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Contact: Alana Coons
Education & Communications Director 
Save Our Heritage Organisation
(619) 297-9327 ·
SOHO to Honor Preservationists at Annual Awards Ceremony
in Historic Marston House Gardens

SAN DIEGO, CA - April 27, 2017 -  Save Our Heritage Organisation will celebrate its 35th annual People In Preservation Awards during National Preservation Month with ceremonies on May 18 at the historic Marston House formal gardens. The winners' accomplishments range from restoring downtown's iconic Horton Plaza Park and its signature Irving Gill Fountain to restoring and adapting the decrepit, long vacant Hotel Churchill for affordable housing, and restoring a rare surviving house built by the San Diego Cable Railway Company to promote growth in the 1880s.
Individuals, couples, nonprofit groups, agencies and organizations will be saluted for ten outstanding preservation projects or exceptional service in San Diego, National City, and Escondido. The awards are for architectural restoration and renovation; creative, adaptive reuse of historic buildings; time-honored craftsmanship; and disseminating preservation news and historic documents through print and electronic media.
The People In Preservation Awards, the most prestigious of their kind in this region, will be presented May 18 from 4 to 6:30pm at the Marston House formal gardens, 3525 Seventh Avenue. This festive event begins with a champagne and hors d'oeuvres reception, followed by the awards ceremony. Tickets are available in advance only and typically sell out. The cost is $55 per person ($45 for SOHO members). Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling (619) 297-9327.
In the heart of downtown San Diego, Horton Plaza Park has been restored to its original 1910 appearance, furnishings, and pedestrian access. The park's Broadway fountain, designed by architect Irving Gill, is again flowing under a restored glass dome and with its original colored light scheme washing over it at night. "This is one of the most important public-private partner restoration projects the city has ever undertaken," the SOHO committee stated. The project's removal of non-historic buildings beyond the plaza also opened views to the nearby historic Balboa Theatre. This PIP award goes to the City of San Diego, Westfield, LLC., and Civic San Diego.
Richard C. Gentry, President and CEO of the San Diego Housing Commission, is being honored for the adaptive reuse of the 1914 Hotel Churchill into affordable housing units. The committee praised the new use and meticulous restoration of ornamental medallions, the entry tile mosaic and plaster, along with a new rooftop addition. Vacant and deteriorating since 2000, this prominent downtown landmark is now home to more than 90 veterans, adults exiting the corrections system, and young people.
The owners of two historic homes are being recognized for exterior restoration and good stewardship. Kim and Richard Schwab reconstructed their Mission Hills home's porte-cochère as part of their restoration of the building's street façade. The committee applauded the couple for bringing back this "picturesque feature" and, subsequently, the home's contribution to the Mission Hills Historic District.
Charles Tiano is receiving a SOHO PIP award for rehabilitating his rare, 1880s spec house built in University Heights by the San Diego Cable Railway Company. He won praise for his work on important architectural elements of this Eastlake-style home, which was constructed during San Diego's great building boom. The house has since won local historic designation.
Donna McLoughlin is also being lauded for her sensitive renovation of her 1924 half court bungalows in Hillcrest. "The attention given to retain a historic ambiance is evident in every detail," the committee wrote. They also appreciated the seamless combination of restoration and modern conveniences as a boon to the city's heritage tourism market.
Restored "historic sentinels," a pair of gate houses at the west entrance to Balboa Park, garnered Jim Hughes and the Friends of Balboa Park a PIP award. Built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the gate houses were rescued from serious disrepair and remodeling and were restored using historic photographs and records as guides.
Like Balboa Park, St. Matthews Episcopal Church (1887) in National City is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and it is a past PIP winner. Artisan and conservationist Nicole Purvis will receive a PIP award for restoring most of the 49 stained glass windows and transoms, which have contributed "light and wonderment" to this place of worship since the early 20th century.
The Bandy Blacksmith Guild is being honored for "broad accomplishments and heritage artisan skills" as well as for ensuring that the art of blacksmithing continues in future generations. The group helped outfit the San Diego Maritime Museum's San Salvador, a mud wagon at the Escondido History Center, and, most recently for SOHO, San Diego's Centennial cannon, a rare artifact of 1870's San Diego.
Sharing the Town Crier award are editors Morgan Hurley and Ken Williams of the San Diego Community News Network for raising public awareness of the importance of historic preservation and local history. Hurley is the editor of San Diego Downtown News and Gay San Diego; Williams edits San Diego Uptown News. Together they have gathered historians, community leaders, museum professionals, artisans, and preservationists to contribute timely preservation and history news stories and features with impact.
Elizabeth Maland, San Diego's City Clerk, is being recognized for making historical documents and records dating to the 1850s available to public researchers in person or online. These archival resources are not only important to historians, "but also to younger generations of the digital age, many of whom don't even know these materials exist," the committee noted.
SOHO is grateful to our 2017 PIP sponsors, the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and William Van Dusen Millworking.
The nonprofit Save Our Heritage Organisation is the region's oldest and most effective preservation group. SOHO serves as the leading advocate and resource for threatened historic buildings and places, and operates nine museums and historic sites throughout San Diego County. For more information, visit or call (619) 297-9327.
Through education, advocacy, and stewardship SOHO's mission is to preserve, promote,
and support preservation of the architectural, cultural and historical links and landmarks
that contribute to the community identity, depth, and character of our region.

Save Our Heritage Organisation · 2476 San Diego Avenue · San Diego CA 92110