The heyday of Spanish revival architecture in San Jose, with its striking red tile roofs, arched windows and ornate entrances, can be traced back a century – to the Panama-California exhibition in San Diego and to the partnership of home designers Frank Delos Wolfe and Santa Clara architect William Ernest Higgins.
And if you don’t believe that, just ask Krista Van Laanwho literally wrote the book on the subject of “Wolfe & Higgins: Master Architects of Spanish Revival”. The partnership began in 1917 and survived Wolfe’s death in 1926 when his son, Carl Wolfebecame Higgins’ partner until 1931.
“In just 14 years, the company produced more than 500 buildings, almost all of which are in San Jose,” said Van Laan. “Up until 1922 the company was known locally as a point of contact for this style, and from then on they worked almost exclusively in the Spanish Revival style.”
Eight houses and buildings illustrating the style will be on display on August 26 for the Presentation Action Council’s fundraising home tour. Tickets for the self-guided tour are available for $ 35 upfront and $ 40 on the day of the tour at www.WolfeandHigginsTour .com.
Van Laan had previously written about Frank Wolfe, a prolific architect from San Jose who was responsible for more than 1,200 structures during his 34-year career. She was drawn to Spanish Revival homes for the same reason most people are: They are beautiful.
“The style includes arches, graceful lines, and exterior decorations such as terracotta and concrete relief sculptures, and decorative tiles,” she said. “I kept discovering that many of my favorite San Jose homes and buildings are from Wolfe & Higgins. I felt like I had to do the book.”
The houses on the tour are located in the greater Rosengarten area and Naglee Park. You have likely passed a few and failed to realize their parentage. One of the houses on the tour is a 1928 mansion in the Alameda that was once owned by the ambulance operator and the San Jose Power Broker Charlie Bigley (It is now, ironically perhaps, in the possession of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment). Another was built as a Packard showroom in 1929 and restored in 2009 to serve as the headquarters for Biggs Cardosa Associates.
But not all houses were built as villas. Two of the stops in Willow Glen are in smaller houses that still have their signature look. “Wolfe & Higgins worked for the most famous people in San Jose, but they also designed smaller homes for the many residential parks that were developed in San Jose in the 1920s,” said Van Laan. “This was a type of design that appealed to everyone and was considered the architectural style of California.”
ALL CORRECT MOVEMENTS: Last year’s CityDance San Jose series in Plaza de Cesar Chavez was such a hit that the city is bringing the groovin back for another season.
If you didn’t get the dance fever last year, here’s the rundown: Each weekly event starts with professional teachers offering a 30-minute group dance lesson for a particular popular style, and then you’re alone in the evening for the rest of the time. There is also a beer garden and a food truck for refreshment.
The series begins August 24th with Salsa, followed by Country Two-Step (August 31st); Hip-hop (September 7th); Bollywood (September 14th); Disco (September 21); East Coast Swing (September 28); Merengue and Bachata (October 5th); and Zydeco (October 12). The floor opens at 5:30 p.m. with lessons at 6:00 p.m. and is free.
I know not funky chicken right? Maybe next year.
PORTABLE REMINDER: San Joses Director of Economic Development Kim Walesh and Rosalynn HugheyThe city’s provisional planning director briefed an enthusiastic audience on the city’s economic progress at an SVO breakfast Thursday at the Silicon Valley Capital Club.
Rosalynn Hughey, Interim Planning Director of San Jose, left, and Kim Walesh, Director of Economic Development of San Jose, presented SVO CEO Matt Mahood with a “San Jose” -T- at breakfast at the Silicon Valley Capital Club on August 17, 2017 Shirt (Photo by Mayra Flores De Marcotte / Silicon Valley Organization)
They covered all the basics – from upcoming housing projects to potentially groundbreaking developments around Diridon Station – but they were most cheered when they received a t-shirt that said “San Jose” Matt Mahood, CEO of the group of companies that last year changed its name from the San Jose / Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce to the Silicon Valley organization.
“We know you changed your name, but we wanted to remind you,” said Walesh with a smile.
CHEERING SECTION: The Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps ended its 50th anniversary season by winning a silver medal at the Drum Corps International World Class Final in Indianapolis last weekend among 40 drum corps. The 300-strong Vanguard Alumni Corps, organized to celebrate the milestone season, also made the trip, performing for the crowd after the semifinals on Friday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Applause goes to more than 100 volunteers who were pulled together by We are Mayfair last Saturday to upgrade the Cesar Chavez Elementary School campus in the East San Jose neighborhood. With the support of Microsoft, Intel, the Alum Rock Union School District and the Vice Mayor Magdalena CarrascoIn the office the group took out the brushes and rollers to add some color to the campus. What a great back to school gift for the returning students.