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Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Classic interior of Craftsman bungalow typical of the historic homes in the North Park area of San Diego

SOHO’S ANNUAL HISTORIC WEEKEND—Spotlighting the historic neighborhood of North Park, Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) announces its popular Annual Historic Home Tour Weekend will be held June 6-8.

SOHO is partnering with the North Park Historical Society (NPHS) to present some of North Park's finest historic architecture, including five early 20th-century homes in variations of the Arts & Crafts, Mission Revival, and Prairie styles.

Kicking off the weekend's activities on Friday, June 6 is SOHO's 32nd People in Preservation Awards, an annual salute to outstanding local preservationists. The three-hour program begins at 6pm with a wine and craft beer reception at the historic Sunset Temple on University Avenue.

 This year's jury selected 12 winners who upheld preservation standards in settings as varied as North Park, Balboa Park, San Diego's Bayfront and La Jolla. Tickets are $55 ($45 for SOHO and NPHS members) and may be purchased only in advance.

The next day, Saturday, June 7, North Park Historical Society members will guide three architectural walking tours.

SOHO's Historic Home Tour, which is considered one of the region's finest and most reliable resources for preservationists and casual visitors alike, will be held Sunday, June 8

from 11am to 4pm.

2014 SOHO Historic Home Tour Weekend

Pershing Street brick bungalow
People In Preservation Awards
Friday, June 6 ·  6pm-9pm
Tickets by advance purchase only
SOHO & NPHS members $45
Non-members $55

Walking Tours
Saturday, June 7 ·  9am, 11am & 1pm
SOHO & NPHS members $10
Non-members $15

Historic Home Tour
Featuring the Community of North Park
Sunday, June 8 ·  11am-4pm
SOHO & NPHS members $30
Non-members $35
Tickets on day of the event $50 (no discounts)

One reason SOHO chose to showcase this urban neighborhood is its growing, active support of historic preservation as a means of revitalizing and stabilizing the community. A marked transformation during the past 15 years has attracted regional kudos and new patrons to shops, restaurants, and nightclubs.

 "Today, North Park is a thriving place to live, work, and enjoy international fare, micro-brewed thirst quenchers and a rich diet of arts and entertainment offerings," said Alana Coons, SOHO's director of education and communications. "Much of this renewal has come about thanks to urban pioneers like Claire Magner, with her Claire De Lune Coffee Lounge and Sunset Temple venue, and the late Bud Fischer, who stepped up to restore the North Park Theatre decades after it closed.

Sunset Temple, Kansas Ave., near University Ave.
"In addition, North Park's well established Main Street program has spurred many lasting improvements and the North Park Planning Group and North Park Project Area Committee are among San Diego's best informed community boards. They understand what makes a neighborhood great and they act accordingly," Coons added.

North Park first came alive around the time of the 1915-16 Exposition, which sparked one of San Diego's greatest building booms. More than four million visitors from around the world flocked to Balboa Park's fanciful new complex of ornate buildings, plazas and gardens inspired by historic Spanish and Mexican design. Some of these tourists couldn't resist San Diego's charms and climate. Nor did they have to venture very far from the exposition grounds to buy barren lots, early homes, and commercial real estate in North Park, which was already humming with streetcar lines to central and greater San Diego.

Now a dense, mostly residential area with large swaths of original buildings and landscaping still intact, North Park is home to many people seeking a vintage home with character close to Balboa Park and downtown. The North Park Historical Society is the community's historic preservation group and go-to source for its history.

On June 8, visitors will see the results of this passion of homeowners and historical society in the five historic homes taking part in the Home Tour; from 11am to 4pm. Discount tickets are available now for only $35 ($30 for SOHO and NPHS members). On the day of the tour, tickets will cost considerably more at $50 (no discounts). For advance discount tickets, visit or call (619) 297-9327. As a courtesy to guests a $1 flat fee for parking on Saturday, June 7 and Sunday, June 8 will be given at the North Park Parking garage. Attendees will need to present their tickets upon leaving to receive the discount.

These homes are the products of established local builders. In size and architectural detail, most of the homes reflect the prosperity of their first owners. Three face onto 28th Street, one of North Park's most coveted addresses because of its concentration of handsome, century-old architecture. Of these three, two are grand homes on double lots along Balboa Park's eastern boundary. A successful Mexican businessman and bank president, for example, built one, in 1916 and its significance goes beyond its architecture. This house stands as an early and resounding rebuke to a racist color barrier that discouraged or barred "non-Caucasians" from living in a "first class residence."

Its original owner, Miguel Gonzales, commissioned builder Edward F. Bryans to produce a Prairie-style home with Mission Revival influences on a commanding double lot opposite Balboa Golf Course. Elsewhere, the work of builder Alexander Schreiber is seen in an asymmetrical Arts & Crafts bungalow with Prairie Style influences (1919). Schreiber's signature wood detailing, small rectangular corbel blocks, appears throughout the interior. An impressive contribution by the unidentified builder is a rambling, U-shaped home that blends Spanish Revival and Mission Revival styles and retains many of its original interior details.

The most prominent builder featured on this North Park tour is David O. Dryden, known for finely crafted homes that are still highly prized and lovingly inhabited. Dryden also figures into this year's SOHO Historic Home Tour Weekend in other ways.

Much of the tour will take place within the Dryden Historic District, which NPHS researched, plotted and evaluated for several years. This attractive, walkable residential district includes 20 Dryden homes amid dozens of other houses built by his contemporaries.

The Dryden District is one of three areas NPHS guides will cover during 90-minute walking tours on Saturday, June 7. The other two areas are the Morley Field neighborhood and Streetcar Suburb at Hamilton (Street). Each tour will be offered at 9am, 11am and 1pm, so hardy souls with sturdy footwear may enjoy all three. These tours are limited in size and are expected to sell out. Tickets cost $15 per tour ($10 for SOHO and NPHS members) and are on sale now. Proceeds benefit NPHS.

NPHS, which has grown in size and accomplishments, is nearing completion of a history of North Park to be published in the photo-rich Arcadia series. This book may be pre-purchased during the SOHO weekend.

To buy tickets or learn more about SOHO's Historic Home Tour Weekend, log on to or call (619) 297-9327. Join SOHO or NPHS today for discounted tickets.

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