From the artist
“While not a scale model, this structure is my impression from photographic records of the playhouse designed by Julia Morgan for the daughters of Steve Zegar, her devoted driver during the period of the design and construction of Hearst Castle. This smallest of Morgan’s projects resides in San Luis Obispo. The model is constructed of binder’s board, handmade Lokta paper, coarse sandpaper, mylar and wood trim. Clay pots of flowers complete the image of this caringly composed structure.”
San Luis Obispo County is home to San Simeon, the greatest of Julia Morgan’s commissions. It is also the location of her smallest job, the enchanting playhouse Morgan designed and built for the daughters of Steve Zegar, the local taxi driver. Morgan continued a full-time practice from her San Francisco office, so she devoted most weekends during the 1920s to design and on-site supervision of construction at San Simeon. Morgan would leave her San Francisco office late on Friday afternoon to catch the coast train, sketching during the 200-mile trip to San Luis Obispo. Upon arrival, Morgan would dine on oyster stew and coffee near the station and then join Zegar for the journey up the coast. Their friendship was forged during the many trips they made back and forth over the years between the train station and the construction site on the hilltop nearly 45 miles away.
According to previous owners, the playhouse was designed in 1925 on the back of a brown paper bag, as Zegar ferried his passenger up Highway 1. On other trips, Morgan made time to supervise construction and soon the Zegar girls were playing in a custom-designed Julia Morgan house right in their own backyard.
(Special Collections, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo)