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MOST Liked it Preserved
Craftsman & Spanish Revival Weekend 2005 Roundup
By Allen Hazard, 2005 CSR Chairperson
By all accounts, the recently concluded 8th Annual Craftsman & Spanish Revival Weekend was yet another SOHO smash hit. This year's theme was "Some Like It Preserved", a word play on the 1959 popular movie starring Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon that was partly filmed at the Hotel del Coronado. As in the Billy Wilder film, ticket holders were transported to the seaside resort of yesteryear for a peek at the homes that people lived in at the turn of the last century. After the wildly successful Sunday Historic Home Tour, I think we should rename this year's event "MOST Like it Preserved".
SOHO's main purpose in visiting Coronado this year was to encourage its residents to continue the work to protect and preserve their historic homes. Toward this end, an educational series of workshops was held at the Coronado Public Library. Mission Hills landscape architect Scott Sandel presented a lecture on San Diego master horticulturalists Kate Sessions and Roland S. Hoyt; this was followed by SOHO President and professional researcher Beth Montes' slide show presentation on "What makes a home historic." Beth provided practical advice on what qualifies an older home for historic landmarking and what would prevent a home from such a designation such as vinyl windows and other insensitive remodeling. Next, a panel discussion followed, led by former State Senator and Coronado resident Jim Mills, which discussed the specifics of how the Mills Act contract works and the significant financial benefits of preservation. It was really interesting to hear Senator Mills describe how he came up with this bill, which has saved so many older homes throughout the state. The series ended with a panel discussion that gave insight and advice on forming a historic district. Janet O'Dea brought a copy of the submitted Mission Hills Historic District, which represented the first citizens-driven historic district in San Diego. The panel explained how residents throughout central San Diego are forming their own historic district committees. After the first day of such insightful and educational information on preservation the score was Preservation - 1, Billy Boxes - 0.
This year's lecture series concentrated on our regional architects: the first lecture was by Parker H. Jackson on Richard Requa. One fascinating part of Mr. Jackson's presentation was the viewing of old home movies shot by Requa himself. The next lecture was by David Bricker on the father of the ranch house in America, Cliff May. Mr. Bricker showed slides of early Cliff May-designed homes, which San Diego native May modeled after the open courtyard Spanish haciendas that he grew up in. It was truly exciting to hear this year's keynote speaker, architect Eric Lloyd Wright, the son of architect Lloyd Wright and the grandson of Frank Lloyd Wright. Mr. Wright is a passionate speaker who is carrying on the Wright legacy by serving as a consultant on many of his famous grandfather's buildings. Mr. Wright narrated a slide show on understanding the work of Frank Lloyd Wright by explaining the background and influence of the Froebel theory and models as well as the intricate relationship between the geometric forms of Nature and his grandfather's work. Former SOHO Board Member and researcher Ron May stated later that evening that for the first time he understood the geometric patterns of Wright's work after listening to this lecture. The final lecture for this exciting day was by modernist architect and native son John Reed on local icon Irving Gill. Mr. Reed was among the first to champion the cause of Gill in Southern California. My wife Janet said that hearing Mr. Reed's lecture after Mr. Wright's brought the message of our architectural past together for her. Once again, SOHO brought together national speakers whose knowledge and insight into our collective architectural past along with their own personal antidotes brought freshness and importance into preserving both their legacy and their important spaces.
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