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Letters to the Editor

The letter to the right was sent to SOHO in 1970 with two pennies taped to it. It was this kind of support and interest even from our youngest citizens that created SOHO and made us what we are today.

Dear Editor,

My wife and I just returned from two weeks in Italy over the holidays and were amazed at how wonderful preservation is working in Europe. I have been to Europe many times before, but am always in awe of the respect that Europeans have for their culture and their history. I am deeply saddened when I return home and am reminded of the battles that preservationists have to fight here!

People visit Venice because of its beauty and history. To go to Christmas Mass at St. Marks is inspiring! To drink a cup of coffee in one of the oldest cafes in Europe was thrilling (and tasty). We stayed in a 400-year-old building, now used as a Bed and Breakfast, in which English writer John Ruskin stayed while writing The Stones of Venice. There are NO "McMansions" in Venice; there are NO "McMansions" in central Rome; NO glass skyscrapers in Florence: the people there have respect for their old buildings, for their culture, and for their history. They would never dream of tearing old sites down (although Mussolini ripped down many important Roman artifacts in the 1920s.) People come from around the world to marvel at the Forum and to walk where Roman emperors walked. We heard a choir singing in the 13th century church where the bells tolled on their own when Francis of Assisi died. In Florence, we learned that a retreating German general in 1944 refused to blow up the historic Ponte Vecchio and instead blew up a few intersections leading to the old bridge because even he realized the cultural value of the bridge! Today, people invade Siena to marvel at Il Campo and wander through the 400-year-old alleys. These places are now destinations for people from all over the world. Cultural tourism is big time!

I fail to understand why people want to tear down our history in San Diego! Is it because so many people here are from somewhere else and do not share my attachment (I was born at Mercy Hospital in 1953!)? Is it because we are so "new" as a city and people don't think that we can possibly have a real past or history? We do have a rich history in San Diego, but it will only be described in history books if we continue to tear it down!

In Mission Hills, we are continuing to discover our past. Duke Ellington celebrated a birthday in Mission Hills in the 1960s. Reportedly, Lana Turner spent her first wedding night in Mission Hills. The Corpus of Joe Bailey was written about Mission Hills in the 1950s and a cowboy/Indian fighter/Rough Rider and close friend of Teddy Roosevelt lived on Sunset Blvd. An Olympic Gold Medallist who gave his 1928 Gold Medal back to Franco to pay for the Spanish Civil War lived here too. While Irving Gill did not build in Mission Hills, just about every other significant builder/architect did!

I love to sit on the porch of my 1920 (historically designated City Landmark) bungalow on Sunset Blvd with my wife and drink a glass of red wine and watch every 4th or 5th car driving slowly down Sunset on a late Sunday evening looking at our historic gardens and homes.

Preservation is vital and critical to our fair city: once we lose a building, we lose more than that specific site, we also lose the history associated with that building. It's as if the people who lived or worked there never existed.

Thank you SOHO for all you are doing for San Diego's historic communities.

Allen Hazard

2004 - Volume 35, Issue 1


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Coronado Railroad Designated Again

Cinderella Story

Old Enough

The strength of a nation lies in the homes of its people
SOHO Becomes a Partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

A Partnership to Preserve America

Preservation Action Update

After the Fires

Port Votes to Demolish 40% of the OPHQ

San Diego to Host OHP and CPF Training Workshops

From Lemons to Locomotives & Beyond

Know something About the Hemphill Dance Studio?
S. Kathleen Flanigan Preservation Revolving Fund

A Memorial to a Friend in Preservation

A Formal Groundbreaking

1950s Wrestling & Roller Rink Building to be Razed

SOHO Forms Modernism Committee

Herbert Kunzel Residence Receives Historic Designation
Identification & Evaluation of Mid-20th-Century Buildings

Events & Education Update

Letters to the Editor

2004 Craftsman-Spanish Revival Weekend

People In Preservation

Strength in Numbers

Lost San Diego

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