spared and the Barnett Adobe also was saved at San Vicente after fire surrounded it. On Mussey Grade in the middle of the devastation of one of what was the most beautiful scenic roads in San Diego, the 1870's Drake House survives. This house combined with the Littlepage House and Barnett Adobe are remarkable sites to see. I have been told there was no special effort to save these Historic Sites, but they seem to have had a guardian angel looking over them, as all around there is nothing left. The Montecito Adobe stayed out of harm's way, as did the historic buildings in Ramona. We still need to visit the Pines fire area and Rancho Guejito, Rancho Pauma and also the Scripps Hunting lodge at Otay lakes and the Barona area, as we have no reports on them as of yet.

There were some losses of historic buildings on County property, which we hope to update you on later. All and all most of the important structures seem to have escaped destruction this time thanks to the skill of our professional fire fighters. It could have been so much worse. As we drove through the area we dreaded what we may find beyond the next fire-scorched hill, but time after improbable time were relieved to see our old friends still standing to greet us.

Preservation Action Alert: Save the Coronado Railroad

2003 - Volume 34, Issue 4


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Showley Brothers Candy Factory Makes a 280 Foot Historic Move

Blowing Smoke

Fire & Rain Again

Save the Coronado Railroad

Red Rest and Red Roost Update

Authenticity in Cultural Heritage Tourism

Why Should We Save the SS Catalina?

Restoration in Progress at the Whaley House

SOHO's 1st Modernism Weekend

Dual Cocktail Party Celebrates San Diego Architectural Gems

It's Year-End Tax Planning Time

New SOHO Historic District Link

A Walking Tour of the Proposed Mission Hills Historic Districts

Wish List

The Place for Holiday Shopping

SOHO Holiday Potluck Party

Volunteer Appreciation & Annual Elections

Halloween raises over $13,000 for the Whaley House
SOHO Needs You for the Craftsman-Spanish Revival Weekend

Strength in Numbers

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DOWNLOAD full magazine as pdf (3.7mb)


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