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Thursday, May 31, 2012


ONE NITE, ONE MOVIE—Ah, summer is here. Kick back and enjoy the balmy evening. This Saturday (June 2) is Community Movie Night in North Park on the McKinley School lawn 3045 Felton Street. This is a free event, open to the public, so spread the word, spread your picnic blanket and come early (8ish) to reserve your place on the lawn. The school will be selling hotdogs, nachos, chips, soda, candy, and water. The movie is the new Karate Kid movie, which begins at sunset around 8:30 pm. Info: 619-282-7694.


OUT AND ABOUT—A house sitting gig for friends landed us in Poway for a long weekend and being North Park based, the 20-mile journey up 1-15 was an unexpected getaway.

All of Poway will not be covered here. There’s lots to see and do in this community just beyond the northeast city limits of San Diego.

For that go to

What we saw was small town Americana. It seems the larger our cities become the more small town our neighborhoods aspire to be. Poway is an example. And, nothing is more homespun and enjoyable than Old Poway Park’s main stage gazebo during the upcoming Sam Hinton Folk Festival, next Saturday, June 2 from 11 – 5 pm, 14134 Midland Rd. Details:

The festival is free. Bring the tots because the Old Poway Park’s railroad is a vintage version of the San Diego Zoo choo-choo. Kids love it. And, you won’t miss a song because the train circles the stage. (

Nearby is the 1890s Nelson House, run by the Turn of the century residential charm amid a park that is a slice of mom, apple pie and the 4th of July.

Café Lily, a bit of France across from Old Poway Park, is a mom & son coffee and sandwich shop. Bottom line. I’m back there in a heartbeat next time I’m in Poway. Bit off the beaten path, but everyone knows where Old Poway Park is.

[I-15 to Poway Road to north on Midland Road). The pressed turkey and roast beef Panini’s were amazing as were the coffee drinks. Large portions. Nice table on the front patio. Sean and Lily treat you like family here. Café Lily, 14045 Midland Rd.,

We’ll be back, especially if we take in the free Sam Hinton Folk Festival next Saturday.

Images: Our table at Café Lily; Folk singer on same stage where Sam Hinton Folk Festival will take place. Poway Midland RR’s Gondola #3 is adaptable for handicap/wheelchair use. Portions of the bench seats can be quickly removed.


NOVEL TEA IDEA—Downtown’s venerable Westgate Hotel (1055 Second Avenue, 619-238-1818) is offering a ladies’ literary tea, Saturday, June 2 from 2:30 to 5 pm in the grand lobby. While enjoying a traditional afternoon tea, share the poignant and complicated story of New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hodgkinson, who recently published her debut novel “22 Britannia Road.”

Tugging at heart strings, the work takes place during WWII depicting the effect the war had on families, especially one couple who in the aftermath of the war tried to create a home when neither can quite remember what home is.

New York Times said of her novel: "...It is Hodgkinson’s portrait of the primal bond between mother and child, her visceral understanding of the gorgeous, terrible weight of love mothers must carry, war or no war, secret or no secret, that leaves an indelible impression..."

Hodgkinson’s book will be available for purchase and signing at the event. Tea is $40 per person, not including a copy of the novel, tax or gratuity for the wait staff.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012


VINTAGE HOME TOUR AHEAD--Aficionados of local residential architecture are alerted to a rare opportunity to take in a rare home tour, which coincide with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the San Diego neighborhood of Burlingame, which has become San Diego’s Burlingame Historical District. Local media update at end of this blog.
WHERE IS BURLINGAME? This San Diego Mid-City neighborhood of 170 architecturally interesting homes is within the following boundaries: Switzer Canyon to the North, Kalmia Street to the south; 32nd Street to the East and 30th Street.
HOME TOUR /June 2. The Burlingame Club is sponsoring the Burlingame Centennial Home Tour, which includes six (inside viewing) homes on Saturday between 10 am and 4 pm. Begin the tour at 3117 Laurel Street. Cost is $25 per person with proceeds to charities. Tour info: 619-285-9680.
BRIEF HISTORY: Donald Covington, the late North Park resident and local historian penned the following notes on Burlingame in his book “Burlingame, the Tract of Character 1912-1929”
“…In January 1909, a group of citizens living on the northeast corner of Balboa Park petitioned the Vice President of the San Diego Electric Railway Co. for an extension of the South Park line up 30th Street to Upas. The single track line and the 30th Street Bridge over Switzer Canyon which were constructed that year helped to open the sparsely settled region to suburban development/
Two years later, in the autumn of 1911, the car line was double-tracked in response to heavy demand from the rapidly expanding area. In November1911, a real development firm, McFadden & Buxton, bought 40 acres east of the 30th Street car line over looking Switzer Canyon. After two months of improvements those 40 acres became Burlingame.
On Saturday, January 13, 1912, the Burlingame tract was opened for public inspection. On that first weekend, 34 lots were sold. Late in January 1912, the distinctive red curbs, crosswalks and sidewalks were laid, paving the way for the beginning of residential construction…”
MORE HISTORY NOTES There is an excellent roster of interesting articles on various aspects of Burlingame available on the Burlingame Club’s website: There you will find a link to Prof. Covington’s original article for the San Diego Journal on Burlingame. For more information on the North Park Historical Society go to
News sources: May issue of North Park News,
Local media update:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


LINES IN THE SAND—For a city that makes a buck off of tourism, it should do more to preserve historical resources. Preservation linked with redevelopment has a good fiscal track record. Cases in point are the restoration of the Gaslamp Quarter, the East Village Warehouse District, Little Italy, U.S. Grant Hotel, Balboa Theatre, Birch North Park Theatre and the USS Midway.
Each May, Save Our Heritage Organisation reminds us we can do more. Last week, SOHO announced its 2012 Most Endangered List of Historic Resources in a call for more responsible historic preservation action. The list, released during National Preservation Month, includes 12 sites, five of which are new this year and seven that were cited last year.
Below are the five newly listed endangered resources:
LA JOLLA POST OFFICE, 1140 Wall Street
The U.S. Postal Service's planned closure of thousands of post offices across the country is taking a huge toll on historic buildings, especially WPA-era post offices, as the agency disregards federal legal protections for historic properties. La Jolla's beloved post office, enhanced by a monumental indoor mural of La Jolla during the 1930s by noted artist Belle Baranceanu, is one such endangered landmark. A mélange of Spanish architectural styles mixed with Art Deco and WPA Modern, this small building is widely considered a community asset well suited to La Jolla's village scale and atmosphere. Yet it has been deemed without historic or architectural value and is in imminent danger of being shuttered and sold to the highest bidder.
To lose this building would be an unnecessary and senseless violation of La Jolla community life and fabric. Its charm and dignity anchor the La Jolla business district and are assets to the new National Main Street Business District. Its mural is considered one of the artist's most important works.
Other concerned group: La Jolla Historical Society’s Leslie Davis, Save Our La Jolla Post Office Task Force,
BOVET ADOBE, Sorrento Valley
This little-known, seldom-visited adobe was built in 1854 during the transition between the Mexican and American periods by the Frenchman Pierre Bovet. Owned by the city of San Diego, it stands in the Carroll Canyon area of Sorrento Valley. This fragile, one-story resource and its riparian surroundings are dissolving into the landscape, the most obvious threats being the roadway embankment, erosion, vandalism, and neglect.
Noted artists such as Eva Scott Fenyes of Pasadena, who traveled the state painting watercolors of California missions and adobes during the early 20th-century, and Helen Hill, a student of the San Diego master Alfred Mitchell, created plein-air paintings of the structure, about forty years apart.
Straightforward actions need to be taken as first steps in protecting this adobe: it needs to be designated a local landmark by the city, and environmentally friendly trails need to be added in the vicinity to allow the public access to this treasure without encroaching upon its ecosystem or setting, and its sensitive archeological resources need to be addressed.
Italian marble obelisks mark the U.S.-Mexico border at intervals from California to Texas. The one closest to the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, Old Boundary Marker 1 (now known as Boundary Marker 258), was erected in the 1850s and resurfaced in 1894. Originally, of course, American and Mexican citizens could freely approach the marker from either side of the border, but in recent years the Bush administration bypassed all environmental and preservation laws, which resulted in multiple fences that now keep people away from the marker and from each other. In the past, this area was known as Friendship Park and was a meeting place where families and friends on both sides of the border came together to socialize.
The nonprofit Friends of Friendship Park worked with the Border Patrol, the state parks department and other agencies to redesign this forbidding but historic area and allow limited public access. Their efforts to bring people closer together again are more successful than the government's treatment of the monument. A target of taggers, the obelisk is fenced off on the American side, and with no way to access the site, protection from graffiti and other vandalism is impossible.
MARRON ADOBE, Haymar Dr., Carlsbad
Built in the 1850s and still owned by direct descendants of the original owners, the Marron Adobe is one of the last intact adobes in San Diego County. It is a rare surviving example of early-stage adobe ranch house construction and the oldest house in Carlsbad. Its setting includes the area's last stretch of unspoiled, natural open space, some of which is sensitive habitat. Buena Vista Creek, El Salto Falls, and archaeological sites are part of this cultural landscape.
This landscape and home has weathered threats from proposed freeway construction and a quarry. Now, a tract home builder wants to develop new housing that would wipe out the last of the unspoiled land and impact irreparably the historic view sheds that have existed since before the adobe was even built. An environmental impact report is in the works for the major housing development.
Walmart demolished most of the iconic Farmers Market that was a neighborhood landmark as well as a freeway beacon. Its tower with the name painted on it could be seen from great distances. Now one of its towers and multiple walls are a pile of rubble despite protests and court action by preservationists and community activists. SOHO says WalMart claims it will "reinterpret" the building that had been deemed eligible for historic designation. This demolition bypassed the normal historic review processes. City staff claimed the project met the Secretary of Interior Standards, which clearly by any interpretation of the standards it did not. Was this a case of incompetency or bureaucratic meddling,? asks SOHO.
Seven threatened sites that remain on the list from 2011 are:
Balboa Park
Teacher's Training Annex #1, University Heights
Star Builder Supply Company, Little Italy
Villa Montezuma, Sherman Heights
California Theatre and (new to the list) its Caliente Racetrack Mural, Downtown San Diego
Rancho Guejito, Escondido
Red Roost and Red Rest Cottages, La Jolla
Source: Save Our Heritage Organisation, San Diego County's largest and California's oldest continuously operating preservation advocacy group, compiles the Most Endangered List to focus public attention on and promote the protection and restoration of important historic sites, buildings and landscapes that are threatened by development, demolition or neglect. (619) 297-9327 ·
Belle Baranceanu Mural circa 1935, La Jolla Post Office WPA project.
U.S. Border Monument number 258 shown in 1894
Bovet Adobe in 1958, Jim Hamilton photo courtesy of Friends of the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve,
Marron Adobe, Carlsbad, SOHO photo.
Logan Heights Farmers Market building in process of being demolished, Spring 2012