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Vera's 1972 Will


Vera's Nature Preserve Saga

HAF Revered or Reviled?

Happy 2002

Caveat Emptor

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HAF Breaks Ground

 

Printable Form to Support Class Action

Open Letter to Supporters

Aug 01 Class Action Suit

APPEAL TO CALIFORNIA COASTAL COMMISSION
 

Vera's Lament


Save the Nature Preserve


Protest Humboldt Area Foundation Building Permit To Supervisors


Invasion Of Vera's Trust Principal


Dolly Coffelt Declaration


Watchdogs Declarations


Timeline Of Humboldt Area Foundation Saga Development


Vera's Watchdog Rebuttal To Humboldt Area Foundation Public Misinformation


Bogus Attorney General's Letter


Internationally Acclaimed Architect John Yeon


Contact Us To Join The Class Action Suit



Perrott Family Album


Standing (Courtroom Rights)


Humboldt Area Foundation Board Of Governor Appointment


Who Owns The Property


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INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED ARCHITECT JOHN YEON

The designer of the Vietor home at Indianola, John Yeon died in 1994, by which time he was long since an Internationally acclaimed architect and environmental planner. He willed several of his works to the University Of Oregon School Of Architecture. The University of Oregon is the `center' for the library of Yeon's work. John Yeon gained early fame with the 1937 Watzek residence (an affluent lumber man) in Portland, which was displayed in the New York Museum Of Modern Art in the late 30's.

Lynn Vietor worked with the lumber industry as owner of the Eureka Foundry and Boiler Works. In the late 1930's Lynn and Vera were searching for a scenic country site on which to build a home, then living on F street in Eureka. Lynn was in Portland on business, and became aware of the `stir' over John Yeon's work (Watzek house).

Lynn approached John Yeon through Watzek to be Lynn's architect. John Yeon was not very enthused about leaving the Portland area for the `boonies' of Humboldt County. Lynn persisted. Yeon finally partially relented. He told Lynn he would come to Eureka and look at Vera and Lynn's top three sites (all with views of Humboldt Bay) and that only if John Yeon was `turned on' by one of the sites, might he be interested.

John Yeon fell in love with the Indianola site, with its seclusion, redwoods, and hilltop bay view. He agreed not only to design, but to remain `on site' and supervise the building of the Vietor residence. John Yeon camped on the site several days, to get the nuances of sunrise, sunset, winds, changing lighting during the day, before he got stuck into the design.

John Yeon became famous for designing `structures' that blended into the landscape, rather than building a `box' and importing landscaping after the fact. He chose to center the home around a madrone tree that graced the front door until allegedly being chain sawed out of existence by Vera's HAF 'trustees' in 1995.

John Yeon designed the Vietor residence to blend into the woods on the east and north, with a dogwood hanging out over the golf fairway like lawn north of the house (trees, lawn and landscaping mostly destroyed by HAF's `grow the foundation and lure more donors' parking lot in 1995).

The home was completed in 1941 shortly before Pearl Harbor. It was one of four of John Yeon's works honored by being exhibited photographically at the New York Museum Of Modern Art in the early 1940's alongside the works of Frank Lloyd Wright, who is reported to have commented favorably on young John Yeon's work. John Yeon, himself, considered the Vietor residence one of his best works.

The home was featured in many `home and garden' magazines of the day. Vera was a very private, nature loving person. She was irked by people showing up unannounced to `gawk' at her and her internationally famous home. Most Humbolters never became aware of the architectural treasure that was in their midst, nor the treasure that Vera left them in creating the public Lynn Vietor Nature Preserve with the home as its center piece.

Vera's 1972 will admonished her trustees to keep the 14.3 acre property `native and unspoiled' and `all of it', the raw land and residence, that not even a `picnic table or barbecue pit' could be added to distract from nature and John Yeon's building and landscaping masterpiece. Vera wanted a true Nature Preserve affording North Coasters a quiet walk or meditation in the woods and nature, involving no crowd, noise, or garbage attracting activities. Humboldt pioneer Vera thought the North Coast had too much building and too many 'asphalt jungles' already.

'Native and unspoiled' is the way it was for the first 18 years under Ellen Dusic, HAF's first Executive Director.

But post 1992, in HAF's Pennekamp (new board of directors) 'rethought mission' era to 'grow the foundation', which some have dubbed `creating an empire on philanthropy money', Vera's trustees have made a mockery of the Nature Preserve, doing irreparable damage to in 1995, in the north of the residence parking lot fiasco, and taking the architectural treasure residence and knocking out walls, scabbing on rooms, to make it an ugly warehouse like 'bull pen' office for some 12 to 15 employees (Dusic in HAF's first 18 years never exceeded four).

HAF has only been stopped from further destroying the Nature Preserve in the last 20 months (as of March 2001) by the court battles by Vera's Perrott watchdogs. If post 1992 HAF wanted to `expand', they could have and should have done it off site, rather than attract `non nature preserve' traffic into a nature preserve and then destroy the nature preserve for that 'foreign traffic'. Meanwhile HAF could have been applying for a National Heritage site (or equal) classification of the treasure Vera left not for her trustees to destroy, but for the public of her beloved North Coast to enjoy. It is hoped that some of that North Coast Public will join the SAVE THE LYNN VIETOR NATURE PRESERVE class action suit to stop the HAF destruction (with Wells Fargo bank complicity) of the only John Yeon work in the state of California.


 

To whom it may concern:

Reference is to the Lynn and Vera Victor house, located atop a hillside in the Lynn Victor Nature Preserve, Indianola, California (between Eureka and Arcata)

 

The Victor House, completed in 1941, is considered one of the finest houses designed by internationally known Portland Architect John Yeon. Mr. Yeon's career in Portland spanned a period from 1936 until his death in 1994, and produced works of architecture widely recognized for their contribution to the development of the "International" and "Northwest Styles," among which is the exceptional Victor House.

 

As an Architect/Architectural Historian, I have followed Mr. Yeon's career for many years, having known him personally since the early 1950s. Some of his Portland Houses are included in a book I wrote, published in 1999, entitled "Classic Houses of Portland Oregon, 1850-1950." The Aubrey Watzek house, his first, was widely acclaimed at its construction in 1937, and appeared in "House Beautiful" magazine(1950) with a lead article captioned, "The Next America Will Be the Age of Great Architecture." In 1939 the house was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in an show curated by John McAndrew entitled "Art in Our Times," which also included works by Le Corbusier, Walter Oropius, Marcel Breuer, Richard Neutra, and Frank Lloyd Wright. According to McAndrew, Wright said of Mr. Yeon, "That young man has spiritual flesh on his bones." As was to be an integral quality of his work, the house and gardens were featured together, as the all-native plantings and the house's relationship with distance views and the site were so intertwined and harmonious, that it became a recognized feature of Mr. Yeon's exceptional architecture. This pivotal northwest house has been gifted by Richard Brown, heir to the estate of John Yeon, to the University of Oregon's School of Architecture and Allied Arts. It will be an architectural study/retreat center, which will keep the grounds, the house, and its contents intact, preserving in perpetuity one of Mr. Yeon's most significant works. As George McMath stated in "A Century of Portland Architecture," "The house is a splendid example of nature, reserve, simplicity, and taste which has given special luster to Portland's reputation in contemporary architecture."

 

The second Museum of Modern Art Exhibit to include Mr. Yeon's work was curated by Elizabeth Mock, successor to John McAndrew, and titled "Built in the USA" A book, edited by Mock accompanied the Exhibit. Again most of the most notable architects of the period were included in the Exhibit and accompanying book. In 1953, Yeon's Visitors' Information Center in Portland, completed in 1948, was selected by Henry- Russell Hitchcock for a third prestigious presentation of Yeon's buildings at the Museum of Modern Art titled "Built in USA: Post War Architecture." Also included in the exhibit, apparently alongside the Visitors' Center, was Prank Lloyd Wrights "Pallingwater," as well as works by Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius, Philip Johnson, Richard Neutra, and Pietro Belluschi, also of Portland. Another house, the Victor Jorgensen House (1939), was so interwoven with its wooded site that the house and its landscape are as integral as a Japanese Villa is with its surrounding gardens. Again, existing native trees, along with new plantings, formed the basic quality of the architectural experience. Such an extraordinary siting ability could take

 



 

 

different directions, such as dealing with a very open site. An example of Mr. Yeon's ability to deal with open fields is the Lawrence Shaw House, heralded in the 1953 issue of "House Beautiful," which stated "The house.... illustrates in one superb design, the union of function and form, delight and performance. Like life, it works and plays. It has mood and warmth and vitality." In Mr. Yeon's own words he aptly described his view of architecture in the landscape, "My attitude toward building in landscapes was that of a landscape painter imaging what would look well in his landscape painting."

 


The Lynn Victor House, located at Indianola, California, was considered by John Yeon himself as one of his best works. It was shown in a Portland Art Museum exhibit and brochure in 1977, sponsored by the Portland Chapter of the American Institute of Architects in association with the Portland Art Museum. Noted in the exhibit brochure of Mr. Yeon's work was the Distinguished Service Award given by the University of Oregon at its earlier commencement ceremony. Constructed in 1941, the Victor house exemplifies the combination of house and landscape as one complete expression, so essential to Mr. Yeon's work. In fact, in the "House and Garden" article of 1941, the title stated of the Vietor House, "a house made for its landscape from its landscape." The house had, in fact, been designed around a large oak tree (now removed) at its entrance, as well as around other native plantings on its hilltop site. These, as well as the distant views, were prime generators of the design. Of course, the Victor's relationship with fellow lumber man Aubrey Watzek, in Portland, opened for them the direction of excellent contemporary architecture, which they pursued and enjoyed for the remainder of their lives.

 

Unfortunately, being removed from the California architectural centers, the Victor House has not been listed locally as an historic property in Humboldt County. It has, however, every quality which would make it a prime subject for listing on any State or local listings, and especially on the National Register of Historic Places. Had it been listed when recent changes were made, at a minimum, it would have required design review with the California SHPO (State Historic Preservation Office). Any changes threatening the basic integrity of the property would, as a matter of course, be reviewed for compliance with the Secretary of the Interior's Guidelines for the preservation of historic structures.

 

The Victor House remains, despite the lacking of any historic property designation, a prime work of architecture, designed by a nationally recognized architect. In any deliberations, about the future of the house and its integral property and landscaping, the fact of its historic architectural origins should be seriously considered. Not only did the Victors leave their considerable fortune for the public good, but the vehicle of that gesture was the dream realized in creating an exceptional work of architecture on a beautiful site. Such dreams and realization of quality, as architectural patrons and supporters of the public good, are the defining statements of their lives. Such a statement is rare in American civilization and should be respected by later generations, particularly by those in whom they placed their trust.


Resume of William J. Hawkins, III FAIA