Barbara Kronewitter, a member of the Historic Committee of the Midtown Community Council, started the ball rolling. In 2002, she suggested to her committee that they sponsor a small home tour in Midtown, where there are an exceptional number of 1920’s and 1930’s homes in pristine condition. Barbara soon involved Cynthia Thompson, who was in charge of restoration projects at The Pierpont Inn, a historic Craftsman hotel. The Historic Committee of the Downtown Community Council was the next group to become involved. They had just formed, with Donna DePaola as the chairperson, and were looking for their first community project.

With the full support of their community council boards, these two committees, plus several other volunteers, formed the Ventura Architecture Weekend Committee and spent the next 18 months planning an event which expanded to include a Gala at City Hall, two days of home tours plus a period exposition and vanishing arts exhibits at The Pierpont Inn. There was no budget so many initial expenses were paid by committee members from their personal funds. Members also solicited cash donations, services, and goods from the community. Kathy McGuire donated the use of one of her paintings for the advertising. The community’s enthusiasm and willingness to assist in putting on this event were quite overwhelming. It was obviously the right idea at the right time.

The core committee members (founders) who put on the first event were Holly and Jerry Breiner, Donna DePaola, Barbara Evans, John Jones, Barbara Kronewitter, Suzanne Lawrence, Holley Gene and Mick Leffler, Tracy Long, Kathy McGuire, Genaro Morteo, Mindy Nickler, Dorothea Phelan, Brian Randall, Margaret Travers, and Cynthia Thompson. In addition to this group, more than 150 other volunteers helped to make this event a great success..

Other organizations that committed their time, energy, and resources to producing this first Architecture Weekend were: the City of San Buenaventura (Community Development and Cultural Affairs), Ventura Visitors and Convention Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce, The Ventura County Arts Council, Ventura Magazine, Murphy Auto Museum, Ventura County Museum, the Ventura Music Festival, and Consortium Media Services. In addition, another 80 individuals and businesses contributed services, goods, and cash. A much-appreciated angel was Main Street Architects. Their substantial cash donation at a crucial moment was greatly appreciated and enabled us to tackle our work with renewed spirits.

The foresight and inspiration of the initial committee, coupled with the hard work and dedication of many volunteers, were validated by an overwhelmingly successful inaugural weekend.