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Borrego Springs Modern II

SOHO members find fun in the sun in mid century oasis

By Alana Coons

Guests enjoy an evening reception at the Desert Club, built in 1949

On Saturday November 11, the beautiful desert community of Borrego Springs welcomed over 150 fans of modern architecture for SOHO's second Borrego Springs Modern, a mid-century architectural tour. It was a great day, beginning with Phil Brigandi's lecture on the postwar history of the area; Phil is an engaging speaker and everyone enjoyed it immensely. The lecture set the day's event in context for many of us who were new to the area. Borrego Springs has a considerable inventory of mid-century modern architecture and is ripe for preservation minded people to obtain homes that have only had one owner and maintain much of their original historic fabric. The community is facing development issues that, like other communities and neighborhoods throughout the county, are threatening the community's character. Our goal in holding SOHO events here is to highlight the importance of this special character that is found in Borrego.

SOHO was able to produce an event in this far region of our county because of the great partnership we have developed with the Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce. Every Chamber should be so lucky as to have a president like Borrego's Gwenn Marie, she is warm, energetic, organized and cares greatly about her community. It was great to work with her and chamber staff Pat Havens and Erica Savage. Pat, it turned out has many SOHO friends as she was a community activist years back in the Golden Hills/South Park area. Many of the Borrego docents were from the local realty association, and some had been docents at last year's tour, where they had caught the "bug" and were now eager to learn about the historical significance of the homes and about how important it is to maintain original features in these homes.

(Left to right) Lecturer Phil Brigandi; Homeowners Stacy & Doug Paton, along with Erin Lollis; George Harris & Branan Freeman. Photos by Sandé Lollis

(Left) Betty Zerbe, Rose Steadman & Elsa Chapman-Young; (right) Homeowner Mike Gotch & SOHO Modernism chairman Bill Lawrence

(Left) Susan Malotte, SOHO Administrative Aide Dean Glass, Events & Education Director Alana Coons, Mary Watkins & Becky Falk; (right) Donna Nourse, Bridget Asaro, Mike Gotch, Laura Buxton, Ben Nourse & Tim Cohelan

Carol Lindemulder, Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce President Gwenn Marie, John & Helen Dougherty and friends

The residents and businesses of Borrego really made it clear that SOHO's message of preserving community character was welcome and wanted. One such business took out an ad in the Borrego Sun welcoming us and holding a Friday night reception at The House of Borrego Springs, a mid century shop. Proprietor Elizabeth Rodriguez is leading the way of the modern lifestyle in Borrego, she is also a designer and very involved with the art community which is quite large in Borrego. Our team learned a lot in the two days we were there and are looking forward to going back next year, which we began planning all the way home to San Diego!

The evening cocktail party was fantastic and was held in the 1949 Desert Club, originally the clubhouse of the first golf course development in Borrego Springs that didn't take off. With a sweeping view of the valley, you can see from the photograph here that it was a spectacular setting for a great party, complete with its original Dick Zerbe-designed bar.

Thanks go once again to SOHO Modcom chairperson Bill Lawrence, who, among many things, located the historic properties and wrote the histories of the homes for the event program, and he along with Gwenn Marie handled most of the arrangements and logistics for the whole day. Modcom member Carmen Pauli provided the beautiful layout for the program, along with Sandé Lollis who provided the photography.

Shortly before the event the caterer had personal issues that prevented her from handling our evening party. I only mention this so that I can publicly thank the SOHO people who came to the rescue with such a huge effort to fix the problem. From hauling carloads of necessary items from San Diego, helping with food preparation, set up and clean up. Thanks go to Bonnie Poppe, Tom Roetker, Amie Schafer, Pat Hartley, Gwenn Marie, John Eisenhart, Eva Thorn, Erin Lollis, Sandé Lollis and Dean Glass. It was somewhat of a challenge, all the more because the kitchen was under construction! We all had a lot of fun making everything work and of course these kinds of impromptu scenarios build camaraderie and make for lots of laughter. With the help of all these people we were able to cater the event ourselves and we think it went off quite well since compliments were many and several guests asked for the caterer's business card!

Our thanks and appreciation goes to all the homeowners, volunteers, and visitors, and to the community of Borrego Springs.

2006 - Volume 37, Issue 4


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Creating Community Preservation Groups

Stick with the Classics

Rancho to Ranch House

First Do No Harm

Welcome '06-'07 SOHO Board

Borrego Springs Modern II

Much Like Their Buildings

Membership Changes for Dues & Levels

Juan María Osuna Adobe

The H. Lee House

Spending the Holidays with SOHO

Whaley House Museum's October Season is a Resounding Success

Annual Meeting & Elections

Adobe U - Provides Much Needed Repairs to Casa de Estudillo

Interrobang Lecture Series 2007

Whaley House to Celebrate 150th in 2007

Whaley House Docents are VIPs!

Strength in Numbers

Lost San Diego

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