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Dick Finnegan Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography/Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Additional collection guides

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Dick Finnegan Papers
    Dates: 1944-2010
    Collection Number: 2018-21
    Creator/Collector: Finnegan, Richard Haugen, Terry Dick Finnegan Incorporated
    Extent: 10 linear feet
    Repository: History San Jose Research Library
    San Jose, California 95112
    Abstract: Papers of architect Dick Finnegan, who was active in the Santa Clara Valley (Calif.) from the 1960s through the 1990s, as well as the Lake Tahoe region. Includes his business records, original architectural drawings, promotional material for housing developments, and photographs, as well as a significant number of Finnegan family home movies and landscape designs by daughter Terry Haugen.
    Language of Material: English


    The papers are available to researchers by appointment with the Curator of the Research Library & Archives

    Publication Rights

    Contact the Curator of Research Library & Archives for information on publication and reproduction

    Preferred Citation

    Dick Finnegan Papers. History San Jose Research Library

    Acquisition Information

    The papers were donated to History San Jose in 2018 by Finnegan's daughter, Terry Haugen

    Biography/Administrative History

    Finnegan was born in San Jose, California, on 1st February 1927, and died on October 21, 2011. He attended San Jose High School, where he played on the football team. After serving a tour in Guam after World War II without seeing combat, Finnegan returned to San Jose and married Barbara Faye Lampman on March 11, 1949. He studied commercial art at San Jose State and the Los Angeles Art Center. The Finnegan family lived in Palo Alto, San Jose, and Saratoga, with a vacation home on Meeks Bay at Lake Tahoe built by Finnegan. Finnegan and partner Jim Fenton started a commercial art firm in San Jose, but after the partnership ended, Finnegan worked as a designer for firms such as Mackay Homes, and worked on his concept for cluster homes as a way to maximize land use, "providing a family dwelling-land development arrangement including a dwelling module in which the density of family dwellings per unit of land is substantially increased while retaining the individual dwellings in separate spaced apart relationship." After starting his own construction firm in the 1970s, the housing industry was hit by recession, and Finnegan changed his business to provide architectural renderings and design. Daughter Terry Haugen, who studied ornamental horticulture at Foothill College, worked alongside Finnegan providing landscape design for his projects. In 1990 Finnegan and his wife moved to Meeks Bay permanently. He continued to work up until his death in 2011.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Dick Finnegan patented a dwelling module (U.S. Patent No. 4,007,565) in the 1970s which he called the "cluster". It was developed into tract housing by firms such as Mackay Homes, notably in Saratoga's Vista Monte and Serra Monte developments, and much of Finnegan's records center around this concept. His business records, which include original drawings and plans, photographs, advertising brochures, and contracts, document his career beginning as a commercial artist and architectural renderer, through to his work as an independent architect and contractor. Finnegan's daughter and landscape designer Terry Haugen worked with Finnegan on projects in the late 1980s and 1990s and several of these plans are included in the papers. In addition to commercial and residential work, Finnegan designed and built homes for his own family in San Jose, Saratoga, and Lake Tahoe, records of which are also included. Several boxes of home movies filmed between 1958 and 1972 document family outings to Capitola, birthday parties and Christmas mornings; and vacations at the home in Meeks Bay on Lake Tahoe.

    Indexing Terms

    Architects and builders
    Housing development
    Nineteen sixties
    Nineteen seventies
    Santa Clara County (Calif.)
    Tahoe, Lake (Calif. and Nev.)
    Saratoga (Calif.)
    San Jose (Calif.)
    Sunnyvale (Calif.)
    architectural drawings (visual works)
    renderings (drawings)
    business records
    home movies
    photographic prints
    portfolios (groups of works)

    Additional collection guides