Visitor Guide Issue 14
Visitor Guide Issue 14 for Asilomar State Beach (SB) in California. Published by California Department of Parks and Recreation.
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asilomar S TATE B E ACH AN D CO N FE R E N CE G RO U N DS VISITOR GUIDE ISSUE 14 ©CA State Parks Welcome! ©CA State Parks 2 Thank you for enabling State Parks to preserve Asilomar for generations to come! arl Pe ob ©Jac On behalf of California State Parks and our concessionaire partner, Aramark, we warmly welcome you to Asilomar State Beach & Conference Grounds. One of the most unique parks in our state, Asilomar’s location is unparalleled. Situated at the tip of the Monterey Peninsula, Asilomar’s guest rooms are spread throughout the native Monterey pine and coast live oak forest, all within view and walking distance of the majestic Make the Most of Your Asilomar Visit Whether you are here to meet and confer with colleagues, reaffirm family ties, or are visiting as an overnight guest, there are many Eric Abma, ways to experience Asilomar’s Asilomar State Park Superintendent unique “spirit of place”: • Take a self-guided tour of Pacific Ocean. Julia Morgan’s Asilomar. Self-guided tours are signature Arts and Crafts style of available on your cell phone or architecture makes up the Historic from a brochure. Brochures are Core of this property, immersing found at the State Parks Desk in guests in the sense of place the Phoebe Hearst Social Hall, or experienced by Young Women’s from our website: https://www. Christian Association (YWCA) parks.ca.gov/asilomar - follow the campers of the early 1900s. “Self-Guided Tours” link. Asilomar State Beach and • Get to know Asilomar with State Conference Grounds was purchased Park staff on “The Asilomar by the State of California in 1956 Ramble”, a tour covering many with the intent of operating a topics unique to Asilomar, financially sustainable park – a goal including its beginnings as in which it has succeeded. Our the YWCA’s first West Coast partnership with Aramark enables conference grounds, star Asilomar to maintain financial architect Julia Morgan’s work independence: operating entirely here, the natural environment, free of state funding. Through and Asilomar’s history as a lodging costs and purchases at California State Park. Asilomar 100% of the park’s budget • Get Social! Tag, Tweet, Post, Pin, is generated by you, the park visitor. Contents Welcome 2 Aramark 4 YWCA Builds Asilomar 6 Restoration 11 Architecture 13 Habitats 16 • Stretch your legs! Walking or running routes are plentiful at Asilomar. Enjoy the raised vistas from the Asilomar Dunes Boardwalk, or head across the street, to find the sandy shores of Asilomar State Beach, or north on the Asilomar Coast trail which meanders along the rocky tide pools and quiet coves. ©CA State Parks This special length of coast is a California State Beach, and the off shore waters are protected by California as a State Marine Reserve, as well as Federal regulation as the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. These protections ensure marine life is abundant here, so keep your eyes peeled! On a regular basis you can see Sea Otters, Gray Whales, Invertebrates (in the tide pools), and if you are lucky you may spot Orca or Blue Whales! ©CA State Parks, Peter Nichols etc. Asilomar… We would like to be part of your adventure! Please include Asilomar in your social life: https://www.facebook.com/ CaliforniaStateParks https://twitter.com/CAStateParks https://www.youtube.com/user/ CaliforniaStateParks https://castateparks.wordpress. com/ https://www.pinterest.com/ castateparks/asilomar-statebeach/ #InventYourAdventure Bird Life of Asilomar 24 10 Things to Know 28 Beach Mobility 29 Cover Artist 30 Short Drives 31 we would like to hear from you: California State Parks email@example.com Asilomar State Beach Office, 804 Crocker Avenue, Pacific Grove, CA 93950. Aramark collects guest survey cards, which are available from the Park Store, the Front Desk, and the Crocker Dining Hall. Online surveys are available at MyGuestExperience.com We are pleased to have you here and hope you enjoy your stay! Eric Abma, Superintendent Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds Help Make Asilomar Better! Your ideas and feedback play a major role in determining just how successful we are at Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds, and 3 4 Enos Esquivel General Manager, Asilomar Conference Grounds our core mission of delivering experiences that enrich and nourish the lives of our visitors. Environmental Sustainability Environmental sustainability is at the core of what we do at Asilomar. We recognize that operating our business in a way that limits negative impact on the environment is critically important to the site, to Asilomar, the Monterey Peninsula community, ©Aramark Aramark would like to welcome you to the Monterey Peninsula and Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds. In September 2009, California State Parks awarded Aramark the concession to operate the Asilomar Conference Grounds. Aramark is proud to include this “Refuge by the Sea” among the treasured properties it manages throughout the United States including State Parks, National Parks and Forests, cultural attractions and conference centers. In California, Aramark also has the privilege of operating at Hearst Castle - another unit of California State Parks. In 2016, Aramark was awarded the management contract for Yosemite National Park. In partnership with its clients, Aramark seeks to enhance the guest experience by offering industry-leading hospitality, conference services, environmental stewardship and corporate social responsibility. Here at Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds, Aramark staff directly supports California State Parks in its mission to preserve and protect, while we focus on ©Aramark ©Aramark aramark and the globe. Our daily operations have been assessed for their impact on the environment and methods for reducing impact have been put into place. Some of our greatest conservation needs are in the areas of energy, water, and solid waste management. Here is how we have addressed some of these issues in recent years and plan for continued progress in overall conservation. Energy Conservation – The property is currently undergoing upgrades to energy efficient LED lighting with a total of 85% converted so far. Water Conservation – The introduction of Water City - a state of the art water recycling system, was installed in 2016, allowing reclamation of up to 75% of the water used for housekeeping operations. Solid Waste Management – We have a robust composting Let us know if you see additional areas where we can make environmental improvements. Healthy Foods In the spirit of encouraging healthy people and a healthy planet, Aramark chefs work hard to ensure that we focus on providing organic, seasonal and local produce and proteins (meat, fish and dairy). Guests can expect the freshest ingredients prepared to retain the food’s maximum flavor and optimum health benefits. Our meals offer goodness and high quality - a priority for a good diet. Our cooking style includes fish and meats as a main staple, incorporating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds, nuts and legumes as often as possible. Our focus is on balance and moderation to provide healthy meals. This not only applies to the quantity of food served, but also to the flavorings incorporated during preparation. We emphasize a cooking style that promotes nourishing foods. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program helps consumers and businesses ©Aramark Aramark and CA State Parks employees at Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds Park Unit make seafood choices for healthy oceans. As a Seafood Watch Partner, Asilomar’s menu recommendations indicate which seafood items are “Best Choices” or “Good Alternatives”; menus do not include items to “Avoid”. The earth’s oceans have supplied humans with food and have created a livelihood for millions of people for thousands of years. At Aramark we are working with Seafood Watch to do our part to contribute to better ocean management practices. Healthy Mind and Body As a unit of California State Parks, Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds is open to the public 365 days a year. Part of the California State Parks mission is to “provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California.” Asilomar is the perfect place to relax, recharge and renew. Some of the activities you can enjoy at Asilomar include walking the scenic Natural Dunes Boardwalk, relaxing in front of the Social Hall’s granite rock fireplace, or learning Asilomar’s stories on a guided State Park tour. To learn more about all there is to do at Asilomar, please visit www. VisitAsilomar.com. —Contributed by the Aramark team at Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds ©Aramark program, Clean the World soap recycling program, and community outreach events. You can also help us meet our goals by: • Using the trash and recycling bins provided on property • Turning off the faucet while washing your hands and brushing teeth • Turning out the lights and turning off the heat when leaving your guest or meeting room • Walking or biking around the property rather than driving your car Phoebe A. Hearst Social Hall 5 ©CA State Parks ywca builds asilomar Phoebe Apperson Hearst Social Hall Entry, c. 1915 The Young Women’s Christian Association created Asilomar in 1913 as a conference ground for its Pacific Coast chapters, for like-minded social, educational and religious organizations, and as a vacation camp for families, girls and women. Purchased by the State of California in 1956, Asilomar became a National Historic Landmark in 1987 for its extraordinary Arts and Crafts architecture and “as a monumental achievement in the context of the career of Julia Morgan”, the first woman awarded the American Institute of Architecture’s Gold Medal. Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) Founded on the East Coast in the second half of the 19th century, the Young Women’s Christian Association grew alongside the women’s movement. Inspired by late nineteenth-century Evangelical Protestantism, some of the women of the YWCA fought for women’s suffrage, educational rights, better working conditions, and safer and cleaner cities. The 6 YWCA’s ultimate aim was “to help girls to be physically, mentally, and spiritually fit.” By the early years of the twentieth century, YWCA branches were located in every major American city and on nearly every college campus in California. Virtually every branch included an employment bureau. The YWCA operated more than 100 boarding houses that offered recreation, education, meals and the company of other young women. The YWCA sought to promote “wholesome recreation and social enjoyment” for young women. To this end, their annual meetings were often held in campgrounds and other outdoor settings. The Hotel Capitola in Capitola, California, within easy reach of the ©CA State Parks Asilomar, a National Historic Landmark YWCA Summer Camp Uniform, c. 1918 ocean, mountains, and forests, served as the conference site until 1911 when Phoebe Hearst invited the group to hold the 1912 conference at her estate in Pleasanton. Mrs. Hearst, long considered a “fairy godmother” to the Pacific Coast Branch, provided the 1912 “Hacienda Conference” with a hilltop campground equipped with tents and iron beds for more than 350 young women. She stocked a huge dining tent, and even built roads up the hillside to smooth the way for the fleet of autos that shuttled girls from the train depot. Mrs. Hearst invited some of the Bay Area’s most influential women to hear firsthand about the YWCA’s work and the plan to build a permanent conference center. Hearst paid the cost of the food and equipment while the girls’ conference fees were added to the fund set aside to purchase a permanent camp. YWCA’s West Coast leadership had negotiated a deal with a Monterey Peninsula real estate developer, Pacific Improvement Company (PIC). In spite of the objections of several members, who feared that Pacific Grove’s iron beds, and electric lights and showers. Girls could open the drapes and slide their beds partway onto the veranda to enjoy the fresh ocean air. The First National Summer Conference Camp, 1913 Asilomar became part of a national system of conference facilities operated by the YWCA and the first that it owned outright. Initially, the grounds were to be known as “Guardamar,” but that was a name no one seemed to like. Phoebe Hearst suggested that the girls name the grounds and proposed a contest to excite interest. Contest rules insisted that the name be something “Californian, preferably Spanish, and must suggest either the peculiar natural charm of the place, or the purpose for which it is to be used, or, better still, both.” Helen Salisbury, a Stanford University graduate, won a fivedollar gold coin for her winning entry. She combined the Spanish word asilo, which means haven or refuge, with mar, meaning sea, to form “Asilomar” – a refuge by the sea. The opening conference began Sunday, August 3, 1913. Classes and lectures – on topics ranging from the international work of the YWCA to the power of the American common schools – were scheduled over the next 10 days. While much of the week was devoted to Bible study and training for missionary work, girls were encouraged to bring a nice dress for visiting Monterey and Carmel, and a pair of tramping shoes for hiking the coast. Afternoons were free and every night the girls enjoyed bonfires. The highlight of the week was the pageant, “The Ministering of the Gift,” starring 400 costumed girls and the Monterey Presidio Band. Asilomar YWCA’s leadership expected Asilomar to pay its own way, but also sought donations to fulfill an ambitious building plan. Armed with large sums from wealthy philanthropists, including Mrs. Hearst, Ellen Browning Scripps, Olivia and Catherine Stokes, as well as donations from several thousand ordinary girls, ©CA State Parks climate might be too harsh for young women, the PIC agreed to deed the YWCA with 30 acres of land “facing the ocean” between the famed Seventeen-Mile Drive and the Pacific Ocean. The YWCA agreed to make $30,000 in improvements within 10 years, and would pay one dollar per acre per annum in ‘taxes’. The YWCA wasted little time in hiring Bay Area architect Julia Morgan, who had connections to the Hearst family and was then completing plans for the YWCA building in Oakland. Surveyors went to work in February 1913, and by June a site had been cleared and work begun on the Administration Building, later named the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Social Hall. When the girls arrived in early August, they were greeted by a huge, round dining tent shipped in by Mrs. Hearst, and temporary tent houses. The tent houses had solid redwood frames shingled roofs, canvas drapes for walls, hardwood floors, and a veranda to ensure “a neighborly atmosphere.” Each had fifteen rooms equipped with a pair of YWCA Pacific Field Committee, 1913. Phoebe Hearst, fifth from right wearing Chinese garment. 7 to “Pirates”. The Stuck-ups and and Pirates have become some of the most memorable characters in the history of Asilomar. Today, their stories and photos hang in the hallways of Stuck-up Inn and Pirates’ Den lodges. Asilomar Tent Houses, 1923. Dickinson Collection. the YWCA expanded the grounds and added several new buildings. By 1920, they had added twenty acres and several Julia Morgandesigned buildings: Grace Dodge Chapel-Auditorium, Visitors Lodge, the Guest Inn, the Health Cottage, Class Hall, Crocker Dining Hall, Stuck-Up Inn, as well as a warehouse and a maintenance shop. To pay for its annual operations the YWCA charged the girls $1.50 per day for room and board (about $37.00 in 2017) and leased the grounds to groups sympathetic to its cause. The Young Men’s Christian Association and the Epworth League began holding their annual conferences at Asilomar starting in 1914. The California Press Association made an annual excursion to Asilomar, as did the California Grange, the Chinese Student Association, the Japanese Student Association and many others. In the winter of 192021 Asilomar opened at other times during the year, in part to keep up with the demand, but also to keep money flowing into its coffers. Stuck-Ups and Pirates To assist the YWCA mission at 8 Asilomar, volunteer opportunities were offered to college-age YWCA members. In exchange for room and board, the young women were involved in camp leadership activities along with chores such as washing dishes, mopping and sweeping floors during conferences. Despite the hard and time-consuming work, only a few positions were available each summer, and the supply of young women often exceeded the demand. Initial dismay and vocal reluctance to menial tasks earned the 1913 recruits the nickname, ‘Stuck-Ups’. It was a title gamely embraced, and, in 1918 would grace the name of their Julia Morgan-designed lodge. In 1922, the YWCA hired young men to assist at camp. They did some of the heavy lifting required at Asilomar by serving as porters, bus boys, and dishwashers. Known as the “Pirates,” they became central to an annual conference tradition of dressing in pirate costumes and ‘raiding’ Crocker Dining Hall during lunch time. That many of them took liberties with the dessert tray led to their original name, “Pie Rats”, later morphed In the Depression years of the early 1930s, the YWCA found its donors less willing and able to fund Asilomar’s deficits. Short of cash, the YWCA’s National Board closed Asilomar, and put it on the market. Nevertheless, demand for Asilomar’s facilities was still strong. Winifred Heard of Berkeley, who had been involved with Asilomar since 1928, used her connections in the Bay Area’s spiritual community, to organize several conferences that not only helped pay for maintenance and upkeep but also helped shape Asilomar’s future. Despite Heard’s efforts, the YWCA ©CA State Parks ©CA State Parks A Resort by the Sea Baseball in the Dunes at Asilomar, 1915. Grogan Collection. ©CA State Parks Stuck Ups, 1927 continued to pursue a buyer for Asilomar. In 1936, the YWCA leased Asilomar to the Visel brothers, operators of a ranch in Carpinteria, California. The YWCA apparently also gave them an option to buy the grounds for $100,000. Paulson Visel, with his wife Beatrice, his brother David and mother Elizabeth, moved onto the grounds and began an energetic program to restore Asilomar’s glory as a conference facility while reinventing it as seaside resort and auto camp. The effort to turn Asilomar into a resort-by-the-sea ended in 1941 when the Visels walked away from the opportunity to buy the grounds. The National Board of the YWCA then leased the grounds to the National Youth Administration (NYA), a unit of the New Deal-era Works Progress Administration that offered education and employment training to unemployed youth. The NYA used Asilomar’s grounds to house and train young people for the expected wartime industries while providing an opportunity for structured recreation. With the start of World War II, the NYA’s mission came to an end, but the influx of people into California made sure that Asilomar did not stay empty for long. Families of military personnel associated with Fort Ord took up residence at Asilomar during the first half of 1942 and stayed until 1946. The Friends of Asilomar Following World War II, YWCA members were torn between their emotional attachment to the grounds and its inability to produce enough revenue to pay for its upkeep. As the YWCA entertained purchase offers for Asilomar, Heard and other volunteers convinced the YWCA to let them operate the facility. The YWCA loaned Asilomar enough money to reopen its conference facilities and to replace roofs and add a coat of “Asilomar Green” paint. The Friends of Asilomar also began to plan for Asilomar’s longterm survival. Perhaps the most consequential decision they made was the hiring of manager Roma Philbrook, in 1949. An experienced hospital administrator, Philbrook would remain at Asilomar until the end of 1977, overseeing its transformation from primarily a weekend and summer meeting facility to a year-round, full-service conference grounds. In 1952, the YWCA negotiated a deal with an Oakland funeral home director who planned to convert Asilomar to an end-of-life home for 400 persons over age 65. At about the same time, Asilomar’s neighbor, the Del Monte Company, offered to buy the several hundred thousand cubic feet of sand west of the Chapel near the Circle. The Friends of Asilomar objected to both deals but knew that they had to provide an alternative in order to save Asilomar. A group of concerned citizens in neighboring Pacific Grove formed a “Save Asilomar” committee and actively lobbied the State to buy Asilomar. In 1951, as part of its plan to protect California’s coast, the California Department of Natural Resources Division of Beaches & Parks purchased nearby Moss Beach (Asilomar Beach) and parts of the rocky shoreline south of the Point Pinos lighthouse reservation. By 1952, the State Parks Commission announced that it was interested in buying the conference grounds and nearby dunes, which it would set aside forever as a wild and undeveloped area. The Commission authored 9 ©CA State Parks Asilomar Foundation Members, left to right: Elizabeth Gordon; Bernise May; Winifred Heard; Roma Philbrook; Maude Empey, 1954. a bill to fund the purchase of Asilomar and 18 other properties, which passed with little difficulty. Nevertheless, Governor Goodwin Knight pocket vetoed the bill, arguing that the nearly $16 million package violated the long-standing principal that State funds be matched with private donations or local allocations. Winifred Heard convinced the YWCA to donate half the $700,000 appraised value to the state. She then convinced her friend Joseph Knowland, Chairman of the Parks Commission, Democratic State Senator, Fred Farr, and Republican State Assemblyman, Alan Pattee, to broker a deal in which the City of Pacific Grove would manage the grounds for 25 years, reinvesting all surplus revenues into maintenance and new buildings. On July 1, 1956, the state merged the conference grounds with Asilomar State Beach Park under the management of the non-profit Pacific Grove-Asilomar Operating Corporation (PG-AOC). Concessionaires Under the concession agreement with the PG-AOC, and with Roma Philbrook’s continued 10 management, Asilomar began several decades of profitable operations. Plans were put into place in 1958, calling for full utilization of the grounds, “First Class” housing, more parking, and a modern infrastructure. Expansion and modernization of Asilomar began in 1959 with the opening of the Surf and Sand Complex and the Corporation Yard. A remodeled and expanded dining facility followed, with the Pacific Grove Rotary Club inaugurating the new Seascape dining room in 1961. In 1969, State Parks terminated the operating agreement with Pacific Grove and assumed control over the Pacific Grove-Asilomar Operating Corporation. Roma Philbrook remained, however, and Asilomar’s expansion continued across Asilomar Avenue into East Woods with the addition of the State Parks’ training facility and accompanying housing. Though Roma Philbrook departed in 1977, expansion continued until the completion of the Forest Lodge and Fireside complexes in 1981. Throughout Asilomar’s years of expansion, concern grew over the conference grounds’ impact on the environment. In the 1980s, State Parks began a systematic program of dune restoration that continues to this day. Forest restoration, which had begun as early as 1959, also continues as the effects of pitch canker, fragmentation, and other impacts on the Monterey pine-coast live oak forest are monitored and analyzed. In 1993 the State cancelled the concession contract with the Pacific Grove-Asilomar Operating Corporation, awarding it to the Delaware North Corporation in 1996. In September 2009, California State Parks signed a twentyyear concession agreement with ARAMARK Sports & Entertainment to operate the conference grounds and lodging business. Asilomar State Beach & Conference Grounds The Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds park unit now contains nearly 60 buildings located on 107 acres with a worldrenowned beach, gently rolling sand dunes, and a Monterey pine-Coast Live Oak forest. A major State Parks project funded with concessionaire contributions and completed in 2014, brought Asilomar into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The project included mobility upgrades to conference grounds pathways, several remodeled accessible lodge rooms, and improved building accessibility throughout the property. Asilomar has an annual visitation of more than 400,000 people including conference attendees, attendees, overnight guests, and vacationers to the beach, dunes and coastal trail who revel in the spectacular views of this “Refuge by the Sea”. Phoebe Hearst Social Hall Terrace Restoration Project – a California State Parks and Aramark Collaboration On an autumn afternoon in 1912, a small group of “pioneer workers and dreamers” gathered at the edge of the Pacific Ocean at the site now known as Asilomar. The Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) had decided to build a permanent conference site, the first owned and operated by a women’s group in the United States. The initial survey group included Mrs. Phoebe Apperson Hearst, Mrs. Benjamin Ide Wheeler, Mrs. Mary Merrill, Miss Ella Schooley, and Miss Julia Morgan. Accompanying them was ©CA State Parks. Elmer Schmidt, c. 1920 restoration a representative for the real estate development firm known as the Pacific Improvement Company (PIC), Mr. A.D. Shepherd. The PIC had offered thirty acres of land to the YWCA for its new conference grounds with the stipulation that they pay land taxes and add $30,000 in improvements within ten years. 11 In the words of Mary Merrill (first director of Asilomar), “Together we wandered through the picturesque camping grounds of old Monterey and Pacific Grove, over the sand dunes, on thru the pine trees, gathering inspiration every moment from the glimpse of the ocean, blue in its tranquility; the scene growing more fascinating and captivating at every turn, until we reached the marvelous beach, the boundary of our possessions to be. Retracing our steps, with Miss Morgan in our lead, who visualized for us the future sites for the various buildings, we decided then and there that we could and would meet the requirements of the company [PIC] and recommended to the National Board that this offer be accepted. Thus the vision of the Conference Grounds and Vacation Camp of the National Board became a reality.”1 A key member of the group of “dreamers” was Julia Morgan, first woman to receive a license to practice architecture in the state of California. Morgan’s design aesthetic for the Asilomar Conference Grounds buildings drew inspiration – and materials – from the local setting. The buildings at Asilomar embrace the California Arts and Crafts style that emphasizes nature, site, and local materials. Milled redwood paneling and roof trusses were harvested locally; rubble stone pillars sourced from the nearby seashore. With topographic maps supplied by the PIC, Morgan drew the initial plans for the grounds, linking building sites with walking paths and utility roads. She planned for three buildings around the wooded campus circle that served as the primary sites for socializing (Phoebe Hearst Social Hall), spiritual uplift (Grace Dodge Chapel),and sustenance (Mary Ann Crocker Dining Hall). Phoebe A. Hearst Social Hall, originally called the Administration Building, was completed in 1913. This attractive building has a large, welcoming fireplace, cozy reading areas, and, during the early years of YWCA ownership, housed class rooms, a bureau of information, post office, book store, and tea room/shop where post cards and photographs were sold. Outside, the building’s full-width concrete terrace, with a tiered semi-circular stairway, afforded a view towards the ocean. The building’s entry doors offered a rustic embrace and welcomed campers to Asilomar – “Refuge by the Sea.” The concrete terrace was demolished in 1973 and a wood deck constructed in its place. The wood deck did not retain Morgan’s original design intent, as it restricted the view of the natural environment from the interior and the view of the building from the grounds. Restoration of the concrete terrace returns the building to its original design, reestablishes a unique view shed, and strengthens the historical integrity and value of this National Historic Landmark property. California State Parks prepared the terrace restoration design and consulted on all ecological, architectural, and historical issues related to the project. Asilomar concessionaire, Aramark, managed the construction project, completed March, 2017. Your comments on the restoration project are welcome and we encourage you to share your thoughts with California State Parks by calling the Asilomar State Park Office: (831) 646-6440. 1. YWCA Publication, “The Story of Asilomar” c. 1924 12 ©CA State Parks. Peter Nichols architecture When Julia Morgan designed Asilomar Conference Grounds for the YWCA, women in California had only recently secured the right to vote. The women of the YWCA knew that they were on the verge of something great. Morgan’s college friend, Oakland Chapter President, Grace Fischer said that the YWCA “is not an experiment.” The investment in Asilomar was one way to prove it. Julia Morgan was the right person to carry the YWCA’s vision forward. In 1894 she graduated with an engineering degree from the University of California, Berkeley—only the fourth woman to do so. In 1898 she became the first women admitted to the École ©CA State Parks Julia Morgan Phoebe Apperson Hearst Social Hall Interior, c. 1915. Julia Morgan, Architect 13 fireplaces, Morgan’s buildings inspire appreciation for architecture and for the natural environment. Merrill Hall Interior. Julia Morgan, Architect ©CA State Parks des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where, in 1902, she graduated with a Master’s Degree in Architecture. In 1904, after working with the University of California’s architect, John Galen Howard, Morgan became the first woman to earn a license to practice architecture in California. She opened her own office in San Francisco that same year. Throughout her career, Morgan 14 demonstrated an ability to work in an extraordinary array of architectural styles. Trained in the classicism of the Beaux-Arts, her designs for Asilomar reflect an innovative vernacular approach to Arts and Craft architecture known as the First Bay Tradition. She set this standard at Asilomar with the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Social Hall, the first permanent building on the grounds. The Social Hall features natural materials including local granite and unpainted redwood. Hidden behind the dunes and set among the trees, it remains the center of life at Asilomar. With the construction of the majestic Merrill Hall in 1928 Morgan’s work at Asilomar came to a close. Set where the sandy dunes meet the Monterey pine-oak forest and featuring native materials, open ceilings and imposing In 1957 Asilomar’s management hired San Francisco architect John Carl Warnecke to develop a “Master Plan” for the park’s modernization and expansion. Born in Oakland in 1919, Warnecke was the son of Oakland architect Carl I. Warnecke. Before he retired, John Carl Warnecke’s internationally recognized firm designed the Soviet Embassy in Washington, DC, the U.S. Naval Academy Library, international airports, university buildings, and the Hawaii State Capitol. He became acquainted with John and Jacqueline Kennedy, and after JFK’s assassination, Warnecke designed the presidential gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery. W