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Images of the Pacific Rim

Chapter 6: 1920s: Eucalypts and Spanish Style architecture


How they revelled in the perfume of the eucalyptus and the boronias! How they chortled at the fine old gums away in the heart of the park, left wild, and so having a chance of showing what they can do when they’re free! And what an appropriate name for that Australian-made park—The Golden Gate! —George Taylor, ‘Art and architecture at the San Francisco exposition’, Building, 1915.1
~
The eucalyptus, as here employed, does not appear in its quality of ‘foreign missionary’, as an absorber of miasma, a healer of disease. It is used purely as an agent of decoration, to break the monotony of the view, which … is the greatest evil threatening the landscape gardener. —Gustav Stickley, ‘Nature and art in California’, The Craftsman, 1904.2
~

Once the Mission and Spanish notions had caught on, builders discovered what Herbert Croly had pointed out, that ‘Southern California is a country in which almost any kind of house is practical and almost any kind of plant will grow. —Carey McWilliams, Southern California country: An island on the land, 1946.3

~

Live on an adobe hill: It is a most enchanting spot. A red-tiled bungalow is built about a courtyard with cloisters and a fountain, while vines and flowers fill the air with the most delicious perfume of heliotrope, mignonette, and jasmine. Beyond the big living-room extends a terrace with boxes of deep and pale pink geraniums against a blue sea, that might be the Bay of Naples, except that Vesuvius is lacking. It is so lovely that after three years it still seems like a dream. We are only one short look from the Pacific Ocean, that ocean into whose mists the sun sets in flaming purple and gold, or the more soft tones of shimmering gray and shell-pink. We sit on our terrace feeling as if we were in a proscenium box on the edge of the world, and watch ever-varying splendor. —Julia M. Sloane, The smiling hilltop, 1919.4

In 1928, the Southern Californian embrace of Spanish Style architecture that had begun to take strong hold at the San Diego Panama–California Exposition in 1915 was in full swing. At the same time, the overlathered boosterism aimed at bringing people to the state to enjoy a sunny Californian lifestyle reached its most optimistic stride. By this time, more than a decade after the watershed expositions in San Francisco and San Diego, the stylistic elements denoted as ‘Spanish’ were applied democratically across the entire spectrum of building. The architects hired by Hollywood stars and rich eastern

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Rancho Santa Fe

Fig. 6.01 Rancho Santa Fe, advertisement, Touring Topics, July 1928. Permission of The Automobile Club of Southern California Archives. Photograph: courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

and Midwestern transplants to the state built sumptuous Mediterranean mansions and gardens for their clients, while the most humble of building contractors incorporated the same ornamentation and design touches in thousands of ‘model homes’ placed neatly— and quickly—on quarter-acre lots in housing developments throughout the region.

In that same year, Touring Topics, the official magazine of The Automobile Club of Southern California, included in their July issue a full-page advertisement for one of the latest prestigious housing communities, Rancho Santa Fe, then being constructed in northern San Diego County.5 The advertisement announced across the top of the page, ‘Why Rancho Santa Fe is a Tremendous Success’, and depicted a few of the buildings already constructed on the estate. ‘Even structures which serve the most utilitarian purposes are made to conform to the prevailing Spanish theme of architecture’, stated the caption under the picture of the pump-house on the so-called ‘Fairbanks–Pickford estate’.6 Another photo of a building for the project’s civic centre was described as ‘a good example of how commercial buildings are made both useful and artistic through the supervision of a qualified art jury at Rancho Santa Fe’. Obviously, this real estate promotion aimed to appeal to a privileged market, and especially to out-of-staters ready to move to California to enjoy a new lifestyle in the sun and in buildings that captured the romance of the state’s Spanish past.

As further enticement and to emphasise ‘the natural beauty of the setting’, the advertisement inserted yet another picturesque photograph, this time of a grove of full-grown eucalypts. Its caption is particularly revealing: ‘There are 2000 acres of eucalyptus trees at Rancho Santa Fe, forming many lovely home settings for Easterners who miss the woodland scenes of their home states.’ As a means of selling Rancho Santa Fe as a distinctly Californian place, the promoters merged eucalyptus trees with the site’s citrus orchards and promised architecturally designed Spanish Style homes and quaint commercial buildings to enhance the natural landscape.

This one page of advertising in a magazine promoting the liberating modernity of automobile tourism in the West highlights a number of issues relevant to the questions of aesthetic exchange between 1920s California and Australia. The pictorial and textual devices presented here relate directly to the construction of the image of California as embodying a new, modern and Edenic way of living that incorporated the outdoors as part of the living spaces. What makes the presentation in such

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a promotion of Rancho Santa Fe all the more fascinating is that the main motifs in this image-making—the eucalyptus tree and the Spanish Style home—originated somewhere else. How did this merging of two ‘introduced species’—one a tree from Australia, the other a hybridised house form harking back to Old Spain and Mexico—come to be seen as quintessentially Californian? What does this merging of architecture and nature say about the construction of a Pacific Rim aesthetic?

Finally, this page’s appearance in the culturally ambitious magazine of The Automobile Club of Southern California points to that other essential ingredient in the implementation of a modern Pacific lifestyle: the freedom of movement provided by the automobile as a desirable and integral aspect of life in the West. Artistic references in the club’s magazine Touring Topics (renamed Westways in 1934) understandably emphasised images of the automobile on the road, located within California’s unique natural landscape or parked in front of identifiably Californian scenes. Increasingly, those scenes displayed Spanish Style buildings and/or vegetation indicative of a Mediterranean climate. In these pages, the eucalypt became, along with other imported and native species, one of the iconic emblems of Californianness, a horticultural sign of difference in the West and an important part of the pictorial iconography associated with life on the American Pacific Rim. In this iconographic role, the tree also played a major part in the emergence of ornamental landscape design focused on the idea of California as a semi-tropical paradise.7

The exchange of plants between these two Pacific regions is the one area where the flow of exchange is most generously from Australia to California. Trees such as the California redwood and other North American plants did inevitably make it to Australia. The pine tree (pinus radiata) was introduced and widely planted throughout the country at about the same time as the eucalypt came to California.8 But no New World plant or tree was ever planted by Australians as enthusiastically as antipodean flora were adopted in California, nor were they widely used ornamentally as they were on the other side of the Pacific. While not by any means the only Australian plant to be successfully transplanted in Californian soil—the acacia, for one, was also widely planted in Southern California9—the eucalypt was by far the most dispersed tree originating in the Southern Hemisphere. By the 1860s, many species of this many-specied genus were planted around the world, touted as a ‘fever tree’ to combat malaria and admired for its phenomenally rapid growth. The most prolifically planted species in California, the Tasmanian Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus), can rightfully claim to be the ‘world’s most widely grown plantation tree’.10

The precise date of any eucalypt’s first arrival and propagation in California remains unclear, but most accounts assume that the first seeds came with the gold miners in the 1850s.11 Ian Tyrrell, in his book True gardens of the gods, pinpoints the genus’s introduction in California most accurately, stating that Dr Hans Hermann Behr (1818–1904), a student of the German geographer Alexander von Humboldt, brought eucalyptus seeds to the state ‘sometime before 1853’.12 Behr had spent three years in Australia in the 1840s, where he became a friend of Ferdinand von Mueller (1825–1896), the great scientist and champion of Australian plant-life and the central figure in the worldwide distribution of eucalypt species.13 Behr’s introduction, however, seems to have been limited to the scientific community; it did not involve widespread propagation of the tree.

The proliferation and dispersal of eucalyptus trees in the state occurred instead among the pioneer nurserymen of California, 1920s: Eucalypts and Spanish Style architecture 253 a fact commemorated in many articles by California horticulturalist H. M. Butterfield. Butterfield’s first article on the topic in 1935 appeared at an early enough date that some of those pioneer trees were still living and a few people remembered when they were planted.14 Butterfield credited William C. Walker of the Golden Gate Nursery in San Francisco with the first advertised sales of eucalyptus seed and seedlings in California. Walker advertised eucalypts for sale in the trade magazine The California farmer in 1857 and his Catalogue of the Golden Gate Nursery for 1858 to 1859 included six species, among them Eucalyptus globulus and ‘Iron Bark’, as available in his nursery.15

The nurseryman had received the seeds from M. Guilfoyle in Sydney. Michael Guilfoyle (d. 1884) was a nurseryman and landscape gardener who had emigrated to Sydney from England in 1853, and had introduced several Northern Hemisphere plants to Australia.16 Butterfield also mentioned the efforts of an Oakland nurseryman Stephen Nolan, whose nursery had been in operation since 1860. An 1871 catalogue by Nolan lists numerous varieties of gum tree costing as little as 25 cents a seedling. Such low prices indicate that by this time propagation of initial seeds had been so successful that numerous varieties and ample numbers of well-established trees made the plants less than rare at nurseries around San Francisco. As Butterfield and others make clear, by the mid-1860s eucalyptus were already growing everywhere throughout the Bay Area, often as windbreaks but also ornamentally in gardens. The author describes in his 1935 article ‘notable eucalyptus trees still growing in California’, some of them over 100 feet tall.17 Plantings on the campus of the newly founded University of California, carried out in 1870 by the university’s newly appointed Professor of Chemistry and Agriculture, Ezra Slocum Carr (1819–1894), would form the basis for the famous eucalyptus groves that still inhabit the campus and surrounding hills.

Hahn

Fig. 6.02 William Hahn, Horses grazing, Berkeley, 1875. Oil on canvas, 50.8 x 86.36 cm. California Historical Society Collections at the Autry National Center, Los Angeles, California.

That Carr, and most especially his wife, Jeanne C. Carr, would later play an important role in the horticultural development of Southern California speaks to the wide-open opportunities California provided in the nineteenth century for ambitious horticulturalists. They were working, in many ways, with a clean slate in terms of the aesthetic shaping of the state’s image as a gardener’s paradise.18

The initial reason for the popularity of the eucalypt in California was a functional one: the state was deficient in usable trees for firewood, timber and windbreaks.19 Californians were rightfully proud of their Giant Trees, the redwoods and sequoias already touted internationally as the world’s largest trees and used as a symbol of the state since the 1850s. (As early as the 1860s, as Tim Bonyhady points out in his book The colonial earth, fierce competition for visual evidence about who could claim the world’s tallest tree led to a new photographic genre pitting images of the redwood against those of Gippsland’s giant eucalypts.20) But great supplies of other timber-producing species did not exist in the semi-arid regions of the state where most people were settling. In 1874, Professor Carr at Berkeley explained the necessity for this Australian import on such grounds:

Happily for us, Australia has given us trees, of marvellous strength, durability, and rapidity of growth, in the eucalyptus or sweet gum family, of which not less than thirty-five useful and ornamental species are now acclimated. Trees are indispensable to break the force of the northers, those destructive winds which are the dread of farmers in the Great Valley.21
Such practical arguments explain the alacrity with which the acclimatisation of introduced plants, and especially trees, became a valid 254 Images of the Pacific Rim pursuit in the late nineteenth century in Australia as well as in California. Sometimes called assimilation or naturalisation, acclimatisation was seen as the solution to California’s lack of wooded vegetation. In Australia at the same time, acclimatisation societies were just as assiduously introducing all the plant species of the Old World, considered by settlers an essential step in making the country appear more like the home culture of England and therefore habitable. In this colonial attitude, Australian trees, of which eucalyptus species provided the overwhelming majority, appeared as too strangely shaped and coloured to be anything but alien to the early colonists. The aesthetic aversion to the gum tree by Australia’s early settlers, then, grew out of its ‘foreign’ appearance to English eyes seeking to establish a Western culture in an unusual landscape. As Bonyhady writes of the early colonists’ reactions to eucalypts, ‘[f]ar from delighting in their difference, colonists and visitors judged them against an English standard and found them wanting in ever more extravagant terms’.22

To early Anglo settlers in California, the barren hills of the region were just as alienating. These settlers were as driven to vegetate the landscape as the Australians were to making their places appear horticulturally familiar. In many ways, this urge to vegetate was driven by aesthetic sentiments. Californians needed to introduce tree species that would grow quickly in its semi-tropical climate. In that context, the eucalypt was no more foreign than any of the other trees that could be introduced— in fact, less so, because it originated in a climate very similar to California’s. ‘Exotic’ plants from around the world began to appear both in California and Australia as essential to creating a cultivated environment in which English-speaking peoples would feel comfortable. Out of these efforts on both sides of the Pacific grew the most prolific and systematic exchange of plants between the two coastal regions that shared a similar climate and was to be similarly populated by Anglophones.

While those carrying out such efforts may not have been aware of it, the practical results of this exchange were steeped from the beginning in symbolic import and iconographic significance. Botanical elements, whether as part of the planted landscape or in artistic renderings, became crucial aspects of the regions’ efforts to establish appropriate cultural identities. In this process, aesthetic considerations were as important to the early champions of the eucalypt in California as were economic necessities. The tree’s ornamental possibilities in the landscape were considered from the beginnings of its exportation to the American West Coast, while colonial Australian attitudes about the eucalypt’s unusual appearance initially prevented much of a decorative attachment to their most prevalent floral genus.23

The 1870s represented the great ‘Eucalyptus boom’ in California, when the first mass plantings occurred throughout the state.24 Two figures were especially important to this early eucalyptus craze. Both were imbued with an American spirit of enterprise and believed that one’s horticultural environment could provide moral and aesthetic uplift. The first such pioneer was Ellwood Cooper (1829–1918), a successful businessman and ‘gentleman farmer’ who arrived in Santa Barbara in June 1870, enchanted by its ‘beautiful air’.25 Cooper purchased about 2000 acres from W. W. Hollister’s Rancho Dos Pueblos near Goleta to the north of the city; he called it Ellwood Ranch.26 Charmed by his salubrious surroundings, Cooper wrote of the ranch in his autobiography: ‘Nature had in this view presented us with the most beautiful place that ever was created.’27

In an attempt to establish a profitable agricultural enterprise on the property, Cooper introduced olives, creating the first olive oil 1920s: Eucalypts and Spanish Style architecture 255 industry in the state; later, he also raised English walnuts, sultanas and many other crops. But the gum tree already fascinated him:
To return to forest planting, I had in a voyage from the West Indies, made the acquaintance of Thomas Adamson, Jr … who played an important part in the eucalyptus industry. In my voyaging in San Francisco, I had seen in two house gardens, two blue gums; these plants had wonderfully interested me; the symmetrical growth, the silver blue leaf. I had never seen such a beautiful plant.28
His interest, then, was as much an aesthetic one as a commercial consideration.

After contacting his acquaintance Mr Adamson, who was then American Consul in Melbourne, Cooper corresponded with the acknowledged eucalypt authority, Ferdinand von Mueller, to learn all he could about the propagation of the tree. Out of this contact, Cooper wrote in 1875 his Forest culture and eucalyptus trees, based almost entirely on Mueller’s personal research notes. While later accounts often consider the work one of the greatest acts of plagiarism in publishing history, Cooper’s own account gave Mueller full credit with the following explanation:
I was written that the Baron had delivered lectures on the eucalyptus, which had been printed, but that the only copies to be had were those in his possession; all the others were sent to London to the government, but that the Baron would let me have his copies, if I would have them published and send him fifty bound copies. I published the volume, ‘Forest Culture and Eucalyptus Trees’, in 1875. This circumstance created great friendship between myself and the Baron, with whom I corresponded for more than thirty-five years, until his death.29
Cooper’s greatest achievement in terms of the aestheticising of the landscape in California lay in the fact that he planted some 50,000 trees of 70 species of eucalypts on his own property, forever changing the appearance of Santa Barbara County (see Fig. 6.03 on page 256). He remained a champion of the tree against all manner of critics (of which there were many, of every ideological persuasion, from the first plantings), declaring at the end of his autobiography that ‘the future will prove that the family of the eucalyptus is the most important known to civilization’.30 Cooper held offices on the California Horticultural Board and other state authorities into the early twentieth century, positions in which his views on eucalypts contributed to its widescale adoption as a forest as well as urban planting throughout the state. Most significantly, Cooper had also at this early date considered the Tasmanian Blue Gum—the species most commonly planted—to be ‘a beautiful plant’, appropriate along with other introduced Australian plants for ornamental gardens.

One of the other prominent figures in the early adaptation of eucalypts to Californian conditions was another energetic, independently wealthy Easterner who had come out to California for his health, Abbot Kinney (1850–1920). Kinney (who had made a fortune in tobacco) settled first in Sierra Madre in the San Gabriel Valley near Pasadena, on an estate he called Kinneyloa, where he set up citrus groves and sultana vines. He immediately became involved in civic affairs of all sorts, from committees to establish a Free Library in Pasadena to agricultural irrigation societies. In 1884, he married the daughter of the Supreme Court Justice of the state, a circumstance that brought him powerful political connections. By the end of the 1880s, he had become a prominent landowner, real estate developer, roadmaster of Santa Monica, Chairman of the State Board of Forestry and President of Los Angeles’s Forestry and Water Society.

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In these last two roles, Kinney involved himself in myriad agricultural activities and became acquainted with nurserymen, plant specialists and forestry experts throughout the world. In letters to the pioneering conservationist and photographer Theodore Lukens (1848–1918), also living in Pasadena, Kinney indicated that he was already carrying out seed exchange with Australian correspondents.31 Kinney had visited Australia during a world tour in the 1870s. Some sources maintain that he had planned to settle there, but apparently found it not to his liking.32 During his tour of the Blue Mountains, he had been less than impressed with the look of the eucalypt in its native habitat. His comments, published in his 1895 book Eucalyptus, decry the tree’s ‘scrawny’ appearance, in Australian forests that are ‘monotonous and depressing’.33 As Tyrrell comments, ‘[c]learly, Kinney was not concerned with foisting an “Australian” aesthetic on the California landscape’.34

Once involved with real estate development in Southern California, and having perhaps seen how quickly and lushly the groves of eucalypts already planted in Santa Monica had grown, Kinney became a champion of the gum tree for commercial and ornamental purposes.35 In his position as land developer, Kinney now laid out eucalypts en masse and encouraged others to plant them as a means of making the California landscape more garden-like.36 At the State Forestry Station that he arranged to have established in Santa Monica, Kinney experimented, in association with plant expert Alfred McClatchie (1861– 1906), with several varieties of eucalyptus trees, all with the purpose of vegetating the

Eucalypts

Fig. 6.03 Eucalyptus grove, 30 years growth, Cooper’s Santa Barbara. Photograph. C. C. Pierce Collection. Courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

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semi-arid Los Angeles plain with trees that would make home gardens and the streets of new neighbourhoods more attractive.37 His book Eucalyptus appeared as a mixture of self-promotion, facts about how to raise the tree and polemic about the health-giving and aesthetic properties of ‘harmonious planting’.38 The illustrations Kinney included in the book also present the trees as beautiful specimens, in photographs both of the tree in situ and of floral elements arranged as they would be in botanical illustrations.

At this same time, and with similar ambitions for aesthetic improvement, Kinney also began his most prodigious project, the construction on the Santa Monica beachfront of the community of Venice, complete with canals, gondolas and amusements intended to enrich the lives of Angelenos hungry for culture and spectacle. Not surprisingly, Kinney also saw to it that eucalyptus trees were planted along Venice’s streets and near its residences. Advertised as ‘the most unique and artistic pleasure resort and city of seaside homes in the known world’39, Kinney’s fantastical community opened its doors in 1905. By this time, the ubiquitous appearance of gum trees throughout the Southern California region— whether in groves acting as windbreaks, as allees inviting promenades or as single ornamental trees in bungalow gardens—caused many people to believe they had always been there (see Fig. 3.19 on page 136). The naturalisation and ornamentalising of the eucalypt in California was well established by the beginning of the twentieth century.

Cooper and Kinney were carrying out their extensive eucalyptus plantings, as well as their most zealous campaigns to use these trees to enhance the landscape, in Southern California. In this part of the state, the most enthusiastic use of the tree as an ornamental element in the construction of the visual image of California began to take shape.

Neuhaus

Fig. 6.05 Karl Eugene Neuhaus, Lone sentinel, c. 1910. Oil on canvas, 40.6 x 61 cm.  Collection of the Hearst Art Gallery, St Mary’s College of California College purchase, Moraga, California.

The landscape and garden design in San Francisco and northern California in general do, of course, figure greatly in this aestheticising process from the earliest days of the tree’s arrival, and artists in turn-of-the-century San Francisco and in artists’ colonies such as Carmel did incorporate the tree into their paintings and prints. But the shift of focus to the south, both in terms of population growth and the subsequent formulation

Gum tree flowers

Fig. 6.04 Gum tree flowers, illustration in Kinney, Eucalyptus, 1895, pl. 121. Courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.





















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of the visual symbols of the modern Pacific, depends more directly on the transformation of Southern California’s physical appearance through the planting of introduced species such as the pepper tree and palms from South America and Mexico, and eucalypt, acacia, palms and fig trees from Australia.

Just as it had in the north, debate surrounds the eucalypt’s first appearance in the area. Since Anglo settlement in Southern California did not gain much momentum until the late 1860s, it is not surprising that the tree arrived only at this time. Some current scholarship attributes the first plantings to Albert Workman, an Australian who worked as the Superintendent of a ranch owned by pioneers Isaac B. Lankershim and Isaac N. Van Nuys in present-day Canoga Park in the San Fernando Valley.40 In about 1869, Workman bought the ranch, built a large house and surrounded it with eucalyptus trees he had sent from Australia. The stumps of these original trees, along with a few descendants, still remain in Shadow Ranch Park, Canoga Park. Other sources maintain that the famous trapper-cum-ranchero William Wolfskill (1798–1866), instrumental in founding California’s citrus industry, obtained eucalyptus seeds from ‘a friend in Australia’ in 1864 and planted them on the ranch he had purchased from ‘Lucky’ Baldwin (today’s Los Angeles Arboretum) in present-day Arcadia.41

In any case, eucalyptus trees were already a pervasive part of the Los Angeles landscape by the mid-1870s. Santa Monica planted their first street stands in 1876. A huge tract, some 190,000 trees, initiated by The Forest Grove Association with leading citizen Judge Robert Widney (1838–1929) as President, took over several acres near the railroad lines in Anaheim in 1875.42 When the Austrian aristocrat and early conservationist Ludwig Salvator (1847–1915) visited the city in 1877, he found gum trees, along with South American pepper trees, flourishing throughout the region. In his wonderfully descriptive book, Eine Blume aus dem goldenen Lande oder Los Angeles (1878) (published in English as Los Angeles in the sunny seventies: A flower from the golden land in 1929), he wrote with some bemusement that Eucalyptus globulus, as well as the pepper tree, were planted mainly as ornamental trees next to houses—as ‘ein Zierbaum’—rather than for commercial use.43 He also noted that the mass plantings cultivated by Widney and others had begun to produce timber, remarking on the astonishing rapidity of their growth, with some trees as tall as 12 feet after only a year in the ground.44

Land of Sunshine

Fig. 6.06 Cover, The Land of Sunshine, vol. xv, no. 1, July 1901. Courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

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By the 1880s, as one can see in the illustrations of the period, the eucalypt species was already occupying an important place in the image of California that new Anglo settlers were creating. By the turn of the century, the natural forms of the gum tree were already an established part of the illustrative iconography of the state. Charles Lummis, that inveterate booster of the idea of a Hispanic south-west, included a gumnut in the cover design for his magazine, Land of Sunshine. Soon ornamental elements of the gum tree began to appear as vignettes and borders in Sunset and other Western magazines.

The March 1903 issue of Sunset magazine is particularly telling about this process of botanical iconicising and the ideological ends to which such emblems could be used. The colour cover is by San Francisco artist Ernest Peixotto—the same Peixotto who met with Alfred Deakin at the San Francisco Fair in 1915 (see Chapter 5, page 235). Here he depicts a woman picking poppies—a cherished emblem of native botanical California—in a field of stylised flowers and in the background the other native plant symbol, stylised live oaks. The lead story of the issue is an article, also by Peixotto, entitled ‘Italy’s message to California’, with the following assertion:
The American has not as yet the art of making his home nor his land picturesque—of planning the unexpected, the accidental. California has been endowed with a climate as faultless as any on earth and with every beauty that nature can bestow, yet the American as yet has done little to enhance her attractiveness. I say ‘the American’ advisedly for before his rule there was another civilization that has left here and there a legacy which we should jealously guard … Let us in future build strongly and solidly and in a manner appropriate to our climate so that future generations may inherit something from us … something that can be imbued with the charm of by-gone days—and then will California possess the one thing now necessary to complete her loveliness: the refinement of landscape that comes only after long cultivation.45
Sunset

Fig. 6.07 Oakland, advertisement, Sunset, vol. 11, no. 4, August 1903, n.p. Courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

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Only a few pages after Peixotto’s romantic plea for recognition of California’s Hispanic past, a ‘Study of eucalyptus leaves, and seed pods by Blanche Letcher’ appeared as a vignette to accompany a poem, ‘The Wide, Free West’ by James Cooney, written in a cowboy-style ‘regional’ dialect.

An advertisement in a later Sunset issue of the same year offered equally intriguing juxtapositions of botanical forms. A promotion for ‘Oakland, The City of Opportunity’ includes a photograph of a eucalypt growing picturesquely beside the ‘natural salt lake’ of Lake Merritt. This photograph is surrounded by stylised silhouettes of what appear to be more gum trees, rather than oaks as the town’s name would imply (see Fig. 6.07 on page 259).46 The eucalypt’s forms, then, were already joining the pictorial repertoire meant to connote a particular vision of California and the West as offering a ‘natural’, healthy, lifestyle in America.

The illustrative mode used in these Sunset illustrations complied with the aesthetic preferences of the day, which preferred an Arts & Crafts-inspired decorativeness for which the eucalypt’s sinuous forms were especially suited. This sinuousness may be part of the reason the gum tree’s elements became such a favoured source for magazine illustrations and border ornamentation; the forms set the aesthetic tone that Sunset and other Western magazines of the period were trying to establish. The 1904 volume of the magazine included several poems and images praising the tree and its flowers, and a poem with a drawing by James Crisp in the September 1905 issue spoke of ‘their noble graceful forms … Wherein one reads a royal lineage.’47 This same issue included an article on ‘Seeking trade across the Pacific’ by Arthur I. Street, which proclaimed:

The American people are beginning to discover that the Golden Gate is the front door to the Orient … For, the Orient is not China alone … It is New Zealand and Australia with their continental area, their rapidly expanding business conditions, and their assuring future potentialities.48
The magazine’s promotion of California’s affinity to the lands bordering the Pacific Ocean gained subtle visual confirmation through the incorporation of Australian plants into its decorative arsenal. Illustrations in Sunset became more profuse and more graphically coherent with each issue.

letcher

Fig. 6.08 Blanche Letcher, illustration for Caroline Lange, ‘The eucalyptus flower’, Sunset, vol. xii, no. 6, April 1904, p. 524. Courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

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As for the tree’s actual appearance in the California landscape, its widespread dispersal throughout the state not only met a commercial or agricultural need. Several species had always been considered as aesthetically attractive and appropriate for transforming barren hills and dust patches into a gardening paradise. The tree’s use as an ornamental plant—as one that could contribute to Southern California’s development as ‘America’s Mediterranean’ or ‘Our Italy’, as writers began in the 1890s to call it—depended on several nurserymen, instrumental in nurturing its place, along with other exotic species, in the region’s image as a semi-tropical garden.49

One of these nurserymen was an aristocratic Italian émigré named E. O. Fenzi (1843– 1924), known in America as Dr F. Franceschi. Franceschi arrived in Santa Barbara in 1893, having already spent many years in plant cultivation and horticultural improvement in Italy. He established, initially in partnership with the landscape architect and artist Charles Frederick Eaton (1842–1932), a nursery on Santa Barbara’s Riviera, where he became a consummate champion of introduced species. He wrote that he had chosen Southern California for the purpose of introducing new plants because the climate would allow the greatest number of botanical specimens from around the world to thrive there.50 At the same time, he founded The Southern California Acclimatizing Association and carried out voluminous correspondence with other nurserymen in many countries, always seeking new species that would enhance the landscape of salubrious Santa Barbara. In his acclimatising efforts, Franceschi also collected seeds of Californian native plants to use in exchange.

Franceschi's house

Fig. 6.09 Franceschi’s house, Montarosio, Santa Barbara, California, c. 1901. Courtesy of Santa Barbara Historical Society, Santa Barbara, California.

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In 1895, Franceschi published an extraordinary little book, Santa Barbara exotic flora: A handbook of plants from foreign countries grown at Santa Barbara, California, in which he identified individual examples of introduced species in the town, pinpointing as closely as he could the persons responsible for a plant’s introduction. He stated, for example, with characteristic certainty, that ‘[t]he introduction of the Ahuacate or Alligator pear (Persea gratissima) is due to the late Judge Ord, who brought a few plants from Mexico about 1870’.51 In the section on fine specimens of exotic trees, he wrote, ‘Of the strange looking Casuarina quadrivalvis, the so-called she oak of East Australia, there are a few remarkable specimens in town, and a perhaps larger one at Mr. J. Sexton’s, at Goleta.’52 As the editors of the Franceschi Papers state, ‘Dr Francheschi [sic] managed to a large degree to popularize in California the cultivation of avocados, bamboo, figs, the large Japanese persimmon, palm trees, a ground cover named Lippia repens, some roses, cypress, asparagus and acacia.’53

A substantial part of Franceschi’s plant inventory, and consequently the focus of much of his correspondence, dealt with Australian native plants. His papers at the Bancroft Library contain several letters to Australian botanists and plant men, including J. H. Maiden at the Sydney Botanical Gardens, Phillip MacMahon at the Brisbane Botanical Gardens and David McAuliffe in Greenridge, New South Wales.54 He was also well-acquainted with Santa Barbara’s own Ellwood Cooper and acknowledged the significance of the varied species of eucalyptus that he had planted on his ranch some 20 years earlier. ‘Besides the Gums, and within the same period of about 30 years’, Franceschi wrote, ‘Australia has been supplying to our gardens the bulk of evergreen trees’.55 He was especially partial to palms, of which he requested seeds from MacMahon at the Brisbane Botanical Gardens.56

During his 20 years in Santa Barbara, Franceschi worked tirelessly on his mission to create a beautiful Mediterranean environment in the region. His efforts were always determined by an aesthetic purpose in which plants served as a source of ornamental value and visual pleasure. As the California botanist David Fairchild wrote in 1938 about Franceschi, it was not always easy to convince others of his vision:

Santa Barbara in 1898 was but a simple, small town. Residents of the beautiful hillside villas today would not credit their eyes could they visualize the bare, sparsely settled roads where I drove with Dr Franceschi … Santa Barbara was so undeveloped that I considered him visionary and over-optimistic. However, he foresaw the future more clearly than I, and lived to see Santa Barbara become a great winter resort containing hundreds of beautiful villas like those on the Riviera.57
In his pursuit of new plants and in his efforts to persuade others of his vision for the horticutural appearance of Santa Barbara, Franceschi had little financial success. In order to continue in his efforts, he often took up landscaping and garden maintenance jobs—a situation that allowed him at times to introduce his Mediterranean aesthetic into the gardens then just being established by the wealthy in nearby Montecito and on the Riviera.58 Most notably, Franceschi had a considerable hand in the landscape design of Charles Eaton’s estate, Riso Rivo in Montecito, the site that so entranced Gustav Stickley when he visited in 1904.59

An Italian, then, contributed practically to the garden style that became so much a part of the Southern California aesthetic—the verdant, lushly floral image associated with a Pacific landscape. That he carried out his efforts in Santa Barbara—that California ‘dream materialized’, as Kevin Starr calls it—makes Franceschi’s contribution all the more central to the transformation of Southern California’s botanical image.60 A substantial number of the Australian trees and plants now so visually embedded in the Santa Barbara landscape are descendants of Franceschi’s original plantings. His contribution to the Mediterranean aesthetic that Santa Barbara still nurtures remains strikingly apparent today at the site of his nursery and home on Mission Ridge, now christened Franceschi Park on the city’s Riviera.61

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The other emigrant nurseryman to Southern California who helped to transform and shape the region’s horticultural landscape provides an even more intriguing relationship to the iconic naturalisation of the eucalypt in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Theodore Payne (1872–1963) was an Englishman who came to California in 1893, ‘having passed his 21st birthday at the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition that year’.62 He was already a well-trained plantsman and a great seed collector. He became throughout his long life one of the foremost advocates for California native plants, especially wildflowers. His life encompassed the period of Southern California’s horticultural transformation, a transformation in which he actively participated.

Payne worked first as the gardener at Arden, the extraordinary utopian colony that the Polish actress Helena Modjeska (1840– 1909) established in what was then the wilderness of Santiago Canyon in Orange County.63 During this time and into the early 1900s, Payne tramped around Southern California, collecting seeds and learning about the flora of the natural landscape. He went to Santa Barbara in 1896 and became lifelong friends with Dr Franceschi. Soon he opened his own seed store on Main Street in downtown Los Angeles, where he remained until the 1930s; he then continued his business at a larger location on Los Feliz Boulevard, near Griffith Park. As the landscape architect Ralph Cornell (1890–1972), who knew him for over 50 years, noted, ‘he was basically a plants man—fundamentally, totally, his one love, his one interest’.64 As early as 1932, Payne envisioned a foundation for the protection and promotion of native Californian wildflowers and plants. In response to a prospectus he mailed out to potential donors to this cause, the Superintendent of Los Angeles schools wrote to him:

All lovers of California’s native flora look to you, as for many years past, as one of its chief leaders in the appreciation and protection of this heritage of natural beauty and charm. You have devoted many of the best years of your life unselfishly, and have fought against many discouraging conditions, in an effort to get Californians to appreciate their own flora, and to take steps, before too late, to protect it for future generations.65
Payne’s single-minded efforts for regionally appropriate planting make it particularly noteworthy to discover that in the early part of the twentieth century he was entirely wrapped up in the most excited speculative eucalyptus boom in California. This boom hit its stride in 1904, when the United States Government began to issue doomsday statements about the demise of American native hardwood forests. The wholesale planting of enormous tracts of eucalypts, in which scores of people invested, reached a peak in 1910. By 1915, when it became apparent that the extravagant claims about the tree’s immediate commercial potential were largely unfounded, the economic component of the boom bottomed out entirely.66

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At its height, the entrepreneurial frenzy it engendered was comparable to the tulip speculations in seventeenth-century Holland.67 Investment companies sprang up everywhere in the state. People as well-known as the writer Jack London invested enormous amounts of capital and land in planting trees. In 1911, London wrote to a friend H. H. Champion in Melbourne, ‘I have now 50,000 eucalyptus trees growing’ on his property near San Jose, California.68 The railroad companies, as well as the federal agencies, planted vast tracts of eucalyptus forests to supply timber for railroad ties and other industrial uses. Brochures and illustrated pamphlets, in which the trees were often referred to as ‘California’s Mahogany’ gushed about the riches that would come to those that invested in these rapidly growing trees.

Mahogany

Fig. 6.10 ‘Eucalyptus: California’s Mahogany’ brochure. Courtesy of Theodore Payne Foundation, Sunland, California.

As a nurseryman trying to make a living in Los Angeles at this time, Theodore Payne would have naturally been in the thick of the eucalypt craze. As he wrote in his memoirs, he was already an avid collector of seeds of all the Australian plants then growing everywhere in the region.69 By 1910, Payne had become one of the main providers of eucalypt seed for the companies and concerns established to plant the forest tracts, as well as for those who wanted trees for ornamental planting. ‘My seed store at 345 S. Main Street soon became a sort of clearing house for eucalyptus seed and plants’, he wrote in his memoirs.70 In a flyer he produced in 1910, he wrote, ‘I am headquarters for eucalyptus seeds, having the most extensive trade in this line of any firm in the United States, and supplying the largest planters here as well as exporting to many foreign countries.’71 The flyer included photographs by Theodore Lukens, showing Payne and others gathering eucalyptus seeds. Ralph Cornell wrote that Payne was a master at collecting seeds by placing tarpaulins under the stands of trees that were already planted and had grown to enormous size along the roads. He also scoured the back roads of the region and took seeds from trees going to be cut down.72

Payne also began to take photographs of the many species of eucalyptus trees and blossoms, which he kept in an album; he even copyrighted some of his own photographs. He provided hundreds of pounds of seeds to German and French companies and was proud that the trees that Franceschi’s daughter had introduced to Libya derived from his seeds.73 Payne appears also to have been the main supplier of eucalypt seed and seedlings for the Santa Fe Railway in 1910, when the company, as a means to have a quick and lasting supply of railroad ties, established acres of groves of trees in an area just north of San Diego.74 Once it became apparent that the wood from these trees would not work commercially for the railroad, the trees already planted on those 2000 acres were simply left to grow, creating thick stands of vegetation where none had been before.

Payne’s involvement with the eucalypt did not end once the commercial frenzy for eucalypts died down, at about the time World War I began. The nurseryman’s continued admiration for this introduced species, even as he promoted the appropriateness of native Californian plants for gardening purposes, proclaims more than any other fact the gum tree’s special place in the landscape of twentieth-century California. In the 1920s, at which time the tree re-established its earlier reputation in California as an ornamental planting,75 Payne proudly laid out a eucalyptus arboretum of some 69 species in Ojai for Mr and Mrs Charles M. Pratt, a Standard Oil executive and his wife. The arboretum was established in a canyon behind the Pratt’s summer home, which the architects Greene & Greene had already built for them in 1911.76 (The Greenes themselves had already demonstrated their own aesthetic preference for the gum tree, in their plans for the gardens of the Gamble House and the Irwin House [see Fig. 4.12 on page 171]). Certainly Payne’s intentions here, as in other landscaping projects he had around Los Angeles, were based on his aesthetic interest in the eucalypt.

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To the end of his life, by which time the tree’s many defects as an ornamental plant were widely acknowledged and often condemned, Payne wrote admiringly of the tree’s appropriateness for the California garden and streetscape. In 1956, in a letter to Cal Tech biologist F. W. Went, he stated:

I think without any doubt the Eucalyptus is the most remarkable tree in the world … though these trees are native to just one corner of the world … they have been taken to portions of five continents and wherever they have been introduced, have in a few years completely transformed the landscape.77
Obviously Payne, who so loved the native vegetation of the state, considered the tree so naturalised that he had incorporated its appearance and ornamental possibilities in the landscape into his own horticultural sense of California.

payne

Fig. 6.11 T. P. Lukens, Theodore Payne and men gathering eucalyptus seeds, in eucalyptus brochure, Los Angeles, c. 1905. Courtesy of Theodore Payne Foundation, Sunland, California.

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Payne was not the only one who considered the eucalypt as a desirable element, as an aesthetic enhancer of California’s hills and semi-arid plains. As those early illustrations and vignettes in Sunset and elsewhere make clear, the iconographic construction of California had already begun to incorporate the forms of the gum tree into its visual repertoire in the early years of the twentieth century. Even John Muir considered the gum tree appropriate enough to choose its image on a card he sent to Theodore Lukens in 1911.

Muir's letter cover

Muir's letter

6.12 Text for Muir to Luckens letter  (see Fig. 6.12 on page 219).

By the time of California’s grand exhibition year of 1915, the investment frenzy surrounding the tree had waned, but its widespread presence on the land meant that artists and designers could not ignore it as one of the recognisable visual emblems meant to represent the state’s attributes.

These symbolic motifs coalesced around the international fairs that presented California and the American West to the world. As living representations of California, the trees, both in the ground and on the page in all the promotional material, were everywhere at both fairs, where grand landscaping schemes played a major role in the propaganda for the region.78 John McLaren (1846–1943), the formidable Scotsman who had already been Superintendent of Golden Gate Park for 30 years at the time of the fair (and would continue to be in charge for another 20 years), directed all of the landscaping for San Francisco’s Panama–Pacific International Exposition. This project was a massive undertaking that in the end involved the transplanting of many full-grown trees, careful propagation that began four years before the fair opened and close work with the architects and artists to coordinate floral colour and form.

unloading

Fig. 6.13 Unloading and setting eucalyptus 1914. Photograph. San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, California.

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As chroniclers of the exposition would write of McLaren and his accomplishment, ‘[h]e, with his wide experience and uncaring energy, created the garden setting, which ties all the buildings into a natural harmony’.79 ‘Hardly ever have trees, shrubs, and flowers been used in such profusion in an Exposition’, the authors continued; ‘the stony look of many former expositions is not evident at San Francisco’.80 Louis Christian Mullgardt, another of the fair’s architects and an official voice, described McLaren as a ‘Landscape Engineer’ and effusively praised his achievement as ‘the most colossal system of successful transplanting ever undertaken in the history of the world’.81 In an event obsessed with symbolic intention, where every building, ornament and artwork ‘strained for significance’,82 the fair’s landscaping was an integral part of the allegorical presentation and McLaren received full credit for the horticultural effects he created.

Australian plants were central to McLaren’s ambitious plan at the San Francisco exhibition. Since becoming Superintendent of Golden Gate Park in the 1880s, the Scotsman, like so many other Californian horticulturalists, corresponded regularly with and exchanged seeds with Australian nurserymen and botanists, and he made lists of all the plants he had introduced from Australia to the park. Some of his grandest design statements at the exhibition involved the ornamental use of several species of gum trees. Since McLaren had already planted many of these in Golden Gate Park over the years—in his own book, Gardening in California (1909), he described the eucalypt as ‘one of the most useful of our introduced exotics’—he already had grown long-established stands of trees that could enhance the exhibition’s setting.83 One need only look at photographs of San Francisco’s Midwinter International Exposition of 1894 to see how well-established were eucalypts as an ornamental tree even at that date.

The trees figured prominently in almost all of the images in promotional literature and advertising that appeared before and during the exposition. They were rendered decoratively at the edges of program covers; they appeared in the foreground of photographs that looked down onto the fairgrounds; and presented as if they were a natural part of the environment in the paintings and other artworks displayed at the exhibition as ‘Californian art’. The stylised illustrations of brochures and posters

PPIE

Fig. 6.14 Official photograph of panorama of the Panama–Pacific international exposition, San Francisco, California, 1915. In: Mullgardt, The architecture and landscape gardening of the exposition, San Francisco, 1915, p. 15.

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began to use the picturesque sinuousness of the tree’s leaves and branches in the emblematic template that would become so familiar in later renditions of the California eucalypt, while painters depicted the trees in romantic pictorialist landscapes. The florid prose that flowed from the overwrought pens of the exposition’s authors also included paeans to the plants’ decorative effects. In the deluxe version of the book about the ‘palaces and courts’ of the exposition, Mrs Juliet H. James’s ode to the fair’s designer Jules Guerin (1866–1946) and his colour effects included the line, ‘And the blue eucalypti against the walls will lend their voices, the yellow acacias will add their cadences’, as complementing and enhancing the ‘pastel city by the sea’.84

Australian visitors to the San Francisco event could not help but be struck by the appearance of their native tree, along with so many other Australian plants, in this garden setting. As the quotation at the beginning of this chapter makes clear, Building’s editor George Taylor was among those most impressed with the eucalypt’s appearance in the great San Francisco park. When he visited the construction of the exposition in 1914, he wrote with amazement about what would greet an Australian attending the fair:
They will hardly forget Golden Gate, because of its lively drives and music park, with its closelycropped trees, under which the people can sit and enjoy the music; and most of all, because almost every tree, every shrub, every plant there is Australian!85
Hill

Fig. 6.15 ‘The ’Frisco Exhibition, 1915. The View from the Hill, Framed in Australian Gumtrees,’ in Building, 12 April 1915, p. 70.

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Taylor returned frequently in later issues of Building to the phenomenon of the ornamental use of gum trees in the American landscape. A photograph of A tree–lined road in San Francisco, probably taken by Taylor himself on his 1914 trip to the state, includes the caption, ‘One has to travel far from Australia to find how gum trees are appreciated for street decoration and shade purposes.’86 Even to an Australian, the eucalypt in California began to appear as if it were a natural part—or at least an appropriately naturalised part—of the region.

That same horticultural aesthetic was also gaining ground in the southern part of the state, as the San Diegans organised their own exposition in honour of the completion of the Panama Canal. Just as Taylor and others were struck in San Francisco by the beauty of ‘their’ plants as they grew on the other Pacific coast, Australians who visited San Diego were amazed at the plethora of their native species adorning the grounds of this more regionally focused exhibition. The site of the Panama– California Exposition in the newly anointed Balboa Park (formerly City Park) experienced an even more dramatic and rapid transformation through the planting of eucalypts and other introduced trees and plants than had been the case at the more well-established Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

Some gums had been planted at the edges of the park as early as 1892, but the site immediately to the north of downtown San Diego was still essentially scrub-brush hills in 1904. In that year, spurred on by efforts of the city’s remarkable horticulturalist Kate Sessions (1857–1940) and as part of state-wide Arbor Day ceremonies, some groups of young gum trees were planted throughout the undeveloped parts of the parkland.87 As San Diego historian Richard W. Amero writes about Sessions and Balboa Park:
… [s]he planted herself or directed the planting of Monterey Cypress, Torrey pines, eucalyptus, pepper, palm, rubber, cork and camphor trees primarily in the northwest section of the park, which, like her nursery, began to look more like a botanical garden than a park.88
The decision by the city fathers to hold the exhibition on this site in 1915 occurred in 1910, at which time further plantings augmented the eucalypt stands already there. By the time of the fair, with its prominent focus on Spanish Colonial and south-western architecture, the trees had already begun the metamorphosis of the sparsely vegetated land given over to the fairgrounds into an ornamentally forested site, although tremendous landscaping work still lay ahead. As the exposition chronicler Eugen Neuhaus wrote about the San Diego site in 1916:
Only three years ago the paradise in which we find the Exposition embedded was nothing but a large tract of land devoid of anything that might be called vegetation … That was only three years ago, and today we have the surprising spectacle of the pinnacles of a romantic city of Spain rising amidst luxurious verdure.89
That the plants creating this paradise were not necessarily Spanish, nor even Mediterranean, did not negate this comparison in the eyes of the writer nor, more importantly, in the mind of the public.

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The magnificent promenade of eucalyptus trees at the Cabrillo Bridge entrance to the San Diego Fair, along with the carefully selected species of gum trees and other Australian flora planted near the buildings and in the fairgrounds’ many garden areas, created an organic relationship between the horticultural and architectural elements that was the hallmark of the exposition’s aesthetic success. ‘A gem indeed it is, not alone for the lustre of its architecture but largely for the splendor of its setting’, was Neuhaus’s assessment.90 Photographs of Goodhue and Winslow’s Churrigueresque constructions often reveal in the background or next to the building towering gum tree specimens, while palms and pepper trees—those other botanical emblems of Southern California—are placed strategically in front of structures or in the courtyard gardens, all meant to allude to the Spanish– Mediterrranean–Moorish theme carried out so meticulously throughout.

Only occasionally did the promotional literature allude to the fact that the eucalypt was an Australian, rather than a Mediterranean, native. As Neuhaus wrote about the exposition’s ‘garden aspects’:
… then there is our adopted state tree, the eucalyptus, from the common blue gum to the finer red variety and the fig-leafed one with its blaze of brilliant red blossoms. The eucalyptus has become as ordinary as the sparrow, but of the finer varieties, like the ficifolia, one can never see too many.91
Just as Spanish Colonial architectural design came into its own as the quintessential California style at the exposition, so too did the eucalypt become more firmly embedded there in the emblematic iconography of the state and joined with an idea of a ‘Pacific Mediterranean’ aesthetic.

This same romantic disposition—the notion of a Mediterranean–Spanish vision for Southern California that determined the architectural and horticultural choices at the exposition—contributed directly to the development of the planned community of Rancho Santa Fe in northern San Diego County, begun only a few years after the fair ended. The site chosen for the community encompassed the lands upon which the Santa Fe Railroad had initially planted vast expanses of eucalypts and then abandoned them to grow once the commercial bubble burst.92 To land developers, the selection of this thickly vegetated site was not a matter of mere serendipity. Here were readymade forests of green, in a landscape that included romantically derelict remnants of California’s Spanish era, for the remains of the original Hispanic rancho’s houses still stood in the fields. One of these houses, Casa Osuna, would become a central focus and inspiration for the planning of the community.93

Rancho Santa Fe provided an ideal landscape in which to realise in permanent fashion for a privileged clientele the architectural and botanical fantasy that the San Diego Exposition had temporarily embodied, to merge these icons of the Mediterranean California dream. It is no coincidence that the architect initially chosen by developers to design the community, San Diego’s own Richard S. Requa (1881–1941), was already deeply committed to the notion of Spanish Revival as the quintessential Californian style, not only for building but as a source for landscape design as well. The fair of 1915 only added further impetus to the predilection he had already demonstrated in earlier buildings.

Requa’s story provides a good example of how Spanish–Mediterranean styles in architecture became as pervasive in California in the 1920s as roadside and garden eucalypts were in the landscape.94 Like so many other new Californians, he was originally a Midwesterner who had moved to San Diego with his family in 1900. He began his architectural career in 1907 in the offices of the leading San Diego architect Irving J. Gill (1870–1936), who would later be lauded as the earliest practitioner of a distinctly Californian modernism.95 By 1912, Requa was in partnership in his own practice with another Gill associate, Frank L. Mead (1865–1940), producing buildings that reflected their time in Gill’s offices, in a ‘stripped down’ Arts & Crafts style.96 Once 1920s: Eucalypts and Spanish Style architecture 271 partners, he and Mead became seriously interested in studying Spanish Colonial architecture in Mexico, as well as in the building techniques of the south-west Pueblo Indians and the Moorish elements evident in early Spanish and African construction that Mead had already photographed. They absorbed, in other words, all of those stylistic directions that influenced the designs of Bertram Goodhue and the others who built at the San Diego Exposition in 1915.97

By the time of the exposition, Requa and Mead had already been commissioned to design many buildings in their own versions of Spanish styles, often incorporating Mead’s knowledge of Islamic and other ‘exotic’ imagery. They applied these elements most appropriately and in typically eclectic fashion in 1913 for their Krotona Inn in Los Angeles, headquarters for the Theosophical Society. This spiritual colony would figure again in Requa’s, and particularly in Mead’s, career when the society moved to the small town of Ojai.98 This structure included a pergola constructed of eucalyptus logs and a courtyard inspired by Moorish gardens, while eucalyptus trees surrounded the property.99

Perhaps because of these theosophical connections—the leaders of the California movement settled in the Ojai Valley at about this time—Ojai winter resident and glass tycoon Edward Drummond Libbey (1854–1925) learned of the firm and in 1916 commissioned Requa & Mead to rebuild the entire civic centre of the town.100 The results of their efforts epitomise the heartfelt desire to create an organic interpretation of Spanish Style architecture integrated with the natural surroundings— in this case more native live oaks than eucalypts, although gum trees figured

Osuna

Fig. 6.16 Osuna Ranch House, Rancho Santa Fe, 1934. Photograph: courtesy of San Diego Historical Society.

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as well in the promotional literature for the town’s development.101 Requa’s pleasing arcade and accompanying buildings, complete with Mission Style parapet and Renaissance arches, represent one of the most consistent transformations of a town centre to a Spanish style to that date. The sources, one promotional publication indicated, were intentionally symbolic, for which Libbey rather than the architects was praised, for he had, the article said, ‘conceived in his mind’s eye of a dream city of soft harmonies, smooth flowing line and warm colors. A vision like our “castle in Spain” but visualized rather in the terms of the rural architecture of the South of Spain.’102

The mention in relation to Requa & Mead’s accomplishment at Ojai of Mission Style, as well as references to Mediterranean and Spanish Renaissance elements, points to the fact that many vaguely defined terms evolved to describe these historicist predilections in architecture. These linguistic formulations began to be confused long before the 1915 expositions, for there were abundant forerunners to these architectural directions in California decades earlier. Previous discussions have pointed out how George Wharton James and Gustav Stickley in The Craftsman focused on California’s missions as early as 1904, and Charles Lummis became a prime mover in the romanticisation of the state’s Spanish heritage (see Chapter 4, page 169). Allusions to California’s Hispanic past informed the region’s architecture, albeit tentatively, as early as the 1880s, when Helen Hunt Jackson’s book Ramona set off the first craze for Anglo visualisations of Spanish California (see Chapter 3, page 110). As Karen Weitze describes in her book on the Mission Revival, the imagery focusing on California’s Missions became a central element in the state’s earliest promotional literature.103

This period also marks the moment when the terminology for the various modes of Spanish Style architectural elements employed by Californian practitioners began to lose any clarity, requiring later scholars to attempt to disentangle the appropriate designations for a variety of adaptations.104 Clearly, Requa’s interpretations of ‘the Spanish’ at Ojai and Lilian Rice’s designs at Rancho Santa Fe differ in mood and architectural precedent from Goodhue’s exposition buildings at San Diego, as do the varied constructions of the 1920s labelled as Hispanic or Mediterranean in influence. All of these directions, whether clearly defined or not, were meant to represent through architectural elements a distinct vision

arcade

Fig. 6.17 Requa & Mead (archs), Ojai Arcade, Ojai, California, 1916. Author’s photograph.

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of California that nurtured a romantic connection to the state’s past while embodying in architectural form a new, elegant way of living on the Pacific coast. As the great scholar of the style David Gebhard explained:
What is often overlooked in any discussion of the Spanish Colonial Revival in California is that this movement produced not only a wide array of purely eclectic buildings ranging from the wildly bizarre and flamboyant to the highly creative, but also that throughout its existence it served as a continual source of inspiration for the several avant garde movements which developed on the West Coast.105
The aim was to promote an appropriately Californian style that was at once modern and also tied to a learned tradition and a retrievable past—to devise, as the Los Angeles architect Stephanos Polyzoides has described it, ‘an appropriate vernacular expression of a grand land’.106 This connection to the land, including the concept of the garden as an integral part of the architectural design, was of paramount importance in this image-making process, a fact apparent in almost all of the illustrations accompanying texts that promoted California and the Pacific in the 1920s.

Richard Requa’s Spanish Style offerings are, of course, representative of only one of the many approaches taken up by Californian architects by the 1920s. But his early efforts with Mead led him, almost serendipitously, to the commission to construct another entire community at Rancho Santa Fe. Unlike Ojai, where the conditions and intentions were meant to improve and beautify an existing civic centre, Rancho Santa Fe was a purely commercial, ambitiously exclusive, venture from its

depot

Fig. 6.18 ‘Mission Style’ depot at Green Hotel, Pasadena, California, c. 1910. Courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

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inception. Furthermore, the community was to be constructed from scratch, on undeveloped land that contained only those abandoned and flourishing eucalypt groves planted by the Santa Fe Railroad. As Phoebe Kropp puts it in her discussion of the development, ‘Rancho Santa Fe owed its hallmark suburban style to a corporate blunder.’107 The contemporary promoters of the project were a little less ironic about it; as one of the elegant little brochures produced to explain the project’s intentions wrote, ‘W. E. Hodges, vice-president of the Santa Fe, hungered to utilize these wonderfully fertile hills, for they were covered thickly with a native growth that left no doubt as to their richness for agricultural purposes.’108

The ‘native growth’ spoken of—and by Ernest Braunton (1867–1945), an eminent horticulturalist and friend of Theodore Payne—was eucalypts.109 The developers certainly made the most of these existing arboreal stands and in so doing unified two ready-made California icons: the eucalypt, the Australian gum tree, as part of the natural landscaping placed around Spanish Style buildings with red-tiled roofs, stucco surfaces and arched doorways. The original hacienda adobes of the Spanish land grant were already there on the site of Rancho Santa Fe with remnants of ‘a veritable park’110 of pepper trees and rose bushes to which the eucalypt was easily added. The houses provided the perfect model for the architects’ inspiration and presented the ideal setting in which to construct a romantic story for the project’s advertising. Local historian Ruth Nelson wrote about the thinking behind these early promotional efforts:
In the early days of the Rancho Santa Fe development the offices of the manager of the project, the architects and engineers were housed in this old Osuna home, until the buildings in the village were ready for use. Living in this lovely, historic spot, the early publicity about Rancho Santa Fe was naturally based upon tales of the Land Grant days.111
Paseo

Fig. 6.19 Lilian Rice (arch.), Rancho Santa Fe, Paseo Delicias, 1920s. Author’s photograph.

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The real estate men, then, fully embraced the setting and formulated their ambitious idea for this privileged development based on an American interpretation of a Spanish model. In 1921, they chose Richard Requa, with his new partner Herbert L. Jackson—Mead had moved to Los Angeles and then to Ojai in 1920—as the architectural firm to realise the Hispanic vision of Rancho Santa Fe.

Requa’s immersion in the Spanish idiom in its Californianised permutations helped to determine their choice. In the 1920s, Requa authored two books championing an authentic Spanish style ‘for use in developing a logical and appropriate style of architecture for California and the Pacific Southwest’, using photographs he had taken on his travels throughout both Spain and Mexico.112 (In 1935, Requa was responsible, interestingly enough, not for the architecture but for the landscape design at the second San Diego Fair in Balboa Park, where ornamental eucalypts were even more in evidence than they had been at the 1915 fair.)

Requa, busy with many other projects, turned the entire development of Rancho Santa Fe over to an associate, a young Berkeleytrained architect named Lilian Jenette Rice (1889–1938).113 Rancho Santa Fe would become Rice’s life work and crowning achievement. She designed most of the buildings for the village-like town centre, as well as many of the residential estates throughout the community. Responsible for the complete supervision of the project, Rice ensured that the entirety of the designed community retained the appearance of a Mexican or Spanish village in the town structures, as well as in the residences

Campbell House

Fig. 6.20 Lilian Rice, sketch of Mary A. Campbell Home, Rancho Santa Fe, California, c. 1930. Courtesy of San Diego Historical Society.

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on the various estates. She even saw that the town’s service station island carried out the style, complete with red-tiled roof over the pumps, looking like it housed the village well instead of petrol. The building at the corner of Paseo Delicias and La Granada, where Rice had her office, is typical of the ‘rural Spanish’ style of the project, in which the buildings were constructed around courtyards and ovals of existing flowering gum trees and other plants (see Fig. 6.19). Most of the structures were single-storey with white stucco surfaces, beamed interior ceilings and arched entryways (see Fig. 6.20 on page 275).

Rice’s delicate drawings for residential projects portrayed a modern interpretation of a rural Spanish style that would appear frequently in towns and cities all over Southern California, if not always in such rigidly controlled artistic form. The romance of early California, with all its exotic allusions to rural as well as Moorish Spain materialised at Rancho Santa Fe as a world of perfect whitewalled, red-roofed order, in harmony with its ‘natural’ sunny surroundings in which the eucalypt (and acacia) appear as if they had always been there in the California fields.

A new aesthetic image of California, then, was set, and an Australian tree, largely because it was already there in the landscape in such abundance, became an integral part of this visual template. Other Mediterranean modes and Spanish styles appeared throughout Southern California, and several full-scale town plans adopted such historicist metaphors. After an earthquake in 1925 damaged much of its town centre, Santa Barbara, home of the ‘Queen of the Missions’ and already deeply committed to its Hispanic heritage as part of its city ordinance planning and as tourist promotion, determined to rebuild all of its public buildings along carefully controlled

SB Courthouse

Fig. 6.21 text for SB courthouse

El Hogar

Fig. 6.22 George Washington Smith (arch.), El Hogar, Montecito, California, 1927. In California Southland, December 1927, p. 13.

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stylistic lines. Unlike Rancho Santa Fe, whose sources were rural Mediterranean emulating the idea of land-grant Californian haciendas, Santa Barbara chose for its public buildings a more regal Spanish Renaissance style, in keeping with its own grandiose mythmaking predilections (see Fig. 6.21 on page 219). Santa Barbara had already begun its architectural transformation in 1924 with the successful El Paseo complex, of which James Osborne Craig, Mary Craig and Carleton Winslow of San Diego Exposition fame were architects and designers.114 The city’s elaborate Courthouse, completed in August 1929 by the San Francisco firm of William Mooser II, was ‘a potpourri of Spanish architectural elements held together by the overall concept of its design’, with meticulous attention paid to antiquarian details such as the Castillian signage, woodwork and tilework, and elaborately painted ceiling timbers and murals.115 Contemporary architect Charles Moore has called it ‘one of the century’s great monuments to the architecture of inclusion’.116 Other civic buildings under the Santa Barbara plan adopted similar forms, all with red-tile roofs and whitewashed walls—and, often, with ornamentally placed eucalypts near the buildings and in the carefully planned gardens.117 As Kevin Starr describes the transformation, ‘Santa Barbarans were now bathed in an imagined Spanish identity.’118

At the same time Santa Barbara implemented its Spanish plan for civic buildings, many architects here exhibited their own antiquarian enthusiasm for Mediterranean styles in their plans for residences. The most enduring of these figures was George Washington Smith (1876–1930), who, with his designer assistant Lutah Maria Riggs (1896–1984), perfected a much grander hybridisation of Andalusian and other Mediterranean forms in his estates and gardens created for wealthy clients in Santa Barbara and Montecito (see Fig. 6.22 on page 276).119 Smith’s designs, with their ideal proportions and nearly abstracted spaces, were widely reproduced in magazines internationally as epitomising the most elegant of California domestic architecture. Central to these estates were the gardens, in which eucalypts often figured prominently.

Pasadena houseFig. 6.23 Spanish Style house, Pasadena, California. Courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

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Until the rise of the Bauhaus-inspired modernism in Los Angeles in the 1930s, these styles were considered the height of modernity and stylishness. Their sources may have been derivative, but they were well-informed through a plethora of publications of photographic details from Spanish and Mexican colonial architecture.120 In their adaptations to contemporary lifestyles in the Pacific sunshine, these architects and the many lesser builders and contractors erecting small adobe-style houses by the score throughout the region expressed a fashionable, modern version of these architectural modes that came to embody a romanticised vision of life in Old California. Inherent to these designs was a connection to the outdoors and domestic gardens, whether they occupied acres of estates or the backyards of a quarter-acre lot in the middle-class suburbs popping up everywhere throughout Southern California (see Fig. 6.23 on page 277). Here, too, Mediterranean motifs and Spanish forms offered home-owners something special for their new way of living on the Pacific coast.

As had been the case with previous styles and fads, the illustrated magazines played a major role in the dissemination of these ideas. By the early 1920s, the architectural and art journals, along with the ‘boosterist’ publications promoting California, visually documented these efforts in all their variations. Journals such as Architect and Engineer, Pacific Architect, California Southland, along with the old standards Sunset and Out West, now spread the Spanish Revival gospel as the most appropriate, the most modern, architectural style for California. As the fashion spread to every Southern Californian city and town and to every level of building, these journals reproduced illustrations of these new forms and tips on how to furnish the interiors appropriately.

More beauty

Fig. 6.24 ‘Putting more beauty into the landscape’ (Reginald D. Johnson, arch.), in California Southland, December 1927, p. 11.

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They also gave advice on how to landscape in a style that would suit the Mediterranean house. California Southland, one of the publications geared toward a moneyed audience seeking to relocate in the region, was particularly prolific in its illustrations of new Spanish Style buildings set in elegant gardens. Not surprisingly for a magazine promoting lifestyle and real estate, the pages of advertisements were as artistically presented as the articles themselves.

A singularly important conduit for disseminating this new Pacific aesthetic was the journal produced in Los Angeles to champion that most pervasive emblem of California’s modernity, the automobile. Touring Topics, published since 1909 by The Automobile Club of Southern California (it began in 1900 as America’s earliest automobile club), became the most ambitiously elegant of what one writer has labelled the ‘boosterist periodicals’.121 As Kevin Starr points out, ‘in Southern California the automobile and its club stood as the very center of organizational life’.122 The first 10 years of the journal displayed a rather staid graphic design, with articles geared solely toward automobile maintenance, reports on road building and the promotion of motor tourism. This last aim nonetheless did lead to some lengthy articles by such notable figures as Charles Lummis exhorting people to travel by car to visit the state’s missions, an example of how completely the automobile was seen as a necessary part of the California experience from a very early date.123

In the early 1920s the editors of the magazine began to recognise the benefits of artistic illustration and coordinated graphic composition to promote the region and idea of a modern motoring-filled life in the West. Cover illustrations became increasingly artistic, even including a bit of colour in the printing. By 1923, a conscious transformation of the magazine occurred: covers were now printed in full colour, often created by established local artists. The artistic themes emphasised the natural wonders of the western landscape that could be seen by touring in an automobile (see Fig. 6.25 on page 220). Each issue also contained a ‘Rotagravure Section’, which included picturesque, often soft-focus, photographs of the western countryside, with captions that urged motorists to take a trip to see these places for themselves. The editors of Touring Topics sought out the best examples of photographic art. Many Californian art photographers, both pictorialist and modernist, published some of their best works in its pages. Stylishness, fashion and, later, full-blown modernism, combined with ‘a kind of rarefied aesthetics’,124 became part of the magazine’s methods to ‘sell’ Southern California as a tourist destination and as a cosmopolitan, urbane place in which to live.

Sunset

Fig. 6.26 Karl Struss, In the Gloaming, Rotogravure Section, Touring Topics, vol. 17, April 1925. Permission of The Automobile Club of Southern California Archives. Photograph: courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.














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The magazine’s issue of March 1923 affords a clear example of how these elements came together to form a vision of Pacific contemporaneity and to express the journal’s cultural ambitions. The cover depicts, in a colour painting by Charles Hamilton Owens (1881–1958), The Automobile Club’s new headquarters building, set against iconic blue skies, with palm tree and chic automobile in the foreground.125 Not surprisingly, given the institution’s commitment to the most up-todate image of California, Spanish Revival was the style chosen for the club’s grand edifice. The architects were Sumner P. Hunt (1865–1938) and his partner Silas Burns (1855–1940).126 Hunt was a well-established Los Angeles figure who had built in a variety of styles over many years; he was the architect on the state licensing board when Australian James Peddle applied to practice in the state. From the beginning of the century, he had often adopted Mission Style motifs for his buildings and he had built Lummis’s grand Southwest Museum in 1911 to 1912 in an eclectically ‘south-western’ transitional style. Well-versed in the prevailing Spanish Revival fashion by 1923, Hunt’s headquarters is a spacious, well-proportioned example of the prevailing style in Los Angeles as it was applied to public buildings.

Advertisements in these issues also reinforced what would become the magazine’s standard visual trope in the 1920s: an automobile, often with fashionably dressed driver, posed in front of a Spanish Style building set amidst distinctly Californian vegetation. Palm trees were the most frequent kind of vegetation surrounding the buildings in such ads, but stands of eucalypts on country roads or in gardens also appeared occasionally to signify Southern California. In 1926, two title pages in the magazine, both by Fred Archer, included stylised gum tree and gum tree blossom as an ornamental element in front of a silhouetted Highway Patrol truck.

The magazine’s cover art, too, began to include these same aesthetic symbols of the region. The cover of Touring Topics for January 1926 epitomises this linking of botanical icons, modernity and the automobile (see Fig. 6.29 on page 221). The artist, Franz Geritz (1895–1945), was a Hungarianborn painter turned printmaker who was a member of the city’s most avant-garde artistic circles.127 Throughout the 1920s and into the 1930s, he contributed the most stylistically advanced, often expressionistic, woodblock or linocut illustrations for the magazine’s pages. In December 1924, he had illustrated a poem about ‘Christmas in California’ by depicting in the central frame motifs of eucalyptus trees next to the ocean. This issue’s cover, also by

Owens


Fig. 6.27 Charles Hamilton Owens, cover, Touring Topics, January 1923. Permission of The Automobile Club of Southern California Archives. Photograph: courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.





Touring topics


Fig. 6.28 Paul Hoffmann Studebaker, advertisement, Touring Topics, January 1923, opp. p. 25. Permission of The Automobile Club of Southern California Archives. Photograph: courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.















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Geritz, presented in stylised graphic fashion the full gamut of California emblems: the sun rising over the mountains, a car silhouetted against the unmistakable forms of palm and eucalyptus trees. The vignettes around this central illustration include corner images representing the beach, the mountains and even a tiny reference to what appears to be a mission tower. Finally, repeated eucalyptus leaves form an ornamental frame on the sides and bottom of the page. Geritz’s cover represents the most modern of directions that the magazine would take in the 1920s. That the magazine was disposed to such various modes of expression indicates the editors’ earnest if still ambivalent desire to use whatever aesthetic means they could to present their desired image of Californianness, one that appeared as fashionable cosmopolitanism.

The continued inclusion of artistic photographs in the pages of a touring magazine speaks to the important role that photography played in the artistic construction of 1920s California. Fred Archer (1889–1963), for example, was a serious art photographer who also worked in the movie industry in the Art Title Department; he is credited, among other techniques, as the co-inventor along with Ansel Adams of the zone system.128 He continued in subsequent issues of Touring Topics to submit romantic landscape views in which the sinuous forms of the eucalyptus frequently figured.

 (see Fig. 6.30 on page 282). In the July 1924 issue, one of the images in the Rotagravure Section contained the caption, ‘California Eucalypti—Through the Lenses of 2 Noted Camera Pictorialists’ beneath the work of Archer and another leading photographer, Karl Struss (1886–1981).129 The full caption for these photographs gives a good indication of the florid lengths to which Touring Topics writers went in their attempts to construct a poetic vision of the West:
Imported from Australia when California was young and while echoes of the padre’s feet might still be heard in the canyons and the valleys, eucalypti have offered a theme for thousands of artistic interpretations. Stately yet graceful and sensitive to the kiss of the slightest breeze, entrancing when Jupiter looses his hoarded tears and Zoroaster blesses with his refulgent beneficence, the eucalypti have intrigued the masters of all artistic expression. These studies by famous photographers, both Californians, portray their subjects in totally different moods.130
Touring topics
















Fig. 6.29 Franz Geritz, cover, Touring Topics, January 1926. Permission of The Automobile  Club of Southern California Archives. Photograph: courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

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Hardly the prose of an urbane outlook, this kind of writing no doubt precipitated an editorial change by the club’s administrators in 1926. The artistic ambitions for the magazine, to become a leading cultural publication in California, needed a more sophisticated voice to lead the journal beyond such hackneyed sentiment. They found that voice in Phil Townsend Hanna (1897–1957), a native Angeleno with literary ambitions. Hanna served as editor for Touring Topic/Westways for more than 30 years, during which time he pushed the journal into more seriously cultural realms. He was himself an amateur photographer and friend of all the literary figures and artists in the city. Described by Starr as one of the city’s ‘Tory men of letters’,131 Hanna nonetheless participated, as Dawson writes, in ‘Southern California’s small circle of intellectuals and artists who seamlessly interchanged their commercial and artistic goals’, regardless of their political leanings.132 Under his editorship, Touring Topics continued to publish pictorialist-to-modernist photographs in its Rotagravure Section. By the 1930s, soft-focus photographs disappeared entirely, to be replaced by the clear modernism of Californians such as Edward Weston and Ansel Adams.133 Hanna also began including more serious essays on California history and literary achievements. It was in Touring Topics, for example, in 1929, that the English translation of Ludwig Salvator’s Eine Blume aus dem Goldenen Lande first appeared.134

Artistically, Hanna sought to showcase local landscape artists by reproducing their paintings as magazine covers. ‘Glorious California in Color!’ was how he announced in 1928 that the covers would present landscape views by leading California painters.135 Reproduced as if in gilt frames, the cover images of this series presented the most traditional of artists, perhaps revealing Hanna’s own conservatism and the essentially middle-class aims of the club’s constituency. (As John Ott comments, ‘The use of high-art images allowed the reader and potential tourist/consumer to take pride in the possession of good taste.’136) Still, the magazine under Hanna presented a variety of artistic directions in its illustrations and helped to solidify the visual icons of California in its widely circulated pages.

By the time that Touring Topics presented its advertisement for Rancho Santa Fe with which this chapter begins, the mechanically reproducible iconography of California that it helped to establish dominated most of the illustrations in lifestyle magazines, posters and brochures selling the West Coast. Emblems of the ‘natural’ life on the Pacific appeared everywhere in the magazine: the page in July 1928’s issue that precedes the Rancho Santa Fe ad presents a new Studebaker ‘Sedan for Seven’ parked in front of a grand Spanish Colonial home in Pasadena. The same issue’s Rotagravure Section included not only a photograph by leading commercial photographer Will Connell (1898–1961)137 of ‘[p]lumy eucalypti’, but also etchings entitled The California coun-

Touring topics

Fig. 6.30 Fred Archer, California Eucalypti, in Touring Topics, Rotogravure Section, vol. 16, July 1924. Permission of The Automobile Club of Southern California Archives. Photograph: courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

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tryside by Arthur Millier (1893–1975), then art critic for the Los Angeles Times.138 In the October 1925 number, Millier’s etching of The sentinel of the mission had the following caption: ‘Not the least interesting of the many sights that win the admiration of visitors to the San Fernando Mission is this twisted old gum tree, so typically Californian and so thoroughly charming.’139 The cover for the August 1928 issue reproduced a painting of Morro Bay, with tall eucalypt trees picturesquely situated in the middle ground, by Germanborn, Paris-trained Jean Mannheim (1863– 1945).140 At the time, The Automobile Club of California’s membership was at an all-time high of 129,536. Touring Topics and its artistic impressions reached not only these members, but was distributed nationwide and overseas.141 Under editor Hanna, this magazine was able to reproduce the work of leading writers and artists, both traditional and modern, well into the Depression. As the club’s official history said of Hanna, ‘he brought with him a vision of Southern California’s land, history and people that belied the stereotype of a cultural wasteland’.142 These images helped to define the artistic look of a cosmopolitan California for a middlebrow, automobile-touring public, and in the 1920s and 1930s, that was the audience that counted.

But 1928 also marked an important moment in California’s incipient cultural wars, the battle between traditionalist art and architecture and the modernist directions then beginning to make an appearance in the region. In September of that year, Merle Armitage (1893–1975), Los Angeles’s leading impresario and all-round ‘aesthetic falangist’,143 published in a small cultural magazine called the West Coaster the following commentary:
Soon exhibitions will be hung in our various galleries for the fall season. Our artists have returned from desert and mountain, trail and canyon, and columns will be written about Susie Gumdrop’s handling of tree forms, John Popcorn’s rendering of California mountains, and Mr. Whosit’s lovely handling of desert colors. What does it all mean? Most of it means that nine-tenths of the men and women painting here on the West Coast are grinding out the usual output of pleasant calendars. They all see a desert, a sunset, a mountain or the sea with exactly the same eyes and the same minds. They are simply unintentionally making illustrations rather than creature [sic—creative] art. The difficulty of this situation from the standpoint of the reviewer is that most of them are such excellent folk that one shrinks from naming specific instances of their harmless art. I call it the ‘eucalyptus school’ of painting.144

Miller

Fig. 6.31 Arthur Millier, Sentinel of the Mission, in Touring Topics, vol. 17, October 1925, p. 20. Permission of The Automobile Club of Southern California Archives. Photograph: courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

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By coining the term ‘Eucalyptus School’ for all those landscape painters and photographers of the picturesque whose works were among those Hanna selected for reproduction in Touring Topics, Armitage in one stroke relegated even serious plein-air painters, such as Joseph Kliesch and Guy Rose in Laguna Beach who often included eucalypts among their landscape motifs, to the realm of ‘calendar art’.

Calendar

Fig. 6.32 Text for

In so doing, he thoroughly naturalised the introduced gum tree as among the most banal of the visual expressions of horticultural California.145 As a committed modernist, Armitage of course wanted to champion those non-regional styles—abstract, non-representational and internationalist—that still seemed so foreign for most Californians, to create a more intellectual, sophisticated culture on the West Coast.

This same attitude began to inform other critics in their attacks on the Californian enthusiasm for Spanish Style architecture. Once European modernist styles began to make a splash in Los Angeles with the arrival of the Viennese modernists Richard Neutra (1892– 1970) and Rudolf Schindler (1887–1953), even the elegant efforts in Mediterranean directions of such innovative architects as Bertram Goodhue and George Washington Smith were most often dismissed as derivative and eclectic. Even Carey McWilliams (1905–1980), the most culturally insightful chronicler of Southern California, fell prey to such assessments of the ‘wild’ architecture of the period in the region. While praising development of the California Bungalow in his Southern California country—‘A Greene and Greene bungalow … remains a good home in Southern California’, he wrote145— McWilliams considered the Spanish Colonial home to be the outcome of a misguided idea about California’s Spanish past, all the fault of the mission craze and the San Diego Exposition. The restoration of the missions had much to do with creating a popular acceptance of ‘the stucco rash’, was his explanation. As McWilliams saw it, ‘It was merely by a kind of accident … that it seemed to be a little more apposite than, say, a New England stone house or a plantation mansion … There then began the wild debauch of eclecticism which has continued unabated to the present time and which has excited the wonder and curiosity of all visitors.’147

McWilliams, then, joined in the standard modernist disparagement of Southern California’s Mediterranean architectural styles: that these buildings, both domestic and public, were unoriginal and unrealistic in ‘reinventing’ by Anglo settlers a past for California that never existed.148 Their ‘theatricality’ (read ‘kitsch’), according to this high modernist interpretation, negated any possibility that they could be taken seriously as appropriately modern forms for a newly developing urban and suburban Pacific landscape.

The canonisation of the modernist architectural ideology, well underway by the time of McWilliams’ writing in the 1940s, failed to take into account that these Mediterranean adaptations in California did in many cases accomplish exactly what they set out to do: they functioned admirably in integrating outdoor and indoor spaces, the central requirement for a modern building on the Pacific coast. In the best architects’ hands, these styles were intelligently adapted to the specific needs of modern lifestyles; they were not simply imitative or filled with historicist ornamentations, but considered the needs of people inventing a new kind of life in a Mediterranean climate. Houses like those at Rancho Santa Fe—built low around patios, surrounded by semi-tropical gardens, which often included aromatic eucalyptus trees, filled with modern amenities, completed with tiled roofs and cool tiled floors—offered the owners spatial and sensual experiences that had not existed in America before. Even the more modest examples of small Spanish Style bungalows—those built after the style became so popular that it was ‘retailed’149—appealed to those living in contact with their natural surroundings for whom their own garden, along with the elements of landscaping surrounding public buildings throughout Los Angeles and the region, became integral parts of their sense of space. People who lived and worked in these buildings did feel that these so-called ‘unreal’ architectural spaces embodied their new, modern world-view in a new, modern America that looked West out to the Pacific Ocean, to Asia and to Australasia, as much as to the Mediterranean.

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Recent revisionist thinking has begun to consider these architectural efforts not as mindless historical pastiches, but as a considered architectural response to a particular place, as something distinctly Californian. The celebrated post-modernist architect Charles Moore called Spanish Revival styles ‘a Southland archetype … the image of our transformed semi-desert, climatically Mediterranean landscape, the architecture of our innocence. It is our primal idea of home’.150 Stephanos Polyzoides admires these structures as symbolic not of a globalising mentality, but as evidence of the specific intersection of people and place, in which its very eclecticism—the word, he points out, deriving from its original Greek meaning of ‘to choose’—is its strength.151 In such an all-inclusive aesthetic context, the eucalyptus tree, too, takes its place among the emblems of a new lifestyle on the edge of the American continent facing out to the Pacific Ocean. The Australian gum tree worked in the Californian myth of the landscape because it referred in the minds of the image-makers to a climate and geographical condition that allowed for an allusion to the home of all Western culture, the Mediterranean. By using the tree ornamentally, in a way that had not yet been consciously asserted in its native land, Californians constructed a popular visual template in which its forms combined seamlessly with architectural motifs to create a new aesthetics of place.

Notes

1. George Taylor, ‘Art and architecture at the San Francisco Exposition’, Building, 12 February 1915, p. 111.
2. Stickley, p. 378.
3. McWilliams, Southern California, rev. edn, 1973, p. 360.
4. Sloane, pp. 7–8.
5. Touring Topics, vol. 20, no. 7, July 1928, p. 4.
6. The developers of Rancho Santa Fe had initially attracted Hollywood’s reigning couple, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, to build a home in the development. See Kropp, California vieja, p. 159.
7. ‘From the time of the Gold Rush onwards, California was transformed into a new paradise based on images and ideals derived from the settlers’ places of origin.’ David C. Streatfield, ‘“Paradise” on the frontier’, Garden History, vol. 12, no. 1, Spring 1984, p. 60. See also Streatfield’s Californian gardens: Creating a new Eden, Abbeville Press, New York, 1994.
8. Ian Tyrrell writes of the Pinus radiata, ‘A native of central coastal California, the pine was far from prominent in its home, but in Australasia it served as the reciprocal exchange for the extensive planting of eucalypts in California.’ In ‘The remarkable pines of Monterey: Californian softwoods in Australasia’, in True gardens of the gods: Californian–Australian environmental reform, 1860–1930, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1999, p. 87. The author also wishes to thank Christopher Bettle, Canberra, Australia, for his research into the prevalence of redwoods in Australia, most of which were planted in Victoria as early as the 1860s.
9. H. M. Butterfield, ‘The introduction of eucalyptus into California’, Madroño, vol. 3, 1 October 1935, p. 149. page 286
10. E. Van Dyke, ‘Blue gum eucalyptus in the Elkhorn Watershed: 1930–present’, presentation at conference, Ecology and Impacts of Blue Gum Eucalyptus in Coastal California, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Coastal Training Program, California Invasive Plant Council, 3 June 2004.
11. According to Robert L. Santos, in his compendium of facts about eucalyptus in California, ‘In 1849, over 2,600 Australians left Sydney for San Francisco … It was on one of these voyages that the first sack of eucalyptus seed was imported.’ In ‘The eucalyptus of California’, Southern California Quarterly, vol. lxxx, no. 2, Summer 1998, p. 110.
12. Tyrrell, p. 58.
13. Behr remained in California from 1851 until his death in 1904, active throughout his life in the affairs of the California Academy of Sciences. Upon Behr’s death, the academy produced a memorial article about his life, in which the authors stated that ‘California is indebted to the friendship existing between Behr and Baron Mueller for the introduction of many valuable Australian plants’. See F. Gutzkow, George Chismore and Alice Eastwood, Doctor Hans Herman Behr, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, 1905, p. 2.
14. Butterfield, ‘The introduction of eucalyptus’, pp. 149–80.
15. The advertisement for the Golden Gate Nursery includes ‘500 Acacias, of 10 varieties’, and lists ‘Eucalyptus’ among its available trees. See California Farmer, vol. viii, no. 4, 7 August 1857, p. 32. In that same volume, under the heading ‘Mechanics’ Fair’, the editor includes a list of the plants exhibited by the Golden Gate Nursery at the fair: ‘Of the splendid Acacia tribe there were on exhibition fifteen varieties, and this collection we esteem one of the best species of ornamental trees of the Pacific Coast for true grace and beauty.’ The article then goes on to list all the Acacia species, along with other plants, including ‘Eucalptus [sp] linearis/ ‘species/ ‘red gum tree’. See California Farmer, vol. viii, no. 12, 2 October 1857, p. 89.
16. Butterfield, ‘The introduction of eucalyptus’, p. 150. M. Guilfoyle opened a nursery in Redfern and then The Exotic Nursery at Double Bay, which he operated from 1851 to 1874. He is credited with introducing the camellia and jacaranda to Australia. His son William Robert Guilfoyle (1840–1912) became a famous plant collector and landscape gardener, and succeeded Ferdinand von Mueller as Director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens in 1873. See R. T. M. Pescott, 'W. R. Guilfoyle (1840–1912): The master of landscape', ADB, vol. 4, p. 307; and Norman Hall, Botanists of the eucalypts, CSIRO, Melbourne, 1978, p. 63.
17. Butterfield, ‘The introduction of eucalyptus’, p. 153.
18. On the Carrs and their botanical achievements, see also Victoria Padilla, Southern California gardens: An illustrated history, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1961, pp. 214–17.
19. See Jared Farmer, ‘Gone native’, Huntington Frontiers, Spring–Summer 2007, p. 18; and his upcoming book, If trees could speak.
20. See Bonyhady, ‘Uncle Sam, The Baron and King Edward VII’, The colonial earth, pp. 248–79.
21. Ezra S. Carr, The patrons of husbandry on the Pacific coast, A.L. Bancroft & Co., San Francisco, 1875, p. 430.
22. Bonyhady, The colonial earth, p. 71.
23. ibid.
24. Tyrrell, p. 60.
25. Ellwood Cooper, ‘Life of Ellwood Cooper’, private pub., Santa Barbara, 1913, p. 17.
26. According to Cooper’s autobiography, he purchased a part of Rancho Dos Pueblos from Hollister (see his ‘Life of Ellwood Cooper’). But Kevin Starr indicates that the circumstances of the purchase may have been more complicated, as Hollister was already involved in lawsuits about the sale of the land. See Material dreams, pp. 245–46.
27. Cooper, ‘Life of Elwood Cooper’, p. 17.
28. ibid., p. 25.
29. ibid., pp. 25–26.
30. ibid., p. 26.
31. A Kinney letter to Lukens in 1900, is exemplary: ‘I have had an inquiry from Australia for some of your Sierra Madre Spruce Seed. If you have any of these seeds I should like to obtain some from you.’ Letter, Abbot Kinney to Lukens, 14 September 1900, Theodore Lukens Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
32. Local Venice historian Jeffrey Stanton makes this claim about Abbot Kinney on his website, under ‘Abbot Kinney–Town Founder’, viewed May 2013.
33. Abbot Kinney, Eucalyptus, R. R. Baumgardt & Co., Los Angeles, 1895, p. 66. This criticism of the eucalypt forests as monotonous mirrors the early Australians’ views; see Bonyhady, The colonial earth, p. 71. page 287
34. Tyrrell, p. 66.
35. The first eucalyptus stands in Santa Monica were planted by J. W. Scott, on his property in the vicinity of present-day Sixth Street. See Les Storrs, Santa Monica: Portrait of a city yesterday & today, SM Bank, Santa Monica, 1974, p. 9.
36. Tyrrell, pp. 66–67; and Robert L. Santos, The eucalyptus of California: Seeds of good or evil?, Alley–Cass Publications, Denair, California, 1997, viewed May 2013.
37. One of the most important publications on the eucalyptus in Southern California during the early twentieth-century craze was McClatchie’s Eucalypts cultivated in the United States, Bulletin 35, Bureau of Forestry, US Department of Agriculture, 1903. See a review of McClatchie’s essay by Robert E. C. Stearns in Science, new series, vol. 17, no. 439, 29 May 1903, pp. 858–60.
38. Kinney, p. 71. In his book, he also states with characteristically firm conviction: ‘The planting of trees of various species of Eucalyptus in California has been carried out since January, 1856, when Mr. C. L. Reimer successfully introduced 14 species.’ Kinney does not indicate where this information originated. He may have been referring to Edward L. Reimers, a German horticulturalist who arrived in California in 1852. Butterfield mentions that Reimers exhibited at San Francisco flower shows in the 1870s, including many acacias, Grevillea robusta, Australian tea tree, ‘12 kinds of eucalyptus’ and ‘Hakeas of sorts’. See Harry M. Butterfield, ‘Builders of California horticulture, Part I’, Journal of the California Horticultural Society, vol. xxii, no. 1, January 1961, pp. 6–7.
39. Sunset, September 1906.
40. See Charles Bearchell and Larry D. Fried, The San Fernando Valley then and now: An illustrated history, Windsor Publications, Northridge, California, 1988, p. 103; Santos, ‘The eucalyptus of California’, pp. 115–16; Darrell Satzman, ‘Eucalyptus trees are rancher’s legacy’, Los Angeles Times, 24 August 1997, p. B3/F; and ‘Shadow Ranch’, written by the owners, 21 November 1936, from the vertical files of the Canoga Park Branch Library, Canoga Park, California.
41. William A. Spalding, History and reminiscences of Los Angeles City and County, California, J. R. Finnell & Sons, Los Angeles, [1930], vol. i, p. 204. On Wolfskill’s agricultural role in Los Angeles, see Iris Higbie Wilson, William Wolfskill: Frontier trapper to California ranchero, A. H. Clark Co., Glendale, 1965; Boyle Workman, The city that grew, Southland, Los Angeles, 1936, p. 11; and Harry M. Butterfield, ‘Builders of California horticulture, part II’, Journal of the California Horticultural Society, vol. xxii, no. 3, July 1961, pp. 102–07.
42. See An historical sketch of Los Angeles County, California: From the Spanish occupancy to the founding of the mission San Gabriel Archangel, September 8, 1771, to July 4, 1876, Los Angeles Centennial Celebration Literary Committee, Louis Lewin & Co., Los Angeles, 1876, p. 71; reprint O. W. Smith, Los Angeles, 1936.
43. ‘Häufig sieht man dem prachtvollen Pfefferbaum, der den weissen Pfeffer des Handels liefert; hier wird er aber nicht dazu benützt, sondern ist blos als Zierbaum verwendet und mit dem Eucalyptus globulus (Blue gum) ein Liebling.’ Ludwig Salvator, Eine Blume aus dem Goldenen Lande oder Los Angeles, Prague, 1878, p. 99 (‘The handsome pepper tree that yields the white pepper of commerce, is seen everywhere. Out here, however, it is utilised solely for ornamental purposes. The blue–gum, Eucalyptus globulus, is likewise a favourite.’ Salvator, Los Angeles in the sunny seventies: A flower from a golden land, B. McCallister & J. Zeitlin, Los Angeles, 1929, p. 75).
44. ibid., p. 100.
45. Ernest Peixotto, ‘Italy’s message to California’, Sunset, March 1903, pp. 366–78. Peixotto wrote several articles and books on his ideas about California as Italy, such as Romantic California, Scribner, New York, 1917. On Peixotto and his circle of artists, see Scott Shields, Artists at continent’s end: The Monterey Peninsula Art Colony, 1875–1907, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2006; and Starr, ‘Bohemian shores’, Americans and the California dream, pp. 239–87.
46. Sunset, August 1903, back advertising section, after p. 495.
47. Sunset, September 1905, p. 105.
48. Street, p. 407.
49. The allusions to California as ‘America’s Italy’ or Mediterranean began from the first American settlement in the region. In a letter dated 12 March 1851, for example, early pioneer Bernard J. Reid wrote to his sister when seeing the Santa Clara Valley, ‘of our entry into this land of promise, this Italy and garden spot of All-America … ’ See Mary McDougall Gordon, ‘“This Italy and garden spot of All-America”: A Forty-Niner’s letter from the Santa Clara Valley in 1851’, Pacific Historian, vol. xxix, no. 1, Spring 1985, pp. 4–16. page 288
50. ‘His ambition was to gather together in one area plants from countries all around the globe. He decided to go to Southern California, because the climate was well suited to his purpose.’ John M. Tucker, ‘Francesco Franceschi’, Madroño, vol. 7, 1943, p. 19.
51. Dr F. Franceschi, Santa Barbara exotic flora: A handbook of plants from foreign countries grown at Santa Barbara, California, Santa Barbara, 1895, n.p. [p. 27].
52. ibid., p. 40.
53. Francesco Franceschi Papers, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, California (BANC MSS 70/11c, introduction to finding aid).
54. David J. McAuliffe, letter to F. Franceschi, 17 February 1908, Franceschi Papers (correspondence and papers, c. 1904–1913), Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, California (BANC MSS 70/11c). In the same letter, McAuliffe wrote, ‘I am posting this pkt. & 1 letter by the Vancouver & Brisbane route so you ought to get it in less than a month.’
55. Franceschi, p. 40.
56. ‘In my new Garden I am anxious to gather the largest possible number of PALMS which can be grown in this climate. I have already about 120 species planted, but many more are still missing, and among them several from Australia, all of which I believe ought to do well here.’ F. Franceschi, letter to Philip MacMahon, director, Brisbane Botanical Gardens, Brisbane, Queensland, 4 October 1905, Franceschi Papers, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, California (BANC MSS 70/11c).
57. David Fairchild, The world was my garden: Travels of a plant explorer, Scribner’s, New York, 1944 [c. 1938], p. 119. David Fairchild (1869–1954) was a plant pathologist who worked for the US Department of Agriculture for 30 years. Married to Alexander Graham Bell’s daughter, Fairchild made important botanical expeditions around the world and was a major figure in the introduction of exotic species to the United States. The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami, Florida, contains Fairchild’s archives. See also Nancy Carol Carter, ‘When Dr Fairchild visited Miss Sessions: San Diego 1919’, Journal of San Diego History, vol. 50, nos. 3 and 4, Summer–Fall 2004, pp. 75–89.
58. Tucker, ‘Francesco Franceschi’, p. 21.
59. Hattie Beresford, ‘The way it was: Franceschi and Eaton landscape Montecito’, Montecito Journal, 2007, viewed May 2013.
60. Starr, Material dreams, p. 246.
61. Franceschi left Santa Barbara in 1913. He first returned to Italy, where he wrote his book on tropical and semi-tropical fruits. Then, at the age of 72, he took up an appointment by the Italian Government to lay out a nursery in Tripoli, Libya. His sons stayed on in Santa Barbara and carried on the business for some years, living in Montarosio, the house Franceschi had built on his Mission Ridge property. The house, covered in odd sculptural medallions installed by a later owner, is meant to be restored.
62. Elizabeth Pomeroy (foreword), Theodore Payne in his own words: A voice for California native plants, Many Moons Press, Pasadena, 2004, n.p.
63. Payne wrote about the Modjeska community in Life on the Modjeska Ranch in the Gay Nineties, Los Angeles, 1962, n.p.; most of these reminiscences are reprinted in Theodore Payne in his own words. The literature on Modjeska includes her Memories and impressions of Helena Modjeska: An autobiography, Macmillan, New York, 1910; and Marion Moore Coleman, Fair Rosalind: The American career of Helena Modjeska, Cherry Hill Books, Cheshire, Connecticut, 1969. Modjeska’s life in California also served as the source for the characters in Susan Sontag’s novel In America, Farrar Strauss Giroux, New York, 2000.
64. Quoted in ‘Ralph Cornell: Half a century as a Southern California landscape architect’, oral history interview by James V. Mink, Fred Douglas and Richard K. Nystrom, 1967, Oral History Program, University of California, Los Angeles, 1970, p. 132.
65. Clayton F. Palmer, Supervisor, Board of Education of the City of Los Angeles, letter to Theodore Payne, 5 May 1932, carbon copy in letter to Sara Bird Field Wood, 8 June 1932, Charles E. S. Wood Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California (MS WD Box 183 [41-42]). Payne continued to write about plants and gardens in California until the end of his life. Today, The Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers & Native Plants, Inc., Sun Valley, California, carries on his work to promote native planting and preservation of native plant life.
66. On the reasons for the end of this phase in eucalypt planting in California, see especially Tyrrell, pp. 77–82. page 289
67. See Mike Dash, Tulipomania: The story of the world’s most coveted flower and the extraordinary passions it aroused, Three Rivers Press, New York, 1999.
68. Jack London Collection, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California (Ephemera: Ranch Notes [JLE 2587–2671], JL11401).
69. See his description of ‘Gathering grevillea seed’, Theodore Payne, pp. 125–27.
70. ibid., p. 132.
71. ‘Eucalyptus timber culture: A treatise on the best methods for sowing the seed, growing the young plants … by Theodore Payne, Eucalyptus Specialist’, p. 2. Theodore Payne Papers, Theodore Payne Foundation, Sun Valley, California.
72. Cornell, oral history interview transcript, p. 131.
73. A letter to Payne from Franco Fenzi, Franceschi’s son, verifies this fact: ‘Interesting for you is the fact that fully 90% of all Eucalyptus now growing all over Tripolitania are the offspring of the original seeds sent by you to my father Dr Francsechi in the late ’teens.’ Ing. Franco F. Fenzi, letter to Payne, Palermo, Italy, 25 October 1955, Theodore Payne Papers, Theodore Payne Foundation, Sun Valley, California.
74. A document in the Payne archives indicates that as early as January 1910, the Eucalyptus Timber Corporation contacted Payne with details of the Santa Fe’s plans to produce ties from plantations of eucalyptus trees and requested information about the appropriate species and methods of planting. ‘Interview with O. E. Faulkner of the Santa Fe Railway’, Los Angeles, California, 14 January 1910, Theodore Payne Papers, Theodore Payne Foundation, Sun Valley, California.
75. Tyrrell, pp. 82–83.
76. On the Pratt House, see Bosley, pp. 127–32. Payne wrote later that the arboretum was located ‘in the canyon back of the Pratt residence. The conditions were not at all satisfactory … I had hopes of persuading them to purchase a larger piece of ground better suited for this purpose’, but circumstances prevented its implementation. In 1938, Payne reported, ‘there were 58 groups representing 57 kinds, while the total number of kinds, including those that had failed completely, was 67’. From Payne’s own ‘Report on the Pratt Arboretum of eucalyptus trees, Ojai, Cal.’, Pratt Papers, Theodore Payne Foundation, Sun Valley, California.
77. Theodore Payne, letter to F. W. Went, Pasadena, California, 22 September 1956. Copy in Theodore Payne Papers, Theodore Payne Foundation, Sun Valley, California. See also Payne’s ‘The eucalyptus in California: The eucalyptus centennial’, Golden Gardens, January 1957, pp. 9–12.
78. Park Superintendent John McLaren ‘devoted most of his time between 1911 and 1915 to that project, growing hundreds of trees that he boxed and stored in the Presidio of San Francisco until they would be needed’. Raymond H. Clary, The making of Golden Gate Park, 1906–1950, Don’t Call it Frisco Press, San Francisco, 1987, p. 39.
79. Eugen Neuhaus, et al., The art of the exposition: Personal impressions of the architecture, sculpture, mural decorations, color scheme & other aesthetic aspects of the Panama–Pacific International Exposition, Paul Elder & Co., San Francisco, 1915, p. 52.
80. ibid.
81. Louis Christian Mullgardt, The architecture and landscape gardening of the exposition, Paul Elder, San Francisco, 1915, pp. 6–7.
82. Starr, ‘Truth unveiled’ in Benedict, p.141.
83. John McLaren, Gardening in California: Landscape and flower, A. M. Robertson, San Francisco, 1909, p. 100.
84. Juliet H. James, Palaces and courts of the exposition, California Book Co., San Francisco, 1915, pp. iv–v.
85. George Taylor, ‘The city of the Golden Gate’, Building, 12 February 1915, pp. 110–11.
86. Taylor, Building, 11 May 1918, p. 49.
87. See Leland G. Stanford, ‘San Diego’s eucalyptus bubble’, The Journal of San Diego History, vol. 16, no. 4, Fall 1970, p. 17. See also Nancy Carol Carter, pp. 75–89.
88. ‘When the City of San Diego agreed to grant Kate Sessions the right to put a nursery on the northeast corner of City Park in 1892, the City required her to plant 100 trees each year in the park and 300 throughout the City … Kate was, therefore, obliged to use whatever stock she had on hand and not those plants that in 1889 she considered best for the park.’ Richard W. Amero, ‘A History of the East Side of Balboa Park’, viewed May 2013. On Kate Sessions’s extraordinary life and career, see Elizabeth MacPhail, Kate Sessions: Pioneer horticulturalist, San Diego Historical Society, San Diego, 1976; and Florence Christman, The romance of Balboa Park, San Diego Historical Society, San Diego, 1985.
89. Neuhaus, The San Diego Garden Fair, p. 59.
90. ibid., p. xi.
91. ibid., p. 61. page 290
92. The most abbreviated version of the railroad’s failed eucalyptus project appears in Ruth R. Nelson, Rancho Santa Fe—yesterday and today, Coast–Dispatch, Encinitias, California, 1947, pp. 5–6. For more detailed discussion, see Kropp, pp.159–206; and Farmer, If trees could speak, forthcoming.
93. For a description of the Osuna rancho see Nelson, Rancho Santa Fe. A recent issue of Preservation magazine mentions that the original Osuna adobe had fallen into disrepair and had been purchased by The Rancho Santa Fe Association; see Preservation, May–June 2007, p. 16; and a more complete description of the adobe in Reflections: Quarterly Newsletter, Save Our Heritage Organisation, vol. 37, no. 4, Fall 2006.
94. On Requa, see Lucinda Eddy, ‘Frank Mead and Richard Requa’, in Robert Winter (ed.), Toward a simpler life, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1997, pp. 229–40; Sally West, San Diego Union– Tribune, 7 September 1997; Lisa Wolff, ‘Requa rediscovered’, Decor & Style, December 1998; Dennis G. Sharp, ‘Reconstructed adobe: The Spanish past in the architectural records of the San Diego Historical Society, 1907–1919’, Journal of San Diego History, vol. 49, nos. 3 and 4, Summer–Fall 2003, pp. 127–30.
95. On Gill, see especially McCoy, Five California architects; Kamerling, Irving Gill; and Hines, Irving Gill.
96. Frank L. Mead had studied in Philadelphia and practiced there from 1896 to 1901. After a trip through North Africa photographing architecture, he came to San Diego in 1903, where he joined Irving Gill’s firm. He would be Gill’s partner for a year before leaving to work as an advocate for Native American causes. He went into partnership with Requa ‘upon [his] return from the wilderness’. See Alfred Willis, ‘A survey of the surviving buildings of the Krotona Colony in Hollywood’, Architronic, vol. 8, no. 1, 1998, pp. 3–7, footnote 17, pp. 15–16; and Eddy, ‘Frank Mead and Richard Requa’.
97. ‘Although Mead and Requa did not participate in the design of any exposition buildings, Goodhue’s lavish use of Churrigueresque imagery, exemplified in his California Building, undoubtedly inspired their own taste for the exotic.’ Eddy, ‘Frank Mead and Richard Requa’, p. 232.
98. Willis, ‘A survey’, p. 3.
99. Eddy, ‘Frank Mead and Richard Requa’, p. 234.
100. The story of Requa’s commission for Ojai was, according to a San Diego newspaper, the result of more mundane circumstances, based on a house Requa had already built in Los Angeles: ‘A wholesale grocer from Ohio saw that house, wanted one like it built at Ojai, in Ventura country. A friend of the grocer saw his house, and he in turn was interested. This friend happened to be E. D. Libbey of glass manufacturing fame—and out of this interest grew one of the most unusual projects of its day, the rebuilding of a city.’ See San Diego Union–Tribune, 27 December 1958, accessed in biographical file on Requa, San Diego Historical Society, Balboa Park, San Diego, California.
101. One of the publications promoting the new Ojai included, along with photographs of the new residences being built, one captioned ‘A fine eucalyptus’. See Frank R. Gerard and Franklin H. Perkins, Ojai the beautiful, Ojai Publishing Co., Ojai, May 1927, pp. 18–19.
102. Harold G. Gulliver, ‘Arbolada in the Ojai Valley of Southern California’; reprint from Country Life, September 1924, pp. 4–5.
103. Weitze, pp. 3–17.
104. See Gebhard, ‘The Spanish Colonial Revival in Southern California’, pp. 131–47; and Gebhard and Robert Winter’s descriptions of the various permutations of Spanish/Mediterranean forms. Architecture in Los Angeles: The complete guide, Gibbs-Smith, Salt Lake City, 1985, pp. 481, 485, 486.
105. Gebhard, ‘The Spanish Colonial Revival in Southern California’, p. 131.
106. Stefanos Polyzoides, lecture, ‘The Mediterranean Style’, Gosney Hall, Polytechnic School, Pasadena, California, 21 March 2007.
107. Kropp, p. 161.
108. Braunton, n.d. 109. On Braunton, see ‘Ernest Braunton: In memoriam, August 21, 1867–March 22, 1945’, California Avocado Society Yearbook, vol. 30, 1945, pp. 106–07; viewed May 2013.
110. Nelson, p. 55.
111. ibid. page 291
112. See Requa’s Architectural details of Spain and the Mediterranean, J. H. Jansen, Cleveland, Ohio, 1926 and Old World inspiration for American architecture, Monolith Portland Cement Co., Los Angeles, 1929. Both publications appeared under the auspices of the Los Angeles company of Monolith Portland Cement—an indication of the connection made in California between cement and concrete construction and Mediterranean styles. As a source for Rancho Santa Fe Style, see particularly Architectural details, section a, plate 3, A roadside cottage near Algeciras, southern Spain, and section a, plate 5, A road overseer’s cottage, Province of Cadiz, southern Spain.
113. See Lucinda Liggett Eddy, ‘Lilian Jenette Rice: Search for a regional identity’, Journal of San Diego History, vol. 29, no. 4, Fall 1983, pp. 262–85.
114. Patricia Gebhard and Kathryn Masson, The Santa Barbara County Courthouse, Daniel & Daniel, Santa Barbara, 2001, p. 19.
115. ibid., p. 29.
116. Quoted in ibid., p. 29.
117. The most striking landscaping element at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, along with the numerous palm trees, are ‘two towering araucaria trees, the bunya-bunya … and the Norfolk Island pine …’ In ibid., p. 57.
118. Starr, Material dreams, p. 291.
119. On George Washington Smith, see David Gebhard, George Washington Smith, 1876–1930: The Spanish Colonial Revival in California, University of California, Santa Barbara Art Gallery, Santa Barbara, 1964; David Gebhard, Lutah Maria Riggs, Capra Press, Santa Barbara, 1992; Marc Appleton (ed.), George Washington Smith: An architect’s scrapbook, Tailwater Press, Los Angeles, 2001; Rexford Newcomb, Mediterranean domestic architecture in the United States, J. H. Jansen, Cleveland, 1928; reprint Acanthus Press, New York, 1999, pp. 42–68, 188–89; and David F. Myrick, Montecito and Santa Barbara, 2 vols, Trans–Anglo Books, Glendale, 1988 and 1991.
120. Of the myriad of books published in the 1920s and 1930s on the topic of Spanish, Spanish Colonial and Mexican architecture for the purposes of architectural inspiration for California architects, all of the following were consulted in the period by the architects of the Los Angeles County Architectural Office: Austin Whittlesey, The Renaissance architecture of central and northern Spain: A collection of photographs and measured drawings, Architectural Book Pub. Co., New York , 1920; Alfred C. Bossom, An architectural pilgrimage in old Mexico, C. Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1924; Garrett Van Pelt, Jr, Old architecture of southern Mexico, J. H. Jansen, Cleveland , 1926; Atlee B. Ayres, Mexican architecture: Domestic, civil & ecclesiastical, William Helburn, Inc., New York, 1926; Rexford Newcomb, The Spanish house for America: Its design, furnishing, and garden, J. B. Lippincott Co., London and Philadelphia, 1927; and G. Richard Garrison and George W. Rustay, Mexican houses: A book of photographs & measured drawings, Architectural Book Publishing Company, Inc., New York, 1930. 121. See John Ott, ‘Landscapes of consumption: Auto tourism and visual culture in California, 1920–1940’, in Stephanie Barron, et al., Reading California: Art, image, and identity, 1900–2000, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2000, pp. 50–67. For a first-hand history of The Automobile Club of Southern California, see Phil Townsend Hanna, The wheel and the bell: The story of the first fifty years of The Automobile Club of Southern California, The Pacific Press, Los Angeles, 1950. Later histories of the club include Richard R. Mathison, Three cars in every garage: A motorist’s history of the automobile and the automobile club in Southern California, Doubleday, New York, 1968; and Kathy Talley- Jones and Letitia Burns O’Connor, The road ahead: The Automobile Club of Southern California, 1900– 2000, Automobile Club, Los Angeles, 2000.
122. Starr, Material dreams, p. 314.
123. See Talley-Jones and O’Connor, pp. 41–42.
124. Ott, p. 53.
125. Charles Hamilton Owens began as a sketch artist in San Francisco and worked for some years in New York City. From 1906 he was an illustrator for the Los Angeles Times. In addition to numerous illustrations for Touring Topics and other regional magazines, Owens also made black-and-white drawings for local history books such as Seewerker and Jones, Nuestro pueblo: Los Angeles, city of romance, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1940. See Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786–1940, Hughes Publication Co., San Francisco, 1986, p. 418; Who was who in American art, 1564–1975, Soundview Press, Madison, CT, 1999, vol. ii, p. 2490; and Nancy Dustin Wall Moure, Dictionary of art and artists in Southern California before 1930, private pub., Los Angeles, 1975.
126. See Watters, vol. ii, p. 353.
127. On Geritz, see Michael Dawson (ed.), et. al, LA’s early moderns: Art, architecture, photography, Balcony Press, Los Angeles, 2003, pp. 41, 53, 55; DAA, p. 98; and Hughes, p. 424. page 292
128. Fred Archer is credited with devising the use of photographic backgrounds in movie titles, as well as using animation in titles. On Archer, see Michael G. Wilson and Dennis Reed, Pictorialism in California, The Getty Museum, San Marino and The Henry E. Huntington Library, Malibu, 1994; and Michael Dawson, ‘Fred Archer: A Southern California innovator’, in Victoria Dailey, Natalie Shivers and Michael Dawson, LA’s early moderns: Art, architecture, photography, Balcony Press, Los Angeles, 2003, pp. 264–65.
129. Karl Struss had studied with Clarence White and other Photo-Secessionists in New York before coming to California in 1919; he went on to be a famous cinematographer in Hollywood, filming such works as Ben Hur (1925) and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1931). See Karl Struss, man with a camera: The artist–photographer in New York and Hollywood, Cranbrook Academy of Art/Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, 1976; and Barbara McCandless, New York to Hollywood: The photography of Karl Struss, Amon Carter Museum and University of New Mexico Press, Fort Worth, 1995.
130. Touring Topics, vol. 16, no. 7, July 1924, Rotagravure Section.
131. Starr, Material dreams, p. 313. On Hanna, see also Dawson, pp. 56–57, 280–83.
132. Dawson, p. 281.
133. ibid., pp. 252–57; and Ott, pp. 58–65.
134. Touring Topics, February 1929, pp. 38–43, 48.
135. Touring Topics, March 1928, p. 41.
136. Ott, p. 58.
137. ‘Aside from Edward Weston, only Will Connell was involved in a highly varied group of intellectual and artistic circles. Connell’s work not only bridges the shift of fine art photography from pictorialism to modernism, but also makes a transition from the intellectual communities of the art world to the practice of commercial photography.’ Dawson, p. 280. In 1941, no doubt inspired by the continuing craze for California’s Spanish past, Connell produced a photobook called The missions of California, illustrated with his own photographs of all the missions.
138. Dawson, p. 56; Moure, Dictionary of art and artists, pp. 170–71; and Starr, Material dreams, p. 320.
139. Touring Topics, October 1925, p. 20. 140. Hanna writes about Mannheim in the same issue, p. 3.
141. The National Library of Australia has the entire run of Touring Topics/Westways, although there is no indication of whether the magazine was known in Australia in the 1920s and 1930s, or was purchased at a later date.
142. Talley–Jones and O’Connor, p. 84.
143. Starr, Material dreams, p. 305.
144. Merle Armitage, West Coaster, 1 September 1928. Armitage wrote several books, including an autobiography in which he comments again about the smallness of Los Angeles culture in the 1920s, including ‘painters myopically fascinated by eucalyptus trees’. See Armitage, Accent on life, Iowa State University Press, Ames, 1965. Armitage also figures prominently in Dawson’s book, LA’s early moderns; see especially Chapter 6, ‘Edward Weston and Merle Armitage’, pp. 252–57, which discusses Armitage’s role in the publication of ‘one of the first monographs on photography of the modern era’, Edward Weston, designed by Armitage for E. Weyhe in 1932 (p. 257).
145. See Nancy Dustin Wall Moure, ‘Impressionism, post–impressionism, and the Eucalyptus School in Southern California’, in Ruth Westphal, Plein air painters of California: The Southland, Westphal Publishing, Irvine, 1982, pp. 34–35.
146. McWilliams, Southern California, rev. edn, 1973, p. 358.
147. ibid., p. 360.
148. For a discussion of architectural historian Esther McCoy’s standard championing of the modernist view and dismissal of California’s Spanish Style adaptations, see William Alexander McClung, Landscapes of desire: Anglo mythologies of Los Angeles, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2000, pp. 98–106.
149. Stephanos Polyzoides, ‘The Mediterranean Style’, lecture, Gosney Hall, Polytechnic School, Pasadena, 21 March 2007.
150. Leon Whitson, ‘20s Spanish Style needs no revival: red tile roofs, white walls endure as Southland favorites’, Los Angeles Times, 5 March 1989, section VIII, p. 26; quoted in McClung, p. 104.
151. Polyzoides, lecture, 21 March 2007.