The Heart of Kensington - Neighborhood Preservation Advocacy
Create a Kensington Historic District

"Named for a borough in London, England, Kensington is a pioneering subdivision dating to 1910. With its stone gateways, ornamental lighting, and curving streets, the neighborhood is a strong candidate for designation as a historic district." - Mid-City Communities Plan

The Kensington area is one of twelve potential historical districts identified by the City of San Diego's Historical Resources Board, based on the 1996 Historical Greater Mid-City San Diego Preservation Strategy by Milford Wayne Donaldson. This area, one of San Diego's earliest suburban neighborhoods, is significant for being one of the earliest planned communities, as well as the birthplace of Southern California architecture made popular by architect Richard Requa.  Kensington may also lay claim to being the birthplace of the ubiquitous ranch-style house which came to be the dominant single-family housing style after World War Two.  Architect Cliff May is attributed with the development of the California custom ranch house, and one of his early works, the 1933 Lindstrom House, can be found on Talmadge Circle, as well as on the National Register of Historic Places.

The neighborhood of Kensington has enough potential historic houses that it is possible to form one or more Geographic/Traditional Historical Districts or Voluntary/Traditional Historical Districts.  Our collection of houses meets several criteria for an historic district:

Rare Past: A district which was once representative of common existence during a specific historic era but is now rare or unusual. Such as: an example of architecture, artistry, or design once common, now rare, or a function or use once common, now rare.

Development Progression: Neighborhoods or districts illustrating the progressive development of style and changes in architectural and cultural taste.

Consistent Plan: Districts illustrating the development of coherent or consistent planning and design, or innovations in planning philosophy.

Craftsmanship: Examples of workmanship, craftsmanship, artistry, or design which would today be economically infeasible or difficult to reproduce and/or are of benefit to the contemporary community as significant reminders of the past.

Building Groupings: Building groupings where the significance and importance of the individual structures is increased because of their relationship to a grouping or row of other significant structures, which may or may not be of a similar period or design style.

Landmark Supportive: District of quality buildings or sites, often made up of individual landmark structures supported by other structures of somewhat lesser importance. Such districts are normally easily definable and have a significance over and above the sum of the values of each historic site because of the total historic environment.

The process of forming an historic district may make the creation of a single Kensington Historic District problematic.  A possible approach would be to form several smaller districts based around the original subdivision layouts.  For example, the Kensington Park Historic District would be composed of buildings located between Terrace Drive and 42nd Street, and Monroe Avenue and Alder Drive.  This district is anchored by Craftsman houses build between 1910 and 1914, with many later Spanish Mission Revival bungalows and even a wonderful English Tudor house that contribute to the historical fabric of the district.

The Kensington Manor Historic District could follow the boundaries of the original subdivision, while Kensington Heights #1, #2 and #3 subdivisions could fold into one Kensington Heights Historic District.

The Talmadge Park Historic District could encompass the houses around Talmadge Circle and East Alder Drive, which are Talmadge Park subdivisions #1, #2 and #3.

The Kensington Park Annex and Kensington Villa Annex subdivisions, which comprise the area bordered by 42nd Street on the west, Monroe Avenue on the South, Van Dyke on the east, and Alder Drive on the north, could compose the Kensington Park Annex Historic District.

Homeowners in each emerging historical district would make a commitment to support the formation of the district.  There is a time and financial cost associated with the required research that underlies the nomination of both individual houses and a district.  Historical research experts are available for hire, but some homeowners may find it rewarding to take the time to undertake the research necessary to develop the documentation required to support the nomination of a house as a contributor to the historic district. State of California Department of Parks and Recreation Forms (DPR-523 Forms) must be provided for all properties within the District boundaries.

Contributing sites are those that meet the significance characteristic of the District and are specifically designated historical resources. These sites are eligible for all the benefits and responsibilities of historic designation, including the application of the Historical Building Code, Tax Code Incentives, and US Secretary of Interior Standards for development. Generally a Geographic Historic District should have a minimum of 50% contributing sites, and ideally 65% or more.

Non-contributing sites are those that have been substantially modified so that they no longer contribute to the historical integrity of the district, or sites that were developed subsequently and have no inherent historical significance or features. These sites are not eligible for benefits resulting from historical designation, except if the owner subsequently restores original historic fabric and features making it a contributing site to the district.