Travel Guide to California

2015 Travel Guide to California

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CA.ARCHITECTURE & GARDENS 2 0 1 5 T R A V E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A 37 Harmonious Building Californians have always embraced the new and environmentally attuned BY DAVID ARMSTRONG CONSERVATORY OF FLOWERS Completed in 1878, San Francisco's Conservatory of Flowers is a greenhouse and botanical garden inspired by the Kew Gardens in London. It's the oldest building and one of the most visited sites in Golden Gate Park, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the California Register of Historical Places. Architecture in California and the lush public gardens that add grace notes to the Golden State began to take shape in the late 18 th century, when the Spanish advanced north from Mexico City to the rustic, remote province of Alta California. The California missions, 21 Roman Catholic churches built from 1769 to 1823 on a north-south axis, set the tone. The adobe- walled, orange-tile-roofed churches erected by the Franciscan friars, eventually formed the heart of major cities such as San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The mis- sions' gardens were strictly utilitarian, intended to produce food. Eye-pleasing garden design blossomed later. The Spanish-flavored colonial buildings fell into disrepair after the newly inde- pendent Mexican government desanctified them. After moldering for years, many were reconstructed in the 20 th century, opening to the public for tours, history les- sons and, of course, worship. Today, you can find information about all things Mis- sion online at the California Missions Resource Center. Missions to Victorians to Beaux Arts The missions influenced California archi- tecture and design for years to come. The abundant open spaces, arches, tile-roofed buildings and breezy arcades of Stanford University's main quad are legacies of the Mission colonial era. The ornately elabo- rated Casa de Balboa, in San Diego's Balboa Park, is another design legacy of the mis- sions, as is the splendid 1927 San Gabriel Mission Playhouse. By the 1860s, long, deep, narrow, high- ceilinged wooden row houses populated boomtowns like San Francisco. The Victo- rians were built from the 1860s to the 1910s. In the 1970s, the once-modest houses were reborn as gentrified, vibrantly hued Painted Ladies. Surviving California

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