Thursday, December 2, 2010

Victorian Ladies of Heritage Park

A walk around the eight-acre Heritage Park in San Diego's Old Town is a walk back in time to the last decade of the 1800s.

After WWII, expansion downtown threatened several structures with demolition on their original sites. Over a period of 25 years, public and private funds paid for the acquisition, relocation, and restoration of the seven historic Victorian structures in the Park.

A variety of architectural styles are represented at Heritage Park in San Diego Old Town:
Classic Revival — Temple Beth Israel — 1889 The Classical Revival was concerned with the application of Greek plans and proportions to civic buildings. San Diego's first synagogue was constructed by the Congregation Beth Israel.

The Heritage Park restored Victorians are owned by the county and leased to private and commercial entities who are responsible for interior renovation and operation in keeping with the Park's Victorian theme.

The synagogue is now operated by San Diego County as a community center.

Queen Anne — Christian House — 1889 Queen Anne style houses are composed of a number of parts, including towers, dormers, bay windows, and corbelled chimneys. Wall surfaces, such as coursed shingles, clapboards, and inset panels of sawn wooden ornament, are combined with irregular roof lines and decorative wrap-around porches. Windows may include small square or diamond panes.

This graceful residence was constructed by Harfield Timberlake Christian.

The Christian House and the Bushyhead House (below) next to it are now known as Heritage Park Inn.

Italianate — Bushyhead House — 1887 Italianate homes were typically two to three stories in height, with flat or hip roofs, bay windows with inset wooden panels, corner boards and two over two double-hung windows.

Edward Wilkerson Bushyhead, early San Diego sheriff, chief of police, and San Diego Union newspaper owner, built this house as a rental. Bushyhead, who was part Cherokee Indian, marched in the “Trail of Tears” during the displacement of the Southeastern tribes in 1838-39.

The Bushyhead House was moved to Heritage Park in 1976.

Stick Eastlake — Sherman-Gilbert House — 1887 Stick-Eastlake structures were plain, simple and relatively modern. Stick houses are characterized by a large, ornamental truss under the gable eaves of a house. They frequently include square bay windows, flat roof lines and free-style decorations.

Eastlake houses were named for British architect and arts writer Charles Eastlake and featured more decoration. The two styles merged to be called "Stick-Eastlake."

This distinctive structure with its "widow's walk" cupola or belvedere and circular window was occupied from 1892 to 1965 by Bess and Gertrude Gilbert.

These sisters were patrons of art and music and had many famous entertainers including Marian Anderson, Arthur Rubinstein, Yehudi Menuhin and Ernestine Schumann-Heink visit the house.

This house was built and first owned by John Sherman, cousin of General William Tecumseh Sherman.

As we walked along the sidewalk, every two steps presented us with a view of the home worth photographing--the architectural details, the colors.

We also tried to imagine the challenge of moving this home that faced the movers in 1971.

Classic Revival — Burton House — 1893 A Classic Revival built during a trend that had, by the turn of the century, begun to reduce or even eliminate decoration.

This Victorian home was built by Henry Guild Burton, a retired Army physician.

Stick Eastlake — McConaughy House — 1887 This house is named for its original owner, John McCon-aughy, who founded the first scheduled passenger and freight service in San Diego County.

Nineteenth Century Vernacular — Senlis Cottage — 1896 A modest cottage built for Eugene Senlis, an employee of San Diego pioneer horticulturist Kate Sessions, who has come to be known as the "Mother of Balboa Park."

This house, without the amenities of gas, electricity, water, or sewer, is an example of dwellings occupied in the 1880s by working-class people.

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