In anticipation of my volunteer gig as a greeter for the June 24th Friends of the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds – “Moovin’ On” Fundraiser, I’ve been brushing up on the history of the fairgrounds property.
Herzog Hall has always intrigued me, so I decided to begin my “brushing up” with this mid-century modern exhibit and event venue.
In 1963 Los Angeles architect Thomas Wayne Lindsey designed the Home Arts Building, later renamed Herzog Hall. Lindsey was born in Denver, Colorado, on July 17, 1928, and grew up in Pasadena, California. In 1955 he graduated from the University of Southern California’s School of Architecture. His first job was working for the groundbreaking desert modernist architect, William Cody. Later, Lindsey gained prominence as a San Gabriel Valley architect and Rotarian. Highlights of his career include three county courthouses, numerous Farrell’s ice cream parlors, and early input on the planned communities of Rancho Bernardo and Sun City.
A sky full of twinkling stars was the effect Sonoma-Marin fairgoers would feel as they entered the new Home Arts Building. This unique 6,500 square foot structure is 90 feet in diameter and has a 110-foot overhanging spherical hexagon geodesic roof. An original feature of the building was the ceiling and the 147 light fixtures in the oval against a dark background. The idea was to make visitors think they were in a planetarium.
Sonoma-Marin Fair directors officially opened the Home Arts Building on March 18, 1964, minus the restrooms, caterers’ kitchen, and the canopied entrance. Petaluma contractor Dave Cader completed those additions in the Spring of 1965.
In 1969, the Home Arts Building, known for a period as the Purple Crackle, was dedicated to Max Herzog, a dairyman and founding Sonoma Marin Fair board member who served for 35 years.-
The Purple Crackle, now there’s another intriguing topic worthy of further investigation! Perhaps I’ll meet some folks on Thursday night who will recall this aspect of Herzog Hall’s history. In the meantime, I look forward to supporting the Friends of the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds and their efforts to educate the public about this import community resource.
Bill Soberanes, “A Glance at Yesteryears: Saturday Night Dances Were a Popular Pastime.” Petaluma Argus Courier, March 28, 1973, page 28.
Dan Smith, “Forgotten Designer’s MCM Gem: Well-kept-secret of a home from architect of government buildings and courthouses.” Eichler Network. No date. https://www.eichlernetwork.com/article/forgotten-designers-mcm-gem?page=0,0
Dennis Pooler, “It’s Busy, Progressive Year For Petaluma.” Petaluma Argus Courier, January 1, 1970, page 14.
Pasadena Star News, October 9, 2011 (via Legacy.com). Obituary for Thomas Wayne Lindsey.
Petaluma Argus-Courier, April 11, 1963, page 1: “Fairgrounds Project Bid is Awarded.”
Petaluma Argus-Courier, June 12, 1963, page 22: “Star Bright Effect in Fair Building.”
Petaluma Argus-Courier, March 19, 1964, page 10: “$50,000 Fairgrounds Addition.”