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University House/Chancellor's House

Saved from Demolition!

After four years of community protest UC San Diego has withdrawn their plan to demolish the 56-year-old chancellor's house, known as the University House. University officials announced that demolition is no longer part of the plan and instead that they will be pursuing a renovation and rehabilitation plan.

Built in 1952 by master architect William Lumpkins for William Black, (Black's Beach, etc.), it is a rare example of the Pueblo Revival style. The historic home was acquired in 1967, along with 130 surrounding acres, by UCSD for $2.7 million and has housed almost every UCSD chancellor since 1967. UCSD had the home condemned in 2004 citing seismic deficiencies, plumbing, electrical and structural problems.

"There may have been a time when preservation was about saving an old building here and there, but those days are gone. Preservation is in the business of saving communities and the values they embody." - Richard Moe, President National Trust for Historic Preservation

Fortunately, the Native American community took the lead and fought the plan from the start, noting the sacred Indian burial site underneath. They not only funded their own legal action but also provided funds for the designation report. The La Jolla Historical Society also took a vocal stand and commissioned the successful report that got the site placed on the National Register of Historic Places. SOHO provided both legal and consulting assistance, funded our own legal action, and added our expert testimony to the hearings.

All three of these groups worked in concert to save this important site. This example should encourage others not to be deterred by what may seem a daunting task. Gather together those citizens and organizations who care deeply for your community. Remember each community has the right to decide what's best for their community.

Contributed by SOHO Preservation Action Committee.

2008 - Volume 39, Issue 1/2

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Professional Theater Comes to San Diego


Googie: An Architectural Link to San Diego's Midcentury Culture

North Park's Neon


A General Plan of Destruction


Unearthing Long-Buried Whaley House Cistern

Preservation Community


Reflections


Lost San Diego


Strength in Numbers


Donations 2007-2008


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