Our Readers Write: Historical preservation; traffic solutions

The Anna Vickers house at 1419 Virginia Way in La Jolla.
The 2017 refurbishing of the Anna Vickers house at 1419 Virginia Way recently won the Jewel Award for historic rehabilitation from the La Jolla Historical Society.

Letters to the editor:

House’s restoration is not historical preservation

I was disappointed to see that another award was given to the house at 1419 Virginia Way in La Jolla for its “historic restoration” (“La Jolla Historical Society creates Jewel Awards and names first winners for preservation and rehabilitation,” La Jolla Light, June 4).

I lived in the house for nearly three decades and knew Richard Harvey, an early La Jolla painting contractor who did the original paint job on the house at 1419 and worked closely with the architect, Edgar Ullrich. Mr. Harvey said Ullrich was very particular about the tones of white for the brick areas of the house and the tones of green and yellow ocher that were used for the areas of wood trim. Mr. Harvey also stated that the architect was very particular about the shape and patterns of the offset cedar shingles, as well as the color, which was a muted shade of medium-dark red stain. This color scheme was part of the beauty and grace of the original house design, envisioned and completed by the architect.

I wish that Laura DuCharme, architect in charge of the 1419 Virginia Way restoration, had researched the original paint job and roof color as thoroughly as the Fern Glen house was researched for historical accuracy. The dull green paint on the exterior and the dark roof do not represent the original outer colors of architect Ullrich’s original design.

Please note that I wrote a letter to the La Jolla Light several years ago when the house at 1419 was up for historical designation. I objected to the outer changes that were being made at the time. Despite my objections, the house was pushed through the San Diego Historical Resources Board and received historical designation, without even mentioning Edgar Ullrich, the architect, but only a firm that he (may or may not have) worked for.

He was a well-known architect in La Jolla and designed many other private houses and buildings.

I feel that the whole “historical restoration” of 1419 Virginia Way is a sham and makes a mockery of trying to preserve some of La Jolla’s quaint beauty for future generations, if the goal is to be able to see some of the history as it really was.

Presently , the Virginia Way house reflects Laura DuCharme’s vision of what it should have looked like, not the way it really looked originally. It has been modernized to fit into today’s standards and is painted in the popular dull green that is fashionable now, with a dark roof. Also, the original footprint of the house has been changed in the back to reflect a more “modern” look. This changed the charm of the back entrance, as anyone who saw it before the changes will attest.

It is now a nice, modern-looking, updated home, but not one that fits the description that should be needed for historical designation. Do we really want our historical preservation to be accurate? Or should we who still remember some of the real history just let these things slide by?

Alice DeBolt

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Put old railway path to good use

A hundred years ago, La Jolla Village was served by a railroad from downtown San Diego. La Jolla was the terminal point where the railway looped back for the return trip to San Diego.

This loop started in front of where the San Diego contemporary art museum now stands. It went along Prospect Street, looped around Cave Street and came back along Silverado.

A map illustrates a loop in La Jolla used by the old Los Angeles & San Diego Beach Railroad.
(Courtesy of Chris Scott)

The area could become a traffic circle starting with Silverado and looping around to Prospect, per the red arrows on the accompanying map.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to make this a traffic-free zone from, say, 10 o’clock in the morning to 2 o’clock the following morning?

Provision could be made for more open-air restaurants copying the Parisian format.

One possibility would be a free shuttle around the old railway loop.

Trying to find parking is a major challenge, leading to abusing the rules of the road and, in some cases, road rage.

What is the situation going to be like in 10, 20, 30 years? If we don’t start doing something now, the cost of doing something later will be far too expensive and far too late for many businesses and residents.

Investing now could hurt. However, in 50 years, decisions made now could be appreciated as much as Balboa Park or perhaps Central Park in New York.

Added benefits could be considered, ranging from parking garages under the streets in the loop, fees on all cars and trucks that enter the area and many other possibilities.

The arguments that will be presented about the advantages of doing nothing will be loudly voiced, often by the same people who are already lobbying against almost all forms of change, in many cases for purely personal, self-benefiting reasons.

This could be an impossible challenge. However, we have an interesting example in London’s Regent Street, where there is talk of making that a walking mall rather than a slow-moving parking lot going in two directions.

Chris Scott

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Solve speeding around Marine Street Beach

Marine Street Beach is very popular with residents and tourists alike. There are no public parking lots, only street parking. Between noon and sunset on any summer day, there is increased traffic jostling for a place to park or exiting through Sea Lane, the most convenient street to reach La Jolla Boulevard.

Changing the existing traffic flow by adding more stop signs or one-way streets would not change the problem of speeding. Speed bumps are needed several blocks in each direction at Marine Street and Sea Lane. This would effectively control traffic flow going to and from Marine Street Beach and La Jolla Boulevard.

David W. Valentine

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What’s on YOUR mind?

Letters published in the La Jolla Light express views from readers about community matters. Submissions of related photos also are welcome. Letters reflect the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of the newspaper staff or publisher. Letters are subject to editing for brevity, clarity and accuracy. To share your thoughts in this public forum, email them with your name and city or neighborhood of residence to ◆