Historic landscapes are ephemeral in nature and often lost through redevelopment or simply forgotten through neglect. In this online lecture, Nancy Carol Carter, Eleanor Cox and Stacy Farr will tell us about a grotto in San Diego and a plant nursery site in San Francisco and the fate of these two historically significant sites.
University Mound Nursery, San Francisco
The Portola neighborhood of San Francisco, California was once home to a dense network of commercial greenhouses that supplied the Bay Area and much of the West Coast with roses, carnations, and all manner of cut flowers. The families who established and ran these greenhouses--mostly first-generation Italian immigrants--participated in an interethnic coalition of growers in the establishment of the San Francisco Flower Terminal (now called the Flower Mart), an establishment whose historic significance has been recognized by the California Register of Historical Resources. As the floricultural industry changed, so did the Portola neighborhood, and only one of these historic greenhouses remains. Eleanor Cox and Stacy Farr will discuss the development of greenhouse design and the University Mound Nursery in San Francisco, addressing both its fascinating history and its imperiled future.
Balboa Park Golden Hill Fountain Grotto
San Diego's outsized urban park attributes much of its development to cooperative public-private ventures. Balboa Park's oldest built decorative feature is an early example. In 1908 a neighborhood improvement group gained permission to build a fountain grotto in the park. Three prominent San Diegans were involved in creating the charming stone Arts & Crafts structure and surrounding it with attractive landscaping. With the end of active maintenance in the 1930s a long period of neglect and vandalism set in. Following an "endangered" warning by a San Diego preservation group in 2009, the structure was stabilized and cleaned up. Yet, the fountain grotto faces an uncertain future because no specific plan of preservation or renovation has been developed and its historic importance is not widely understood.
About our Speakers:
Eleanor Cox works as consultant in San Francisco. She holds a master’s degree in Historic Preservation and has more than nine years’ experience in historic preservation planning and cultural resource management. Eleanor specializes in cultural landscape identification and evaluation and honed her experience working for the National Park Service and The Cultural Landscape Foundation in Washington DC.
Stacy Farr is an architectural historian and cultural resources planner in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara in the History of Art and Architecture, and an M.S. from the University of California, Berkeley in the History of Architecture and Urbanism. As an independent scholar she has completed research on a broad array of topics, including tourist hotels of the Southwest, Victorian-era seaside resorts in New England, boarding houses, bars, and psychiatric hospitals.
Nancy Carol Carter researches and writes in the areas of horticultural and landscape history, with special interest in Kate O. Sessions and the history of Balboa Park. Currently working on a study of landscape architect Paul G. Thiene, her past work has appeared in Journal of San Diego History, Pacific Horticulture, VIEW (LALH), Eden and California Garden. She holds master’s degrees in History and Library Science and a Juris Doctorate. In the 2020 HALS challenge for “Vanishing or Lost Landscapes,” she submitted a HALS short-form for the Balboa Park Golden Hill Fountain Grotto.