OB’s Pat and Susan James Celebrated by SOHO for Preserving Wisteria Cottage and Garden Party Tradition – Thursday, May 27

by on May 21, 2021 · 1 comment

in History, Ocean Beach, San Diego

Susan and Pat James at front of the Wisteria Cottage. Photo by Kathy Blavatt

Susan and Pat James of Ocean Beach are being celebrated this year by SOHO (Save Our Heritage Organization) for maintaining the tradition of the Wisteria Cottage and Garden Party. It’s SOHO’s 38th annual People In Preservation Awards with an online award presentation. Pat and Susan will be celebrated during the online ceremony on Thursday, May 27, at 4pm, during National Preservation Month.

Here’s SOHO’s description:

On Niagara Avenue in Ocean Beach, you will find a charming turn-of-the-20th-century cottage that plays host each spring to abundant blooms of colorful purple wisteria vines.

Susan and Pat James, active with the Ocean Beach Historical Society (OBHS), are the current occupants of this modest OB landmark, constructed in 1907 as a vernacular beach cottage. Each year, during wisteria season, Susan and Pat open their historic home and its magical gardens to members of OBHS and community dwellers to gather and share its history and greater history of the neighborhood.

This tradition was started by Ned Titlow, past president of OBHS, and Carol Bowers, OBHS co-founder, and is now known as the Wisteria Garden Party, where local artists and famous OB residents play music, showcase art, and bring photos and memorabilia to showcase the community’s history.

Pat and Susan honor this tradition, and their efforts showcase the importance of keeping the spirit of local history alive right in your own backyard.

Here’s more from SOHO:

San Diego’s countywide preservation group, Save Our Heritage Organisation, celebrates its 38th annual People In Preservation Awards with an online award presentation, demonstrating that the pandemic has not halted the valiant efforts of local preservationists and their projects. This year’s awards will honor twelve distinctive projects and people ranging across multiple historic preservation mediums, from building restorations and adaptive reuse to historic community traditions and important arts and cultural centers.

SOHO will celebrate each individual, group, and organization on Thursday, May 27, at 4pm, during National Preservation Month. This year will feature an outstanding group of people and projects, including the extensive restoration of a Mid-Century Modern coastal gem, the rehabilitation of a support building at the beloved Hotel del Coronado, and the recognition of a long-time writer especially known for her work in La Jolla. Awards will include recognition for commercial and residential restoration and rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, cultural landscape, keepers of the flame, and more.

the Fort Rosecrans Post Exchange

SOHO is also celebrating the Fort Rosecrans Post Exchange. Here’s what they say:

The Fort Rosecrans Post Exchange, now more commonly referred to as Navy Building 158, is situated within the Fort Rosecrans Historic District and was constructed in1908 for use as a post exchange and gymnasium. Boasting a Georgian Revival architectural style, this large red brick building was recommended for remodeling many times, but these projects never happened, and the historic building has sat vacant for the last 20 years. In 2019, Shane Liberty of Barnhart-Reese Construction, Inc. was awarded the contract to carry out a massive adaptive reuse project that would showcase this important military structure and Point Loma’s development. Today, the Fort Rosecrans Post Exchange houses administrative offices and a training center, with a wonderfully intact historic exterior.

Chicano Park

Also being celebrated is the formation of Chicano Park:

The tale of the formation of Chicano Park, a National Historic Landmark, is one of San Diego’s most moving activist and preservation stories. Author Beatrice Zamora and illustrator Maira Meza set out to tell this important story and share the history of the development of Logan Heights and Barrio Logan in their bilingual children’s book The Spirit of Chicano Park / El espíritu del parque Chicano. This picture book is presented through the eyes of two children as they discover a park located under a bridge in their neighborhood and the pages are filled with vibrant illustrations representing the park and its colorful painted murals. This impactful historical fiction book demonstrates the power of activism and finding a voice, and features biographies and backgrounds of many of the leading community members, artists, musicians, and all types of activists who have cultivated this important historic park.

Centro Cultural de la Raza


On Park Boulevard across from Inspiration Point is the Centro Cultural de la Raza, a cultural community center, whose mission is to create, promote, preserve, and educate about Chicano, Mexican, Latino, and Indigenous art and culture. Amelia Enrique, president of Centro Cultural de la Raza, heads this essential community center now celebrating its 50th year. The center was founded in 1970 in Balboa Park, and today occupies a rehabilitated water tank with murals on the exterior by nine local artists. It has been transformed into a lively gathering place hosting rotating exhibits, music, dance and theater performances, and other events that promote an educational, celebrative, and collaborative community space. The center also has published exhibition catalogues, children’s books, and poetry, and has cultivated many distinguished and influential artists.

WorldBeat Cultural Center


Nearby you will find another concrete water tank that has been adaptively reused and converted into the vibrant and colorful home of non-profit multi-cultural arts organization, the WorldBeat Cultural Center. Founded in 1984 by Executive Director, Makeda (Dread) Cheatom, WorldBeat moved into the water tank in 1996. Covered inside and out with cultural murals, the center is dedicated to promoting, presenting and preserving the African Diaspora and Indigenous cultures of the world through music, art, dance, multi-media arts, and education, by offering programs and events, including art shows, poetry readings, musical performances and dancing, crafts, and exhibits, and the George Washington Carver EthnoBotany Peace Garden. WorldBeat is a vital community asset and important cultural resource for San Diego.

For the other celebrated people, go here.

SOHO’s People In Preservation Awards will be held on Thursday, May 27, at 4pm, as a virtual event.

Find the digital awards ceremony HERE and more information about SOHO, membership, its historic sites and museums, and historic preservation advocacy, and education programs at SOHOsandiego.org.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Richard May 22, 2021 at 7:23 am

Thanks You,
Pat and Susan James for all the good work you do in trying to preserve our community heritage.


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