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Heritage Park 2454 Heritage Park Row •


Old Town San Diego


The establishment of Heritage Park was the beginning of significant accomplishment in historic preservation for SOHO. The event was celebrated in 1971 with an “old fashioned Victorian dedication” in which the County of San Diego presented proclamations to the organization’s members for their efforts in creating the 7.8 acre preserve for historically significant buildings threatened with demolition. The County Board of Supervisors provided the land and a budget of $1.2 million to be used over a 10-year period to help with the relocation and renovation of structures. While moving a historic resource is no longer considered an appropriate method of preservation as it was thirty or more years ago, the beautiful county park now contains six important Victorian era buildings that would all have been lost.


In the spring of 1971, the 1887 Sherman Gilbert House was the first structure saved by SOHO and brought to Heritage Park. The home’s original owner John Sherman was the cousin of General William Tecumseh Sherman. From 1892 to 1965, internationally famous entertainers such as Yehudi Menuhin, Ernestine Schumann-Heink and Arthur Rubinstein performed here at social events held by sisters Bess and Gertrude Gilbert, important local patrons of the arts.


When SOHO saved the Senlis Cottage, the organization was one of the first preservation groups in the nation to understand the historical significance of the average citizen’s home. Built in 1896 for Eugene Senlis, an employee of San Diego pioneer horticulturist Kate Sessions, the cottage is a lovely example of a modest 19th century workingman’s cottage.


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San Diego’s first synagogue, the Temple Beth Israel also found a permanent home in Heritage Park. Constructed by the Congregation Beth Israel in 1889, other of the city’s early religious sects also used the temple before building and establishing churches of their own.


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