Former Rohr Home in Point Loma Designated as Historic

by on May 3, 2023 · 0 comments

in History, Ocean Beach

At the March 2023 meeting of the City of San Diego Historical Resources Board, it designated three houses as historical resources, including one in Point Loma that was once lived in by Fred Rohr, founder of the Rohr Aircraft Company — a major San Diego employer during World War II.

Here is Save Our Heritage Organization‘s description of the site from its May/June newsletter:

555 San Fernando Street in the Peninsula Community is the Fred Rohr/Ralph L. Frank House, a two-story home with a basement built in 1940 in the Colonial Revival style.

It has two periods of significance,1940, when built, and from 1942 to 1965, when Rohr, a founder of the Rohr Aircraft Company, lived here.

It meets three HRB [Historical Resources Board] criteria for designation: B for association with a historically significant person, C for its architecture, and D for its master architect.

Under Criterion B, Fred Rohr lived in the house with his wife Shirley from 1942 until his death in 1965. Rohr Aircraft was a major employer and contributor to the war effort. Earlier, Rohr, who worked at Ryan Aeronautical Company while helping to build Charles Lindbergh’s plane, the Spirit of St. Louis.

Regarding Criterion C, the house continues to convey the Colonial Revival style by embodying such elements as an asymmetrical facade, medium-pitched gable roof, entry porch with slender square columns and a built-in bench, corniced eaves, shingle exterior with stone veneer, multi-light wood-framed double-hung windows, diamond pane leaded windows, and decorative shutters.

Master Architect Ralph L. Frank meets Criterion D. At the beginning of his career, Frank was known for his high-end Spanish style homes but he turned to more cost-effective Colonial Revival and Monterey designs during the Great Depression. By the height of his career, in the late 1930s through the ’40s, Frank developed a distinctive Colonial Revival style incorporating elements of the Monterey and Ranch styles.

The designation includes the cobblestone wall and fence on San Fernando Street, including the fence that wraps around to Owen Street; the granite site walls at the driveway; and the S-shaped stone site wall in the front yard. The designation excludes the home’s 2022 basement level enclosure.

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