Archive for the ‘Conferences’ Category

As always, our Conference will include the Annual Meeting of the SAH/MDR. Below are the minutes from our 2015 Meeting in Ashland for review. Our Executive Board Members (President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary) serve two year terms. Odd years are election years; therefore, a proposed slate of officers for 2017-2019 is included below the minutes.

Marion Dean Ross/Pacific Northwest Chapter – Society of Architectural Historians
Annual General Meeting, 10/24/2015 – Ashland, Oregon – Pioneer Hall

The October 24, 2015, Annual General Meeting of the Marion Dean Ross/Pacific Northwest Chapter, Society of Architectural Historians, was called to order in Pioneer Hall, Ashland, Oregon, by President Diana Painter at 12:30 p.m.  The meeting was convened in conjunction with a three-day conference embracing the home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and other venues in the Rogue River Valley under the organizing theme of “Artifice and Authenticity in Architecture:  To Play or Not to Play.”  Attending were approximately forty conference registrants and presenters, chapter officers and board members.

Approval of Minutes of the 2014 Annual General Meeting in Seattle, Washington
The motion to approve minutes of the 2014 Annual General Meeting as recorded by Secretary Bernadette Niederer was made by Kenneth Guzowski, seconded by William J. Hawkins, and passed unanimously.

Report on Membership and Communications
Mimi Sheridan presented status reports submitted by Dave Pinyerd and Bernadette Niederer, coordinator of membership and editor of the chapter blog, respectively.  Chapter membership enrollment presently stands at 95 and represents an increase of ten since last year’s report.  Mimi noted that all registrants for the 2015 Conference will be credited for one year of membership in 2016.  Announcements concerning the annual conference are emailed to as many as 300 individuals and institutions.  Subscribers to the chapter blog number 37, but, the subscriber roster does not reflect the number of people who see the blog on an occasional basis.  “News & Notices” is a lively and colorfully-illustrated record of chapter affairs, publications, and passages – an online newsletter in effect, which rates broader viewership.

Treasurer’s Report
Treasurer Mimi Sheridan reported the status of the chapter treasury before 2015 conference expenditures as $11,683.  Of that amount, $7,800 falls within the category of unrestricted funds which may be used for conference expenses, awards, and so on.  The chapter’s vigorous awards program is the major budget category.   In addition to the discretionary Potter Research Award from unrestricted funds, the treasury currently holds $3,883 in restricted, or dedicated, funds for awards.  Dedicated funds for educational promotion include the Marion Dean Ross Fund ($2,000), Architects’ Participation Fund ($1,000), the Student Participation Fund ($380) the Educational Projects Fund ($300), and the Wendell Lovett Fund ($504).

Report on Awards
President Diana Painter reported that the governing board had recently awarded the 2015 Potter Research Award to Christina Grey, a University of Toronto Master’s degree graduate presently enrolled as a PhD candidate in architecture at UCLA. The travel stipend in the amount of $500 will be used by the candidate to further her study of Arthur C. Erickson (1924- 2009) and the architect-client relationship in the context of designing the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver.

Report of the Nominating Committee
Ed Teague, chair of the Nominating Committee which included Bernadette Niederer and Hal Kalman, opened his report with plaudits for appointees David Pinyerd and Bernadette Niederer, who serve so well as Membership Coordinator and Chapter Blog Editor, respectively, and are willing to continue fulfilling those roles.
On the subject of the chapter archives, Ed announced that, in his capacity as Digital Archivist for the University of Oregon Libraries, he had recently been able to give the chapter’s Scholars’ Bank a presence on the Internet.  The shortcut URL is http://tinyurl.com/sahmdr-archives.  The 50th anniversary commemorative piece prepared by Elisabeth Potter, “Scholars and Sightseers:  The Society of Architectural Historians in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest 1954-2004” is now added to the online resource.

The committee presented the following slate of officers for the ensuing term of two years:

President: Diana Painter
Vice President: Amanda Clark
Secretary: Bernadette Niederer
Treasurer: Mimi Sheridan

Regional Delegates (appointed):

Liz Carter, Eugene, Oregon
Phil Gruen, Pullman, Washington
Phillip Mead, Moscow, Idaho
Hal Kalman, Vancouver, British Columbia

No nominations were offered from the floor.  Kenneth Guzowski moved for adoption of the committee’s slate in its entirety.  The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.

Annual Conference Venues for 2016 and 2017
Phil Gruen led the discussion of prospective locations for the chapter’s annual conference.  Martin Segger extended an invitation to the chapter to gather in Victoria, B.C. in 2017, when Canada will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation and Wentworth Villa, a new conference facility, will be opened in Victoria.  He said he would be willing to work with the organizing committee on arrangements for the conference.  The gracious proposal was met with universal favor.

Suggestions for 2016 included Bellingham, Walla Walla, and Pullman in Washington; Baker City and LaGrande in Oregon; Moscow and Sun Valley (Ketchum) in Idaho; and Homer, Alaska. Considerable discussion of Baker City was prompted by Susan Boyle, and it was suggested by Bill Hawkins that a key contact for local arrangements would be the former National Trust for Historic Preservation regional representative who restored the city’s prominent 1889 Geiser Grand Hotel.  The varied suggestions were accepted for consideration by the governing board.

The meeting was adjourned shortly before 1:00 p.m. with closing formalities necessarily cut short in the interest of adhering to the schedule.  Nevertheless, conferees individually expressed whole-hearted appreciation to the Conference Committee for organizing outstanding papers sessions, enlisting engaging local presenters, and providing rewarding tours and well-chosen venues at varied locations in southern Oregon’s Rogue River Valley.

Elisabeth Walton Potter
Recording Secretary pro tem
October 27, 2015


Report of the Nominating Committee & Slate of Proposed Officers for 2017-2019

In accordance with the bylaws of the Marion Dean Ross Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians, a slate of board nominees shall be presented to the membership 30 days in advance of the biennial election.  Elisabeth Potter and Ed Teague led the nominating committee this year and have submitted the following slate for the forthcoming annual meeting to be held in Victoria on June 17, 2017.  Nominations from the floor may be entertained as a matter of protocol.

Executive Officers:
President: Diana J. Painter
Vice president: Amanda C.R. Clark
Secretary: Kathryn Burk-Hise
Treasurer: Mimi Sheridan

Regional Delegates Recommended for Appointment to the Board
British Columbia: Harold Kalman
Washington: J. Philip Gruen
Idaho: Phillip G. Mead
Oregon: To be determined

Special Appointments
Website Communications Manager and Digital Archivist: Edward H. Teague
Chapter Blog Manager: Amanda C.R. Clark
Assistant Blog Manager: Kathryn Burk-Hise

Recommended Committees
Scholarly Papers Coordination
Research and Travel Awards Coordination
New Member Recruitment



Read Full Post »

Wentworth Villa (1863), site of the Conference’s Paper Sessions on June 17.

The Marion Dean Ross Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historian’s 2017 conference program has been completed!  The program and registration information are available here.  Note that in the program all the underlined references in blue are weblinks.  You can click them for further details.  To register online with Eventbrite click here.

This year’s conference will be in Victoria, BC.  Inspired by a variety of anniversary celebrations being held in Canada, the conference theme is “Commemorations.”  The conference will begin with a walking tour on Friday, June 16, and end with a boat tour on Sunday, June 18.  In between will be a reception, more touring, a banquet, and of course, paper presentations.  All is described in the conference program.

The key dates are as follows:

May 30, 2017 – Registration deadline without a late fee
June 10, 2017 – Deadline for off-site registration
June 16-18, 2017 – Conference in Victoria

Updates and further information can be found on the SAH MDR website at:


Read Full Post »

Pueblo archaeological site at Bandelier National Monument

Pueblo archaeological site at Bandelier National Monument. Photo by Diana Painter.

by SAH/MDR President Diana Painter

Commemorations! Anniversaries! Celebrations!  The theme of this year’s SAH/MDR conference is commemorations.  I had the good fortune last summer to attend a celebratory symposium of the 100-year anniversary of the US National Park Service and the 50-year anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act in Santa Fe, NM entitled, “A Century of Design in the Parks.”  I joined like-minded National Park Service employees, State Parks employees, consultants and academics to discuss and debate the future of our professional practices and the future of our parks, with a particular focus on preserving the built environment.  It was a privilege to contemplate questions of conservation of natural resources and preservation of the built environment in our amazing parks resources with these colleagues.  In three intense days, two tracks of investigations were explored, the enormous contribution of the Civilian Conservation Corps to our parks, and legacy of the National Park Service’s Mission 66 program.  Overarching themes were also explored, such as “Assessing Climate Vulnerability in Cultural Landscapes of the Pacific Northwest” (Robert Melnick and Noah Kerr, University of Oregon) and “Landscape Processes and Cultural Resources” (Laurie Matthews, MIG, Portland).

The NPS Region III Headquarters in Santa Fe is the largest Adobe office building in the U.S. Built in 1937-39 by the CCC.

The NPS Region III Headquarters in Santa Fe is the largest Adobe office building in the U.S. Built in 1937-39 by the CCC. Photo by Diana Painter.

I look forward to similarly rich discussions at our conference in Victoria, June 16-18, 2017, at the newly restored, 1863 Wentworth Villa.  We will help our fellow Canadians celebrate their 150-Celebration and – I anticipate – also explore our common concerns with preserving our architectural and landscape history through research, documentation and – celebration! Victoria offers a rich environment in which to explore these topics, with its layered cultural history and beautiful buildings and parks, all in a spectacular natural setting. Please consider joining us in Victoria.

Friendly reminder – Abstracts are due March 15th for conference papers.  Please remember that travel scholarships and free memberships are available to students whose papers are accepted for the conference.  Visit our website for more information and the Call for Papers: http://sahmdr.org/conference.html

Read Full Post »

The Construction History Society of America is holding a 2017 meeting in Seattle.  The event, which will be hosted by the UW’s Departments of Construction Management, Architecture, and the College of Built Environments will focus on “Construction History on the Frontier,” and will take place from July 20-22.  The keynote speakers are slated to be:  Jeffrey Ochsner (University of Washington), Mike Lombardi (The Boeing Company), Knute Berger (Crosscut) and Jon Magnusson (MKA Magnusson Klemencic Associates).

For more on CHSA and details of the Seattle meeting as they develop, go to http://www.constructionhistorysociety.org/.

Read Full Post »

“Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future.”   —  Elie Wiesel

JUNE 16 – 18, 2017

Abstracts or proposals for papers or work-in-progress reports are solicited for the 2017 annual meeting of the Marion Dean Ross/Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians.  The meeting this year will be held June 16-18, 2017, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.  This year’s theme is “Commemorations.”

canada150According to the National Park Service, a commemorative property is important not for association with the event or person it memorializes, but for the significance it has acquired after its creation through age, tradition, or symbolic value.  Please join us in Victoria, B.C., June 16-18, 2017, to celebrate commemorations, especially the Canada 150 celebrations (1867-2017), the 100th anniversary of the US National Park System (2016), the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act (2016), and the Parks Canada’s Centennial (2011).  We will also be recognizing Victoria’s Centennial (1962) by reflecting on the on-going significance of Victoria’s 1965 Centennial Square.  Topics germane to the theme will be encouraged, but those covering any aspect of the built environment of the Pacific Northwest or beyond will be welcome.  Abstracts will be blind peer-reviewed by the SAHMDR Review Committee.

Membership in the SAHMDR is not required for abstract submission, although those chosen for presentation will be asked to contribute chapter dues for the current year.  Graduate students and advanced undergraduates in fields related to the built environment are particularly welcome.

Centennial Square, Victoria, B.C., 1965

Centennial Square, Victoria, B.C., 1965

 Submission Guidelines: The abstract should be no more than 300 words and should fit onto a single-sided page.  A single separate page should include the author’s name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address with a brief, 100-200 word paragraph biography or one-page curriculum vitae.  Indicate in your abstract whether you intend to deliver a twenty-minute paper or a ten-minute work-in-progress report.  Ideally, submissions should be analytical or critical in nature, rather than descriptive, and aim to make an original contribution.  Electronic submission of proposals is preferred.

Abstracts are due on or before March 15, 2017, and authors of papers chosen for presentation will be notified by April 15, 2017.  Completed manuscripts of accepted papers must be submitted in full to conference organizers by June 1, 2017.  Authors shall retain copyright, but will agree that the paper can be deposited for scholarly use in the chapter archive in the Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries.

Email submissions as a Word attachment with the subject heading SAHMDR 2017 on or before March 15, 2017, to Amanda Clark at sahmdr2017@gmail.com.  If you are unable to send your submission electronically, please send it via regular mail to:

Amanda C. R. Clark, MLIS, Ph.D.
Director of the Library & Assistant Professor in Art
Whitworth University
300 W. Hawthorne Road
Spokane, WA 99251

Read Full Post »

Parliament Buildings, Photo copyright Michael Foort.

Parliament Buildings, photo copyright Michael Foort.

In preparation for the Marion Dean Ross/Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians conference in 2017, we have reserved a block of rooms at the Union Club of British Columbia.  The conference will be held in Victoria, June 16-18, 2017.  The discounted block of rooms is limited, so we wanted to get the news out early to help you with your summer planning.

The Union Club will also serve as the site of our Saturday banquet.  It is a great place to immerse oneself in historic Victoria!  A PDF with more information on the special room rates is available here or at the SAH/MDR website at http://www.sahmdr.org/conference.html.

For more on the Union Club visit their website at http://www.unionclub.com/About-The-Club.aspx

The conference theme and program are coming together and more details will be available soon!

We’re looking forward to seeing everyone in Victoria!

Read Full Post »

The Construction History Society of America (CHSA) will meet in Austin, Texas, from May 26-28, 2016.  Twelve sessions covering a wide range of topics, from Colonial Latin America to Plastic Composite Construction, will be augmented by four tours covering Austin and its environs.

The overall theme of the meeting is:  Knowledge Exchange and Building Technology Transfer.  From the CHSA website:

“The History of Construction has evolved by experimentation, refinement, and by the transference of knowledge across different cultures and continents. The cross pollination of ideas, methods of construction, and even styles is characteristic of the development of the architectural discipline. In the Americas these encounters of cultures and modes of operation have created a rich scenario in which buildings emerge as result of the cultural exchange, insertion of new social orders, industrialization, and adoption of new technologies. As cities change and mature the exchange and influences have become an intrinsic part of this ongoing evolution (and revolution) that impacts the built environment and its methods of materialization.

This conference seeks to establish a discussion within the frame of the knowledge exchange and building technology transfer. We seek for research work that depicts the spectrum of scenarios, building solutions, industry, and cultural transformations that are the result of those exchanges and transferences. The discussions aim to  reflect on the assimilations, education, and transformation processes necessary when importing or exporting building technology reflecting on the particular solutions that emerged from the process itself.”

Tyler Sprague in action, presenting The Rise of the Exterior Bearing Wall, or "Tube" Skyscraper: An Alternative Perspective from Seattle. Photo by B. Niederer.

Tyler Sprague in action, presenting The Rise of the Exterior Bearing Wall, or “Tube” Skyscraper: An Alternative Perspective from Seattle. Photo by B. Niederer.

The CHSA is part of the larger International Congress on Construction History (ICCH), which meets every three years.  Last year, for the first time, the Congress ventured to the United States to meet in Chicago in June 2015.  At the Congress, more that 300 attendees represented at least 25 different nationalities.  Over the course of the five day conference there were 52 paper sessions, each featuring three to five papers (in published form, that’s around 1800 pages).  With such a proliferation of papers, it was natural that most attendees were also presenters.  In addition to paper sessions, there were also daily keynotes, social hours, and a full day of tours in and around Chicago.  The MDR Chapter of the SAH was well represented among the presenters, mainly due to Tyler Sprague (University of Washington), who presented not one, but two papers during the Congress.  Tyler Sprague will also present as part of the the upcoming Austin conference.

The question of, “What is construction history and why should we study it?” was raised multiple times.  Based on the Congress’ content, construction history is a happy combination of historical narrative and technical analysis.  That said, architectural and structural engineers who happen to like history appeared to be the dominant form of attendee.  As to the “why,” to quote Brian Bowen, the Chair Emeritus of CHSA:

“We use history not to predict the future—a common misunderstanding—but to prepare for it and to learn how things change and, more particularly, what causes change.  Knowledge of this kind is especially helpful now, as the American construction industry goes through a period of significant transformation. However, we also study history for other purposes that are important for our self-esteem: to ensure that great deeds are not forgotten and to instill a sense of pride in the industry to which we belong. This endeavor is important today as we struggle to attract people to build their careers with us.” (“Does Construction History Matter?,” Engineering News-Record, 5/11/2015)

Though these points can easily be translated to the Society of Architectural Historians, construction history shifts the focus away from the architect and toward everyone else.  As James Campbell (University of Cambridge)  pointed out during his keynote “Bricks, Books, Cathedrals, and Libraries,” about Christopher Wren’s library for Trinity College, it is likely that Wren only visited the library twice during his lifetime, and never after its completion.  So by calling it “Wren’s Library” a vast number of contributors are omitted, from clients to craftsmen to couriers and beyond.  So how did this shift away from architects express itself during 5ICCH?

The Willis (Sears) Tower, SOM, 1973. Photo by: B. Niederer.

The Willis (Sears) Tower, SOM, 1973. Photo by: B. Niederer.

Sessions tended to group papers into overall themes.  In some cases, presenters focused on very small elements.  For example, during a session on “Equipment and Elevation,” Ilaria Giannetti (University of Rome) looked at the far-reaching impact of tubular scaffolding, or more precisely, a “clamping bolt with a T-shaped head and a hinge,” patented by Ferdinando Innocenti in 1934.  The resultant scaffolding system was much used in cast-in-place concrete construction in Italy, including bridges of the Autostrada del Sole and Pier Luigi Nervi’s Palasport domes.  A much larger scale was addressed in the “Skyscrapers” session, which included an analysis of the 1969-1974 construction of Willis (Sears) Tower by John Zils; Skidmore, Owings, Merrill (SOM) Associate Partner Emeritus.  The structure’s modular “bundled tube” design employed by its structural engineer Fazlur Khan combined with extensive off-site prefabrication and streamlined personnel management (around 2400 people worked on the site each day) resulted in a building that was particularly efficient in terms of resources used, time, and costs.  The tale of the Sears Tower’s efficient progress, around two stories per week, contrasted with the tale of another building discussed during a keynote lecture:  “Frank Lloyd Wright and the Mile High Tower,” presented by William F. Baker, Structural and Civil Engineering Partner at SOM.  The primary difference between the Sears Tower and Wright’s Mile High Tower (also known as “The Illinois”) is of course that one is very real while the other remains hypothetical.  Could Wright, known for his “ground scraping” residential projects such as Chicago’s Robie House,” design a viable skyscraper in 1956?  Though conceptual drawings for the Mile High Tower rather resemble the half-mile tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai (for which the presenter served as the structural engineer), Wright’s foundation system, the “taproot” he employed at the Johnson Wax Research Tower (1950) would be ineffective in a mile high cantilever.  All structural issues aside, it is on the logistical end that Wright’s design would have fallen apart.  Contrast the construction progress of the two story per week Sears Tower with the five story per year Johnson Wax Tower.  The 18 million square foot interior would also present a commercial real estate nightmare.  In contrast, the Sears Tower’s 108 stories contain nearly 4.5 million square feet.  Sears initially intended to occupy 26 levels of the structure, leasing out the remainder, but eventually intended to occupy the ENTIRE structure.  That never quite happened and thus the Sears Tower became the Willis Tower, whose current largest tenant (United Airlines) occupies 20 floors.

Architectural Models at the Chicago offices of SOM. Photo by B. Niederer.

Architectural Models at the Chicago offices of SOM. Photo by B. Niederer.

SOM not only provided presenters to the Congress, but also hosted an evening reception at their Chicago offices.  Located in the Railway Exchange Building (Burnham & Root, 1904), the firm spreads the roughly 300 employees of the Chicago office over three floors arranged around a central atrium.  A large reception area, located on a lower level, is dominated by oversize renderings and models of the firms projects throughout the world.  Another large reception during the Congress was held at the Ballroom at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (formerly the Illinois Athletic Club; Barnett, Hayes, and Barnett, 1908).  Titled “We Built Chicago,” the event was sponsored by the Builders Association of Chicago and featured representatives from four construction firms talking about their history.  The companies were family businesses, one founded as early as 1856.  There was a certain jealousy of this west coaster for the continuous construction history and expertise represented on stage.

While the conference’s content skewed highly technical, occasionally resulting in rather overheated grey matter on my part, I can highly recommend attending a meeting of the Construction History Society, whether it be the upcoming Austin gathering or the next international meeting in Brussels in 2018.

For more on CHSA, go to http://www.constructionhistorysociety.org/.












Read Full Post »



 By Diana Painter, Chapter President

Chautauqua Park in downtown Ashland pays homage to the Oregon Shakespeare Festivals beginnings as a Chautauqua venue. Photo: D. Painter

Chautauqua Park in downtown Ashland pays homage to the Oregon
Shakespeare Festivals beginnings as a Chautauqua venue. Photo: D. Painter

Vice President Amanda Clark and host Judson Parson at Hillcrest Orchard . Photo: D. Painter

Vice President Amanda Clark and host Judson Parson at Hillcrest Orchard. Photo: D. Painter

The 2015 MDR SAH conference was held in Ashland, Oregon, with side trips to Medford, Jacksonville and the Oregon Caves. Friday afternoon began with a tour of Hillcrest Orchard, which is one of the oldest continuously owned family orchards in the Rogue River Valley. Our host Judson Parson, whose family has owned and operated the orchard since 1908, led a tour of the National Register-listed house, barns and outbuildings, all of which were designed by venerable Rogue River Valley architect Frank C. Clark. Hillcrest Orchard is known for its fine quality fruit and produce, quality maintained today under the guidance of the grandchildren of Reginald and Maude Bemis Parks (The Parsons family donated the historic Parsons Garden Park on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle).

The evening’s festivities began at Elements Tapas Bar in downtown Medford, with a rousing talk by historian George Kramer on the history of downtown Medford and Medford’s Downtown Historic District. Kramer has worked on the restoration of several buildings in downtown Medford, including the Palm building, where the reception and talk was held. The Palm Building was built as two separate buildings and then unified by architect Frank C. Clark in 1916.

Dr. Phil Long welcomes SAH MDR to Ashland. Photo: D. Painter

Dr. Phil Long welcomes SAH MDR to Ashland. Photo: D. Painter

The theme of the 2015 conference was “Artifice and Authenticity in Architecture! To Play or Not to Play?” in honor of our host city of Ashland, home of the 81-year-old Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Paper sessions began Saturday morning at Pioneer Hall, a 1921 building in Ashland’s historic Lithia Park. We were welcomed to Ashland by Dr. Phil Long, Board President of the Southern Oregon Historical Society.

In addition to honoring our host city of Ashland, the conference theme was meant to focus attention on heritage tourism and questions of authenticity. Many of the papers and presentations addressed this theme, both directly and indirectly. Papers began with a presentation by Amy Crain, historian with the California Office of Historic Preservation. Her paper, “Synagogue Architecture as Metaphor: Standing Out or Blending In,” discussed synagogue architecture on the west coast and the variety of styles and building forms expressed in synagogue architecture. Her presentation was followed by a paper by Julianne Parse Sandlin, an instructor in the Art Department at Portland Community College. Sandlin’s paper, “The Ca’ d’Zan: Whimsical Play or Serious Business?” reflected on time she had spent researching the Venetian Gothic mansion developed by John Ringling and his wife Mabel in Sarasota, Florida. The 1926 mansion, now open to the public, was designed by New York architect Dwight James Baum. Our third paper, entitled “Authenticity and Artifice in Alvar Aalto’s Mount Angel Library,” focused on this architectural landmark in Oregon, one of three buildings designed by Aalto in the United States. It was presented by long time SAH MDR member and contributor Henry Matthews. Matthews is Professor Emeritus in architectural history from Washington State University.

The late morning session kicked off with a fascinating discussion by Noah Guadagni, a recent graduate from the Master of Landscape Architecture program at the University of Oregon. His research, presented in the paper, “Ten Principles of Pacific Northwest Landscape Architecture: How Authenticity is the New Regional Commodity,” attempts to define those principles that can be found in landscapes that successfully convey a sense of local identity and culture. His paper can be found in our chapter archives at the UO Library (see links below). It was followed by the discussion of another landscape which is attempting to recover its roots, “The Weippe Prairie” by Robert Franklin, formerly with Spokane Falls Community College and now an archivist and historian at Washington State University. Next was a presentation on the Molalla Log House by retired historic preservationist Pam Hayden and historic building contractor Gregg Olson. In conjunction with their work to restore of this early log cabin, possibly Oregon’s oldest structure, they are attempting to authenticate its origins with early Russian settlers in Oregon.

Liz Carter, 2013 recipient of Elisabeth Walton Potter Research Grant. Photo: D. Painter

Liz Carter, 2013 recipient of Elisabeth Walton Potter Research Grant. Photo: D. Painter

Liz Carter, now our regional representative from Oregon, followed up on her 2013 Elisabeth Walton Potter Research Grant with a presentation entitled, “Mid-Nineteenth Century Dwelling of Oregon Black Pioneers: A Brief Historical Context.” In conjunction with this research, Carter, an independent architectural historian, nominated the Hannah and Eliza Gorman House in Corvallis to the National Register of Historic Places. The Gormans were African American slaves who arrived in Oregon via the Oregon Trail, gained their freedom, and built a home and business in Corvallis, Oregon at a time when African Americans were not allowed to own property in Oregon.

This was followed by an update and call for participants for the Society of Architectural Historians Archipedia project by Washington regional representative Phil Gruen. Gruen, who is Washington State University associate professor and director of the School of Design and Construction, undertook this effort with Robert Franklin. This challenging project will place 100 of the most significant buildings and structures from every state in an online encyclopedia that is free and available to the public. Gruen and Franklin were the recipients of a 2014 Elizabeth Walton Potter Research Award for this project.

As is our usual practice, lunch was combined with the Annual General Meeting. Liz Carter was welcomed as the new regional representative from Oregon, replacing former SAH MDR president Ed Teague. One of the topics of discussion at the meeting was the location of next year’s meeting. Baker City, Oregon and Sun Valley, Idaho were discussed enthusiastically. Former SAH MDR president Martin Segger invited the membership to have their annual meeting in Victoria in 2017. More on that later.

Archivist Debra Griffith speaking on the history of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival . Photo: D. Painter

Archivist Debra Griffith speaking on the history of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival . Photo: D. Painter

Lunch was followed by a presentation by Debra Griffith, archivist for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, on the history of the festival and early festival buildings. Chock full of historic photos of buildings and people, this presentation offered a glimpse into the festival’s modest beginnings and many early challenges.

Our next venue was downtown Ashland and the Downtown Historic District, for a walking tour led by Terry Skibby, an Ashland native and member of the Ashland Historic Commission. Skibby has been leading walking tours of Ashland for many years, and has an amazing collection of historic photographs of the town.

Members Susan Boyle and Henry Matthews sample Lithia Springs water at the fountain in downtown Ashland. Photo: D. Painter

Members Susan Boyle and Henry Matthews sample Lithia Springs water at the fountain in downtown Ashland. Photo: D. Painter

Our annual banquet began with refreshments at Ashland’s four-story Elks Lodge, which has a beautifully situated top floor sun room overlooking the hills northeast of Ashland. Our keynote speaker was Jeff LaLande, a 45-year resident of the Rogue River Valley and author, archaeologist and historian who is retired from the Forest Service. LaLande’s entertaining talk about Ashland also touched on our theme of authenticity and introduced us to the term, “Tudorized.”

Tour leaders Dirk Siedlecki and Scott Clay chat between showers at the Jacksonville Cemetery. Photo: D. Painter

Tour leaders Dirk Siedlecki and Scott Clay chat between showers at the Jacksonville Cemetery. Photo: D. Painter

Sunday began with a tour of the historic Jacksonville Cemetery by Dirk Siedlecki, president of the Friends of the Jacksonville Cemetery. The Jacksonville Cemetery is one of the oldest and largest in the state of Oregon, with its first burial occurring in 1859. The cemetery is the final resting place for over 5,600 residents of the Rogue Valley and continues in use to this day.

This was followed by a walking tour of downtown Jacksonville by Scott Clay, Rogue River Valley native and former consultant and historic preservation planner for the City of Jacksonville. Jacksonville owes its impressive and intact architecture to the fact that gold was discovered in the area in 1851, but the town was ultimately bypassed by the railroad. The outstanding historic integrity of Jacksonville’s downtown was recognized in the 1960s, and it was designated a National Register Landmark District in 1966, the same year as the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act. The tour culminated at Jacksonville’s impressive Jackson County Courthouse, which is undergoing a restoration.

The height of fall color in downtown Jacksonville. Photo: D. Painter

The height of fall color in downtown Jacksonville. Photo: D. Painter

Enjoying beers and bratwurst at the Schoolhaus Brewhaus. Photo: D. Painter

Enjoying beers and bratwurst at the Schoolhaus Brewhaus. Photo: D. Painter

The morning was capped off with lunch at the Schoolhaus Brewhaus on the Bigham Knoll campus in Jacksonville.  The Schoolhaus, known historically as the Jacksonville School House, is a historic school whose ground floor is occupied by the German restaurant, brew pub and beer garden. The 1907 building was designed by Medford architect John McIntosh. After lunch, those who participated in the post-conference event headed west toward Cave Junction for an evening event at the Chateau at the Oregon Caves.

The evening at the Chateau at the Oregon Caves began with a “backstage tour” of the Chateau’s renovation, led by Sue Densmore, Executive Director of the Friends of the Oregon Caves and Chateau. The Oregon Caves and Chateau is a National Historic Landmark. The Chateau sits amidst several rustic buildings and a 1938 Civilian Conservation Corps-built landscape, all of which is part of a National Register of Historic Places District. The Oregon Caves is additionally a National Monument, established by President Howard Taft in 1909. The tour was followed by a banquet for about ten of the SAH MDR members and another half dozen board members of the Friends of the Oregon Caves, which allowed us to learn more about the National Park Service-led renovation of the building. The visit culminated in a tour of the Oregon Caves on Sunday morning.

So ends another year of scholarship and fellowship at the 61st annual meeting of the Marion Dean Ross/Pacific Northwest Chapter Society of Architectural Historians meeting. Stay tuned for news of a Victoria meeting in 2017!

The west wing of the Oregon Caves Chateau. Photo: D. Painter

The west wing of the Oregon Caves Chateau. Photo: D. Painter



LINKS (in order of appearance in meeting)

Peterson, Joe, “Chautauqua in Oregon,” Oregon Encyclopedia, http://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/chautauqua_in_oregon/#.VuWVNH0rJD8

Hillcrest Orchard, http://hillcrestorchard.com/

Medford Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission, “Medford Oregon History,” http://www.ci.medford.or.us/SectionIndex.asp?SectionID=576

“History of the Ca D‘Zan,” The Ringling, https://www.ringling.org/history-ca-dzan

Guadagni, Noah, “10 Principles of Pacific Northwest Landscape Architecture: How Authenticity Is the New Regional Commodity,” https://scholarsbank.uoregon.edu/xmlui/handle/1794/19417

Hayden, Pam, “Wanted: Site and Purpose for Oregon’s Oldest Log House,” Restore Oregon, http://restoreoregon.org/oregons-oldest-log-house/

Carter, Liz, “Gorman, Hannah and Eliza, House National Register nomination, Oregon Historic Sites Database,” http://heritagedata.prd.state.or.us/historic/index.cfm?do=main.loadFile&load=NR_Noms/15000045.pdf

Society of Architectural Historians, “Classic Buildings,” SAH Archipedia, http://sah-archipedia.org/

“Our History,” Oregon Shakespeare Festival, https://www.osfashland.org/about/our-history.aspx

“Historic Commission,” City of Ashland, http://www.ashland.or.us/CCBIndex.asp?CCBID=195

The Friends of Jacksonville’s Historic Cemetery, http://www.friendsjvillecemetery.org/

“The historic small-town that never gets old,” Jacksonville, Oregon, http://jacksonvilleoregon.com/

“Welcome to Bigham Knoll in historic Jacksonville, Oregon,” http://bighamknoll.com/

Friends of the Oregon Caves and Chateau, http://friendsocac.org/

Read Full Post »

Ringling Theatre, Baraboo, Wisconsin. Architects: Rapp & Rapp, 1915. Photo by D. Pinyerd.

Ringling Theatre, Baraboo, Wisconsin. Architects: Rapp & Rapp, 1915. Photo by D. Pinyerd.

Martin Segger just directed my attention toward the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR).  Given that our 2015 annual meeting and conference was organized around the theme of Artifice and Authenticity in Architecture! To Play or Not To Play?,” and the recent “Oregon Historic Theaters: Statewide Survey and Needs Assessment” by students from the UO Community Planning Workshop, I thought I’d pass along some information for the IFTR Architecture Working Group’s call for papers for their 2016 conference (13-17 June) in Stockholm, Sweden.

IFTR is a truly international organization, with recent meetings in Barcelona, Spain (2013); Santiago, Chile (2012); and Osaka, Japan (2011).  The broad umbrella of “Theater Research” covers a fascinating range of topics related to theater and performance.  These topics are addressed by around 24 working groups which include “Samuel Becket,” “Choreography and Corporeality,” and the aforementioned, “Theater Architecture.”  Like the conference, the architecture group is international, with participants from Australia, Brazil, Chile, England, Greece, Holland, Turkey, the Unites States, and Wales.

About the Theatre Working Group (taken from the call for papers):

“The purpose of the Theatre Architecture Working Group is to explore all that theatre architecture has been historically, is at present, and might be in the future.  We consider built projects alongside unbuilt or speculative architectures, studying these from a wide range of practical and theoretical perspectives.  We continue to investigate the ways in which space can be manipulated to bring performers and spectators into dynamic relationship inside traditional theatre auditoria, while also asking how else the disciplines of theatre and architecture intersect.  Over the next four years, we will be focusing on three major strands of enquiry:  a) theatre projects (especially those that provide insights into performing arts venues beyond Europe and North America);  b) inter–‐disciplinary practices (including performance practices that closely engage with, radically undermine, critically re-examine or nakedly depend on architecture for their meaning and value, and architectural practices which employ performance, performativity and/or theatricality to transform our experiences of the built environment);  c) interdisciplinary pedagogies (especially those driven by the question of what is gained for students of one discipline in the encounter between that discipline and the other).  We seek to develop theoretical paradigms appropriate to theatre and architecture and to the relationship between them–articulating the many contemporary sites of exchange between these fields and re-examining historical encounters in the light of recent developments in spatial theory, architecture theory and practice, and performance studies.”

Shakespeare's Globe, London. Architects: Pentagram, 1997. Photo by D. Pinyerd.

Shakespeare’s Globe, London. Architects: Pentagram, 1997. Photo by D. Pinyerd.

The overall theme of the conference is:  PRESENTING THE THEATRICAL PAST – INTERPLAYS OF ARTEFACTS, DISCOURSES AND PRACTICES.  The Theatre Architecture Group is planning on two sessions, one addressing architecture and historiography, the other a joint session with the Scenography Working Group addressing genealogies of theatre architecture and scenography.  For the former, topic suggestions include:  re-readings of historical theatres in the light of developments in critical theory (e.g. spatial theory); artistic and critical practices that engage with historic theatre architectures and/or historic architectures (e.g. oral history, re-enactment, reconstruction); and theories and debates about the preservation, conservation or renovation of theatre buildings; among others.  The joint session with scenography includes topic suggestions along the lines of:  scenographic and architectural strategies by which performance and wider social/cultural activities have been “staged” or presented historically (theaters, concert halls, ballrooms, parks, public open space, etc.); and strategies by which historic performances are now “restaged” (museums, historical re-enactments, “authentic” performance, revivals of plays and performances, etc.).

The International Federation for Theatre Research Conference will take place from June 13-17 in Stockholm, Sweden.  The deadline for financial aid/bursary applications is December 1, 2015 while the deadline for proposals is January 15, 2015.

For more on the conference in general, go to http://www.iftr.org/conference.  For information on financial aid go to http://www.iftr.org/conference/bursaries.

For the full Architecture Working Group’s 2016 Call for Papers, click here.




Read Full Post »

Jacksonville, OR. 1971 HABS Photo of the Redmen's Lodge and Kubli Building with the Anderson & Glenn Store at the right. On Sunday, 10/25/15, Scott Clay will lead a tour of this historic gold rush town.

Jacksonville, OR. 1971 HABS Photo of the Redmen’s Lodge and Kubli Building with the Anderson & Glenn Store at the right. On Sunday, 10/25/15, Scott Clay will lead a tour of this historic gold rush town.

The full program for the 2015 Annual Conference and Meeting of the Marion Dean Ross Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians is now set.  The conference’s base will be in Ashland, Oregon, with side trips to Medford-area wineries, the gold rush town of Jacksonville, and the Château at the Oregon Caves.  While scholarly paper sessions will cover an eclectic range of topics, local and regional history will get their fair share of attention with opening and closing keynote lectures by George Kramer and Jeff LaLande.  Ashland-centric events include a walking tour lead by a member of the town’s historic commission and a behind-the-scenes look at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Archives.  The conference’s main events will take place from Friday, October 23, until Sunday the 25th.  This year we’re adding a bonus attraction for Sunday, running through Monday: a backstage tour of the Oregon Caves Château, including a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception, dinner, a candlelight tour of the caves themselves, dessert and breakfast the following morning (note:  attendees must make separate accommodations for  lodging at the Château or in nearby Cave Junction).

Discounted early registration rates remain in effect until October 7th.  You can continue to register on-line (with the Eventbrite service) or by mail until October 20th.  After that you can still join us by registering at the door, however we’ll only be able to accept cash or checks at that time.  A full conference program with registration form is available by clicking here: 2015 Conference Program or at http://sahmdr.org/conference.html.

We look forward to seeing you in Ashland and its environs!



Read Full Post »

Older Posts »