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by Elisabeth Walton Potter

Wallace Kay Huntington, A.S.L.A., distinguished landscape architect and past president of the regional chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians (S.A.H.), died at home in Portland on February 3, 2015, at the age of eighty-eight.  He was born in Salem, Oregon, on May 15, 1926, the son of Hollis Huntington and the former Marjorie Kay.  His maternal forebears were founders of Salem’s most enduring enterprise in woolen manufacturing, the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill Company.  His great grandfather, Thomas Lister Kay, a native Yorkshireman, was a leading figure in Oregon’s pioneer woolen industry.  Huntington is survived by his sisters, Shirley and Crystal Huntington of Venice, Florida, and Portland, Oregon, respectively.  His late wife, one-time S.A.H. board of directors member Mirza Dickel, was remembered in online “Chapter News & Notices” following her death in December, 2012.

Mirza Dickel and Wallace K. Huntington were honored for their roles as officers and advisers of long standing with a Marion Dean Ross Chapter Service Award, which they accepted at the annual conference in Portland in 2009.  Photo by Elisabeth Walton Potter.

Mirza Dickel and Wallace Kay Huntington accepted the Marion Dean Ross Chapter Distinguished Service Award for their roles as past officers and advisers of long standing during the annual conference in Portland in 2009. Photo by Elisabeth Walton Potter.

After serving in the United States Navy 1944-1946, Huntington attended Willamette University for a year and, in 1947, transferred to the University of Oregon School of Architecture and Allied Arts.  He graduated in 1952 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture with concentrations in the History of Art and Landscape Architecture.  Like many who followed him as students of art history at the School, Huntington was inspired by the lectures of Marion Ross, a Pennsylvania State and Harvard University-educated architectural historian recruited to the faculty in the same year Huntington arrived on the campus.  The two became life-long friends.  Professor Ross encouraged his former student’s active participation in the Society of Architectural Historians.

Upon graduation, Huntington lived in San Francisco and traveled extensively in Europe before returning to Oregon.  He spent some time in his hometown with the Doerfler Nursery before settling in Portland, where he joined William Roth as principal in Huntington & Roth, Landscape Architects and Planners, in 1958.  Some twenty years later, with Craig Kiest, he formed the firm of Huntington & Kiest, in which he remained active for the rest of his life.

For a number of years, while maintaining independent practice between partnerships, Huntington lectured at Portland State University, wrote a column for the Northwest Magazine of the Portland Oregonian in 1984-1985, and commenced consulting on many of the important early historic preservation projects of the region.   He was a professional affiliate of the American Institute of Architects and member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, for which organization he chaired the Oregon chapter’s Historic Preservation Committee 1975-1976.  He was sought after as a member of advisory bodies for the Portland Art Museum, Portland Beautification Association, University of Oregon Museum of Art, and the Oregon Historical Society.  In 1970, Huntington was appointed by Governor Tom McCall to the first State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation created as a professionally-credentialed review panel under provisions of the federal-aid program authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.  Huntington was reappointed to the state review panel and served a second three-year term ending in 1976.  Thereafter, he was tapped for the Capitol Planning Commission’s Technical Advisory Board.  He served as an Oregon advisor for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Well-known to regional researchers are Huntington’s essays on Victorian architecture and historic parks and gardens of Oregon in the two-volume work, Space, Style and Structure:  Building in Northwest America, edited by Thomas Vaughan and Virginia Ferriday (Portland:  Oregon Historical Society, 1974).  With Allen Denison, he co-authored Victorian Architecture of Port Townsend, Washington (Seattle:  Hancock House, 1978).

In the period 1972 to 1974, Huntington was presiding officer of the Society of Architectural Historians regional jurisdiction then known as the Northern Pacific Coast Chapter.  Before its reorganization in the 1990s, the chapter counted members in the San Francisco Bay Area and northern California as well as Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and British Columbia.  Over the years, he presented papers ranging from Victorian gardens and bedding out to John Yeon, the influential, innovative modernist, as landscape designer.  In Eugene, during the fiftieth anniversary meeting of the chapter in 2004, Huntington gave the keynote address on the legacy of his late friend and mentor, chapter founder Marion Dean Ross, for whom the chapter had been renamed in 1995.  Ross also had been among the founders of the Society, which was organized at Harvard in 1940.

Wallace Kay Huntington at his restored home, the William Case House in the vicinity of Champoeg. Ron Cooper Photo, Statesman Journal, Salem, Oregon, April 25, 1990.

Wallace Kay Huntington at his restored home, the William Case House in the vicinity of Champoeg. Ron Cooper Photo, Statesman Journal, Salem, Oregon, April 25, 1990.

In 1977, Huntington acquired the 1859 farmhouse built by William Case in Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley.  With its peripteral colonnade, the building was a sizeable, superbly-crafted  and original interpretation of Greek Revival architecture.  The restoration which ensued, with chapter members Charles Gilman Davis as architect and Mirza Dickel as interior architect together with master carpenter Lyle Warren, was recognized in 1979 with a preservation award from the Oregon Chapter, American Institute of Architects.

Case farm became home base for Huntington and Dickel upon their marriage.  To historic trees and shrubbery remaining from the historic period were added hardy native plant materials and varied ornamental specimens.  Perfecting the outdoor garden spaces which provided a setting for the house became Huntington’s long-term pastime, which he prized equally with his frequent travels abroad with Mirza.  In 1988, the duo hosted a memorable dinner and open house at Case Farm for members of the Society’s United States Domestic Study Tour in the Willamette Valley.  Subsequent visiting colleagues, Grant Hildebrand and Miriam Sutermeister, were inspired to embark on a thorough-going documentation of the historic farmhouse which they published in 2007, assigning copyright to the S.A.H. regional chapter under the title A Greek Temple in French Prairie:  The William Case House, French Prairie, Oregon 1858 -’59.

As designer or master-planning consultant, Huntington had a hand in restoration projects at such prominent historic sites and house museums as the William Keil House at Aurora; Thomas Kay Historical Park, Asahel Bush House, and Dr. Luke Port House (“Deepwood”) in Salem; Pittock Mansion, Portland; Bybee-Howell House, Sauvie Island; and, in Washington state, Sam Hill’s Maryhill Museum, Goldendale, and Officers’ Row, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.  He consulted on revisions to the gardens of “Elk Rock,” the historic Peter Kerr estate in Portland which was adapted as the Bishop’s Close for the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon.  Huntington admired the intimate compartmented gardens of Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver which influenced the kind of elegant urban residential landscapes in which he specialized.  The principals of the pioneer woman-owned landscape architectural firm founded in Salem in 1929 were his personal friends.  They had encouraged his early practice.  In 1980, Huntington was asked to update the garden which Lord & Schryver designed for the Portland Garden Club in 1955.  Noteworthy among his honors was the Ruth McBride Powers Award for Lifetime Achievement in Historic Preservation conferred by the Historic Preservation League of Oregon (now Restore Oregon) during the Governor’s Conference on Historic Preservation in 1996.

The Bosque, The Oregon Garden, Silverton, 2009.

The Bosque, The Oregon Garden, Silverton, 2009.

Huntington joined with the Oregon Association of Nurserymen and other professionals to plan The Oregon Garden, a botanical garden on the southern outskirts of Silverton that would become the showplace and educational and research center for the Willamette Valley’s burgeoning horticultural industry.  The master plan was completed in 1996 and the following year ground was broken for development envisioned to encompass 240 acres ultimately.  The Bosque, a tree-shaded central plaza around which a variety of specialty gardens was organized, was Huntington’s particular contribution.  The brick parterre centerpiece contained reflecting ponds and a Pacific Sunset Maple centered in each of forty raised planter boxes.  As the trees matured, the space became the hospitable resting place for visitors and venue for outdoor gatherings.  The Bosque was dedicated on September 10, 2000, during an on-site gala in tribute to Huntington, who was recognized on that occasion for excellence in his field of design as well as his part in laying the foundation for the preservation movement in Oregon.

 

Sources:

Obituary, Statesman Journal, Salem, Oregon, Feb. 15, 2015.  Available online by clicking here.
Jim Jordan, “Bulldozing,” Daily Journal of Commerce, Portland, Oregon, Oct. 21, 1981.
Ron Cowan, “Salem landmarks lost:  Historian gives talk Thursday,” Statesman Journal, Salem, Oregon, April 25, 1990.  Photograph by Ron Cooper.

The Architecture and Legacy of Pietro Belluschi; A conversation with Anthony Belluschi and Judith Sheine

Wednesday, February 18, 5:30 p.m. Reception to follow

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMA) Lecture Hall, Eugene, OR

On April 15, Sheine and Anthony Belluschi will be joined by Randy Gragg, executive director of the Yeon Center in Portland, for a panel discussion at Central Lutheran Church, 1857 Potter Street in Eugene, beginning at 5:30 p.m. These conversations are free and open to the public. Portland-based architect Pietro Belluschi was one of the leading proponents of Modernist architecture in the Pacific Northwest. Join his son, architect Anthony Belluschi, and Judith Sheine, head of the Department of Architecture at the University of Oregon, for an evening of conversation about Belluschi and his legacy. The discussions are being held in conjunction with the JSMA exhibition The Architecture and Legacy of Pietro Belluschi, which was designed by Anthony Belluschi and his wife, Marti Mull Belluschi. The exhibition features models built by UO students of several Belluschi buildings in Oregon. The exhibit will run from February 7 through April 26. It is based on a similar show that premiered at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland in 2012.

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome Amanda Clark as our new vice president!  This is exciting because 1) the post has been vacant for about a year, and 2) Amanda will be a great addition to our team!  Here is an excerpt from her ‘position statement’: “Amanda C. Roth Clark, the daughter of professor and architectural historian Leland M. Roth, grew up hearing about architecture at her father’s knee as he read books to her about Frank Lloyd Wright.”  Clark has a BA degree from the University of Oregon, with a minor in architecture, and an MA from U of O with a thesis that focused on French Neoclassical architecture.  She also holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Alabama in Communications and Library Science, and is now the Director of the Library at Whitworth University in Spokane, WA.  Amanda co-authored the third edition of Understanding Architecture with her father, and is presently collaborating with him to produce an updated edition of American Architecture.  We met Amanda and her husband Tony Clark at the annual meeting in Seattle.  If you didn’t get a chance to meet her then, please welcome her next time we get together!

Members touring the Wing Luke Museum during our 2014 conference in Seattle.  Amanda Clark can be found at the head of the table.  Photo by B. Niederer

Members touring the Wing Luke Museum during our 2014 conference in Seattle. Amanda Clark can be found at the head of the table. Photo by Bernadette Niederer.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to introduce the rest of the board and provide an update on what they’ve been doing (and for the basics see our website: http://www.sahmdr.org/).

  • Bernadette Niederer is our faithful Secretary, a duty she performs with great value-added verve and wit.  She is also our blog editor, so the person to contact if you’ve got something to post.  She is a graduate of the University of Oregon Historic Preservation program and is an associate at Historic Preservation Northwest in Albany.  She and Dave Pinyerd are at present writing a National Register nomination for the Andrew Jackson Masters house, an 1853 residence that is being restored.
  • Mimi Sheridan is our Treasurer and also served as our conference lead for the 60th anniversary conference in Seattle last year.  Not only did she organize an outstanding conference, by all accounts, she arranged for excellent weather.  Most recently Mimi, principal of the Sheridan Consulting Group, has been conducting a survey of 1250 properties in the Montlake area of Seattle.
Tudor Revival House in Montlake neighborhood, photo by Mimi Sheridan

Tudor Revival House in Montlake neighborhood, photo by Mimi Sheridan

  • Our Regional Delegate for Canada is Harold Kalman, from Vancouver, BC.  Hal is retired from consulting but continues to focus on part-time teaching (in Hong Kong) and writing.  In 2012 he published Exploring Vancouver.  More information can be found at http://www.haroldkalman.ca/
  • Our Regional Delegate for Idaho is Phillip Mead.  Phil is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Architecture Program at the University of Idaho.  He is a past president of SAH MDR and has for the last several years done an excellent job of coordinating our conference’s paper sessions.  Phil is currently working with U of I colleagues to document historical buildings in Idaho for the Society of Architectural Historians on-line database of historic properties Archipedia.
  • Our Regional Delegate for Oregon is immediate past president Edward Teague.  Ed is the head of the Architecture and Allied Arts Library at the University of Oregon, a position he has held since 2001.  He holds degrees in Art History and Library Science.
  • Our Regional Delegate for Washington in Philip Gruen.  Phil is Interim Director of the School of Design and Construction at Washington State University and has recently published Manifest DestinationsHe is the lead for the Washington State Archipedia Project.
Weyerhauser HQ

The Weyerhauser Headquarters in Federal Way will be featured in Washington’s Archipedia. Photo courtesy the Seattle Times.

  •  Our Membership Coordinator and Website Manager is David Pinyerd.  Dave, another graduate of the University of Oregon Historic Preservation Program, is a founder of Historic Preservation Northwest in Albany.  Dave fulfills his duties, in part, by keeping us organized with humor and grace.
  • Lastly, I am National Register Coordinator with the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office.  A lingering project from my consulting life is a 300-property survey of Sonoma Valley, for the Sonoma League for Historic Preservation and Sonoma County Landmarks Commission.  A recent activity is presenting a paper on Regional Modernism on the West Coast at the Society of Architectural Historians Australia/New Zealand conference last summer.

We look forward to seeing you in Ashland next fall!  Although it will be hard to top Seattle, we’ll do our best to bring you another great conference!

Seattle Skyline from the Space Needle to Smith Tower.  Photo by B. P. Niederer.

Seattle Skyline from the Space Needle to Smith Tower. Photo by B. P. Niederer.

A selection of photos from our 2014 Annual Meeting & Conference in Seattle is up and running on our Flickr page!  If you’ve got pictures you’d like to add, send them to info@sahmdr.org, and we’ll post them with all due credit given!  We had a great time in Seattle and a more detailed report will follow soon.  In the meantime, many thanks and kudos to the organizing committee, presenters, tour guides, venues, and weather gods!

 

Ready for Seattle?

It’s not too late to sign up for our 2014 Annual Meeting and Conference in Seattle this coming weekend.  You can still register at the door (cash or checks only please)!  For details on the schedule, click here or go to our website at www.sahmdr.org.

To whet your appetite for our Seattle Conference,  check out the Cultural Landscape Foundations features on Richard Haag.  The offerings there include an article, Reflections of Richard Haag, Teacher and Advocate, written by Thaisa Way who will be presenting a paper on the same subject at our Conference.  There is also a collection of videos of Richard Haag reflecting on his life and work as well as reflections by friends and collegaues.  As part of the conference, we’ll be visiting the Bloedel Reserve, with includes some of Richard Haag’s work.

If you’re still in the market for a Seattle guide book, we highly recommend the new edition of Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects by Jeffrey Karl Ochsner.  Professor Ochsner will also be presenting a paper on the emergence of Northwest Regional Modernism during our Saturday paper sessions.

If you’re still in the Seattle area during the weekend following our Conference, you may want to check out the Docomomo WEWA tour of Little Finn Hill, a modern livable community in Kirkland with houses designed by Paul Hayden Kirk.

Photo by Helen Hald.

Photo by Helen Hald.

To put it in their words:

Tour five Paul Kirk-designed houses!
Hey Modernistas!

Docomomo WEWA invites you to join us for Docomomo US Tour Day 2014!

The Little Finn Hill neighborhood in Kirkland, Washington is home to a collection of modest, mid-century modern residences designed by revered Northwest architect Paul Hayden Kirk and built for developer Richard G. Robinson in 1954-1955. Docomomo WEWA invites you to explore this community of livable homes that was once prominently featured in Life and Sunset magazines in the 1950s. One of the houses on the tour was featured in Pacific NW Magazine in 2012.

Five houses on the same street (NE 113th Place in Kirkland) will be open to view. They are variations of the same plan but each house is different enough that you’ll see how the architect’s creative use of details and siting gave each home a different feel.  With this event, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Paul Hayden Kirk’s birthday in 2014. We thank the homeowners for graciously opening up their residences and helping us plan this event.

If you find yourself in other cities on Tour Day, we encourage you to attend one of the other great tours. Learn more about Docomomo US Tour Day 2014.

Little Finn Hill Tour Details:
TICKETS: Please purchase tickets online through Brown Paper Tickets. The cost of tickets for the general public is $15 ($16.52 with service fee) each. For Docomomo US members, tickets are $10 ($11.34 with service fee) each. Tickets may also be available at the door the day of the event ($15 for all).
If you are not a Docomomo US member, we encourage you to join today. If you join, you may purchase tickets for this event and future Docomomo WEWA events at the discounted member price. Membership in Docomomo US means you also become a member of the Docomomo WEWA chapter.
WHEN: Saturday, October 11, 2014. The tour is an open house format from 1:00 to 4:00 pm but please arrive by 2:30 pm to check in so you have time see all five houses. The tour is self-guided. You’ll receive a tour booklet at check in.
WHERE: Please check in at the house at 10429 NE 113th Place, Kirkland, 98033. On-street parking available. Please do not park in or block driveways.
OTHER INFO: For each house you’ll be asked to either remove your shoes or wear shoe covers (provided). Exterior and interior photography permitted for personal use only. Please respect each property and do not open doors, cabinets, and drawers or go into any rooms that are not open to view. Backpacks and strollers are not permitted inside the homes. Small children must be with an adult at all times. Bathrooms in the homes will not be available for use.

This event is supported in part by a 4Culture Preservation Sustained Support grant. Thank you 4Culture!

I hope to see you all this weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fort Point, built before the Civil War, at the Golden Gate.  Photo: National Park Service.

Fort Point, built before the Civil War, at the Golden Gate. Photo: National Park Service.

Our sister chapter, the Northern California Chapter of the SAH (NCCSAH), will be featuring historic seacoast fortifications as the focus of their fall tour.  From their August Newsletter:  Saturday, September 27, NCCSAH will be doing an all-day tour of the fortifications in the Presidio and the Marin Headlands that once protected San Francisco Bay. Golden Gate National Parks historian Steve Haller will lead the tour.  The cost for non-members is $70 and includes a one-year membership.  For a copy of the NCCSAH August Newsletter which includes a tour registration form, click here.

Spaceneedle at night.  Photo by Dave Pinyerd.

Space Needle at night. Photo by Dave Pinyerd.

In San Francisco in 1954, Elliot A. P. Evans called the organizing meeting of the Pacific Section of the Society of Architectural Historians to order.  Over the years the group would sort itself into three different branches, including Southern and Northern California Chapters as well as the Marion Dean Ross (Pacific Northwest) Chapter. Therefore, 2014 marks our 60th Anniversary and close to our 60th annual conference (there appears to have been a few rare “lapses in chapter activity” according to Elisabeth Walton Potter’s history, Scholars and Sightseers).  To celebrate this milestone, the SAH MDR Board and Conference Committee have organized a meeting in Seattle, Washington with three days of eclectic activity and scholarship.  Slated for October 3-5, the overall theme of the event is Museums: Building Collections, Building Community.

We based our theme on the recent explosion of museums devoted to history operating in historic buildings in Seattle and will therefore offer behind the scenes tours of the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), the Wing Luke Museum, the Klondike Gold Rush Museum and the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum.  Our paper sessions have been expanded from our usual six presentations to nine, due to the excellent quality of submissions.  There will be an opening presentation by Michael Sullivan of Artifacts Consulting on Puget Sound’s Maritime Heritage delivered on board the 1922 Virginia V (docked, for those of you prone to sea sickness) and a keynote by Anthony Belluschi on preserving and sharing the legacy of his father, architect Pietro Belluschi.  Those of you yearning for some landscape after all of Seattle’s hardscapes will enjoy an outing to the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island.

We look forward to seeing you all in October!

The full program including a registration form is available here or at our website www.sahmdr.org.  Online registration with a credit card is available through Eventbrite.

 

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