A National Treasure
THE BUNGALOW’S RENEWED STATUS as America’s favorite home is of course the result of the efforts and interest of many thousands of people—scholars, architects, craftspeople, publishers and most of all, homeowners themselves. Ranking these individuals based on their influence would put Dr. Robert W. Winter at the head of my list.
Bob wrote the book on bungalows. Although he’s quick to credit Clay Lancaster, whose earlier professional paper inspired Bob’s The California Bungalow, that 1980 book was the first of many bungalow books and wellspring of information for advocates and enthusiasts, including American Bungalow. Bob’s book captured the spirit of the bungalow and handed it to us in scholarly, entertaining style.
Bob launched American Bungalow, or rather he cinched the decision to launch the magazine, on a rainy March 1990 night. The local historic society had asked him to speak to its members at a Sierra Madre Greene and Greene, one with a particularly impressive hearth of exaggerated G&G artistry. A huge fireplace boulder protruded into the inglenook with the obvious suggestion that you make a bench of it, which I did. The stage had been set.
The lecture was animated and enlightening, but it was when Bob unexpectedly burst into a booming finale singing “In The Land of The Bungalow” that the bomb dropped, and when the smoke cleared, the need to create a magazine devoted to bungalows was clear. Anything that good needed to be shared. Bob became our first advisory board member and is the only one still with us, offering up limitless knowledge and original thoughts after almost 30 years.
Those who have heard Bob speak will squeal with envy to learn that I’ve been regularly meeting with him at his Batchelder House to record “everything and anybody you want to talk about.” We’ve been meeting for months and last week, looking for a topic, Bob suggested we invite readers to pose questions for him to address.
Reader involvement fits well with our magazine, staring with Family Album’s homeowner submittals and the more recent trend of feature articles written and photographed by readers. By the time you read this we’ll have established an easy way for you to ask Bob a question, in your own audiorecorded voice if you like, or submit a topic you’d like to hear him talk about. Check the American Bungalow website to see how it’s done. The recordings will be made available to readers once it is decided how best to do it.
When told about the recorded talks and reader participation, a mutual friend who has known Bob even longer than I have exclaimed, “That’s a great opportunity! Bob Winter is a national treasure.”
And indeed he is, just like the homes he loves and understands so well.
Looking forward to hearing from you,