Keeping it real
There’s a link on the Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) website labeled “Lost San Diego.” Click on it and you’ll see some of the city’s architectural jewels that have been lost to shortsighted development decisions—like the original Santa Fe Depot that was replaced with a parking lot, or the stunning, five-story Pierce-Morse Block building with its intricate Neo-Renaissance details. In its place is a boxy, single-story Gaslamp bar.
But despite all that’s been destroyed, a lot’s been preserved, and SOHO’s a vanguard in those efforts. Support the nonprofit and see some lovely turn-of-the-century buildings on Saturday and Sunday, March 17 and 18, when SOHO holds its annual Historic Home Tour Weekend. This year, the focus is Bankers Hill, the ’hood that got its name for being popular with the city’s early 1-percenters.
On Saturday, choose from two different 90-minute walking tours ($10) happening at 11 a.m. and 1, 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday also features three lectures on historical design and preservation at the rarely open Wednesday Club, designed by Hazel Wood Waterman, San Diego’s first female architect ($15 each). That evening, there’s a twilight tour and reception at the Irving Gill-designed Marston House from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Admission is $55 and includes wine and hors d’oeuvres. On Sunday, six homes will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to be toured at your own pace ($40 in advance, $50 day-of ), including one of Irving Gill’s first projects.
“There’s all these wonderful architects [represented] in Bankers Hill that sort of make Bankers Hill what it is—why it’s such a unique place and has so much character,” says Alana Coons, SOHO’s director of events and education. “Irving Gill and Richard Requa and Emmor Brooke Weaver—it’s really the great architects of San Diego.”
It’s amazing how quickly the future becomes vintage. Just look at electronics: Thirty years ago, a person who could solder a circuit board in a garage would’ve been pushing the boundaries of DIY geekiness. These days, that same resistor-capacitor proclivity is an artisanal craft, like weaving or metallurgy—technically outdated, but never aesthetically. Making musical instruments (though “musical” here is understood in the broadest sense) from classic electronic components has become its own subculture, often referred to as “circuitbending.” Sound wizard Rob Duarte will train newcomers in the noisemaker-making technique on Saturday, March 17, at Helmuth Projects (920 E St., Suite 103, in East Village). The BRRZZZTWAAAaaaaA Noisy Electronics Hacking Workshop runs from 2 to 5 p.m. and costs $12, which covers materials and equipment. RSVP to email@example.com.
More cherry trees
Several dozen additional Pink Cloud flowering cherry trees have been planted in an expanded area of Balboa Park’s Japanese Friendship Garden, and even though the garden’s new nine acres won’t officially be open to the public until 2014, you can get a sneak peek if you attend this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival. In addition to the lovely blooming trees, the annual springtime festival—from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 17—will include tours of the garden, Japanese food, arts and crafts, cultural demonstrations and children’s activities. Admission for adults is $4, and because it coincides with Balboa Park Family Day, kids younger than 17 with a paying adult get in free. Tickets for food and games will be sold separately.