Past Speakers

Below are speaker engagements that have been presented to the public as of 2015. In late 2015 most of the videos of these slide lectures will be uploaded to the web for viewing.

Ken Trapp (The Arts and Crafts Movement in California)

Introducing the series with a slide lecture at the San Jose Historical Museum at Kelley Park in San Jose, Mr. Trapp's lecture provided the foundation for the creation of the Historical Architectural Lecture Series. His book, The Arts and Crafts Movement in California, Living the Good Life, celebrates the beauty, skill, variety and exuberance of objects and architecture created in California between 1895 and 1930. Mr. Trapp was curator of Decorative Arts for the Oakland Museum, and this museum published book is heavily illustrated and includes biographies of leading artists and companies of the period.

Gil Sanchez / Daryl Allen (Hispanic Architecture of Northern California)

Long time advocates of preserving the adobes of Alta California, Gil Sanchez and Ms. Allen have been involved as architects and historians on adobe restorations throughout the West. Their knowledge of the construction techniques of the Hispanic settlers, and their skill in extending the life of these fragile artifacts, have brought them renown as the leading experts on this early construction technology. The lecture was presented outdoors at the Peralta Adobe in Downtown San Jose. Co-sponsored by San Jose Historical Museum Association (now History San Jose).

Sally B. Woodbridge (Historic Architecture of Downtown San Jose)

Well known for her insightful analysis of local styles and architects, Ms. Woodbridge was the historic architectural consultant to the San Jose Redevelopment Agency on the Downtown Strategy Plan. She has authored numerous books on regional architecture, including Bay Area Houses, Bernard Maybeck Visionary Architect, and California Architecture: Historic American Buildings Survey. Her presentation took place in the now demolished O'Connor Mansion ballroom at the site of Notre Dame High School in Downtown San Jose. Co-sponsored by the Heritage Council of Santa Clara County.

Michael F. Crowe (Deco by the Bay)

The late Michael Crowe was an architectural historian with the National Park Service and a preservationist who has helped us discover and appreciate regional works of the American Art Deco Movement. He was founder and President of the Art Deco Society of California, and authored the beautifully illustrated Deco by the Bay. His talk was presented in the Olympic Room of one of San Jose's most magnificent landmarks, once known as the Scottish Rite Temple on St. James Square (now Silicon Valley Athletic Club), in Downtown San Jose. Co-sponsored by the Victorian Preservation Association of Santa Clara Valley.

Sara Holmes Boutelle (Julia Morgan Architect)

The late Sara Boutelle moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1970s to research the life and work of architect Julia Morgan, the most admired female architect of 20th Century America. Boutelle's book, Julia Morgan Architect is considered by many to be the most comprehensive study available of this important Bay Area architect. The talk took place in Ms. Morgan's architectural legacies, the Saratoga Foothill Club, now on the National Register of Historic Places. Co-sponsored by the American Institute of Architects Santa Clara Valley, and the Women's Heritage Museum.

Nancy Newlin (George Page and the Hayes Mansion)

Now 110 years old, the Hayes Mansion in South San Jose is one of architect George Page's most magnificent works. Nancy Newlin's The Gem of Edenvale profiles Page and the Hayes family, as well as the development and restoration of the Hayes Mansion. Her lecture took us into the life of George Page and his architectural achievements, including the landmark First Unitarian Church in Downtown San Jose. Ms. Newlin's talk was presented at the Hayes Mansion. Co-sponsored by the Preservation Action Council of San Jose.

Gray Brechin (Dreams of Splendor, the Panama Pacific International Exposition of 1915)

Author, geographer, and environmental historian, Mr. Brechin provided an insightful look into the influence of the 1915 Pan Pacific Expo on our contemporary urban environment and California architecture. The presentation was held in the historic Hotel Jose building during its renovation in in Downtown San Jose. Co-sponsored by San Jose Historical Museum, Saratoga Capital, and Garden City Construction.

George Espinola (Frank Wolfe Architect)

The late George Espinola, Architect, shared the results of his extensive research on the work of Frank Delos Wolfe, who was a pivotal but largely unappreciated local architect of the early 20th century. While his Prairie Style houses can be found throughout the South Bay Area, his firms' landmark designs include the Old Gilroy City Hall, Hotel Jose, the Griffin House, and Milpitas Grammar School. Held in the Grand Ballroom of the San Jose Women's Club, his slide lecture preceded the publication of his book Cottages, Flats, Buildings & Bungalows: 102 Designs from Wolfe & McKenzie 1907. Co-sponsored by Friends of San Jose Public Library and hosted by the San Jose Women's Club.

Pat Snar (William Weeks Architect)

During her tenure as Director of the Gilroy Historical Museum, Ms. Snar researched the lfe and work of William Weeks, architect for many buildings in the South County as well as the greater Bay Area. Weeks is known as a master of the Spanish Colonial Revival in California, with many local and state landmarks to his credit. The lecture was held at the Weeks' designed International Order of Odd Fellows and Rebekka Children's Home in Gilroy. Co-sponsored by the Gilroy Historical Society.

Paul Duchscherer (The Bungalow of the Arts and Crafts Movement)

Designer of historian, Mr. Duchscherer helped us to better understand the influence of the Arts and Crafts Movement on local architecture and house design. His book The Bungalow, America's Art and Crafts Home is a seminal book in a large body of work that now documents this style in California. The lecture was presented in a packed We and Our Neighbors Clubhouse in the Cambrian area of San Jose, a building now a City Landmark. Co-sponsored by the Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History.

Alrie Middlebrook (Historic Gardens of San Jose)

Before it was the Capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose was renown as the Garden City. As a landscape designer, Ms. Middlebrook has set out to re-invoke this tradition as an advocate for public gardens. Held at the Japanese Friendship Gardens at Kelley Park, it was co-sponsored by the Heritage Council of Santa Clara County with the support of San Jose Beautiful.

Shiloh Unruh (James Lick and the Lick Observatory)

The late Shiloh Unruh was a renowned expert on philanthropist James Lick and his legacy. He was historian for the Lick Observatory and co-authored Eye on the Sky. Mr Unruh worked hard to preserve the historical images of the valley's landmark atop Mt. Hamilton. The lecture was held at the site of the Lick House (Hotel), lost to fire in 1892, but rebuilt as the Ryland Block as it exists today in Downtown San Jose. Co-sponsored by Barry Swenson Builder.

Stephen Mikesell (Historic Highway Bridges: Threatened and Endangered Structures)

Considered the definitive work on this important subject, Historic Highway Bridges of California was co-authored by Mr. Mikesell while he worked for Caltrans. He has worked as a historical consultant and as the State Architect, and is a noted expert on historic preservation regulations and procedures. Held at the Engineering Lecture Hall at San Jose State University, the talk was co-sponsored by the Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History, SJSU.

Glory Anne Laffey (Buildings in the Public Realm: a Local History)

Author of County Leadership, the History of Santa Clara County Government, the late Mrs. Laffey compiled a pictorial overview for this lecture of San Jose and Sana Clara County's historic government buildings. From the Juzgado to San Jose's current City Hall, publicly commissioned buildings have set the tone for the local urban landscape. As the founder of Archives & Architecture, Mrs. Laffey spent endless hours at local agencies and public archives uncovering the details of the history of our community and was unmatched in her production of historical reports. The talk took place at Chemical #3, San Jose's oldest firehouse building. Hosted by the Seven Thirty Club.

Douglas Keister (Going Out in Style: The Architecture of Eternity)

Noted architectural photographer of the popular books Painted Ladies and The Bungalow, America's Arts and Crafts Home, Mr. Keister presented his photographic study for his book upcoming book Going out in Style, The Architecture of Eternity and his later series on cemeteries Forever in Stone. He offered a fascinating glimpse at some of the most ostentatious and creative architecture in America, whose structures are rarely torn down or "remuddled" and are often overlooked as important historic resources. Held at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, the talk accompanied his show in the Museum Gallery. Co-sponsored by AMROC.

Jack Douglas (Binder and Curtis Architects)

Exploring this turn of the 20th Century architectural firm who defined the framework for modern metropolitan San Jose, Binder and Curtis were the architects of the Jose Theater, Twohy Building, Montgomery Hotel, and San Jose Civic Auditorium. The late Mr. Douglas was a noted historian and activist, who published a series of essays for the San Jose Historical Museum Association under the title of "Footnotes." The lecture was held in the Binder and Curtis designed Petite Trianon Theatre in Downtown San Jose. Co-sponsored by Mother Olson's Inn.

Gary Schoennauer (30 Years of Planning: A Retrospective)

Entering the San Jose Planning Department in the 1960s during an era of aggressive and haphazard annexation policies, Mr. Schoennauer crafted San Jose's first modern General Plan in 1975. This Plan defined new goals in long-range planning for our booming metropolitan area, and institutionalized innovative policies on controlled growth, including the Urban Service Line, protection of our hillsides, in-fill development, and a focus on regeneration of San Jose's urban core. The talk was held at the San Pedro Square Theater. Co-sponsored by the Association of Environmental Professionals South Bay Chapter and the American Planning Association Northern California Chapter.

Dallas Finn (Meiji Revisited, The Sites of Victorian Japan)

Architectural Historian Dallas Finn's research focused on the early western-style buildings erected in Japan's Victorian era, the reign of the Emperor Meiji, 1868-1912. Her photos document little-known mansions, museums, places, schools and factories, placing these decidedly un-Japanese places into the context of their time, a period of often confusing modernization, and presented in her book Meiji Revisted, The Sites of Victorian Japan. Held in San Jose's Japantown at the Yu-Ai Kai Building, it was co-hosted by the Japanese American Resource Center (now Japanese American Museum of San Jose).

Riley Doty (Rediscovering California's Ceramic Art Tile)

Tile historian Riley Doty has a passion for learning and importing the history of ceramic art tile. With Tile Heritage Foundation, he has been active in promoting the research and preservation of architectural ceramics. Mr. Doty's research into local tile manufacture S&S, which flourished in the Bay Area during the 1920s and 1930s under Albert Solon and was at the forefront of the "Golden Age of California Art Tile" was highlighted in his slide lecture. The talk was held at the Westminister Church Community Room on The Alameda in San Jose's Shasta-Hanchett neighborhood.

Victorian Kastner (From the Bay ARea to San Simeon: The Architecture of Julia Morgan)

Author of Hearst Castle, The Biography of a Country House, Ms. Kastner shared her years as Resident Author at Hearst Castle, where she began work in 1979. The talk traced Julia Morgan's connections between some of Morgan's a=familiar Bay Area buildings and the extravagant fantasy she executed for the Hearsts at San Simeon. Hosted by the San Jose Women's Club, the lecture was co-sponsored by Preservation Action Council of San Jose.