Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy Holiday Season

Looking Back
It has been a busy year for the Lilian J. Rice project with many events attended and presentations shared. It has been gratifying for me to spread the word about the important yet largely forgotten lady architect who helped define a regional architectural style for Southern California. Audiences have truly appreciated my bringing Ms. Rice into the light from the shadows of history and little by little her fan base is growing.
La Valenciana Apartments, Rancho Santa Fe.                                              

Social Media
If you are a user of social media and you have a facebook account please visit the page that I have created Fans of Lilian J. Rice, and “like” it. I post regular comments and images and other related material that help retell the story of Lilian Rice and the role women have played in our history. You will find a link to Elsa Savilla's recent episode of San Diego's Historic Places that featured your's truly talking about Rancho Santa Fe and who else...Lilian J. Rice.

Casablanca Rowhouse, Rancho Santa Fe

People often ask me why it is so important to me to keep Lilian Rice’s memory alive. From day one of beginning this commitment my mission was an educational one. Lilian Rice represents all women and by looking back at her accomplishments in the 1920s and 30s, when there were few career woman, we may learn about her determination and be inspired by her drive and talent.
Mostly though I liken Rice’s work, her buildings, to works of art, and with this concept in mind how sad that so much of her work has fallen to the wrecking ball. By learning about Lilian Rice and those she influenced, we may have a greater appreciation for her buildings, and historic architecture in general.
Award-Winning Book
It’s not too late to order a signed, dedicated copy of my award-winning book on Lilian Rice, for a Holiday gift. I have an inventory of first editions of “Lilian J. Rice: Architect of Rancho Santa Fe, California” available. I do accept VISA and Mastercard or check. Each copy with shipping, handling and tax is $58.50. The book is a hard-bound, beautifully published coffee-table book, which makes for a lovely gift for someone who enjoys architecture, learning about our local history, or appreciates the biography of our very own San Diego born lady architect. Email me for more information at

A page from Rice's UC Berkeley scrapbook

A Precious Gift
This past year also brought a very precious gift. Two sisters–whose grandmother, Louella Mordhorst, purchased the Rice’s National City home in 1940, along with all its contents–agreed to pass along Lilian Rice’s scrapbook that documented her last two years at U C Berkeley. It had been in the care of Elyzabeth, the elder of the sisters, for decades. I was delighted when she wished for me to become the new steward of this scrapbook, with its pages richly filled with all manner of treasures lovingly saved by Lilian, which give us a window into her world at university in 1909 and 1910, the year of her graduation. I have begun to photograph each page as a digital record and will begin sharing those online.

Trailblazer Nominee
It’s not too late to place your application to enter Lilian Rice’s name as a worthy inductee into the Women’s Museum of California’s hall of fame, as a trailblazer. Follow the link to download an application and mail off before the end of December. Lilian J. Rice is so deserving of this recognition; her place in the Hall of Fame is long overdue. I'd like to thank all of you for your continued support in celebrating Lilian J. Rice. My sincerest wishes to you and your loved ones for a wonderful Holiday Season, and a Happy New Year.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fall back

Hello friends, the summer has passed and with an early morning cool snap and coastal fog we are experiencing our subtle change of season here in Solana Beach, CA. Fall has arrived. Looking back to the summer, two weeks were spent with my family in England. Juliana, came along, so it was a lovely mother and daughter trip, a relaxed opportunity to be with grandma, aunts, and cousins for her, and for me a time to personally reconnect with my mother and sisters, nieces and nephews.
I saw the environs with fresh eyes and began to look closely at the architecture of coastal east Essex where my mother and sister now live. The resort town of Clacton-On-Sea was developed during the Victorian era as the working classes became wage earners and were able to afford the luxury of a holiday by the sea. The large seafront hotels, bed and breakfasts and restaurants still carry the distinctive Victorian style edifices, with just enough restrained embellishment to add design interest to what otherwise would be dull exteriors. One sole original Tudor home with its timbered exterior, leaded windows, noble chimneys and wavy brick work, made me wonder how it survived the commercial development of the seaside town.

A Tudor home on Marine Parade West in Clacton-on-Sea

A trip into nearby Frinton-On-Sea, an exclusive upscale community just North of Holland-On-Sea where my mother lives, offered an opportunity to see plenty of period revival over-sized homes on manicured lots, each one individually designed, a luxury in any community in England. No tract homes here.

A typical home in Frinton-on-Sea

Then an unforgettable a day trip to Dedham, in Suffolk, where the famed English Romantic fine artist, John Constable went to school, was like a journey in a time machine. The narrow high street, lined with structures dating back to the 1600s, quaintly preserved the ambiance of a 17th century village, and sent my imagination back to simpler times long before Constable painted his iconic agrarian landscapes.

A 17th Century Inn on the High Street in Dedham

We also spent a wonderful day in London, seeing the familiar sights, and landmarks. On display at the National Portrait Gallery was the exhibit, Glamour of the Gods, a collection of photographs of stars of the screen, several from the Golden Age of Hollywood, the 1920s through the 1940s. One of the photographers was the famed George Hurrell. Before I left for my trip to the UK, I had the privilege to interview Hurrell’s daughter, Daphne Hurrell Cortese. That article was published in VAV! Magazine, today. If you get chance please read it, Daphne’s recollections are priceless.

Posters for the exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Trafalgar Square with its famed Nelson's Column, adjacent to The National Portrait Gallery

On return to Solana Beach, August soon slipped into September with kids heading back to school and the fall schedule got underway. I was honored to be asked by producer, Elsa Sevilla, host of KPBS’s television show, San Diego’s Historic Places, to be interviewed for an episode that spotlighted Rancho Santa Fe and the Silvas/Osuna adobe. We met in an ambiant courtyard in The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe where we were filmed chatting about Lilian J. Rice’s role as the designer and resident architect of what is simply known as the Ranch by residents in the affluent 92067 zipcode. The episode aired in September, but as it comes available online, I will send a link in a future newsletter. Of note is that The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe is up for sale. It is interesting to me to note that some of the stars that George Hurrell shot with his 8 x 10 view camera, walked those same terracotta tiled floors in the Inn where Elsa and I met. I do hope that the aging “guest house” finds a sensitive owner.

Elsa Sevilla and Your's Truly at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe
Giving back
Nearby Encinitas celebrated its 25th year of cityhood on October 1. A huge city gathering was organized at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum where almost 1,000 people passed through the grounds. Booths included Ecke Ranch floriculture, local merchants, food vendors, non-profits and press. I was there signing my books on Encinitas and my award-winning monograph on Lilian J. Rice, a percentage of sales has been donated back to the museum. It was gratifying to have so many people stop by, say hello, and even buy books! October 1 was a busy day for me. Before I headed for the museum’s celebration, I was part of an author panel at the San Diego Book Festival held this year at the Encinitas Library. We spoke to an interested and engaged audience about our passion for local history, sharing our stories about why we do what we do and why we love it! On the panel with me were Richard Carrico, author of “Strangers in a Stolen Land–Indians of San Diego county from Prehistory to the New Deal,” and David Lewis, author of a soon-to-be-published book on the history of Julian. It was fun to compare notes and share our enthusiasm for our respective passions. 

Looking ahead

On October 19, Paul and I will give our video documentary presentation on the history of the Del Mar Fairgrounds to the Rancho Santa Fe Senior Center. On November 16, I will address ladies from the American Association of University Women at the Encinitas Library, presenting “Lilian J. Rice, Architect of Rancho Santa Fe, California.” Remember if you belong to a group who may have an interest in a presentation on Lilian Rice, or the Del Mar Fairgrounds, please contact me. I’m often available and love to share our local history with anyone who has an interest.
Until next time...Cheers!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Is Here

Hello friends, here is July's monthly WORD-- "WORD" being my acronym for Welch On Rice Diary. It will also serve as August's posting as I will be spending two weeks of that month in Holland-on-Sea, in Essex, England, visiting with my mom and sisters. Juliana, my 17 year old daughter, will accompany me, so it will be a lovely multi-generational get-together. We've got our fingers crossed for good weather, although Juliana said that she's looking forward to feeling the rain on her face!

Del Mar Fairgrounds

Opening Day, Oct 8, 1936 of the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar.

There is no sign of rain here in San Diego with summer in full swing. As locals we know that summer has arrived when the San Diego County Fair has its run. This year, despite the lagging economy, the fair saw record attendance as it celebrated it's 75th anniversary year. When the fair opened in 1936, it was a fall event. Opening Day was October 8, and the weather was not kind. Torrential rains turned the unpaved grounds to mud, and it is remembered that these fall storms reduced the fair's founder, Jim Franks, to tears. Most people do not know of Lilian Rice's indirect influence on the architectural design of the fairgrounds complex, which was designed by Sam and Joe Hamill. It was Ms. Rice who paved the way for Sam's career as an architect when she used her influence to get him accepted into the architectural department at U.C. Berkeley, in his junior year. Hamill had dropped out of UCLA in 1924 and at the time had no direction. Through Lilian's friendship with Bessie Sprague, the University's Dean of Women, Sam was accepted into the program, succeeded in earning his degree at Cal in 1927, and later went on to be a noted San Diego based architect who received the commission to design the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Later projects included the San Diego County Administration Building and the Civic Center Concourse, downtown San Diego.

Sam Hamill's original sketch of the fairgrounds complex.

L_R Sam and his brother Joe Hamill study the plans for the fairgrounds and racetrack.

Del Mar Racetrack

Summer in San Diego also means the Del Mar Races. This year opening day was July 20, kicking off the 72nd summer season. Funding for completion of the racetrack was provided by Bing Crosby, a world famed entertainer during the 1940s and 50s. He was also the founder of the Del Mar Turf Club, which brought thoroughbred racing to the track. Crosby hired Lilian Rice to restore the old Osuna hacienda in Rancho Santa Fe in 1934. Crosby had bought the property through real estate agent, Reginald Cloltfelter, whose son, Tom, and grandsons, Cutter and Chaco, continue the family business. Lilian added stables, a racetrack, tennis courts and a home for Crosby's father who was also his manager.

Bing Crosby at his RSF Ranch with his racehorse, Sally's Booter.

Giving Back

Yesterday Paul and I gave a presentation at the Senior Facility, La Vida Del Mar, where we showed our documentary, "The History of the Del mar Fairgrounds" which we produced to coincide with the release of our Arcadia book in 2008. We enjoyed a warm welcome, and those who came to meet us and learn of this important local history were engaged and asked great questions.

One lady in the audience was thrilled to see Raquel Tejada (now Welch) on the book cover.

On Monday, July 11, I took part in Celebrity Sonnets, a fundraising event for the San DiegoShakespeare Society. Not quite sure what to expect, I nevertheless threw caution to the wind, and prepared my own versions of Sonnet 27 and Sonnet 130. The former I rewrote in teen talk, and titled it, Sleepless in San Diego, the latter I rewrote from a female perspective and turned it into rap. There I stood on stage at the Schulman Auditorium at Dove Library in my yellow satin suit, white dinner plate hat--trimmed in swan's down-- with my pearls and specs on, doing rap. It was deliberately incongruent  and the audience clapped along and truly saw the humor in my version of the sonnet.

Your's truly performing at the Shakespeare Society Celebrity Sonnets.

Looking Ahead

I just got word that the board of ZLAC Rowing Club approved member, Molly McClain, to put forward Lilian J. Rice's application for consideration to be an honored addition to the Women's Hall of Fame, at the Women's Museum of California, right here in San Diego. The application has been submitted for the trailblazer category. If she is accepted it will be a most fitting tribute to Lilian Rice who had so many firsts here in Southern California. She was the first licensed lady architect, the first female to gain entry into the San Diego Chapter of the AIA, the first lady architect to win a WPA institutional building project with her design for the San Dieguito Union High School, the first lady architect to serve as supervisory residential architect for a master-planned community, Rancho Santa Fe, the first  lady school board trustee for the RSF newly formed school district and the first lady member of a three member art jury in RSF. She also influenced many upcoming architects, as we saw with Sam Hamill, to go on and become great architects in their own right. If Lilian Rice wins admission into the Hall of Fame, we should also honor her in recognizing her birthday, June 12th as the official Lilian J. Rice day. Friends, please help by showing your support for this proposal. Email me a comment or place a post here in support of this suggestion. It is my mission to share the history of Lilian Rice so that others may be inspired by her unique story.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

June, not so gloomy

Your's truly and husband, Paul, at the San Diego Book Awards

. Photo by Leslie Hoffman

Hello friends, here is May and June's monthly WORD combined, WORD being my acronym for Welch On Rice Diary. May was busy with several events
and June is just as lively.

In San Diego we call the month of June: June Gloom. This somewhat amusing, yet negative description, is due to the marine layer that descends on the coastal regions of San Diego County and settles in like a gray misty blanket. Despite the lack of azure skies this month, June for me is very bright thanks to the San Diego Book Awards. Last night I attended the 17th annual SDBA event after I learned that my book, Lilian J. Rice: Architect of Rancho Santa Fe, California" [Schiffer, 2010] was a finalist. So imagine my joy when I was announced the winner. I was thrilled and so happy to see Lilian Rice getting the recognition she so rightly deserves. No one was happier than I, and the fact that it happened just hours before Lilian Rice's birthday anniversary was icing on the birthday cake. It was a very happy evening.

[Lilian J. Rice, June 12, 1889- Dec 22, 1938]

ZLAC Rowing Club

In May I was a guest at the ZLAC Rowing Club. I presented my DVD “Lilian J. Rice: Sincerely Yours” to a packed house on location at the ZLAC Rowing Club in Pacific Beach. My excitement was almost too much to bear when I met Robert Hatch, the son of George Chandler Hatch, a famed architect, graduate of MIT, and friend of architect, Bill Krisel. Hatch worked in Lilian Rice's Rancho Santa Fe office while the San Dieguito Union High School was being designed. I'm so looking forward to further conversations with Bob about his father and his role in San Diego architecture. I presented to the ZLAC Rowing Club members this lovely signed floor plan drafted and reproduced from a Lilian Rice original plan, by Monique Parsons and Christopher Real who were both present. I also presented digital copies of reel to reel tape recordings of early ZLAC presidents. These were copied by the talented Ed Balian

Molly McClain, associate professor at USD, gave my book a stellar review in the San Diego History Center's “The Journal of San Diego”. The link to the article will be online next quarter. Molly is also a ZLAC member and very active in supporting its history. I have been invited to meet Crew X11 this week for a dinner get-together and look forward to it.

In The News.

The Del Mar Times and Solana Beach Sun published news that my book, “Lilian J. Rice: Architect of Rancho Santa Fe, California” was up for an award in the biography category. The editor tells me a statement that the book actually won the award will be published at the end of this week.


On April 18, I presented to the Rancho Santa Fe Rotary weekly meeting at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. It was a lovely luncheon event in a fitting setting-- the Lilian Rice designed guest house--formerly La Morada (house of many rooms).

On Friday, April 29, I attended Schiffer Publishing's author meet and greet in Los Angeles and attended the world famed Los Angeles Book Festival. It was really special to meet my publisher face to face. Pete is a lovely guy who is continuing the family tradition of publishing gorgeous, quality books.

Diane at the Schiffer Booth at the LA Book Festival

Giving back

On April 17, the Childhelp event was an unqualified success. I donated part of my proceeds to the charity and had a fun time meeting other authors which included the famed presenter of Inside Edition, Jim Moret. I learned a lot from his retelling of his personal desperation during his family's bad economic times when he felt that he was worth more dead than alive. Thankfully his story had a happy ending!

In May I attended the author book fair at the Solana Beach Library, and also gave a presentation on my Del Mar Fairgrounds book for the San Dieguito Newcomers Club in Carlsbad. It was a lively group and they were most welcoming.

What's ahead?

July 1, noon- 3:30 pm I will be at the Del Mar Fairgrounds doing a book signing for my book on the history of the Del Mar Fairgrounds [Arcadia, 2008].

July 25 at 2:3- pm I will give my dvd documentary presentation on the history of the Del Mar Fairgrounds to La Vida Del Mar in Solana Beach.

August 5 at 10 am I will give the same dvd documentary presentation to the Rancho Santa Fe Senior Center

The Rancho Santa Fe Senior Center

Thanks for stopping by friends of LJR.

As always I welcome your comments and ideas.



Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring: In like a lion, out like a lamb!

Hello friends, here is April's monthly WORD, and for my new friends who are not familiar with my blog, WORD is an acronym for Welch On Rice Diary. 
March was busy and April is proving to be even more so.
L-R: Marvin, Diane, Inge

Personal Rice Home Tour
Marvin and Inge in front of the Bingham home

While I prayed for sunshine on March 24, after a few days of unsettled weather that included a hail storm on my birthday, March 21st, mother nature did not disappoint with a sunny day as I gave a personal guided tour of Rice homes in Rancho Santa Fe, to Inge Horton (author of “Early Women Architects of the San Francisco Bay Area”) and her husband, Marvin. The day was glorious and we soaked up the architectural ambiance of several Rice cottages, commercial buildings, and two beautiful estate homes. 

We had three interior tours thanks to the generosity of the respective home owners of the former Ralph and Belle Claggett home on Via de Santa Fe; the Chester and Cornelia Bristol home on Via del Alba, and the Hamilton Carpenter Home on La Valle Plateada.

Claggett home interior. Photo by Bertocchini Photography

Exterior Hamilton Carpenter home. Photo by Darren Edwards

Exterior Chester and Cornelia Bristol home. Photo by Gary Conaughton

Four days later I presented my DVD documentary, “Lilian J. Rice: Sincerely Yours” to our friends at La Vida Del Mar, in Del Mar. My excitement was piqued by the introduction to a lovely gentleman in the audience, Bob, who was a draftsman for George Chandler Hatch, a famed architect, a graduate of MIT, and friend of architect, Bill Krisel. Hatch worked in Lilian Rice's Rancho Santa Fe office while the San Dieguito Union High School was being designed. I'm looking forward to future conversations with Bob about Hatch and his role in San Diego architecture.

I received word recently that Molly McClain, associate professor at USD, has reviewed my book, “Lilian J. Rice: Architect of Rancho Santa Fe, California [Schiffer] for inclusion in the next volume of the San Diego History Center's, The Journal of San Diego. When we last spoke, Molly had read the book and was appreciative of my efforts and gave me positive feedback. I'll post a link to the journal when it is published.

ZLAC on the bay. Photo by Diane Y. Welch

ZLAC clubhouse and gardens. Photo by Paul Body Photo

By coincidence, Molly is also a member of ZLAC Rowing Club. Thanks to her prompt intervention I am looking forward to a May presentation on Lilian Rice, at the clubhouse in Pacific Beach. Lilian Rice was on Crew IV, was president in 1915 and commodore in 1916, and designed the new boat and clubhouse in 1932.

In the news

Last week in the San Diego Union Tribune, Linda Macintosh published details on the upcoming April 16th Escondido self-guided Garden Tour to benefit the Escondido History Center. On the tour are two Rice designed homes. One owned by the Hillebrechts and the other by the Lievers. It's not too late to get tickets, only $12.50 if purchased ahead and $15 if  purchased on the day at any one of the tour gardens. Pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic in the serene beauty of Escondido's hidden treasures. Click on the link to find out more.

The adobe built Hillebrecht ranch home. Photo by Gary Conaughton


On Monday, April 18, I will present to the Rancho Santa Fe Rotary weekly meeting at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. I am so looking forward to the lecture as I am always so warmly received by Rotarians.

On Friday, April 29, I will attend Schiffer Publishing's author meet and greet in Los Angeles. And the next day Paul and I will go to the famed Los Angeles book Fair.

Giving back

As many of you know the lectures I give around San Diego county are done so with no funding or support and are free to attendees. The reason is that it is my mission to spread the word about Lilian Rice with as many people as I can. I believe that Lilian J. Rice is a national treasure and should be recognized as such.

On April 17, I will take part in a six author panel at La Costa Resort and Spa to benefit Childhelp. I have donated  an autographed book and a percentage of my proceeds to the charity that helps children who are the victims of child abuse. I'm looking forward to the event.

As the price of gas escalates it is making an impact on the pocket book, as such I am always looking for sponsors, who could support my cause in return for visibility for their business. So if you know of any organization or company that wishes to partner with me to facilitate these lectures, please contact me.

What's ahead?

The month of May sees more lectures, a book fair at the Solana Beach Library, and a presentation on my Del Mar Fairgrounds book for the San Dieguito Newcomers Club. Thanks for stopping by friends of LJR.

As always, I welcome your comments and ideas.



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March Madness

This month's happenings

Hello friends, here is March's monthly WORD, and while reflecting on this month's activities, it has been very busy with even more events ahead. On Saturday March 5, Paul and I attended the Congress of History's annual conference in Balboa Park.

We shared a table with Jane Schmauss, executive director of the California Surf Museum. The conversation, needless to say, included local surfing icons,some of whom are included in my book, “Encinitas” an Images of America book that was published to celebrate the city's 20th anniversary.

On the front cover is Paul Ecke Sr. in a sepia version of what was a crimson sea of field grown poinsettias. Today Paul Ecke III carries on the family business with his chapter of the story, poinsettia cuttings grown offshore in Guatemala, for a global market.

I attended several lectures at the Congress of History event that celebrated some of San Diego County's “unsung heroes” the women who made their historical mark in the county. Molly McClain, associate professor at USD, gave a wonderful informative and entertaining lecture on Ellen Browning Scripps, who gave so selflessly to our region during the 19th and early 20th century. The other lectures I attended were on Harriet Wimmer, a landscape architect who worked with Rice on some of her residential projects, and Dr. Amorita Treganza, a pediatric optometrist, whose father, Alberto O. Treganza, (1876-1944) was a noted architect who “filled in” for Lilian Rice when she had to travel during her role as a member of Rancho Santa Fe's three-member art jury. More research is needed to discover why or how this came about. If anyone knows please pass it along.

On March 3, I gave a lunchtime presentation to the Del Mar Rotarians. Held in the community hall at St. Peters Episcopalian Church in Del Mar, it brought to my mind that Lilian Rice was one of the architects who submitted a proposal for the building of the church in 1938. The conceptual drawings and floor plans that she submitted are held in the archives at Virginia Tech University. Unfortunately, Rice passed away in December 1938, before enough money was raised to construct the church, so her meticulous plans were not realized. The project went instead to a Los Angeles architect, Carlton Winslow.

On March 24, I have the honor of giving a personal guided tour of Rice homes in Rancho Santa Fe, to Inge Horton, author of “Early Women Architects of the San Francisco Bay Area”[McFarland Press]. Inge was a city planner, before she retired to focus on her passion the research and documentation of lady architects in Northern California. Her book took 20 years to be realized. As Lilian Rice graduated from UC Berkeley, she is included in Inge's book.

On March 28, I will present, “Lilian J. Rice: Sincerely Yours” (a DVD documentary that Paul and I, through Welch Productions, created) to our friends at La Vida Del Mar, in Del Mar. We are excited to help spread the word about my passion, Lilian Rice. And btw, April is just as busy!

Looking at the calendar, it is hard to believe that yesterday, the Ides of March, is my anniversary date of when I set out to immigrate permanently to California from my native England when I left my lovely hometown of Timperley in Cheshire. When the Pan Am jumbo 747 jet was deemed unsafe to fly out of Heathrow, after several embarkings and disembarkings, I was laid up overnight in a hotel room in London. The next day, March 16th, I set out on my flight to Los Angeles and then on to San Diego's Lindgergh Field. I still vividly recall the beautiful sunset as the plane followed the coastline south to San Diego. So today marks my 27 years of living permanently in the USA.

March 21, is my 53rd birthday. I will celebrate with my loving family, Jenna, James, Juliana and John Paul, and my husband of almost 24 years, Paul.

Life in the US has been a wonderful journey and now Lilian Rice has become part of my adventure. I feel honored to be her official biographer and look forward to unraveling more of the many mysteries that are hidden in her life's story. I feel like I am just scratching the surface, so if any of you have even the smallest facet of information about Rice or her family, please pass it on!

In the news:

Sophy Chaffee wrote eloquently about a Rancho Santa Fe Lilian Rice cottage-- The Fleming residence-- in the San Diego Union Tribune.

Rancho Santa Fe resident, Phyllis Paul, receives top award from History of Congress.

Check out the online story of Phyllis Paul who received a top accolade for her contributions to the documentation of history of Rancho Santa Fe. Phyllis is a dear friend and has been a stalwart supporter of my work on Lilian Rice. It was Phyllis who gave me a lovely guided tour, in her shiny red Mercedes, of Rice homes in the Ranch. I will be forever in her debt. She is most deserving of the honor.

Thank you friends for reading my monthly diary on Lilian J. Rice. Please check in with us next month to learn more. And if you have any interesting stories to tell about related topics, please share!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

It's still February 14th, just, but I can still send you my love for Valentine's Day. As this project continues to be a labor of love, it's appropriate that I do February's post on this special day. I do hope that most of you have spent some quality time with your loved ones. No romantic dinners for me, or champagne, or roses, it's nose to the grindstone and a couple more hours of work until I call it a day.

What some of you may not know is that I as well as being an author, feature journalist and biographer, I am also a seasoned and sought after public speaker. Over the past few years I have had the privilege to present several programs to many organizations in San Diego County. Here is a list of some of my past public speaking engagements:

San Diego Archaeological Center

Ladies Golf Tournament, RSF

City of Solana Beach

Art Forum, RSF

Independent Women In Architecture

Torrey Pines Rotary Club

RSF Book Club

OSHA, UCSD Extension

La Jolla Riford Library

Solana Beach Library

The Westerners

San Dieguito Heritage Museum

Museum of San Diego History

Casa de Manana, La Jolla

RSF Senior Center

RSF Association Retreat

RSF History in the Garden

Colonial Dames of America

Friends of Lilian Rice

La Jolla Historical Society

RSF Business & Professional Women's Network

Save Our Heritage Foundation

San Dieguito Women’s Group

Del Mar Fairgrounds

Solana Beach Optimist Club

Ladies USGA luncheon, RSF

If you know of an organization that would like a presentation, contact me through this blog. I book ahead and have dates set for 2012 already, and have about two engagements scheduled each month this year. As they come up I'll be sure to let you know. But if you have an interest come down to Balboa Park, in the Balboa Park Club Ballroom, across from the Aerospace Museum, on March 5th where I'll have a table set up of books, and photos, and other bits and bobs as part of the celebration of the history of women in San Diego, organized by the Congress of History. It's an exciting weekend of lectures and walking tours, devoted to our local unsung female historic figures. I'll be there with Paul as a representative of Friends of Lilian J. Rice. Anyone may register for the weekend of lectures, although we will be there on Saturday, only. Visit the link above to find out more.

Hazel Waterman will be one of the women recognized over the weekend. She was San Diego's first female architect, and as was commissioned to do a major restoration of the Casa De Estudillo in Old Town San Diego, known and marketed in its day, 1910, as the marriage place of Ramona the heroine in Helen Hunt Jackson 's novel of the same name. Lilian Rice worked with Waterman as a draftswoman, and would have been a senior at UC Berkeley when Waterman was working on the restoration. It is very possible that Lilian observed and had an interest in this project, although there is no written documentation to prove it. Hazel had a daughter, Helen, who was two years Lilian's junior. Helen also attended UC Berkeley studying art and architecture. The two joined the ZLAC Rowing Club in 1910, and were both on Crew IV. So as such a close friend of Helen's it is hard to imagine that Lilian would not have been informed, aware and even involved with Hazel's project. Harriet Wimmer, a landscape architect is also the subject of a lecture during the weekend. She worked on several of Lilian Rice's project most notable being the Wohlford House in Eureka Ranch in Escondido. This home, which won Rice an award in House Beautiful in 1932, was demolished in 2005 for a housing development.

With more awareness and care, perhaps Lilian Rice's homes may be saved from the wrecking ball in the future.

More coming next month, friends. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A year in review

Dear Friends of Lilian J. Rice,
2010 was a fantastic year for getting things accomplished with the Lilian J. Rice project. And it could not have been made possible without the generosity of so many people that I'd like to acknowledge here, right now!

A combined exhibition and book launch was made possible by the City of Solana Beach who provided the venue for the book release party and a six week long exhibition of photos and Rice inspired drawings and plans. The actual party to celebrate the release of "Lilian J. Rice: Architect of Rancho Santa Fe, California" [Schiffer] was on June 12, 2010, the anniversary of LJR's birth, which made the event even more special. For all of you who came, thank you so much! It was one of the best days of my life, only topped by having babies and getting married! (not necessarily in that order...) The exhibition was sponsored by the following individuals and companies whose funding made possible the large display of16 x 20 photos, refreshments, and publicity materials.

The Ecke Ranch
Dena Gillespie, architectural designer
Carl Calvert and the Motor Transport Museum
Max Wuthrich, and B+W Architects
Positive Energy
Solana Beach Art Association
Welch Productions
Dewhurst and Associates

Dena Gillespie included a fabulous framed montage of her Lilian Rice inspired homes which has been gifted for future exhibitions, and Max Wuthrich included a presentation sketch of the Wheeler residence, based on one of Rice's designs that is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The photographs came directly from the book and were courtesy of the following:

Paul Body
Bertocchini Photography
Darren Edwards
Gary Conaughton
Juliana Welch
Yours truly

Plans and sketches were provided by
Sara Motamedi
Vanessa Vanbeusekom
Christopher Real
Monique Parsons
Carol Beth Rodriguez
Yours truly

Big thanks to those who came from far a field, especially the Thomas family who traveled down from Seal Beach and Pasadena. Carol Thomas is the daughter of Bertha Kreuziger, who is second from the left in this 1923 photo. Lilian Rice is far right.

Also big hugs to husband B. Paul for the amazing documentary on Lilian Rice which we have shown innumerable times throughout San Diego County to appreciative audiences.

Check back soon for more information on last year's exhibitions, lectures and book signings, and a look ahead to the coming months. Through Friends of Lilian J. Rice I will be able to fulfill my mission to "educate and inspire".

Sincerely yours,