Talk Story w/ Sid Snyder: Interview 1

Title

Talk Story w/ Sid Snyder: Interview 1

Description

Architect Sid Snyder talks about his early life on Seattle's Mercer Island, college life in Wenatchee, working at Rainier National Park, his time as a combat engineer in Korea, studies in architecture with the faculty of University of Washington

Subject

Sid Snyder - early life, college and early career in Hawaii

Date

Format

mp3

Interviewer

Don Hibbard

Interviewee

Sid Snyder

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Transcription

Speaker male: To get out of here.

Speaker female: [crosstalk 00:00:01]. 

Speaker 3: Allison did and are shopping, it's her problem.

Speaker female: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Don Hibbard: I think we're ready to get started. I see this as the start of a series of oral history and Sid has been very gracious to say yes and share his life with us and his work.

Tonia Moy: And be a guineapig.

Don Hibbard: Yes. I'm sorry, we don't have Olelo yet, it's still working on [inaudible 00:00:25].

Speaker male: I'm glad to hear that. [crosstalk 00:00:25] go ahead.

Speaker female: [crosstalk 00:00:25] she's a film producer and director. She'll do the stuff for [inaudible 00:00:29]. Melanie, my friend Melanie, at Cosaca, she [crosstalk 00:00:30].

Don Hibbard: Oh, oh, oh, right, yes.

Speaker female: Yes, so she could do. 

Don Hibbard: No, they said, or well they have an architect that's volunteering but they haven't gotten an answer back from him yet. So I see this being a series of interviews and probably once a month we'll do this and tonight essentially I want to try and cover Sid's early life, his schooling and his coming to Hawaii and his thoughts on coming to here and things like that. If you have questions, maybe we'll have questions when we're all pau.

Speaker 3: Must I start recording? All right.

Don Hibbard: Yup, you can start. Is the sound on now?

Speaker 3: Oh yeah. I have that just in case, so this doesn't take out. Because we're hanging on that one, right.

Don Hibbard: Oh, oh, good, good.

Speaker 3: [crosstalk 00:01:33] that was mine, so I'll record it. Then we go and edit out anyway.

Speaker female: Is there a video also? 

Don Hibbard: Okay, all right Sid I thought maybe we would start by talking about who your parents were. Where you were born. Children. Your wife, your kids. Can you tell us a little about that?

Sid Snyder: I was born and grew up in Seattle.

Don Hibbard: Oh, okay.

Sid Snyder: And in the depression years. I was little and my father was a mortgage guy and he worked for an insurance company, so he was in the investment side. He didn't get involved with insurance at all. It was the headquarters of the biggest company in north of San Francisco and west of the Rockies.

Sid Snyder: And is that good?

Don Hibbard: It can go both ways.

Sid Snyder: Being a, oh the humorous part of this is that there were a lot of foreclosures. They were invested in real estate and homes and things and so there was a constant need to go out and fix these places up so he could sell them. And then as now, the thing went foreclosed because people couldn't sell. They were too big, or too old or to run down. So I was kind of exposed to that a little bit. Not a lot but, and that was interesting to me, for some reason or other.

Sid Snyder: And my parents liked their house a lot and they were always working on the house. And I had one sister and she wasn't particularly interested in that sort of thing, but she was interested in lots of stuff. She ended up being an anthropologist. Cultural anthropologist. So the house was always important to them and I guess it was important to me. You know what I mean? Looking back you know at the time it's important to you. It was important.

Sid Snyder: I remember looking and wondering why when they built something this way or that way, why didn't they do such and such and such that way. That kind of thing.

 

Don Hibbard: Okay, what sort of house was it?

 

Sid Snyder: I mean just houses in general. I mean built a house, you look at it [inaudible 00:03:51]. And I found out years later, well it, they didn't care that much, only hadn't put that much thought into it. Then as now. [laughter] It was all it was about and so that always tweaked my interest. And I don't remember drawing, well I did draw and uh, usually when I wasn't supposed to be drawing. Like in school, you know you're supposed to be doing something and you're drawing a car and drawing things. But I didn't take art very much. Little bit of art.

 

Sid Snyder: I didn't have a sort of talent there or anything. And anyway so we grew up and then yeah, eventually moved out of Seattle and to Mercer Island. And that was fun because we lived on the lake, which in those good old days you could buy a very un-fancy house but you could actually have waterfront. And we had a boat and it was pretty nice, really, all in all. Not, we weren't rich or anything like that but being with an insurance company we ate, the insurance company doesn't pay a lot, but they pay you every month.

 

Sid Snyder: So that was a good employer, things like that.

 

Don Hibbard: What were your parents' names?

 

Sid Snyder: ...Snyder. [laughter]

 

Don Hibbard: Oh.

 

Sid Snyder: Helen and Gene.

 

Don Hibbard: Okay.

 

Sid Snyder: I'm a junior. My dad went by his middle name, Eugene.

 

Don Hibbard: Oh, okay.

 

Sid Snyder: I've never heard him ever, anybody ever call him Sydney, not ever once did I hear anybody call him that. I don't think anybody knew what his name was. It was interesting. It was interesting. He was [inaudible 00:05:36] Gene if you knew him.

 

Don Hibbard: High school, was public high school?

 

Sid Snyder: Yeah, public high school, public grade school in the city. Then we're surrounded with a small place and my school had, I don't even remember if we had kindergarten, was very small, through eighth grade and there were like 13 in our class.

 

Don Hibbard: Wow.

 

Sid Snyder: That was really small. Maybe nine boys and two girls, something like that, we had a deal. And so that was a pretty real school but the teacher, well one, the lady that taught seventh grade was a principal as well and she was very proud of the fact that a high rate of her graduates went to college, which was a pretty good deal I guess in those days.

 

Sid Snyder: It was a mixed bag of people. It was, boy you know what, I came from the city. You know it was kind of white bread where we lived. And over there my favorite recollection is that although I knew this kid a little bit in the city school, he was also in my Sunday school class when we moved to Mercer Island. And his father, no his step father was the publisher of the Seattle PI paper. His grandfather was the president of the country. He was Roosevelt's grandson, Curtis.

 

Sid Snyder: And another guy in my class lived with his dad and he lived in the middle of Mercer Island and they had a little kind of , [they] grew a few plants around that. But just him and his father and they had an outdoor lua. It was like extremes like that all around the place, yeah. And so that was kind of an eye opener for a little kid to see that wide variety of the place. I think it made an impression.

 

Sid Snyder: And school was pretty good because it was, you know our classes were small and the teachers was very good and it was a well oiled operation. Then I went back to Seattle doing high school. They didn't have a high school, so.

 

Don Hibbard: So you had to commute every day?

 

Sid Snyder: We commuted every day.

 

Don Hibbard: Wow.

 

Sid Snyder: Well, it was across the bridge and it wasn't very many miles.

 

Don Hibbard: I was picturing a boat.

 

Sid Snyder: Yeah, well, they built ... The world's longest floating bridge was built in Seattle, in Mercer Island in 1940 and then that's how we got where we're going. [Jazzy cell phone ringtone in background]

 

Sid Snyder: Oh, I am sorry.

 

Speaker 5: Nice ring tone.

 

Sid Snyder: Want to dance?

 

Sid Snyder: (silence)

 

Sid Snyder: I've been getting calls for Jamaica.

 

Don Hibbard: Oh, really? That's not good. That's not good at all.

 

Sid Snyder: I'd be really careful when I look at this thing [crosstalk 00:08:50].

 

Speaker 5: [crosstalk 00:08:51] sound right.

 

Don Hibbard: Wow.

 

Sid Snyder: I won a big prize by the way. Really big.

 

Don Hibbard: How much did you have to send to get it?

 

Sid Snyder: $150, have to take it over to Walmart.

 

Don Hibbard: Oh, okay. So where did you go to college?

 

Sid Snyder: I went to high school and got out of there. And I started University of Washington, after World War II, two or three years after the war.

 

Don Hibbard: Were you in the war?

 

Sid Snyder: Oh no, no, I was too young.

 

Don Hibbard: Okay, so you were in high school during the war.

 

Sid Snyder: I was in high school one year during the War and I got out in 1948. So I went to the University of Washington and that was an even longer commute. I had to live at home and I went there one quarter and we got involved in too many activities and I like to ski, so anyway I was skiing and I broke myself up and had to have surgery in my leg. In those days ithey slap you in the hospital for a week or more.

 

Sid Snyder: So I dropped out, it was a quarter of school. It's a 10 week system in there. And so I was hopping around for a couple of weeks after that. It was a big deal. It's like cartilage today and out patient, I think. So I got out of Washington. Got in and got out pretty quick, at that rate. And ended up working the rest of that year and one of the things I did is that some of my friends joined the army reserve, so I joined too. It sounds like a side story, but there's a point.

 

Sid Snyder: There was ROTC compulsory, ROTC. And I didn't know that. I went to school, I was really naïve. I thought the war was over and had no idea why would you have an army and do all those things anymore? And so if I joined the reserve, I wouldn't have to go to ROTC anymore and I went back to school. And in the summer I had a good job, so I told the captain I couldn't go to summer camp or easily and he said, yeah, I'd basically lose my job. That's okay, so I didn't go to summer camp and then my buddy and I decided we want to go to junior college. We went to junior college in the east of Washington, Wenatchee.

 

Sid Snyder: And that was fun and actually the teaching was pretty good. Again it very small classes. Unlike University of Washington had. In sociology might be 60 people sitting there, being taught by a teaching assistant. That was not a conducive undergrad situation.

 

Sid Snyder: Got through Wenatchee, that was a good experience. Not architecture at all. I claimed I was a major when I first started at University of Washington but at junior college I didn't care much about majors and stuff like that. It was okay. So I went next summer and I had another job, but this time it was at a National Park working for a contractor.

 

Don Hibbard: Ranier?

 

Sid Snyder: Ranier actually it was Ranier. For a contractor who was building stuff that got stopped in 1942 when the war was starting, so it was a viaduct to finish and some bridges over gorges and things like that. That's what we're doing. The point being is that by now it's 1950 and so my pal tried to call me to come to the meeting for the Army reserve. Turned out he wasn't to. And so I never got the call. It was one of those wires through the forest, you know.

 

Sid Snyder: I never knew how that thing worked. It didn't work very often. So they called and said come to the meeting. and I didn't go to the meeting because I didn't know about the meeting. Got declared inactive. And within two months, the Army, the Secretary of Defense decided we'd call it inactive reservist. So by September I was in the Army. I was at Fort Ord. I was still like 18, maybe 19. So that was an experience. And went though, well at least I'm seeing something in California. Fort Ord was, it was so ironic. Within 10 days, I was on the train, an old Pullman car kind of a train.

 

Sid Snyder: Going to Fort Lewis, which is next to Tacoma. I had managed to get myself 40 miles out of Seattle to see the world. [Laughter] However, after a few months of that, not much training at all. I didn't fire rifles and stuff. But they said okay, go the firing region and they finally decided I was good enough to ship out. So they put us into a national guard outfit out of Oakridge, Tennessee. And the drill was we went on a ship from Seattle to San Francisco to Yokohama. [inaudible] get off a little bit to Pusan, so we were on our way to Korea.

 

Sid Snyder: So that, so I did about, not too bad. I got there in February, Korea is really cold. It's a really humid and cold place. For a place that's not that far north. So I missed that winter was pretty brutal. I got to miss all that, so I went through the summer and we were combat engineers and so we built bridges and dug ditches and did other exciting things like that. We worked all the time, just worked every day. You never knew what day, Sunday, Saturday didn't mean anything because we just.

 

Don Hibbard: How did you get to be in combat engineers? Were you taking drafting or stuff like that in junior college or?

 

Sid Snyder: It's a good question. When I joined the reserves it was a searchlight battalionand they didn't have searchlight battalions anymore. So when they called me up to see some guy and he says, you know they're filling numbers. They're filling positions and so they got so many people and they happened to meet somebody to call in engineers. I said that's okay because I'd worked in construction a lot. And so that's fine. That's good.

 

Sid Snyder: The combat part is that, if you're losing and then you had to start pull back and soon as they have the engineers stay and they do the dynamiting of the roads and knock stuff around and do that kind of nasty work. And but you know, we didn't get too much of that.

 

Don Hibbard: So when you went to Korea, the war was on?

 

Sid Snyder: Oh yeah, the war started in '50. So the war was 6 months [inaudible] It was a bad winter and they had all the reservoir problems and all that, guys were really getting frozen stuff up north and beat up and so we were in the kind of center of the country. And did different sites and different things but unfortunately we were in the country and we didn't really get to interact with people there very well. So it was just in the Army.

 

Sid Snyder: So the Army life and then the civilians were kind of sprinkled around and basically in the farm land that's it. Well that, so then the secretary of defense now decided it was a mistake to call up the inactive reserves. That wasn't a mistake to call me up, but the other guys, they were guys that went through World War II and they had a, you know they were a sergeant or a corporal or something. They had a couple of years longevity, we gone to sign a piece of paper and these guys joined the reserve.

 

Sid Snyder: They'd been out of the army about five years, got married, had a couple of kids. Buying a house, maybe. They hauled them into, back to their old job and they were in the military, but no one foresaw this. After World War II, it was unthinkable to have the kind of wars we had. And all they could think of was next war would be even bigger than World War II. It never occurred to anybody how [inaudible 00:16:54].

 

Sid Snyder: Well, to make a long story short, I came back and I was in the army probably a year and a half altogether before I was deactivated. I still was in the army but reserve only. And we went back to the University of Washington and started through a lot of experiences there I decided I definitely wanted an education. I definitely wanted to be an architect, so I didn't want it. So it was just, I wasn't really going to college in my mind as much as I was going to become an architect. I wanted, you know just like A to Z and that was before you went to get that.

 

Don Hibbard: How did you decide you wanted to be an architect?

 

Sid Snyder: I thought, I did when I was about 11 and on and off and my mother and I used to draw in a book, just draw houses and things.

 

Don Hibbard: Oh really?

 

Sid Snyder: Yeah. She liked colonial. So we had to change all that around when we got to school. So that-

 

Don Hibbard: So your mother had art experience before or she was just fiddling around?

 

Sid Snyder: She had a good eye, good sense of it and interest. Like I say both my parents like the house and they [crosstalk 00:18:12] always did things with the house. They were pretty good at it and just one of the things that became their hobby now that I think about it.

 

Sid Snyder: So fortunately they let me into the school and so I started taking the first year classes, which I had because I've had the junior college year, I've had a lot of stuff behind me. English, you know. And I got into the program. Matter of fact, I really had a good time. I think, I credit the army for that, that while you're about you'd better have a good time because you don't know when it's all over. So you'd better, you don't kill yourself now and then hope that the good times are coming later on, so.

 

Sid Snyder: So it was a good experience all around. It was a good school, I thought, University of Washington. They had one of the more regarded programs and the younger instructors were, had their masters from Penn and MIT, I think Harvard. That was where you went in those days. If you want that advanced degree. And then they had an older category as well, but they were all modernists. Everybody was a modern architect.

 

Don Hibbard: Can you remember names?

 

Sid Snyder: Oh yes. The head of the school was AP Herman. He kind of bounced around. He didn't teach too much. er he taught introductory to architecture, things of that nature. And then the best known professor was a man named Lionel Pries and his name was Spike. They called him Spike. He was a classic old guy, but very much of a modernist but with all the classical training behind it. He was a Cal grad. His father was with Gumps when Gumps became famous. Because it was a picture framing business. Became famous because they set up rooms of oriental, furnishings and oriental art. And people would come from the east coast had never seen such a thing.

 

Sid Snyder: And it was done in high style and high out, and so going to Gumps was a thing to do.

 

Don Hibbard: The Gumps was where, I know that we had one in Honolulu.

 

Sid Snyder: Well, first his father was, you know we were talking early 1900's, so Honolulu probably came along a little later, but San Francisco.

 

Don Hibbard: Yeah, San Francisco and yeah, I know Honolulu was always happy they got a Gumps before L.A.

 

Sid Snyder: Yeah, good. That was the better known of them. Then there was some men, then there-

 

Dean Sakamoto: Here's an old photograph of some of the faculty back over your time.

 

Sid Snyder: Oh, there you go. Where'd you find that?

 

Dean Sakamoto: On my phone.

 

Sid Snyder: There they are. Wendell Lovett. They're mostly gone of course today but, Wendell Lovett was this terrific modernist guy and he did this wonderful elegant slender structure built guy and clean airy buildings. And Keith Kolb was another good instructor. But these were the younger post-war group. Oh, Vic Steinbrueck was later on, even credit for saving the Pike street market in Seattle. Which is little by little being just taken apart. Just being taken over, destroyed. It was interesting it started at the street level and then it fell down towards the water, towards the bay.

 

Sid Snyder: And so it had all these various levels to it. And it really was the real thing. It was anything but cheap. It was, but this is the one where they throw the salmon at you and all that kind of thing. Well of course it's been terrific for Seattle once they saved it. And people like to go there for fun. Well Deitz Bob Dietz was another of the older folks. Lance Gowen.

 

Don Hibbard: Gowen was younger or old?

 

Sid Snyder: He was old. He and Dietz were pretty much-

 

Don Hibbard: But they both had gone over to modernism by this time as well?

 

Sid Snyder: Yeah. Yeah, I'd say so. I don't think anybody was, well the suspect guy was the head of the school and he probably went there, he did jobs, architecture on the side. So I would say side jobs. He had his own drawing board and he, he kind of doing a little bird house on the, you know of of those little end of the eves. It ends with a gable end of the bird house on it.

 

Sid Snyder: He took a little heat for that. He was not a guy that you messed with. I mean you go to the not the, he was in Pompus and [crosstalk 00:23:20]. But he was sort of like excluded except for administrative reasons. And they know.

 

Don Hibbard: And so your curriculum was all a modernist curriculum? Like-

 

Sid Snyder: Well, we had history.

 

Don Hibbard: Okay.

 

Sid Snyder: It was not modernist of course. Trying to explain to us but I think we seriously turned our back on history and to our own loss. I wish I'd taken it five years after I got out of school, it would have been a better thing because, I mean I took it maybe a year and then took theory, which was a little bit like that.

 

Sid Snyder: But we were, unless you were really diligent and went to the library a lot and started reading the older books and older, you know dig on your own but it had no relativity. It was really hard to relate it to what we were doing because we were free and we were missionaries for the movement. It was, that was the spirit of it. Because people still wanted to build the old way. And probably the depression was a bit, the biggest help because it was unadorned architecture in the most part.

 

Sid Snyder: And of course you could fake modern architecture. You would use, okay I'll put corner windows on, hey!, modern. Things of that nature. So a lot of the modern architecture was really modern in name, not in deed. One of the architects did a slum clearance of, oh, what's his name? I'll come to it. He did fabulous modern work and so there were opportunities in the pre war times in Seattle to do some modern work and modern influence work and I'd say all the people that taught, at University of Washington, they were in practice in that period. They did that kind of work.

 

Sid Snyder: Pries is also well known because he taught Pete Wimberly at Washington. And Pete came from Eastern Washington, so he lived, and he was out of towner and he and another architect would go to Mexico, with Lionel Pries, Spike, and they did work in the summer. And so he knew all the guys. The Diego Riveras and the all the great modernists of the time. And they were also revolutionaries in more of the political ways. Of course there were the whole nine yards.

 

Sid Snyder: But it's quite a drive from Seattle to Mexico city.

 

Don Hibbard: That would be, especially in the 30's.

 

Sid Snyder: Not a freeway, yeah. So that was the interesting part.

 

Don Hibbard: And so you'd study under Pries as well?

 

Sid Snyder: I did.

 

Don Hibbard: Would he tell you stories of Mexico and those?

 

Sid Snyder: Pries left the school, sadly a couple of years after I had, so. He was, he'd would work for John Graham. In fact he worked on the Ilikai. You know the water that comes out of an entry towards Ala Moana Boulevard. He did that, yeah.

 

Sid Snyder: He referred to John Graham as a cash register architect. He said John Graham knows what everything cost. So if he was in a meeting and you talked to him about this, he'll tell you what it cost.

 

Don Hibbard: Wow, okay.

 

Sid Snyder: Sure, yeah, yeah. It's like the clients loved it of course and-

 

Don Hibbard: Well this building [the Ala Moana Building, site of the interview] is Graham's yeah?

 

Sid Snyder: Well, yeah, that's right. And there's no BS about his buildings, just there it is. Well and Graham did the, which is pretty elegant building, is did the space needle in Seattle. But as I recall, I'm sure I'm right, this building is built '59, '60 was it?

 

Don Hibbard: Yeah, it was before the space needle.

 

Sid Snyder: Before the space needle and he had the revolving restaurant, so he got to try it out on this building. I think that's what that was all about. Of course in those days it was the only tower around, so your view was terrific in Le Ronde when it was here. You could see a lot.

 

Don Hibbard: Yeah, this building was the tallest in Hawaii when it was built.

 

Sid Snyder: That's good, we're done.

 

Don Hibbard: No!

 

Don Hibbard: For for the first half. So what happened? Got out of school in what year?

 

Sid Snyder: Out of school, '56. So I had a ... What, Washing, I had to do one more quarter. I had a little something going on romantically in San Francisco and I had kind of a bad quarter. So I had, I ended up being a quarter out of it, so everybody graduated June, but I didn't, so I graduated December. And I worked that out. And front, and its kind of humorous really. But Washington State at the time had no requirement to take the exam. They did ask if you had a license, I mean they didn't ask if you got a degree. Have you ever seen an architects office or anything.

 

Sid Snyder: They gave you 25, 40 dollar something. And you took the four day, five day exam. Four days. You take two in one day or one in one day or something like that. And all the parts. So after we were through our fourth year of school, with the five year program, it was, we had finished our engineering. Most of us took the exam. That was just pretty much, everybody did that at the time.

 

Sid Snyder: So I did pretty good and I had a couple of things to pass or then the following year, when I should have graduated, I didn't. I took the rest and I got licensed. Licensed. so I got Licensed, So the faculty said.... how come you're back?[ laughter] I said well, I thought I would be good to have a degree.

 

Sid Snyder: [They said} You always acted like you wanted to get out of here, so...[inaudible 00:29:41]. Was the implied message here.

 

Don Hibbard: So once you did graduate?

 

Sid Snyder: So once I graduated, I was, I'd worked in San Francisco, one summer in Los Angeles and another before this. So I-

 

Don Hibbard: Who set that up for you or no one?

 

Sid Snyder: No one.

 

Don Hibbard: You just went down and knocked on doors?

 

Sid Snyder: It went down and just canvassed the city. And the AIA in San Francisco and particularly San Francisco then as now was a magnet and people particularly architects. People, artistic people wanted to go there. So they had set up jobs in their offices and so all those jobs were taken, so I worked for a Dodge, he was a, he called himself an industrial designer. So and he hired an architect. He himself had drawn, he built theaters around in other towns like Los Gatos and here and there and everywhere.

 

Sid Snyder: So I worked in that setting one year. The next year I went to Long Beach because there was more opportunities in Los Angeles and less competition in that day. So I went into this office where they did quite nice work in long beach with Kenneth Wing. And he hired me and so paid me pretty good, I thought. But I had to go back and do that quarter yet again. So I got out of school...I went skiing. And that seemed like a good idea then and we couldn't find snow. So one of my classmates and very good friend is Tony Callison. Tony Callison founded Callison the architects, so I don't know if they're, I think they're in some trouble right now. Maybe they've already been joined with some other firm, I'm not sure.

 

Sid Snyder: But they became great shopping center architects and he was, Callison came from a prominent family in Seattle and amongst his closer friends were the Nordstroms. This is the second or third generation of Nordstroms. And they were a shoe store. They got a big shoe store in downtown Seattle and they fore scope your feet and they did things like that. And they had the right shoes and they just knew what they were doing and so that was it.

 

Sid Snyder: And after a while they did open their shopping center which John Graham did of course, called Northgate and they did open a store there. So it was that generation, Callison's generation, when they came in, they widened it to what it is. And Callison just built a firm around their thinking. Around how they did things and even from Callison's firm they would usually pick a principal. Take it into Nordstrom. So there'd be a Nordstrom member of their administration of the executive group that was an architect. And understood what they need, so he'd act as a client.

 

Sid Snyder: So this relationship went on and on and on. That was what built the firm. And there was a time where, I don't know about today but Nordstrom would just demand that he be, he'd be the architect. He might not to be the architect of record but they went all over the country and he got all this work.

 

Don Hibbard: And he went to school with you at UW?

 

Sid Snyder: Yes. Yeah, class mate.

 

Don Hibbard: That's where you met him?

 

Sid Snyder: Yeah.

 

Don Hibbard: Okay, so you guys couldn't find snow?

 

Sid Snyder: So we didn't find know,, went here, went there. And there was something wrong with me, I had this funny cold. Didn't know what was wrong. So I had skied one day and then lay around the next day. Ski one day. So after a while we ended up in Sun Valley. Sun Valley was having a melt down and so it was the last day, so instead of working on the coal, we decided to work on the ski slopes. It was icy and I fell and broke my shoulder.

 

Sid Snyder: Then that didn't work too well. So I went back to Seattle and they treated my bronchitis and said what about the shoulder? Oh yeah, we forgot about that. They said well we can surgically put it back together but it's sort of like piece of it sticking out. And it hurt to do this. You couldn't raise your arm. And not uncommon for shoulder injuries to, that's one of the symptoms, you can't get your arm up.

 

Sid Snyder: You're done skiing for now. They said you aught to swim. It seemed like at that point serendipitously I didn't really have a job. I always had work for some architect. I'd be okay for a week and then I get to jump over to the other one. So somehow I was working but not going anywhere with it particularly. I had some guy coming through. He was hiring. He was Frank Hanes. The Frank.

 

Don Hibbard: This is in Seattle?

 

Sid Snyder: Yeah, it was, yeah. So that must have been like early February or late January. So it kind of fitted together, so it was the six month gig and then I would come home, I would come back to Seattle to do whatever I want. Or they might offer me a permanent position. And he hired, I think five people. He hired John Tatum, Si Stanich from Portland, I think it was a fella named Helg from Switzerland and Frank Roberts, I think was the other one.

 

Sid Snyder: Frank Roberts was established. I mean knew what to do, like you know what did I know, I'd been out of school three weeks, you know.

 

Don Hibbard: Who were the other? John Tatum, Roberts, who were the other two?

 

Speaker male: Simon Stanich

 

Don Hibbard: Who was this, wouldn't mind saying.

 

Speaker male: Simon Standage.

 

Don Hibbard: Did he end up staying here or no?

 

Sid Snyder: No, he didn't stay.

 

Don Hibbard: Who was the [crosstalk 00:35:36].

 

Sid Snyder: He worked for Laden Phillips after a while.

 

Don Hibbard: Oh, okay.

 

Sid Snyder: Tatum got to the job after I did. Because Tatum was a year behind me, so he had to finish school. So he was married and he drove to San Francisco and put his car on board and took the ship. So tht was Tatum right, so he, so the phone rings on a Monday morning, Tatum has shown up at Lemmon, Freeth, Haines and Jones. He says what the hell is going on?

 

Sid Snyder: So it was a bit of a about two weeks and he was over at our Ossipoff's. Oh, but that was [inaudible] order, yeah. So that lasted a while.

 

Don Hibbard: Okay, who was the other person besides Si Staich sorry I didn't, the guy from Europe.

 

Sid Snyder: Oh, Robert Helg. Was it H-E-L-G.

 

Don Hibbard: Okay, what happened to him?

 

Sid Snyder: [crosstalk 00:36:33]. He was the kind of guy that traveled the world. So he was there for two or three years. I kind of lost track, but he left pretty quick.

 

Don Hibbard: And Frank Roberts, he's the one who was something to do with, was it Hawaiian airlines? Did he start Molokai hotel?

 

Sid Snyder: No.

 

Don Hibbard: No, okay it's a different-

 

Sid Snyder: He just went on his own eventually, he's had his own practice. He was a good designer and people were, I think Architects Hawaii lliked him. They weren't Architects Hawaiiyet, they were Lemmon, Freeth, Haines and Jones

 

Sid Snyder: After that I went with Ossipoff.

 

Don Hibbard: How long were you with Lemmon then?

 

Sid Snyder: How long?

 

Don Hibbard: Yeah.

 

Sid Snyder: Two months. [laughter] To be diplomatic, it was extremely mutual. So it's okay. So I just felt like you know I hadn't really seen Hawaii because I got here one day and went to work the next with Abi. And-

 

Don Hibbard: Did you fly it? or the boat also..

 

Sid Snyder: We rode, we flew.

 

Don Hibbard: Oh, okay.

 

Sid Snyder: My future BM you know.

 

Dean Sakamoto: So you were married by then, by the time you came over here?

 

Sid Snyder: Me?

 

Dean Sakamoto: Yeah.

 

Sid Snyder: No.

 

Dean Sakamoto: Oh, okay, that's another story.

 

Sid Snyder: We'll bring her in to tell you. First of all, get it straight, you know.

 

Don Hibbard: Okay, so you lasted, then you went over to Ossipoff How did you end up going over there?

 

Sid Snyder: Well, the market was really good. Hawaii was on a little boom at the time. Because people, you know tourism was really starting to happen. I think it was maybe three hundred thousand a year, tourists. But these are people kind of high end. That sounds kind of snobby tho think that way, but Roy Kelly saw that that wouldn't be the case and he built cheaper and rented a lot cheaper. So a lot of people didn't have to stay at the Royal Hawaiian or the Moana Or even Princess Kaiulani, it was built by then.

 

Sid Snyder: So they could come over and have a stay at the Reef. You know that was one of his early hotels. Beautiful location of course. That was a terrific and that made a lot of people happy. So that really happened. The jets weren't flying quite yet then. Took about two more years to start.

 

Don Hibbard: So what? It was like a 10 hour flight for you?

 

Sid Snyder: It was 13. Since we had head winds. It was supposed to be at nine.

 

Speaker 5: What year are we talking about approximately?

 

Sid Snyder: 57

 

Speaker 5: 1957, okay.

 

Sid Snyder: So that, yeah the, and one of the went down. One of the stratocruisers went down while I lived here. People claimed they got soggy mail and all that. But nobody survived. And that was, that's what happens, I mean. That's what was going on.

 

Don Hibbard: So there was a boom, tourism starting....

 

Sid Snyder: Look, so I went around and talked to Phil Fisk. Talked to Alfred Preis and Val Ossipoff and

 

Don Hibbard: Oh, okay.

 

Speaker male: Well, Fisk was on his own then?

 

Sid Snyder: Yes. Maybe one or two others. But most people wanted somebody.

 

Speaker male: (background chatter) Okay, I'll text you.

 

Sid Snyder: So I had a, so Preis thought I was going to work there, until the day I went to work for Ossipoff, He called me early in morning, said do you know when you'll be in. I said, well I... didn't feel like there was an offer, you know.

 

Sid Snyder: I had to tell him that. I had a situation with Ossipoff, so that I had to tell him that, he seemed surprised. But Alferd was a little informal. In his ways, yeah, yeah. Great guy too. Terribly great. In facr, Val (Ossipoff) once said of him, he said that the man didn't have an enemy in the world. Pretty nice compliment really, yeah.

 

Speaker male: So what made you choose Ossipoff?

 

Sid Snyder: I think I liked the work. I think a lot of it had to do, with, Hawaiin Life building was up then. You know it's kind of a miniature building by today's standards, but you know with the vertical expression and the quality of that, that was yeah, that did it. It obviously had a special feel to it. And I saw a thing or two else that he'd done. Just felt like a good place to be in. Doing a lot of Queen's (medical center) work at the time.

 

Speaker male: Okay, yeah. Yeah, that was a big project.

 

Sid Snyder: And we did the Sheraton, well we did the Matson work. Sheraton hadn't bought the hotel yet. So we pulled a design that, which was Ka'iulani and Gardner.

 

Speaker male: Daley.

 

Sid Snyder: Daley. Recommended Ossipoff to do work, smaller jobs. Because he was in San Francisco too too far away. So we did some nice jobs there for awhile. It was like a drug store, where it's now the Hyatt. It kind of had the big roof look.

 

Speaker male: Oh yes.

 

Sid Snyder: But it was more interesting building, right. It had more stone to the [inaudible 00:42:10]. We did a meeting in house, was their convention building for the Princess Kaiulani and did things with the Royal, like created some rooms and-

 

Don Hibbard: You worked on the Princess Kaiulani meeting house?

 

Sid Snyder: I think Ed Sullen...did that.

 

Don Hibbard: Oh, okay, he never mentioned that to me.

 

Sid Snyder: And then we did, and Sullen was also on McInernys. So that was on Matson property in Kalaukaua. And then later on did the snack shop and that was mainly Tom Wells.

 

Don Hibbard: Oh, okay.

 

Sid Snyder: I was doing Palama Settlement about that time. The gym, you know. That was fun, yeah. So it was kind of good, because I did, I was doing something that Ossipoff didn't feel the need to get real tied into. So I had kind of a free hand in this thing. And had I been doing the Matson work, I think it wouldn't have been that way. A little tighter. Quite a bit tighter, you know.

 

Sid Snyder: So that, sort of set that up.

 

Don Hibbard: What was your first impressions when you finally did get to see Hawaii?

 

Sid Snyder: Yeah, well turned out to be-

 

Don Hibbard: Or maybe I should step back one. What convinced you, how did Haines convince you that yeah, Hawaii is a good idea?

 

Sid Snyder: Oh, you know you kind of hear the, you know you hear the palm trees swaying after a while. We were still in Seattle, it just sounds good. Seattle is, I mean Hawaii is not a hard sell. You noticed that. And after World War II, the tropics and the South Pacific and all that became very desirable to a lot of people. You know the romance side of it, in spite of the fact that we knew it was through the war but none the less, still it popularized Hawaii.

 

Sid Snyder: But I wasn't trying to get to Hawaii. I didn't have any particular desire to go to Hawaii. It was never in my sights and I had kind of a picture, was a little bit decadent. You know people, you know kind of Atlantic City, kind of pushed up and down a boardwalk and rolling chairs and things. I didn't have much of the sense of the wildness side of Hawaii.

 

Sid Snyder: And Waikiki was still naughty. It was fun. It was fun, a lot of fun place. And it still had that kind of grew up kind of fun where people had convorted You didn't know what the next thing was. Kind of a night club and the backend was open into a yard, had the dancers outside in the lights, that kind of thing.

 

Sid Snyder: It just happened. There was no architect or anyting involved there. But they were tucked in here, there and everywhere. That was a lot of fun. So pretty soon, I ended up in San Souci had no, well had a few towers, I should say. Johnson Perkins had the hotel, or the apartment house at that center. Tropic seas was still low rise and they built it higher later.

 

Sid Snyder: So they, the was happening pretty fast, but there were an awful lot of places that were just empty or like were the Sheraton, Waikiki Stands was really a parking lot. Imagine that from a Halekulani over to the Royal. It was a parking lot with palm trees in there. There was one house I think that one got torn down eventually. It's hard to believe that today that, you always wondered why don't they park cars at this place.

 

Sid Snyder: The Royal was really old school. They had a tennis courts and things like that. Those had to become shops on Kalakaua by that time. So there was just a lot of different kinds of work to and then after a while a job came in that I'd seen at Lemmon, Freeth Haines and Jones. And it was for a boys' school on the big island and became Hawaii Prep Academy. So next thing we knew we were doing that. That was a neat job. That was fun because we did just a building or two at a time for the [crosstalk 00:46:38].

 

Sid Snyder: So it took about a 10 year period to create the campus. And so different ones of us would do different projects.

 

Don Hibbard: Who was in the office at that time when you were there? Those early years?

 

Sid Snyder: Early years. Well, of course, Al Roland and Greg Gtez, Tom Wells, Tatum, George Johnson. Hank Reese a little bit later on. Kenny Yakiyama Herb, Azumoto. The number two guy, Val's associate guy was named Wayne Owens.

 

Don Hibbard: I remember that name.

 

Sid Snyder: And Ed Sullen was there. Ed wasn't that long, really. Val had hired him on the mainland and brought him over. Ed was in his early 30's, if I remember but very capable. He'd do a job and take care of it.

 

Don Hibbard: So what was your assessment of the architectural scene here when you first got here? Or the built environment and the, what was happening in architecture?

 

Sid Snyder: Well, there was a decent candre of good architects. Modernist architects. you know if you want to preserve something, modernism had that spirit of doing something in the new way, in the new thinking. And the idea expressive materials and the idea of ornament that, traditional ornament didn't have any meaning for people anymore.

 

Sid Snyder: So a lot of that I was Dick Dennis, who was practicing. So there were a lot of people. There were of course the usual people just knocking it out, you know. That make the money. Crying all the way to the bank kind of thing. And schools, I think schools pretty much suffered from that. They would surely handed out. But you can say under budget and which is probably fair but they were also well re scripted too. They were told too much what to do and no pats, no kudos were doing a good job.

 

Sid Snyder: Their idea of a good job was was that you follow the directions carefully. So that was sort of a disappointment. But a lot of the architecture, like in, Waikiki you know the new things were pretty nice.

 

Don Hibbard: Can you name names as far as buildings?

 

Sid Snyder: Well there was a restaurant called Jolly Roger, nice stone front on it. Halfway in the building, halfway out on the sidewalk kind of a place.

 

Speaker female: Where was that

 

Jack Gilmar: Kalakaua between seaside and the Royal Hawaiian

 

Sid Snyder: Well-

 

Speaker 3: Talk all between two sides of the [inaudible 00:49:50].

 

Sid Snyder: Yeah, around the corner.

 

Speaker 3: No, in the middle of Hawaii.

 

Sid Snyder: Middle Hawaii.

 

Don Hibbard: Mauka side.

 

Sid Snyder: Mauka

 

Speaker 3: It was Coco's right? Coco is outside.

 

Sid Snyder: Coco's was kind of a [inaudible 00:50:06] hot looking place. It was called Kau Kau Corner.

 

Speaker 3: Oh before that.

 

Sid Snyder: But it didn't have this yet. It was just a concrete glass block kind of modern stuff. And we got in Sunny Sunstream ran it. We had a little checkered career. So-

 

Speaker 3: Tax invading.

 

Sid Snyder: A little tax problem. And maybe go and do a little gambling that way okay too. But it was a drive in. And it was green. It was a minty green. They had a sign, you know like two thousand, two hundred and forty two miles of San Francisco and Hong Kong in the middle of that. That was, so it was Kau Kau Corner It was the, where the world meets, you know that kind of thing.

 

Sid Snyder: So that went away. Spensky picked it up and Wimberly did the green copper roof expensive building. A lot of wood. A lot of copper and made a very nice drive in. And it was okay, but it was probably a little to nice to be, to maintain a care free craziness of the other place. But it definitely done in a woody style. Had a lot of wood on the interior. Campus Broiler was Wimberly and architect out of Seattle did that [inaudible 00:51:26].

 

Sid Snyder: That was a big, that was one of the architectural delights of Waikiki.

 

Speaker 3: [inaudible 00:51:39].

 

Jack Gilmar: Yeah, Bauer did Hawaiiana and Breaker

 

Sid Snyder: good job on the Breakers. He did a lot of cheap things but those came out rather well. Very simple and wood jealousies. No glass, just wood jealousies. Swimming pool in the middle.

 

Don Hibbard: Right, it is nice

 

Sid Snyder: And then Roy Kelly was going to build him something. And he was kind of the bad boy, with his shoes. But he knew his details and he knew how to build. He had some guys, carpenters and stuff working for him and he built his own form work. They start building towers like this. So he would manage it all and run the hotels at the same time.

 

Sid Snyder: So when I came, he owned more property in Waikiki than anybody. That was the story. So he had a tower here and a tower there and something there. And he did it all because of, he was an ambitious fellow but his eye sight was going. He wore real thick glasses. So he was afraid he was going to be blind so that's when they started going in the, I think it was pre war. I think that. He and his wife just started building these little two story, four story walk up things all over the place.

 

Sid Snyder: I don't know how he ever got to the Reef. That must have been, he must have had some partners or something. I don't know how he would handle that kind of building.

 

Don Hibbard: I'm not sure. Well, he already had the Edge Water also, by then

 

Sid Snyder: Yeah, yeah, the Edge Water. And he was, that generation was very depression infected, affected. And he had big closets at Edge Water and he rubbed it in the plumbing, so it could become an apartment. And they were so concerned that you know the things went all right, that you'd think you'd have a different life. The hotel doesn't convert to an apartment easily, this was, and the rooms were huge. Six dollars a day. No tax.

 

Sid Snyder: So Lewers wasn't congested and all that. It was an empty street, with a lot of palm trees. A lot of little shops you're going through. A lot of open air dining. It was a rule. Another one that was nice, was the Tropics, which sits where Ala Moana Hotel is. And that in one corner and the other parts is the open air automobile and show room. They said a little bit like what they did with Lexus but in a more generous way. With this lawn around and then the cars up on the pedestal. It was very much in the outdoor show room effect.

 

Don Hibbard: Who did that, do you know? Was that before you?

 

Sid Snyder: I don't know.

 

Tonia Moy: That was the convention center.

 

Jack Gilmar: That's Aloha motors. [crosstalk 00:54:36] office in there.

 

Speaker 5: [crosstalk 00:54:36].

 

Sid Snyder: Yeah, Aloha motors was done for Mutual Telephone company, which was became Hawaiian Tel. And I guess they sold stuff. So it was a show room and obviously a shop and place to operate their business out of, trucks and so forth. It was not, when I came it was a little Aloha Motors already. Chevrolet Oldmobile dealer. So it always worked pretty well as a car show for some reason.

 

Sid Snyder: I guess it was a show room for, I'm not sure what they sold. It was a telephone company, selling [inaudible 00:55:07]. They didn't sell phones yet, so.

 

Don Hibbard: That's true.

 

Sid Snyder: Something they were selling. That was a pretty strong building. It had a nice character to it. Then of course there was always the old, really old kind of structures all over the place. They're all dotting in to this in field things. Particularly in Waikiki.

 

Don Hibbard: How would you characterize that?

 

Sid Snyder: Huh?

 

Don Hibbard: How would you characterize these old structures? ....I'm just trying to get a picture in my mind.

 

Sid Snyder: They were a combination of the newer of the old structures were typically two story apartment houses or hotels, what you want to call it. Probably would, you'd have to say they were apartments. And tourists like the snow birds that stayed for the winters, that kind of thing. They really like those places. And they were reasonable and they were backed by Kuhio Avenue and that kind of thing, quite a bit.

 

Sid Snyder: And one of the delightful things was Saint Augustine's church. The total Victorian stick built, painted white. No glass. Lattice on the walls, and hotter than hades. And I went to a friend's wedding in there that did the mass and the whole thing and it was this like, oh, we're still wearing neck ties in here.

 

Sid Snyder: Probably walked in with a jacket and didn't keep it on very long. It was a fabulous place and there was just a, it was a mish mash of things built over a 50 year period perhaps. Nothing ancient that I can think of. It was really, really old. But a lot of indoor, outdoor because the density didn't have to be that great yet and didn't need that to be that big where they used up every inch. So there's still typically grass and some trees around the place that you would see.

 

Sid Snyder: It was pretty neat, pretty sharp. You could even park., you know somebody [inaudible 00:57:21] find it just in part. There was no traffic lights yet. But things were changing pretty fast in reality. You know from that time when the jets flew, at the same time three things happened. The jet aircraft came at about '60, '59, '60.

 

Don Hibbard: In '59.

 

Sid Snyder: Statehood had already come.

 

Don Hibbard: Yeah, same year.

 

Sid Snyder: And with Statehood came mortgage financing. So you could get money for projects. That before was a lot of families have had to scrape together and everybody borrowed, and they just pitched in to try to buy something. Looking in a way of a house was a huge drag. So, you know, so a local bank didn't have that much capital to do the job. And that turned things around got mortgages...

 

Sid Snyder: So in a way that partly explains this. You know the planning was just build it, that way. You know the planning was really more code kinds of thing. You know how high or how much density and all that. and they'd argue and argue, they were gonna straight out Kalakaua so that when you came down Kalakaua, what that would have done was preserve the view of diamond head. But by doing that, you would also have created a lot of makai property, beach front property where you can build hotels and that didn't happen, obviously.

 

Sid Snyder: So after you get past the Moana, what the, well the Moana whatever it's called now. There are no more beach front private properties. It's all beach in that case. So it worked out. It used to be, you could see Diamond Head from a lot of Kalakaua after a while. It was pretty good.

 

Don Hibbard: Well, thank you. That's very good for tonight. Anybody have any questions about stuff we covered?

 

Sid Snyder: You're all asleep by now. [laughter]

 

Matt Moy: When you were just starting out, where did you end up living? Where did you call home aside from the office?

 

Sid Snyder: I lived on Ka Ulu street off Kuhio, between Kuhio and Ala Wai. I must have been there four or five months and there was a guy named Carl, I think. He started a TGIF party, so invite guys and girls. So we'd go to Moana that second, that room. I don't know what they call it. The restroom today more. It was sort of available for different functions and things, on the ocean.

 

Sid Snyder: So we go over there. So I met a guy and he lived in Sans Souci And he had a dump there and he said you know if we go together, we got a decent place. So we had our friend down there and he, some guy died and he had this great apartment. The guy was barely taken out on there and they called us up and said hey! {Laughter}

 

Sid Snyder: It was all word of mouth. And it was, but one thing you couldn't do in Sans Souci, you couldn't be married and live there. It just didn't work. [laughter] You better not. They partied all hours, like that. And my landlady, fortunately she lived in Kailua. But we were always getting evicted. You had to keep her at bay and promise all kinds of things. Hope you don't do that anymore.

 

Jack Gilmar: It' must've been an old building, what was that before [inaudible 01:00:49].

 

Sid Snyder: I was in the Oceanfront I was on the better-

 

Speaker male: Yeah, but I mean it wasn't the new high rise, it was-

 

Sid Snyder: Oh, no, it was two story.

 

Speaker male: Two story straight.

 

Sid Snyder: There were a whole bunch of little owners right there at Sands and Sea and you had a beach and the pier And you could swim out in the channel. You could go snorkeling. It was fun. I remember going over at lunch, you know go take a swim at lunch time over there.

 

Don Hibbard: Where was the office?

 

Sid Snyder: Hawaiian Life Building, Piikoi

 

Don Hibbard: That you could do, oh, okay. Okay, so not to bad.

 

Sid Snyder: Right above [crosstalk 01:01:27].

 

Dean Sakamoto: The guys that got married and all of you know I have to excuse myself, my wife and my son are waiting down stairs. I want to thank Sid and I think everybody knows this but if it wasn't for Sid, the Ossipoff project wouldn't have been possible. It was Sid how helped me initiate the idea of working with the art academy. When it was called the art academy.

 

Sid Snyder: Fortunately you were the guy that got up and did it.

 

Dean Sakamoto: And it was Sid's generosity and his great memory, you know of this is really a treat for me to hear you say [crosstalk 01:01:56].

 

Sid Snyder: PAUL THIRY,! That was his name the seattle guy. [laughter]

 

Mike Gushard: I was going to ask about Paul Thiry

 

Dean Sakamoto: Paul Thiry was a great modernist.

Sid Snyder: You know him?

 

Dean Sakamoto: Yeah and so anyway, so I wanted to thank Sid for joining us tonight. And the interview is to be continued, right. Or [crosstalk 01:02:12].

 

Don Hibbard: Yes. If we're meeting on the ninth, we'll see if that's okay for you Sid? Are you back yet or no?

 

Sid Snyder: The night of December?

 

Don Hibbard: January.

 

Sid Snyder: Oh, barely.

 

Don Hibbard: Okay, so maybe we'll wait until February then for the next one.

 

Sid Snyder: I'm back on the seventh, I think.

 

Don Hibbard: Well okay, okay.

 

Jack Gilmar: It's not like you have to prep for this Sid [laughter]

 

Speaker female: Yeah.

 

Sid Snyder: Fiction takes time, Jack

 

Don Hibbard: You guys, good night, I have to run, I'm so sorry. But thank you. Thanks for organizing this [crosstalk 01:02:39].

 

Speaker female: [crosstalk 01:02:39].

 

Speaker male: Good, Sid. So yeah, just see.

 

Speaker male: How you would probably, well do you ever feel it.

 

Speaker female: Yeah, I've never heard about the [inaudible 01:02:48] time.

 

Sid Snyder: [inaudible 01:02:51].

 

Mike Gushard: Sid, did Thiry have much interaction with the architecture department or was he on your radar?

 

Sid Snyder: No, he was a little bit taboo, I don't know. University of Washington and the profession did not have a warm relationship. And I don't know if it was because of the chairman because most of the guys practiced one way or another that taught us. It was cool. {laughter] It was very cool. If not cold. but they hired people. I mean both that they have but for some reason it was Icy. I remember he came out and spoke, he was anti freeway guy. He says you know what's at the end of every freeway, there's a new settlement.

 

Sid Snyder: The door to the freeway ends, you'll always get a [inaudible 01:03:46]. But he was a strong modernist of the '30s when people really didn't do a lot. He had to be pretty gutsy to go right [inaudible 01:03:56], yeah.

 

Mike Gushard: Was he in Seattle in the '30s.

 

Sid Snyder: He was in Seattle.

 

Speaker male: Okay.

 

Sid Snyder: He didn't go to school in Seattle.

 

Mike Gushard: I think he's French, isn't he?

 

Sid Snyder: Well the name is. He may have gone to the Ecole des beaux arts. I don't, but didn't he go to Penn or something like that?

 

Mike Gushard: I think he went to American university and a French Canadian, and French or something like that.

 

Sid Snyder: Yeah, something like that, sure.

 

Speaker female: Yeah.

 

Sid Snyder: But after, Lionel, Pries there's a book on him, which is worth looking at. Telling life story pretty well but it has a lot of pictures of his work. He drew very well. He painted very well. He'd like to come over and work on your project.

 

Speaker female: And there's not connection between him and Alfred? It's just-

 

Sid Snyder: No.

 

Speaker female: Coincidental?

 

Sid Snyder: Yeah, Preis and Priest, you know.

 

Speaker female: Preis and Priest.

 

Sid Snyder: I introduced them though. Alfred was in Seattle at the time, so they truly met each other, you know. But he was, he and I were not exactly close at school but I ran into him at Waikiki and he was terrific to us. And took my wife around in San Francisco, we practiced in those early years and he had stories of everything and everybody was involved and this project. and look at his. He was good. But they fired him. You have to read the book. . It's sad how he ended up. But he came here and then they had caught, I went to the main land. So I gave my card to use and Val had a pretty good relationship with the editor of House Beautiful.

 

Sid Snyder: And she's the one that covered the Liljestrand House. She did 57 pages in that magazine.

 

Speaker female: Wow, Jesus. [crosstalk 01:05:47].

 

Sid Snyder: [inaudible 01:05:47]. Pretty close. And so Elizabeth Gordon, so she was in town. Ossipoff and Bow and Lim invited her and Lionel Pries who was in town to dinner. And suggested since they're both in Waikiki, that Val pick her up. So she there I guess. She started blowing you know how wonderful it was in town, blah, blah, blah, kowtowning to Val and all that. So they said, so Pries told me this and so I put her in my Austin Healey and I dropped the top. It blew the hell out of her. He would. He did.

 

Sid Snyder: But he came across as very cultured. She [inaudible 01:06:35]. Did I answer your question? Or where I lived, yeah. {laughter]

 

Speaker male: After that, where did you go?

 

Speaker male: So, Kuhio and that [crosstalk 01:06:47]. That place was Sans Souci.

 

Sid Snyder: That's Sans Souci. We had a good apartment. It was tattoo studios down and one bedroom up, and we had the up one. So you have a little view, you see through the trees the ocean. Had a lanai.

 

Speaker male: It's where the Sans Souci is now?

 

Sid Snyder: It's actually not. It's actually the W hotel, but now it's called-

 

Speaker female: The Lotus.

 

Sid Snyder: Lotus, it's on that property. And when they built the Lotus, they, my land lady couldn't sell because her buildings were better than some of the other buildings. And I said but if it's going to tear your building down, so they give you a price, how come it's worth more if they're going to tear it down anyway? Doesn't matter, it's a better building. So she wouldn't sell and they overbuilt that building when they built. They had to do something to get more land to make the ratio go up. That's how, it's really the parking lot. It's really not the, where I live really, it's a parking lot.

 

Sid Snyder: Because it was sort of, it was sandwiched in. It wasn't on Kalakaua, it wasn't on the ocean. It was in between them. She was funny. This is maderas, oh boy. Went over and saw her one day to try to plead our way back and not having get evicted. Because it was this great apartment, you would grovel just to get this apartment. And we knew plenty of people wanted it, you know so. We went over there and she was ... She had all these socks on her sofa and she was embarrassed. She sat there and she's doing this all the time and after a while we got through. Socks are all gone. She's tucked every one of them.

 

Sid Snyder: It's just [crosstalk 01:08:34]. Her room mate had a lei on one time to try and give it to her. She was sweeping out. She came over once a day, once a week and her husband was with her and he was there and just oh, God, don't come close, Frank will be jealous. {lughter] But they're oh God, [crosstalk 01:08:51].

 

Sid Snyder: She was uh, no thing of great beauty. {laughter}

 

Speaker female: Well, sounds like a fun time.

 

Sid Snyder: Oh yeah.

 

Speaker female: So what made you, I don't know if this is the next session, but what made you stay in Hawaii?

 

Sid Snyder: I liked it here. Looks like Hawaii. Same reason we're all here, I guess.

 

Speaker female: Yeah. Okay.

 

Sid Snyder: Jack was b here, I think.

 

Speaker male: Yeah, your Waikiki star is, that's quite rough you know from '48 on. It's a great place to grow up. People don't understand [inaudible 01:09:39] if you didn't go through and it was just a big field there where you could play. It looks great, great nborhood.

 

Sid Snyder: You know and that was, I think Hawaii had a lot of live and let live attitude about it. You know that when we got bigger and had to put in traffic lights. When it was little, you know you were under more control and more-

 

Speaker male: Well, the military made it hang loose too, I mean you had sailors and soldiers all over the place.

 

Sid Snyder: They were dancing [crosstalk 01:10:12].

 

Speaker male: Bars everywhere in Waikiki.

 

Sid Snyder: There was a room in the house.

 

Speaker male: Waikiki and[inaudible 01:10:14].

 

Sid Snyder: The asked lady picked them up.

 

Speaker male: Yeah, right. [crosstalk 01:10:18] patrol [crosstalk 01:10:19].

 

Sid Snyder: Hawaiian armed services patrol house. There was a house in Waikiki, they pick up all the guys and take them back to base.

 

Speaker female: Nice.

 

Speaker male: They have done the beach covers, was fabulous on Kalakaua.

 

Sid Snyder: Another good one, the [inaudible 01:10:34] were family was to travel to. The true facts building. The [inaudible 01:10:40] went down about this high off the ground, so when you sat down, it just had a screen. A thick screen with bamboo holding it in place and then you saw out. And that was about the viewpoint. It was way down here and [inaudible 01:10:57]. It was shaggy. It was not true to the edge. But every two or three years you got to redo it. It's expensive.

 

Speaker male: And down the beach there was all thatch too, I mean you know it's not the Dona Beach Garden of you guys you know was adjusted.

 

Sid Snyder: I think that was [inaudible 01:11:10] when I got here.

 

Speaker male: Oh yeah.

 

Sid Snyder: Maybe just about [inaudible 01:11:13].

 

Speaker male: It was fabulous.

 

Sid Snyder: He was trying to create the international market place, you know, [inaudible 01:11:17].

 

Speaker male: Oh yeah, it's a three [inaudible 01:11:18] structure. It has the islands and [crosstalk 01:11:18].

 

Sid Snyder: Doors on and see there.

 

Speaker male: No, it's great.

 

Sid Snyder: And there was another tropics in Waikiki too. [crosstalk 01:11:28].

 

Speaker male: By their sea side.

 

Sid Snyder: And then there was Laifa, Lai Chun. And that was gardens and kind of 1920s probably. But a lot of concrete. Struck on [inaudible 01:11:43]. It wasn't [inaudible 01:11:44] executed but it was overall it had a [crosstalk 01:11:48].

 

Speaker male: Very Chinese.

 

Sid Snyder: Very Chinese. You go in to parties, so thing it had to do like, you know some guy was retiring in the building apartment, so he'd have a retirement party too and the architects had to buy tables and things like that. So we were doing there and so we discovered one time that there's a teapot there, full of Scotch. So before the food got there, the Scotch was gone.

 

Sid Snyder: Put it in your one time soup, or stuff like that. They never made it. We argued for more, say we didn't have any Scotch.

 

Speaker female: [crosstalk 01:12:22].

 

Sid Snyder: Fill her up, yeah.

 

Speaker female: It was fun.

 

Speaker female: What was one your favorite, like residential piece of it, you know projects that you worked on?

 

Speaker male: We'll get to that.

 

Speaker female: Oh, [inaudible 01:12:40].

 

Speaker male: You have to wait. Every bit.

 

Sid Snyder: I think that answers, it's the next one.

 

Speaker female: [crosstalk 01:12:47].

 

Sid Snyder: What you got for me?

 

Speaker female: It seems there is questions, [inaudible 01:12:55].

 

Speaker male: Oh, thank you so much.

 

Sid Snyder: Well, pleasure.

 

Speaker male: Thank you very much.

Original Format

mp3

Duration

1:13:16

Citation

Docomomo US Hawaii, “Talk Story w/ Sid Snyder: Interview 1,” Hawai'i Modernism Library, accessed August 16, 2022, https://docomomo-hi.org/items/show/4.

Output Formats