Meetings of the Foothill Study Club were originally held in members’ homes with participants often sitting on fruit boxes or pillows. In 1914 when the Club decided that they needed a permanent location to meet, they choose Berkeley architect Julia Morgan, a sorority sister of one of the founding members, to design their building. Julia Morgan was the first woman to graduate from the School of Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France, as well as the first woman architect licensed in California. She designed more than a thousand buildings in the San Francisco Bay Area during the first half of the 20th century and is known for her significant contribution to the development of the Bay Area Tradition. The building is located on Park Place near Saratoga Village, on what was once the Village Green.
Miss Morgan proposed building a redwood structure nestled in the wooded area of the village green where
“Your majestic oaks will give a dappled effect with charming appeal. Dark wood, a rose window to bring in westerly light and open beams will create a distinctive look.”
The moderately scaled Bungalow-style redwood building blends with the nearby residential area. It reflects Miss Morgan’s hallmarks of carved trellises with projecting brackets, open beamed ceilings and many windows, including a large circular paned rose window and a glass paned folding wall that allows light to pour through the building.
She also included a motion picture projection booth (a half door into the pantry) opposite an alcove where the screen could be pulled down. The building served as Saratoga’s first movie theater.
Additionally soldiers were billeted there during World War II, and Miss Betty McClendon taught ballroom dancing to a generation of Saratoga teens in the 50’s and 60’s.
In 1988 the City of Saratoga designated the Foothill Clubhouse as the community’s Historic Landmark #1. In 2005, the Clubhouse was listed on the prestigious National Register of Historic Places for meeting both social history and architecture criterion.
A new patio garden, including new walkways, a bench, seating walls, and new plantings was made possible by a generous gift from Saratoga resident Miles Rankin and completed in 2012.
A century later this nationally recognized clubhouse remains a valued meeting place for the Saratoga community.