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Walnut Creek 100th: Celebrating The City's Historic Homes

Two longtime Walnut Creek residents team up to produce an exhibit and a book on some of the historic homes in town

Artist JoAnn Hanna and author Sally Ingraham at the exhibit of historic home paintings at Walnut Creek City Hall
Artist JoAnn Hanna and author Sally Ingraham at the exhibit of historic home paintings at Walnut Creek City Hall
Artist JoAnn Hanna and author Sally Ingraham, both longtime Walnut Creek residents, were looking for a way last summer to honor the city's centennial this year.

That's when it hit them. They could combine their talents and honor Walnut Creek's 100 years as a city.

"It just sort of came to me," said Ingraham. "I thought that's how we could help."

The two women worked the next few months to put together an exhibit and a book on the historic homes in Walnut Creek.

They chose 20 of them, all built before World War II.

Hanna painted the portraits. Ingraham wrote the history of each home and the people who lived there as well as what was going on in the city at that time.

Among the homes highlighted are the Borges Ranch, the Howard house, the LaRieu home, the Morgan house and the Carr Jones home

Ingraham paid $1,000 to have 200 copies of their book printed. She's gotten back her money by selling more than 140 of them at $15 a copy. She's not sure she's going to pay for another printing.

Hanna's portraits are hanging in the hallway near the council chambers at Walnut Creek City Hall. They'll be there until Jan. 31. Hanna has sold a half dozen of her paintings.

The portraits and the book will be honored at a reception at 6 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall.

The two women put together their project quickly.

They spent the first month choosing the homes. They wanted pre-war houses that hadn't been altered much. They also wanted ones that had interesting people who lived in them.

"The houses aren't particularly interesting unless they had interesting people living there," said Hanna.

In August, Hanna started painting and Ingraham started writing.

Ingraham said she felt paintings would be better than photographs.

"I felt her portraits would do the houses more than justice," said Ingraham.

Ingraham said they both felt it was important to preserve the history of these houses before the homes and the people who live in them have departed.

"We realized that this history was soon going to be gone," said Ingraham.

Carol Hess January 21, 2014 at 01:46 PM
Where are the remainder of the books available?
David Mills (Editor) January 21, 2014 at 01:58 PM
Hi, Carol... a good question. You can purchase a book at the Tuesday reception or at the Shadelands Museum through the Walnut Creek Historical Society

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