Irving Gill-designed home in La Jolla torn down

An Irving Gill-designed home named Windemere at 1328 Virginia Way in La Jolla considered historic by many in the community that did not pass muster with the City of San Diego Historical Resources Board was torn down Dec. 23.

In 2009, the new owner of the 1328 Virginia Way home, an 1890s all-wood Redwood beach cottage, hired Ron May of Legacy 106 to research its historicity. Once the residence of a best-selling author and alleged to be the oldest occupied residence in La Jolla, the city of San Diego failed to concur. On Aug. 11, city staff denied the application for historic designation of Windemere.

The Historical Resources Board’s main reason for rejecting the well-preserved Windemere was “due to a lack of integrity.”

But some atttribute the decision of the homeowner who originally applied for historical designation to sell the house, rather than restore it, for its ultimate demise.

Created in 1895, Windemere was one of several cottages built by Gill along Prospect on the cliffs overlooking the Cove. It was inhabited for a time by British-native Beatrice Harraden, a writer and suffragist. Subsequent owners of the home moved it a few blocks east to Virginia Way.

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Posted by Dave Schwab on Dec 23, 2011. Filed under Featured Story, La Jolla, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

10 Comments for “Irving Gill-designed home in La Jolla torn down”

  1. James

    On the plus side it didn't end up like the Red Roof and Red Rest inns.

  2. Resta Dastory

    It was a bloody eyesore…glad to see it go and finally the CITY od SAN DIEGO does something RIGHT!

  3. Sad. We lost a little gem here. Seems like a bureaucratic travesty that this house was not designated historical. An unfortunate turn of fate for a structure that had a lot of charm. It certainly had charmed me.

  4. Dayle

    THAT pile of junk was supposed to be historic? Everyday I drive by it waiting for it to fall in on itself and these folks want to put THAT box on a pedestal? Sounds like the City actually got this one right!

  5. Rastramus

    Happy New Year LJHS!

  6. John

    That Little house had character and soul and it will be missed, unlike the new breed of wealthy La Jollans who'd rather construct huge concrete/ stucco monstrosities. The owner should have helped restore it, instead he cut the arbor and the overhanging part of the oriental roof off so it wouldn't pass as authentic or historical anymore. By the way Those two houses by the cove are The Red Roost and the Red Rest. Show some respect and stop defacing our town. RIP Windemere

  7. Rob

    How that unfettered capitalism working out for ya?

  8. joe

    the fact that the widemere cottage was torn down is a tragedy. it embodied the soul of what makes la jolla special…at least what is left of it. whoever played any part in the demolishion should be ashamed of themselves.

  9. Rita

    classic San Diego turn of events: let's just let our history rot and become an "eyesore," then citizens will cheer when we tear it down. so glad to be getting out of here. you people are crazy.

  10. jayne mobley dunn

    I will tell a little story about Windemere Cottage, for you kind people who care, and those who don't. (You can leave.) First I could have come from La Jolla 'housing' wealth, but my father purchased a modest house in Kensington SD (a beautiful historic craftsman bungalow built in 1913) for $15,000 in 1953, instead of a $20,000 house in La Jolla. It was closer to his job and better built. Fast forward to 1980. I met the love of my life. I was a public school teacher. He was a physical therapist. No money for La Jolla. But a kindly family who owned other La Jolla properties owned tiny Windemere which was designated in those days as historical. There was one big catch. No improvements could be made to the property. Not their rule. California and the city's rule. We could live there for $400 a month. And we did. We were married in the backyard on Sunday March 16, 1980. The house was beautiful then with pink jasmine vines trailing across the front. Leaded glass windows crisscrossed the bottom and the top story. A snooty neighbor called the police at 4:00 in the afternoon on our wedding day because she could hear the acoustic guitar from our band playing. The police came, they laughed, wished us well and as they left said sweetly 'oh yeah..uh keep it down'. Weekend after weekend on sunny spring and summer days, we would look across the street and see people set up with their paint boxes, painting Windemere. There's to your eyesore you more ignorant posters. 1986 brought our beautiful son. 1988 our first daughter. My husband finished a teaching degree. I was a full-time mom. We felt it was important. We had our last daughter in 1989. That was the year one of our 'neighbors' told me she wished the house would burn down. With 3 little ones it was time to move and we did. Windemere had kept us safe. We didn't know if La Jolla could. My husband and I have been married 32 years. The people who owned Windemere are gone. But to whomever builds on that land…there are ghosts. I've seen them. That's a story for another time. And place.

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