The Journal of San Diego History
SAN DIEGO HISTORICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY
Winter 1985, Volume 31, Number 1
Thomas L. Scharf, Editor
by Laura Young
Graduate History Student at the University of San Diego
Sam Hamill day-dreamed of what the fair would offer as he rode along in the streetcar toward Balboa Park.1 Twelve years old and the younger of the two Hamill boys, he had a pass for the Panama-California Exposition2 of 1915 safely tucked away in an inside jacket pocket. The pass, a present from his mother3, allowed unlimited access to the Exposition, and Sam planned to spend much of the summer vacation enjoying this great event in San Diego. What he could not imagine, at this age, however, is that one day his efforts would be largely responsible for the preservation of the fair’s architectural link to the history of San Diego. Thoughts of past summers came to his mind as Sam recalled how he had become a San Diegan.
Recorded history of Samuel Wood Hamill gives his birthdate and place as April 27, 19034 in Globe, Arizona5. From that time until the age of six Sam lived in that mining town with the other members of his family.
Father, Joseph Hackney Hamill6,arrived in Globe while still a teenager and later became owner, manager, and editor of the Arizona Silver Belt7 newspaper. Mother, Flora Hamill, came from Silver City, Nevada8, where she had been born and raised. Sam had two older sisters9, an older brother10, and one younger sister11.
In 1909, economic strife, due in part to the lack of mining development in Globe, caused Joseph Hamill to move his family to San Diego, California12, to pursue new business opportunities. The decision startled Sam, but when assured that even Tippy, the family dog, would go to California, the move seemed not quite so alarming to a six year old who had never thought of leaving his little domain.
San Diego, a large city by comparison to Globe, fascinated Sam, and one day curiosity led him to leave the hotel for a stroll around the block to see the new buildings. Sam knew there would be no problem since if one turned right and continued in this direction the point of beginning would be reached. After the lad had turned the fourth corner, an uneasy thought entered his mind when no familiar door came into view. Sam no longer felt sure that he would reach the point of beginning, and the uneasy thought became sheer terror, “lost in the big city”! A gentleman who recognized the plight of the young adventurer turned Sam to the right; his panic-stricken eyes met the glorious sight of the hotel lobby. The door of the hotel, closed when the journey began, had been opened which removed this beacon from his line of vision. Sam knew then that knowledge of this “big city” and its buildings would come later.13
Within a few days, Joseph rented a house for the family, located at 1124 Twenty-Fourth Street14, where the Hamills lived for two years. In 1912 Mr. Hamill purchased a home and 1612 Fern Street15 became their permanent residence.
The new neighborhood, close to Balboa Park, provided open space which the boys used for various expeditions. Coincidental to this time of outdoor activity, Sam became aware of the importance of gardens and plantings through lectures given by Kate Sessions16 at the Brooklyn School17 which he now attended. A quiet and sensitive young man, Sam enjoyed his exploration of the undeveloped canyons to find specimens of plant life for exhibition at school. This love of nature became evident when Sam incorporated the view of gardens as a design element of his residences, a feature of the type of architecture found in Southern California.
Shortly after moving into the new home Mr. Hamill again found himself in economic straits due to failing business investments, and in order to provide for his family, Joseph returned to Globe. The Silver Belt newspaper had moved to a different town, but Joseph stayed in Globe to establish another newspaper, the Arizona Record.18 Mr. Hamill lived in Arizona for most of his life except for visits to the home in San Diego where Flora Hamill remained with the children.
With Father gone, Mrs. Hamill encouraged the children to achieve success in any endeavor, instilled a sound Christian philosophy in their minds, and exposed the youngsters to cultural activities whenever possible in the San Diego of the early twentieth century. The year 1915 proved to be one of the most enlightening for Sam Hamill.
As the streetcar approached the entrance to the fair, reminiscences faded, and Sam reached into his jacket for the pass. Card in hand, he prepared to present the ticket at the gate so there would be no delay in getting to what awaited him beyond.19 The lad jumped off the streetcar as soon as safety permitted, and sprinted across the road toward the entrance to the wonders of the Panama-California Exposition of 1915.
A large arcade created an imposing entrance, with ticket gates in the center, and on either side two curved walkways led to the buildings beyond. When Sam passed through the gate, he thought, “This is a different world this is not the San Diego I remember as a small child.”20 No doubt he recalled the downtown area of the city as it looked when the family arrived in 1909, and now the sight of these beautiful buildings, with the grandeur and eloquence of their Spanish Colonial architecture21, overwhelmed him.
The buildings formed a quadrangle; the space between displayed the natural beauty of pools and gardens, and a broad paseo, or walking area, filled the central rectangle-an awesome sight. A graceful cantilever bridge spanned Cabrillo Canyon22 on the West and connected the far end of the quadrangle to Sixth Avenue.23 Sam had not expected this experience:
I knew at that moment that I wanted to learn all I could about these beautiful buildings; to be able to enjoy them to the fullest degree … I wanted to have these wonderful buildings last forever, to be appreciated by all people who came to San Diego in the future.24
During the many visits that followed, Sam familiarized himself with every inch of the buildings and gardens; especially where to find the free samples. Like most children, he spent much of his time investigating the mysteries of this new attraction. Unlike most youngsters, Sam developed an appreciation for the design of the Spanish Colonial structures, a magnificent architectural link to the Spanish era in the history of San Diego. The complexity and detail of the Churrigueresque25 decor on some of the buildings fascinated him. Others, of the Mission style26, appealed to him in their simplicity, and the Indian27 architecture added a mystique to the overall ambiance. Constant exposure to this oasis of physical beauty proved to be a significant influence in his decision to become an architect.
Sam had always liked to draw, and encouragement by his mother helped him to choose drafting classes in high school. Sam remembers Lilian Rice28 as one of the drafting teachers who recognized his potential as an architect. In response to a “Career Day” he selected architecture as his interest, and attended a lecture given at school by the well known architect, William Templeton Johnson.29 During the personal interview that followed, Mr. Johnson asked Sam to work for him that summer in an evaluation of the physical condition of some of the downtown buildings. By acceptance of this offer, he launched himself in his architectural career.
After graduation from the San Diego High School30 in 1921, Sam enrolled at San Diego State College31 and attended for one year.Lilian Rice taught him geometry at the State College, and once again became a strong influence in persuading him to go on to the School of Architecture at the University of California in Berkeley.32 Guided by the teaching of professors who had a background of classicism in the Beaux Arts33 school of thought, Sam blossomed and became an “A” student. On May 11, 1927, he received his degree in architecture34, and went to work immediately for the firm of Requa35 and Jackson36.
Sam had advantages as a new architect in an established firm. He had been employed in this group as an apprentice while earning money to finish his education, Richard Requa and H.L. Jackson knew him personally, and his brother Joseph worked here as a draftsman. The senior partners recognized Sam’s ability and allowed him to assist in the design of custom homes at the beginning of his career. The talented young architect also designed interiors; that artistry would be evident in the decor of the Japanese Tea Room, part of the Marston Company Building.37
The year of 1928 Sam worked in the Rancho Santa Fe office38of Requa and Jackson with his former teacher and mentor Lilian Rice, who assisted in development of the residential area before establishing her own practice. This firm of architects made a significant contribution to the architectural style known as “Southern Californian,39a new era in contemporary San Diego history. In 1929 Sam returned to the office in downtown San Diego. At that time the firm had contracts for several school buildings which he designed. These schools are located throughout San Diego County. Some of the structures appear to be traditional in style while others are designed to be compatible with the unique topography of Southern California-a continuity between past and present.
With his career well underway, Sam gave serious thought to marriage, and in 1931, Georgette Rousseau40, a young lady of French and Mexican descent, became his bride. Shortly after the marriage, effects of the Great Depression41 reached San Diego, and the building of homes ceased. Requa and Jackson could no longer afford to pay Sam a salary so they made him a partner of the firm. With this arrangement, all would share expenses as well as profit.
In the midst of this bleak economic crisis, fortune smiled upon the firm when Ralph Jenny42, a local attorney and chairman of the State Relief Commission, recommended the selection of William Templeton Johnson, Louis Gill43, Richard Requa, and Sam Hamill to act as a committee for the design of a new Civic Center Building at the waterfront.44 Federal funds had been allocated for a WPA45 project in San Diego by the Roosevelt46 administration, and the city and county of San Diego desperately needed more spacious quarters.
Jenny quickly arranged for office space to accommodate 100 workers in one of the unused buildings of Balboa Park, and placed Sam Hamill in charge of the Civic Center project as Chief Designer.47 Subsequent events took place in rapid succession, and after consideration of the original Nolen Plan48 for city development, along with several other alternatives, a modified Spanish Colonial style with ornamentation of gold and azure tiles satisfied the city council. On December 5, 1935, local dignitaries turned the first shovel of earth toward the construction of the Civic Center49, now the County Administration Building. A large fountain designed by Donal Hord50. on the waterfront side of the building portrays a domestic woman holding a water jug which complements the architectural style. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, greeted by Ralph Jenny, dedicated the Civic Center to the people of San Diego in July of 1938,51 three years and seven months after groundbreaking.
During this period, but unrelated to other WPA projects, Sam redesigned some of the Exposition buildings in Balboa Park, erected as temporary structures for the 1915 exposition, now to be used for cultural purposes. Perhaps the House of Hospitality with its Casa del Rey Moro Gardens52 is the most charming and innovative of the redesigned buildings.
Sam remodelled the T-shaped building without altering the original facade, designed by Carleton M. Winslow.53 The interior of the structure had to be removed which created a courtyard where an exquisitely designed fountain by Donal Hord provided a link to the Mexican heritage of San Diego and extended a refreshing welcome to visitors. Adjacent to the rear of the building, where the restaurant is located, Sam cleverly utilized the natural topography of the small canyon by the use of terraces which provided space for gracefully curved stairways and outdoor patios. The sound of flowing water in several small fountains added to a delightful setting for large parties, weddings, or community gatherings. He incorporated this concept of outdoor living with his use of window space and access to patios which reflects his theory that man can produce harmony and compatibility between traditional architecture and nature. Sam, the silent sentinel, has never felt the need to destroy the work of others to create a monument to Samuel Hamill, the architect.
In his next career milestone, he adapted Mission style architecture into the splendid design and construction specifications of the Del Mar Racetrack54, a tribute to another era, the missionary history of California. The Turf Club tower, a replica of the Mission San Jose de Aguayo,55 dominates the landscape. The entrance and window above are facsimiles of their counterparts in the San Jose mission. The facade of the East Exhibit Building is a copy of the Mission Dolores56 in San Francisco. The West Exhibit Building is a combination of the entrance to the San Gabriel Mission;57 the tower from a mission in the area of Mexico City.58 The grandstand style is that of the San Gabriel mission in Los Angeles. Construction specifications called for adobe brick which Sam knew could be made on the site. This type of construction would not only perpetuate the building methods and materials of the missionaries, but also would be economically feasible.
At the time the WPA Del Mar project came to an end, Richard Requa had left the firm, and Jackson seemed ready to retire from active practice which left Sam to maintain the firm alone. During the years that followed he designed several large buildings in San Diego. The Veterans War Memorial in Balboa Park, Union Title and Trust Company, County Courts Building and Sheriff facilities, and the Community Concourse are among those most notable. Sam still hoped that one day the Nolen Plan for a mall connecting the harbor and Balboa Park would become a reality, and tried to promote this plan for a homogeneous architectural development for San Diego, both in his professional career and in his many civic involvements.
Because of his depth of feeling for people, nature, architecture and San Diego, Sam exerted every effort to participate in the most meaningful way possible in the development and preservation of things he considered most valuable. He initiated the founding of the San Diegans, Inc.,59the Committee of 100,60 and donated much of his time to other civic groups61. The AIA62 elected Sam a Fellow in 1957; the San Diego Floral Association made him an honorary member in 1971, and in 1980 Roger Hedgecock, for the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, honored Sam in a public ceremony as architect for the County Administration Building.63
Sam retired in 196864 after forty years of practice. Now an octogenarian, Sam remains active in many civic organizations, and is vitally interested in the quality of future architectural development as well as the preservation of existing historic buildings in San Diego.
By stature Sam is a small man, and by nature a quiet man, but his selfless contributions and accomplishments loom large in the city he loves. The calm, clear blue eyes behind his spectacles reflect the magnitude of thoughts and dedication toward his goals in life, By the appreciation and preservation of what is already here, by the use of artistic elements in the homes of individuals, and by the incorporation of classic design in public buildings, Samuel Wood Hamill, through his architecture, has quietly and unobtrusively given San Diego a reflection of the architectural eras in its history-Spanish, Mexican, and Southern Californian.
1. In 1868 a large parcel of land, consisting of 1400 acres, became what we now know as Balboa Park. The name honors the Spanish explorer, Vasco Balboa, the first of the foreigners to see the Pacific Ocean. The city of San Diego attached this name to the park in 1910. Florence Christman, The Romance of Balboa Park (San Diego: The Committee of 100, 1977), pp. VIII, 29.
2. The Panama-California Exposition of 1915 began as a promotional idea of several prominent San Diego business men, ostensibly to commemorate the opening of the Panama Canal in 1915, and in addition, to bolster the sagging economic conditions in San Diego. Four years of plans and decisions passed before the grand opening on January 1, 1915. The fair brought people from all parts of the world and proved a tremendous success both from a cultural and an economic perspective. Iris H.W. Engstrand, San Diego: California’s Cornerstone (Tulsa: Continentals Heritage Press, Inc., 1980), pp. 86-91.
3. Born in Silver City, Nevada, about the year 1860, Flora Isabel Wood Hamill moved to Globe, Arizona while still a young girl with her mother and stepfather. Flora married Joseph Hamill in Globe and bore him five children. When the family moved to California in 1909, Flora remained in San Diego to raise the children while her husband returned to Globe to earn his living. A personal communication with Sam Hamill is the source of this family background information.
4. April 27, 1903 is the date that Samuel Hamill gives as his birthday, and Globe as the place. A passport in Mr. Hamill’s possession has this date of birth.
5. Globe, Arizona, is located in the foothills of the Mazatzal Mountains, approximately 100 miles east of Phoenix, the capital city, and 100 miles north of Tucson. This places Globe in the southeast quarter of the state. The town originally became settled as a result of the discovery of silver and copper in the quest for gold, and has remained a small mining town to the present time. Atlas of the Fifty United States, p.23, and Honor The Past . . . Mold the Future, (Globe, Arizona: Gila Centennials Incorporated 1976).
6. Joseph Hackney Hamill, born in St. Louis in mid 19th century, left the security of his family owned and operated riverboat business to accompany his uncle, Harold Hackney, to Silver City, New Mexico, where they established a newspaper, the Siler Belt. Apparently Silver City did not satisfy Uncle Harold, and when he decided to go further west, Joseph, eager for new horizons, continued on to Globe with Mr. Hackney. Samuel Hamill contributed this history of his father during a personal interview on September 28, 1983.
7. A newspaper seemed appropriate for the small mining town of Globe, Arizona, and the Arizona Silver Belt became the news medium for Globe. Uncle Harold must have had second thoughts about frontier life and returned to St. Louis. Joseph remained in Globe, married, and became the father of five children. This branch of the Hamill family departed from Globe in 1909, but Joseph returned alone in 1912 to resume life as a newspaper editor and manager. Mr. Hamill came to San Diego in 1925 to spend his last two years of life; he died the day after Sam received a degree in architecture at Berkeley. Samuel Hamill related this history during a personal interview on September 28, 1983.
8. Silver City, Nevada, is another of the many small mining towns scattered throughout the western states. The name appears to have been used for several other towns as well. This Silver City is located approximately 30 miles south of the capital city of Reno, and about 20 miles east of Lake Tahoe which places it in the extreme western part of the state. Atlas of the Fifty United States. p. 22.
9. Carrie Hamill, the eldest child in the family, after attending San Diego Teachers’ College for a short time, decided to become a nurse and left for Los Angeles. Nursing studies were discontinued when she married Dr. Henry C. Richter, and the couple went to Calexico to live. Flora Hamill, second eldest child, became a teacher after attending San Diego Teachers’ College. Flora married John B. Fitzpatrick and lived in Glendale, California. This family history is contributed by Samuel Hamill.
10. Joseph H. Hamill, Jr., the older brother of Sam, did not attend college, but studied drafting in the office of Requa and Jackson, architects. Joseph became a draftsman and practical engineer, and remained with the firm from 1928 until 1940 at which time he left to become a supervisor in charge of construction for the Public Housing Administration.Joseph worked in this capacity until his death in 1956. San Diego Union, March 8, 1956.
11. Ruth Mary Hamill, the youngest of the Hamill family, began college studies in Los Angeles; then attended San Diego State University to become a school teacher. Ruth joined the Red Cross during WWII, served in Taiwan, and later went to Japan to organize the Yo-Yogi School where she taught the children of army personnel for sixteen years. Ruth Mary returned to this country, taught in the public school system for a number of years, and retired. Ms. Hamill now lives in San Diego. Ruth Mary Hamill supplied this data through personal communication with the writer, October 5, 1983.
12. In the year 1909 San Diego had become a bustling city of 40,000 people. Many bank buildings, stores, hotels and restaurants lined the downtown streets. Some of the “founding fathers” had died; however, the second generation of these families continued to support and foster the future development of San Diego to the metropolis it is today. Engstrand, San Diego; California’s Cornerstone, Chapter VI.
13. This is a story told by Sam Hamill in personal interview with the writer on October 5, 1983.
14. The house in which the Hamills first lived in San Diego is still in reasonably good condition. The structure is a moderate sized house constructed at the turn of the century in the then popular Spanish style, or Southern California vernacular style. The exterior finish is stucco; the simple vertical and horizontal lines are relieved by three arches in the pavilion at the front of the house. This description is by personal inspection of the property by the writer, October 12, 1983.
15. The second home, and permanent residence of the Hamills is located at 1612 Fern Street. This home is of moderate size; seven or eight rooms, and of frame construction. The house is a bungalow type with a peaked roof which extends over the walls in a wide overhang. A broad veranda breaks the front elevation and four support columns of no particular order adorn the street side of the residence. The house has been converted lo apartments and the neighborhood is no longer middle class. This observation is the personal opinion of the writer on inspection of the property, October 12, 1983.
16. Kate O. Sessions, sometimes referred to as the “Mother of Balboa Park,” graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1881 with a degree in natural science. This nature lover started a nursery in Coronado in 1885; then moved to City Park, now Balboa Park, where she promised to plant trees in lieu of paying rent for nursery space. She is responsible for the planting of, literally, thousands of trees which she imported from all areas of the world. Her tireless dedication to beautification by plantings has made Balboa Park an oasis of greenery. Christman, The Romance of Balboa Park, pp. 8-12.
17 Brooklyn School is located on Fern Street in the area known as South Park. The original structure had to be reconstructed due to legislation enacted as a result of a serious earthquake which weakened old buildings. The reconstructed Brooklyn Elementary School is on the same site as the old building where Sam went to school. Mr. Hamill verified this location as the site of his old school on inspection of the property with the writer on October 12, 1983.
18. Samuel Hamill has stated that Arizona Record is the name of the second newspaper Joseph Hamill established in the town of Globe, Arizona; Honor The Past.
19. Sam recalls that the minister of the Methodist-Episcopal Church had given a lecture along with a slide presentation of the forthcoming events and scenes of the Panama California Exposition of 1915. Sam had been present at this preview, so he knew to some extent, what to expect at the fair.
20. This quotation is the exact thought, spoken to the writer, as experienced by Sam when he stood on the same spot sixty-eight years ago.
21. Spanish Colonial is a term used with reference to the use of Spanish Renaissance architecture of the 17th century combined with the simple Mission style architecture, which is identifiable by the use of unbroken planes, arches for structural strength, and little or no ornamentation, and North American Indian architecture, both refined and primitive, of Aztec, Mayan, and Pueblo origins. This combination of styles caused the need for a new term of reference for the mixture of the three types. This is a personal evaluation and opinion of the writer derived from observation and some knowledge of architecture.
22. Cabrillo Bridge over Cabrillo Canyon; Cabrillo is a proper name of the man who first discovered San Diego in 1542, just 50 years after Columbus discovered America. The original name of the area, San Miguel, became San Diego in 1602. Throughout San Diego one finds the name Cabrillo attached (o streets, bridge, canyon and monument. Engstrand, San Diego: California’s Cornerstone, and James R. Mills, San Diego, Where California Began, (San Diego: San Diego History Center, 1976).
23. Sixth Avenue runs approximately north and south through the entire area of downtown San Diego and abuts the west side of Balboa Park. Street Map of San Diego, (San Jose, California: H.M. Gousha Co.)
24. These feelings and thoughts are those as expressed by Sam Hamill to the writer in a personal communication on the site of the old entrance (o the 1915 Exposition. October 21, 1983.
25. The term Churrigueresque is a derivative of the proper name Curriguera, the latter a Spanish craftsman of the 17th century who developed his own style of Baroque, or heavy ornamentation, as decoration of large buildings. There are several books which offer definitions of this term; however, the writer has chosen this as the most concise and accurate. Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 19, p. 416.
26. The Franciscan missionaries first settled in California in the 18th Century and had only a rudimentary knowledge of construction systems and building methods. Generally, Mission style is identifiable by the simplicity of vertical and horizontal linear design which consists of flat unbroken planes, elemental use of arches as structural support, and a minimal use of fenestration due to the semi-arid climate. This is a personal opinion of the writer and a reference to Christman, The Romance of Balboa Park, pp. 33, 34, and William H. Pierson, Jr., American Buildings and Their Architects.
27. Indian architecture, both refined and primitive, is basically simple in linear design. The use of the geometric pyramidal form in the more refined architecture of the highly developed societies of the Aztec and Mayan civilizations reflects a great similarity to Egyptian architecture. The simple unadorned and functional style of the nomadic Indians of the southwestern United States, indicates that the structures provided shelter and protection from (he harsh elements of the semi-arid climatic conditions and served only a useful purpose. This is a personal opinion of the writer and a reference to William H. Pierson, Jr, American Buildings and Their Architects, (New York: Double day & Company, Inc., 1970), p. 159.
28. According to Sam Hamill, Lilian Rice, a graduate of the School of Architecture at Berkeley, taught Sam drafting at San Diego High School, and a few years later had Sam as a student once again at San Diego State College. Miss Rice helped persuade Sam to pursue architecture as a career, and extended her assistance when Sam attended Berkeley. Lilian and Sam worked together in the development of Rancho Santa Fe when Miss Rice finally found employment as an architect. Lucinda Liggett Eddy,” Lilian Jenette Rice: Search for a Regional Ideal, The Development of Rancho Santa Fe,” The Journal of San Diego History (Fall, 1983).
29. William Templeton Johnson, architect. Birthplace, Staten Island, New York on August 31, 1877. Johnson graduated from Columbia University in 1907; then studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, France from 1909 to 1911. Johnson designed several well known buildings in San Diego; Junípero Serra Museum, Fine Arts Gallery, San Diego Museum of Natural History, and San Diego Trust and Savings Building in which he maintained his office. Who’s Who in America, 1957-60. p. 1407.
30. The Board of Trustees for San Diego designated five acres of the City Park as a site for a high school in 1881. Since that era, the school has been enlarged to many times the original size, renamed San Diego High School, and is still located on (he south side of Balboa Park on the same five acres. Engstrand, San Diego: California’s Cornerstone, p. 55.
31. San Diego State College, now San Diego State University, changed the original name of San Diego Teachers’ College when men were enrolled in 1921, San Diego Daily Aztec, May 6, 1962, pp. 5-9.
32. The School of Architecture of the University of California at Berkeley is thought by some to be one of the finest on the West Coast. When Sam attended college, the professors at Berkeley had been indoctrinated with a solid background of classical architecture which was reflected in their traditional method of teaching, both in theory and in practical design. Sam Hamill offered this information during a personal interview on September 28, 1983, William W. Ferrier, Origion and Development of the University of California (Berkeley: Sather Gate Book Store, 1930).
33. Ecole des Beaux Arts, or School of the Beautiful Arts, is one of the most famous architectural schools of the 19th century. It is located in Paris, France, and its philosophy seeks to furnish interior utility within classical buildings using the traditional elements of domes and columns along with basic principles of composition which present an overall harmony of geometric form and artistic ornamentation. Encyclopedia of American Architecture, Vol. 19, p. 460.
34. The date of graduation from Berkeley is a matter of record, and verified by the date on the diploma which Sam Hamill has in his possession.
35. Richard Requa enjoyed a career as an architect for thirty years in San Diego. Although Mr. Requa did not have a degree in architecture per se, this man contributed much to the 20th century architecture known as Southern California style. Requa trained as an apprentice in the office of Irving Gill in San Diego. “Richard Requa, Southern California Architect”, Master’s Thesis, Mary Taschner, USD, 1982.
36. H.L. Jackson graduated from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania with a degree in structural engineering. Jackson worked for a railroad company in the midwest; then came to California when San Diego enjoyed a tremendous growth after WWI. Jackson became a partner of Richard Requa in 1920, and in 1935 continued in partnership with Sam Hamill. This biographical sketch is supplied by Sam Hamill who knew Jackson personally.
37. The Marston Company Building, constructed about 1878, became one of the largest department stores in San Diego. In the 1950’s a large addition housed the Japanese tea room designed by Sam Hamill. The building has been destroyed. Engstrand, San Diego: California’s Cornerstone, p. 48.
38. The firm of Requa and Jackson established a branch office in an area known as Rancho Santa Fe, one of the original land grants from the days of Mexican control in San Diego. This residential community is located northeast of the city of San Diego. Sam Hamill verifies that he worked at Rancho Santa Fe during this period.
39. The architecture called Southern California is a combination of indoor/outdoor living accomplished by the use of patios, decks, balconies, and a window view of interior courtyards. The exterior finish is usually stucco, and the use of arches gives a Spanish accent. Roof covering is generally of the rust colored ceramic curved tile used extensively in the Mediterranean countries of Europe. Sam Hamill offered this definition lo the writer during a lour of homes designed by the firm of Requa, Jackson and Hamill. Architect and Engineer, June, 1927.
40. Georgette Rousseau Hamill, wife of Sam, lived for a time with her sister in La Jolla where Sam first met her. Georgette had been born and raised in Mexico, and continued to have close friends among the many Mexican citizens of San Diego during the marriage. Sam Hamill offered this information during a personal interview by the writer on September 28, 1983.
41. The Great Depression of the 1930’s happened as a result of the stock market crash in 1929, and the ensuing rush to withdraw cash from banks by panic stricken depositors. When the banks closed, business virtually stopped and millions became unemployed. Burns, Peltason, Cronin, Government by the People (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1981.) pp. 568-570.
42. Ralph E. Jenny, Federal District Court Judge for the Southern District of California, practiced law in San Diego for many years. Mr. Jenny acted as Chairman of the State Relief commission, and as an active Democrat appeared to have a personal acquaintance with F.D. Roosevelt. This position enabled Jenny to obtain relief projects for San Diego including funds for the Civic Center. Jenny died in Pasadena in 1945. San Diego Union, articles dating from 1935 to 1945.
43. Louis J. Gill, nephew of Irving Gill, enjoyed a 44 year career as a distinguished architect, and worked on some of the better known structures in San Diego which include the San Diego Zoo, Scripps Hospital and Institution of Oceanography, and the Mission Hills Congregational Church. The American Institute of Architects elected him a Fellow in 1941. This biographical sketch is contributed by Douglas Kroll who recently completed a biography of Louis J. Gill.
44. The city council approved a contract for a new civic center in November of 1935. This building would house the offices of both the city and county of San Diego. The contract for the design of the new Civic Center went to the team of Requa, Johnson, Gill and Hamill. San Diego Union, November 13, 1935.
45. WPA is the combination of three letters which represent the Works Progress Administration, one of the many new governmental agencies created by (he Roosevelt administration during the Great Depression. These agencies funded government projects to relieve the mass unemployment throughout the country. David Muzzey, History of the American People, (Boston: Ginn and Company, 1938), p. 741.
46. The Roosevelt administration responded to the efforts of Ralph Jenny when he went to Washington, D.C. to confer with government officials for relief projects in California. The San Diego Chamber of Commerce commended Jenny for obtaining funds for the Civic Center. San Diego Union, November 30, 1935.
47. Ralph Jenny placed Sam Hamill in charge of the Design Office for the Civic Center. Requa and Johnson had been chosen as architectural consultants for the new exposition of 1935 which kept them busy with other matters. Gill did the administrative work, and Sam devoted his time to the Civic Center project. This information is from the transcript of a personal interview by Bob Wright for the San Diego History Center, with Sam Hamill in 1974.
48. The Nolen plan is a proposal set forth in 1908 by John Nolen, a city planner from Cambridge, Massachusetts. This proposal suggested a comprehensive and planned construction development for the city of San Diego whereby a mall would connect the Civic Center, located at the waterfront to Balboa Park. The buildings would have been of classic design presenting an architectural homogeneity and continuity to the downtown area. San Diego Union, Section F., January 8, 1983.
49. The groundbreaking ceremony took place at the Civic Center site with local dignitaries and politicians present to see the first shovel of earth turned toward the ultimate goal of the long awaited Civic Center. San Diego Sun, December 5, 1935.
50. Donal Hord, a talented and well known sculptor, has been innovative in the architectural use of sculpture in the San Diego area. Many of his works depict the Spanish-Mexican influence on the culture of Southern California. Donal Hord studied at the American Academy of the Arts in Philadelphia and the Beaux Arts School in New York. Christman, The Romance of Balboa Park, pp. 92-93.
51. Franklin Delano Roosevelt arrived in San Diego in July of 1938 to participate in the dedication of the new Civic Center. Ralph Jenny, designated by the city council, as Chairman of the Welcome Committee greeted President Roosevelt. San Diego Union, July 6, 1938.
52. The House of Hospitality houses the Cafe del Rey Moro and the Casa del Rey Moro Gardens. This building is now used for office space by several civic groups, and the restaurant with its gardens, similar to those in the Casa del Rey Moro, or home of the Moorish King of Spain, is well patronized by the public. Bruce Kamerling, “Architecture of Balboa Park,” Apollo (June, 1983), pp. 4-5.
53. Carleton M. Winslow came to San Diego in 1911 specifically to work with Bertram Goodhue, the principal architect for the 1915 Exposition. Mr. Winslow later returned to Los Angeles and Beverly Hills to continue his career. Who’s Who in America, 1944-45, Vol. 2, p. 2236.
54. The Del Mar Racetrack is another of the projects partially funded by federal monies through the WPA agency created by Roosevelt. This facility had to be completed through a loan from private funds when the government source became depleted. San Diego Union, May 1936.
55. The Mission of San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo is located in the mission valley near San Antonio, Texas. Fray Antonio Margil, one of the most courageous Franciscan pioneers, founded the mission in 1720, and dedicated it to the Marquis of San Miguel de Aguayo, the Governor of Texas. The church of San Jose is the most authentic surviving example of European Baroque architecture in America. The elaborate sculptured portal and window above are attributed to a young Spaniard, Pedro Huizar, c. 1730. W.H. Pierson, Jr., American Buildings and Their Architects (New York: Doubleday, 1970), pp. 176-185.
56. Mission Dolores is located in San Francisco; founded in 1776 by the Franciscan Padre Palou on October 9. The original site was changed, and its present location established in 1782. Jesse S. Hildrup, The Missions of California and the Old Southwest (Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Company, 1912), p. 48.
57. The San Gabriel Mission in Los Angeles is one of the best known of the California missions. Father Serra founded the mission September 8, 1771, with the assistance of two other priests. Missions of California and the Old Southwest, p. 42.
58. The reference to this mission in the area of Mexico City cannot be documented. It is possible that this mission is no longer in existence and the location and name are unknown to Sam Hamill, the architect of Del Mar Racetrack.
59. Sam Hamill is one of the founders of the San Diegans, Inc., a civic group dedicated to the revitalization and development of the downtown area of San Diego. The organization has been active since the 1960s. This information has been compiled by Rhoda Kruse, Senior Librarian for the San Diego Public Library for publication of brochure, 1980. See also the Archives of San Diegans, Inc.
60. In 1967, four people met to discuss the fate of the Food and Beverage Building, one of the four original structures remaining from the 1915 Exposition. Sam Hamill, one of the group, remarked that they would be lucky to find 100 people to participate in the plan to save this building. To the astonishment of all, 450 people appeared, and the name, The Committee of 100, became official. This civic organization has preserved the Spanish Colonial architecture in Balboa Park by having the El Prado area placed on the National Register for Historic Places, and continues to work toward the maintenance and preservation of these beautiful buildings. Christman, The Romance of Balboa Park, pp. xii-xvii.
61. Sam Hamill has donated his time to the Community Chest, Balboa Park Citizens Study Committee, San Diego Urban Renewal Committee, San Diego Symphony Orchestra Association, Museum of Man, San Diego Fine Arts Society, Boys and Girls Aid Society, San Diego Chamber of Commerce, Navy League, and Catholic Community Service.
62. AIA are initials generally recognized as representing the words, American Institute of Architects. This group of professional architects elected Sam Hamill a Fellow, or one of their group who has achieved outstanding success in his career, in 1957. San Diego Union, April 18, 1957.
63. The public ceremony took place at the County Administration Building where Sam received recognition not only for his contribution relative to this structure, but also the Del Mar Fairgrounds and his numerous school buildings. San Diego Daily Transcript, May, 1980.
64. Sam closed his office and retired in 1968 because he had suffered a slight stroke from which he recovered rapidly. Mr. Hamill lives in his Mission Hills home with his faithful little dog, Corky. The house originally belonged to Morizt Trepte and was designed by Wm. Templeton Johnson. It is interesting that Mr. Johnson is the man who offered Samuel Hamill his first job related to architecture. Mr. Hamill contributed this information during a personal interview with the writer on September 28, 1983, and the house has been identified by Walter Trepte as the family residence.
THE PHOTOGRAPHS are from the San Diego History Center’s Title Insurance and Trust Collection.
This article received the Second Prize, Kamerling Award at the San Diego Historical Society’s 1984 Institute of History.