Cottages #2 and #3 – California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo

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Campus of California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
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George Sellon in the capacity of State Architect used his firm Sellon & Hemmings to design at least two Craftsman bungalow cottages on what is now the campus of the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Construction of “Cottage #2” and “Cottage #3” occurred in 1908-09. Each of the structures was designed to facilitate on-campus staff housing, and each maintained this capacity until the late twentieth century, when members of the campus faculty began using the cottages as storage units.

In the early 1920s, Cal Poly workmen removed the cottages from their original location on the north side of campus and placed them on the southwest side of the campus, where they had since remained until their demolition several years ago. The structures having been evaluated were deemed of no historical significance for several reasons.

Although the buildings were constructed in a popular architectural style of the period, they are but modest workers bungalows and not distinctive examples of Craftsman bungalow residences of the era. Despite their venerable age, the cottages have been moved from their original sites and no longer retain their spatial and functional connection with the area of the early campus devoted to agricultural, maintenance and operations facilities. None of these three buildings appear to be associated with the lives of individuals that made significant contributions to the school’s early history.

A third cottage, “Cottage #1” was constructed in 1910. This cottage was built during the term of William D. Coates Jr. the new State Architect and is attributed to him although the drawings would indicate it was Sellon and Hemmings designed and simply built during Coates tenure.  Although credited to Coates a Master Architect himself, its fate would be like the others and was deemed of no historical significance and razed as well.

Of note:

Both Sellon and Hemmings later designed Craftsman bungalows that are of significance and still surviving in Downtown Sacramento’s Alkali Flats neighborhood.

Shortly after dissolving there partnership in 1909 Sellon designed his greatest surviving residence the Cranston-Geary House, 1909. Hemmings would design the less known Lorenz House in 1912, which is interestingly located just right down the street from the Cranston-Geary. Even more interestingly in my research I discovered that a letter dated March 24, 1909 before their partnership was dissolved on August 1, 1909 Hemmings wrote to friend and one time designer in the State Architects office Leonard Willeke stating the “Residence for Mr. Cranston” was “in the office”.

Text and images contained in this blog were used from the report done by JRP Historical Consulting, LLC.

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Posted: January 1, 1908

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Category: E.C. Hemmings

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