HABS and HAER Photographs of Lost History

Asilomar Warnecke Historic District nominated to NRHP


Asilomar Conference Grounds Warnecke Historic District is located at the western edge of the City of Pacific Grove, overlooking Asilomar State Beach. The district consists of twenty-two buildings and associated landscape features designed by John Carl Warnecke & Associates after the State of California acquired the property in 1956. Originally a Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) camp designed by Julia Morgan, Asilomar’s initial stage of development was between 1913 and 1928, which was designated Asilomar Conference Grounds Historic District National Historic Landmark (NHL) in 1987. The resulting distinct architectural context and 1957 to 1968 period of significance permit a new standalone nomination rather than amending the earlier nomination with additional documentation.


Master architect John Carl Warnecke’s Asilomar design embodies distinctive characteristics of Second Bay Tradition architecture, a movement distinctively tied to both the time and place. The master plan for the site, which he developed in concert with landscape architect Michael Painter, exhibits dual harmony with both the natural environment and Asilomar’s older buildings. The district is an exceptional example of the contextualism that became a defining feature of Warnecke’s early career.


In Warnecke’s Master Plan, he expressed the importance that new buildings do not mar “the easy relationship of buildings to land.” Warnecke’s Master Plan called for a series of small complexes with a combination of lodging and conference buildings, which would nestle within Morgan’s site plan without making it crowded and serve as contained conference centers. At Asilomar, the work of fitting into the existing environment was twofold, as Warnecke aimed for harmony with both the natural environment and the site’s existing Julia Morgan-designed buildings.

JCW-90-Asilomar 2018-schafphoto-147190

The Asilomar Conference Grounds Warnecke Historic District was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places at the August 5, 2022 State Historic Resources Commission Meeting. Text taken from the nomination written by Kara Brunzell. National Register of Historic Places photography by Stephen Schafer


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Stephen Schafer, Architectural Photography,

Ventura, California

Ph: 805-652-1000

E: [email protected]


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