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Exploring the history, neighborhood charm of South Park and Golden Hill

By Marsha Smelkinson

It started 17 years ago as a small block party with exhibit booths on Beech Street in what was known then as part of Golden Hill. Today, the Old House Fair is a signature event for South Park, where a neighborhood has built its identity around the historic charm of its streets lined with early 20th-century homes.

After years of neglect and many owners, this two-story craftsman home, built in 1914, has been lovingly restored. Following the Craftsman style of the early 1900s, the features are symmetrical, with Douglas fir built-ins and sweeping views of the hills to the east. The home is perched on a hill, giving the entrance, as one ascends the flight of stairs, a majestic feeling. (Photo by Andy McRory)

After years of neglect and many owners, this two-story craftsman home, built in 1914, has been lovingly restored. Following the Craftsman style of the early 1900s, the features are symmetrical, with Douglas fir built-ins and sweeping views of the hills to the east. The home is perched on a hill, giving the entrance, as one ascends the flight of stairs, a majestic feeling. (Photo by Andy McRory)

On Saturday, June 20, a few thousand visitors will take part in Old House Fair activities, which still center around the intersection of 30th and Beech streets, one of the central crossroads of South Park. There they can buy tour tickets, visit exhibitors and artisans, enjoy music and dance performances by local residents, and partake in festive food highlighted by the Buona Forchetta Pizza Party.

The festival is mostly a free event, but the more extensive tours require tickets. Everyone will receive a free booklet with maps and historical information, and Urban Safaris will offer a guided walking tour of the neighborhood at 2 p.m.

Historic Home Tour ticket-holders can board a free shuttle bus that circulates around the five homes in South Park and Golden Hill. Three of the homes are within easy walking distance of the fair, and two are located about eight blocks away. Each home will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with docent guides providing highlight info in key rooms. Tickets are $25 per person, available online (theoldhousefair.com) or at the fair on June 20.

The Centennial Trolley Tours offer one-hour rides with narration, guiding riders to historic sites and iconic homes in South Park and Golden Hill. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids, and are available at the ticket booth at 30th and Beech.

This 1926 California bungalow, with Spanish Revival influence, emphasizes a horizontal link between the house and the land around it. This romantic, simplified version of the Spanish Revival or Spanish Colonial California bungalow evolved to fill the needs of the working-class budget. A great contrast to the turn of the century ornate Victorian style, in the 1920s and 1930s neighborhoods were dotted with these single-story stucco homes inspired by the launching of the 1915 San Diego California Exposition. (Photo by Andy McRory)

This 1926 California bungalow, with Spanish Revival influence, emphasizes a horizontal link between the house and the land around it. This romantic, simplified version of the Spanish Revival or Spanish Colonial California bungalow evolved to fill the needs of the working-class budget. A great contrast to the turn of the century ornate Victorian style, in the 1920s and 1930s neighborhoods were dotted with these single-story stucco homes inspired by the launching of the 1915 San Diego California Exposition. (Photo by Andy McRory)

There will also be a free shuttle between the Old House Fair and Golden Hill Park, site of the Golden Hill Centennial Expo Festival that opens at 11 a.m. Old House Fair visitors receive a $5 photo booth voucher to use at Golden Hill Park on June 20.

Marsha Smelkinson and Maureen Ceccarelli are co-directors of the Old House Fair, which is produced by the South Park Business Group (which also organizes the quarterly Walkabouts in the neighborhood). Proceeds from the event are used to support maintenance, beautification and improvements in the area.

More information on the Old House Fair is available online or by phone at 619-233-6679.

Food at the Fair

  • Beech Street Pizza Party by Buona Forchetta
  • Food booths featuring Mr. Joey’s Tacos, Olivia’s Ghanian Kitchen, and Ledesma’s Sweet Corn and Fresh Lemonade.
  • VivaPops
  • Eclipse Chocolate
  • Specials at South Park eateries, including Buona Forchetta, Grant’s Marketplace, The Station, and South Park Brewing Company

Live entertainment

  • 10 a.m. — Frances Bloom Band
  • 12:30 p.m. — Marcia Forman Band
  • 2 p.m. — Paloma Aragon Arte Flamenco
  • 3 p.m. — Marcia Forman Band
Built in 1929, this multi-family residence dubbed El Tovar is believed to have been designed by Richard Requa. This building and Requa’s stately home on C Street are highlights of this year’s Historic Home Tour. Two apartments will be open. A faux tower, showing the Mission influence, dominates the property. Old world elements, such as planked, heavy wood doors, ornate iron railings, low, pitched red tile roof, Moorish arches and low stucco courtyard walls, combine together to create this charming and unique building that stands true to its original design. (Photo by Andy McRory)

Built in 1929, this multi-family residence dubbed El Tovar is believed to have been designed by Richard Requa. This building and Requa’s stately home on C Street are highlights of this year’s Historic Home Tour. Two apartments will be open. A faux tower, showing the Mission influence, dominates the property. Old world elements, such as planked, heavy wood doors, ornate iron railings, low, pitched red tile roof, Moorish arches and low stucco courtyard walls, combine together to create this charming and unique building that stands true to its original design. (Photo by Andy McRory)

Artists & Vintage Row

  • Vintage furniture, home accessories, jewelry, apparel and antiques
  • Artists Row featuring handcrafted goods and fine art by local San Diego artists

Exhibit booths

  • Booths line 30th Street from Cedar to Beech to Ash, open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., for local companies offering services and information about restoration, renovation, home repair and improvements
  • “Ask The Experts” booth by SOHO San Diego (Save Our Heritage Organisation)
  • Official South Park souvenir T-shirts, free maps, other services at the Information Booth
  • Ticket booth is at 30th and Beech. Purchase tickets for Historic Home Tour and Centennial Trolley Tours. Will call for online purchasers opens at 9:30 a.m.
  • Sponsors booths include Atlas Footing Services, Filtercon Technologies, Dunn-Edwards Paints and Home Restoration and Remodeling Services of San Diego

Artists

  • Augusta Dezines of Sweet Flag Studio
  • Books by Paige
  • Cathy Bennett Jewelry and Arts
  • Fresh Baked Paper Goods
  • Grey Theory Mill
  • Jori Owens Fine Art
  • Kara Church
  • Mariana Acevedo
  • Noble Carriage
  • Primrose Plumm
  • Renetta Happe Works on Paper
  • Sylvia Mejia Ceramics
  • Thread & Arrow
  • Two Hermanas
  • Val Carson Fine Art
  • We Love Citrus
  • Wind Dancer Creations
This 1913 non-traditional Craftsman is very similar, in façade and floor plan layout, to another home on the Old House Fair Tour, but has some interesting differences. On approaching this home one notices the off-center, second-story door, leading to a rooftop mystery. Was the balcony never completed? The interior wood paneling and built-ins maintain the craftsman symmetry; however, the fireplace returns to the asymmetrical style. (Photo by Andy McRory)

This 1913 non-traditional Craftsman is very similar, in façade and floor plan layout, to another home on the Old House Fair Tour, but has some interesting differences. On approaching this home one notices the off-center, second-story door, leading to a rooftop mystery. Was the balcony never completed? The interior wood paneling and built-ins maintain the craftsman symmetry; however, the fireplace returns to the asymmetrical style. (Photo by Andy McRory)

Exhibitors

  • Affordable Window Coverings
  • All Around Construction
  • Alpine Windowerks
  • Artifacts & Artichokes
  • Atlas Footing Repair, Inc.
  • Atlas Hardwood Flooring
  • Authentic Fireplaces
  • Bath Fitter
  • Bling Fling
  • California Coast Builders
  • Carini Heating & Air Conditioning
  • Cheetah Conservation Fund
  • Chris Ward for City Council
  • City of SD Water Conservation
  • Craftsman Wood Refinishing
  • DIY with Pro Help
  • Eclipse Chocolate
  • Farm Fresh To You
  • Filtercon Technologies
  • Gledhill’s Vintage Furniture
  • Home Restoration & Remodeling of San Diego
  • IS Architecture
  • Jean Rivaldi, Community Realty Co.
  • Legacy 106, Inc. – Ronald May
  • Mooch Exterior Designs
  • Mortise and Tenon
  • Natures Elements Landscaping
  • North Park Farmers Market
  • North Park Historical Society
  • Nouveau Designs
  • Premium Roof Services
  • Professional Roofing Services
  • R+M Vintage Corner at Studio Maureen
  • Raymond Shaw Landscape Design
  • Roberts Electric Service
  • Rockabilly Mafia Dolls of SD
  • Rydberg Bros.
  • Seifert Design
  • SOHO San Diego & Geranium George
  • South Park Doctor
  • South Park Wellness Providers
  • Sure Safe EFS
  • Thrasher Termite and Pest Control
  • Todd Gloria, San Diego City Council
  • Toni G. Atkins, Speaker of the Assembly
  • Top Flooring
  • Truline Painting
  • William Van Dusen Millworking 

Transportation 

  • Home Tour Shuttle sponsored by Ed Landsberg, Scott & Quinn Real Estate. Provides free transportation between the historic homes on tour. Available only for ticket-holders. Maps and home addresses provided in ticket materials. Must show Historic Home Tour ticket to board this shuttle or enter any of the homes.
  • Free shuttle service between Old House Fair and Golden Hill Park. Board at Ash Street and 30th.
  • Centennial Trolley Tours. Tickets $10 ($5 for children 16 and younger) must be purchased at ticket booth. Board at 30th Street and Cedar.
  • From I-94, exit on 30th Street and go north to South Park. Old House Fair festivities are on 30th Street between Ash and Cedar, and on Beech Street between Dale and Fern. Street parking available.

SponsorsScreen Shot 2015-06-05 at 9.02.59 AM

  • Buona Forchetta
  • Home Restoration & Remodeling of San Diego
  • South Park Business Group, Inc.
  • Ed Landsberg, Realtor
  • Historical 30th & Fern
  • Station Tavern & Burgers
  • Whistle Stop Bar
  • Hamilton’s Tavern
  • South Park Brewing Co.
  • Golden Hill Property Management
  • Andrea Frank, Ascent Real Estate
  • Atlas Footing Repair
  • Dunn-Edwards Paints
  • Filtercon Technologies

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