Historic building symbolizes League past, future

Posted on June 30, 2011 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The Sonoma League for Historic Preservation has unveiled a new logo featuring an element of the Plaza’s distinctive Duhring Building, a historic building of great meaning to the city and the organization itself.

In what members called the league’s “defining, signature moment,” the group led a community effort to save, and ultimately restore, the building after it was ravaged by fire in 1990.

The new logo debuted at the opening of photo exhibit about the Duhring Building, “The Store on the Corner,” on display at the Hooker House through August 1. Organized by Bowers and League member Ginny Richardson, the exhibit traces the 150-year history of the site through a series of photos.

Among the exhibit photos are the original adobe building as it looked in 1860, the 1891 brick building with corner windows and cupola that replaced the original structure, the corner at the turn of the century, and finally the building as it was gutted by fire and rebuilt with support and hard work from the community and the league.

Frederick T. Duhring, whose parents arrived in California from Germany around the time of the Gold Rush, constructed the first section of the brick building capped by a cupola in 1891. He operated the store as a hardware business until 1932 when the enterprise was turned over to August Pinelli, who had started working there after school years earlier.

The building housed Mission Hardware store for almost 60 years until the night of September 19, 1990 when the structure was 90 percent destroyed and thought by some to be lost for good.

There was a move to demolish and remove the smoldering structure but league and other dedicated volunteers stood up, saved, and ultimately restored the building.

The building’s bricks were taken to the Sonoma City Corporation Yard. There, league members such as Maria Biasetto painstakingly removed the mortar by hand from every brick.

Following a pattern based on pictures taken prior to the fire by restoration architect and league member, Reiner Keller, the historic bricks were then used to rebuild the hardware store just as it had been.

The league subsequently obtained a façade easement that guarantees the exterior could not be changed without its approval.

Playing off the Duhring Building, the new league logo features a rendering of the building’s cupola in red and black with the League’s familiar logotype surrounded by the motto, “Honoring the Past, Imagining the Future.”

“We are honoring the past and looking toward increasing community awareness to protect and preserve the very special architectural and cultural resources of Sonoma through education and advocacy,” said League President Loyce Haran.

Sonoma artist Barbara White Perry provided sketches and pictures to local graphics designer Tina Tovey who came up with the logo and rendering working closely with Perry and League members Yvonne Bowers, Pat Pulvirenti, Micaelia Randolph, and Gary Kozel.

“Using an image as historically meaningful as the Duhring Building within the logo is such a plus,” Randolph said. “We believe it can become a truly memorable and highly visible symbol not just of the League and its preservation efforts, but of the marvelous historic and architectural character of the City of Sonoma and the greater Sonoma Valley as well.”

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