BAKERSFIELD BUILT:  Architecture of the 1930s

Exhibition, Symposium and Home Tour 2014


This fall, Bakersfield’s leading academic and cultural institutions are coming together to celebrate an overlooked aspect of the city’s legacy: its architectural heritage. 2014 marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of John Steinbeck’s 1939 classic, “The Grapes of Wrath.” As part of that celebration, Bakersfield Built: Architecture of the 1930swill mount the first exhibition, symposium, and architecture tour of its kind in Bakersfield.

The cornerstone of the project is an exhibition of architectural drawings, photographs and other archival materials about Bakersfield architecture during the 1930s. Located in the Todd Madigan Gallery at California State University, Bakersfield (October 24th-November 21st, 2014), the exhibition traces the Modern, Art Deco, and Streamline Moderne buildings that defined the city. From projects funded by the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) to residential commissions by modern masters such as Richard Neutra, Franklin and Kump, and S. Charles Lee, the exhibit paints a picture of a unique city that attracted the talents of internationally renowned architects.

The exhibit also features the work of several Bakersfield-based architects whose work has largely been overlooked by historians outside the Central Valley, including Charles H. Biggar, Stanton Willard, and Frank Wynkoop.

Of special interest is the display of archival materials from the office of Clarence Cullimore, Sr., FAIA, whose pioneering work in documenting, engineering, and designing “modern adobe homes” during the 1930s set a national standard of excellence.

The exhibit will be augmented by a Symposium and Home Tour on Saturday, October 25th. The morning symposium will feature national and local experts, architects, and historians, who will place the work in context and help to answer the question of how Bakersfield was positioned to become a fertile ground for modern architecture during the Great Depression. 

That same afternoon, symposium participants will be invited to visit the finest examples of Bakersfield architecture in the 1930s—many of which have not been opened to the public for years. They include the Clarence Cullimore Residence (1930, Clarence Cullimore, Sr.), the Zimmer Residence (1937, Clarence Cullimore, Sr.), the Maguire Residence (1939-40, Franklin and Kump) and the Davis Residence (1936-7, Richard Neutra).

On the evening of October 25th, country music legend Marty Stuart will perform at the Fox Theatre, one of the landmarks of 1930s architecture that is part of the afternoon tour. From 5:30 to 6:30 pm, Bakersfield Built guests will be invited to a private reception in the balcony. Doors for the concert will open at 6:30 pm for the 7:30 show.

This exhibition and symposium is generously funded through CSU Bakersfield’s School of Arts and Humanities, with support provided by the Bakersfield Museum of Art. Sponsorship opportunities are available.

Complimentary/free exhibition opening on Friday night, October 24th , 5-7:30 PM at the Todd Madigan Gallery, CSUB.  Tickets priced at $65 are required for the Symposium/HomeTour on Saturday, October 25th (9:00AM-5:00PM), location TBA. Tickets may be purchased through http://www.csub.edu/ah/grapesofwrath/tickets/index.html

Space is limited,

For more information about Modernism in Bakersfield please contact David Coffey at dcoffey@themodernoffice.com.