PLEASE HELP US PRESERVE
THE HISTORIC CONNELL HOUSE IN PEBBLE BEACH
Photographs of the Connell House, taken in December 2015 showing "demolition by neglect"
Update: Recent Degradation by "Vandals."
April, 2022 Update:
The owner of the the late 1950's Connell House in Pebble Beach by Richard Neutra has been trying to receive permission to tear it down and replace it with a larger mansion. This has been going on for more than a decade. Because the Association of Monterey Area Preservationist (AMP) arranged to have it listed as an historic property, the Monterey Planning Department has been carrying out an Environmental Impact Report which will finally be submitted to the Planning Commission of the county in June, 2022. Meanwhile the owner reported that "vandals snuck into the house with a chainsaw and systematically cut supporting structure" The county required her to shore it up. Most recently the house was found with its gate down and a door into the house standing open. Authorities have been notified.
The Alliance of Monterey Area Preservationists (AMAP)
Richard Joseph Neutra, renowned mid-century modernist architect, was an Austrian-American architect who lived and built for the majority of his career in Southern California. A photograph of the 1958 “Connell House” is the example used for the “International Style” of architecture in the Pebble Beach Historic Context Statement (page 127).
AMAP's GOAL: To ensure that the Connell House is not demolished. The owner was ordered by the County of Monterey to protect the house after it was damaged after the owner applied to demolish and replace it with 13,000 square foot new house.
AMAP's CONCERN: The Connell House is a pure example of the modernist design aesthetic. The current Connell House owner’s intention is to demolish the house to make way for a new home in its place. As Richard Neutra's architect son Dion Neutra states, "It would be a great tragedy to lose the only authentic Richard Neutra design in all of Monterey County. The Connell House is irreplaceable.",
1949 cover of Time Magazine
featuring Richard Neutra
Cover Credit: Ernest Hamlin Baker
AMAP's COMMITMENT: AMAP contracted with architectural historians Anthony Kirk and Barbara Lamprecht (a leading expert on Richard Neutra’s distinguished career) to prepare nomination papers for the National Register. The Connell house was successfully determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places on June 13, 2014 and was listed on the California Register of Historic Places. AMAP has taken the lead on this critical and urgent on-going campaign. AMAP has confidence that preservationists from across Monterey County (and beyond!) as well as architectural historians, architecture students, members of American Institute of Architects Monterey and members of Monterey Bay Modernism will:
Either click on the "DONATE" button below to reach AMAP's PayPal link and contribute using your credit card, or else write a check in any amount made out to the Alliance of Monterey Area Preservationists, with "Connell House Fund" written on the memo line - and mail it to:
P.O. Box 2752, Monterey, California 93942
UPDATE ON THE HISTORIC CONNELL HOUSE IN PEBBLE BEACH
On Thursday, March 6, 2014, the Monterey County Historic Resources Review Board (HRRB) met. On the agenda was a request from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) for review and comments on the Arthur and Kathleen Connell House National Register of Historic Places nomination.
the conclusion of their discussion, the HRRB directed the Monterey
County Planning Staff to draft a letter recommending that the Connell
House be added to the State and National Registers. This letter will
be sent to the State Historic Preservation Office and will be
included in the packet for the SHPO’s conference at the
Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove on April 22, 2014.
Details of the discussion on the Connell House National Register of Historic Places nomination are below:
The HRRB members heard comments from the public (including Alliance of Monterey Area Preservationist Board Members Mike Dawson, Mark Norris and Jeffrey Becom; attorney Tony Lombardo on behalf of Connell House neighbor Sam Reeve; and Monterey Bay Modernism leader Karen Lesney.)
All public comments were strongly in favor of the HRRB supporting the State and National Register designations.
In his comments Mike Dawson informed the HRRB that AMAP had taken the lead in calling for the National Register designation by funding the historic report on behalf of Connell House preservation written by architectural historian Anthony Kirk and Richard Neutra expert Barbara Lamprecht. He emphasized how much time, effort, research and money has gone into this process and how firmly he believes that the Connell House deserves to be saved.
Attorney Tony Lombardo expressed his concern that the Connell House is in danger of loss due to intentional neglect. He hopes the HRRB can recommend that the current owner be put on notice that this neglect cannot continue.
Karen Lesney read aloud a letter written by Sally Anne Smith, AIA Monterey Bay and Director of the Committee on the Environment for the Monterey Bay Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. In this letter, Ms. Smith focuses on Richard Neutra’s importance in California and National architectural history with the purpose of encouraging the HRRB to support the Connell House National Registry nomination. Karen echoed this support in her own words.
Jeffrey Becom spoke about how quickly the nomination is moving through the process and asked the HRRB to quickly move forward with their support for saving the Connell House.
Responding to Tony Lombardo's concern, Mark Norris stated that in his long involvement in the saving of the historic Old Jail in Salinas, he had learned that as soon as a property is determined to be eligible for State or National Historic status, its owner must treat the home as if it was already on these registers.
There were no opposing views expressed. The home’s current owner was not present nor was her attorney.
After the close of the public hearing, the HRRB members individually expressed support for saving the Connell House, except for one member, Judy MacClelland, who had to recues herself because she was the AMAP Board Member who first moved that AMAP fund the historic report by Kirk/Lamprecht for Connell House inclusion on the National Register.
The HRRB members all believe strongly in the thoroughness and accuracy of the Kirk/Lamprecht report. They said the report was so complete it didn't leave any questions unanswered. They were all in agreement that losing the Connell House would be a loss for the entire Monterey County community.
One member added that this Neutra home is possibly unique in being the only Neutra design on the Pacific Coast (vs. those in the hills overlooking Los Angeles or those in the Palm Springs desert region).
Another member, Sal Muñoz, recounted that when he was an architecture student in Southern California, he and his classmates had the tremendous opportunity to spend an entire day with Neutra in Neutra's own home.
Another member said they looked up the different statuses of American architects over the past century and found that Richard Neutra was included in the “masters” category.
Several members stated that they firmly believe the Connell House meets the criteria in the State and National Registers (particular Criteria “C” for the Modernist Style: master architect, unique setting, exemplary design, etc..).
For some important background material, please read:
The eyes of Neutra preservationists, modernist architects and architectural historians in Southern California, across the country, and around the world are watching. We who live within a few miles of this historic landmark need to be the first to act.
Can you and more importantly will you help set the
California Register of Historic Resources' "nomination for eligibility"
into motion with your contribution now?