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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".

The Weekend got started on a beautiful March Friday morning with two sold-out encore events: Bonnie Poppe's Bungalow Courtyard tour and Parker H. Jackson's Richard Requa walking tour in Coronado. I heard nothing but positive feedback from the Bungalow Courtyard tour by the affable and insightful Miss Poppe. Meanwhile, in Coronado, the walking tour saw many wonderful homes built in the 1920's when Requa was establishing himself as a master architect. Mr. Jackson's leisurely tour examined in depth twelve exceptional homes, many of which I had never seen before.

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.

The Weekend kicked into high gear on Saturday with the opening of the Show & Sale and a full day of lectures at the 2005 CSR venue - the old Wonder Bread Bakery located in the East Village. All I can say is "Wow!" I sure wish SOHO could come here every year; however, the old Bakery building will soon be converted into condos. What was not to love? From the funky collection of old gas pumps to the vintage subway tile in the lecture space to the historic grain silo. The Bakery provided a wonderful and historic backdrop for the weekend. The always popular Show & Sale offered fine Arts & Crafts and Spanish Revival reproductions and antiques that provided visitors with unique opportunities to see and buy wonderful collectables for their home. One vendor told me that she really felt a terrific vibe and energy in the vendor hall this year. Something special was indeed happening. I always enjoy the opportunity to become better educated by discussing antiques with knowledgeable vendors. By Sunday afternoon, I was able to make an informed decision about my 2005 CSR purchase - a period Arts & Crafts watercolor design by a Pasadena based, listed Tiffany artist.

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.

A perfect day was concluded with a perfect evening reception at a 1929 Richard Requa villa in La Playa overlooking a spectacular bay view that included Shelter Island, the Coronado bridge and in the distance, North Island. The catered twilight affair was a rare opportunity to celebrate the spirit of the Arts & Crafts Movement and the Spanish Revival period by discussing the day's events with old and new friends under a beautiful twinkling San Diego sky. I especially enjoyed listening to Eric Lloyd Wright's explanation of why his grandfather called double hung windows "guillotines" while sipping on a glass of fine red wine overlooking the San Diego Bay. Priceless.

The highlight of this fantastic and memorable weekend for many was the always-popular Historic Home Tour. Close to 700 people toured seven properties, six incredible private homes in Coronado and the amazing former Bay View Lodge that is undergoing transformation into a bed and breakfast. Sign my wife and I up now for a night in this historic B&B; I can't wait to spend a relaxing evening before the fireplace in this 102-year-old building. I had the pleasure of serving as the morning head docent at a Hebbard & Gill home. What a treat, the homeowner did an admirable job at restoring her 1898 redwood shingled home. After giving visitors a brief overview of the home, I asked people if this was their first SOHO home tour and if anybody was here from Coronado. I was a little surprised by the show of hands. I knew then that SOHO had yet another successful weekend. The mission of education and preservation had been accomplished.

Thanks to all the wonderful SOHO staff, volunteers and docents, vendors, Coronado homeowners, speakers, sponsors and to all who enjoyed this truly memorable weekend. You all made this the best CSR Weekend ever! See you again next year.

2005 - Volume 36, Issue 2


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Historic Otay City Threatened with Destruction

Historic Resources Board may be eliminated

Graves / Top Gun House

Scheming on Presidio Park

Craftsman & Spanish Revival Weekend 2005 Roundup

Borrego Springs Modern

Lloyd Ruocco, San Diego's Invisible Modernist

People in Preservation Award Winners

Book Review of Bungalow Details: Exterior

Whaley House & SOHO Museum Shop Summer Hours
Found San Diego

Strength in Numbers

Lost San Diego

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