From the Civil War To the Space
THE FOLLOWING IS TAKEN FROM
THE TOUR GUIDEBOOK
CONDUCTED JUNE 11, 2006
1857 Territorial Cottage
Mother Colony House
414 North West Street
where they could grow grapes and make wine. They hired an Austrian
immigrant, George Hansen, a noted Los Angeles surveyor, as their
Superintendent to acquire and prepare the land they needed. Acting as
their agent, Hansen bought 1200 acres of land near the Santa Ana River for
$2,300 from the land grant owner, Juan Pacifico Ontiveros, who, while he was willing to take the money, reportedly believed that the land couldn’t
support a goat. That land, bordered by what is now North, South, East, and West Streets, would be named “Anaheim” by the German settlers, and Hansen would become known as the Father of Anaheim.
To provide himself a living quarters and an office while he prepared the land, Hansen built what we now know as the Mother Colony House, the first wooden building constructed in Anaheim (previous structures had been of adobe). Classified as a Territorial Cottage style house, it is built of redwood brought in on steamship. The side gabled roof is capped by wooden cresting, a decorative touch surprising when one imagines the primitive conditions in which it was built.
After George Hansen, several families inhabited the house, each putting their own touches on the home. Originally consisting of three
small rooms, the home was enlarged with the addition at the rear in the 1870’s, likely for Senora Vicenta Sepulveda de Carrillo, widow
of two prominent Californios, Tomas Yorba and Ramon Carrillo. Senora Carrillo purchased the house in 1872.
American Revolution. They moved it from its original location at the corner of Los Angeles St. (now Anaheim Blvd.) and Cypress St.
to its present site. Marie Horstmann Dwyer donated the land and, the Daughters of the American Revolution used the house for 20
years as their meeting place.
In 1954, the House became the property of the City of Anaheim, and it has been under the supervision of the Anaheim Public Library
since 1962. The museum’s interior is filled with objects that reflect Anaheim’s domestic history, donated by many of Anaheim’s pioneer
families. The museum is open regularly for elementary school field trips, but is not often open to the general public.
in the house. Plans are underway to include this simple cottage in the upcoming Sesquicentennial celebrations, as both Anaheim and the
Mother Colony House celebrate 150 years of history in 2007.
and Europe. LaFayette and Ellen Lewis left their home in New York for the
riches of California. They could have been seeking gold or, perhaps more
likely, the gold that came from serving the gold seekers. As a stable owner,
Mr. Lewis may have seen the benefit of providing horses to those heading
out to the mines and rivers.
where they opened the Fashion Stables. In 1872, they built this Folk Victorian cottage just outside what was then the business center
of town. Building materials, including the drop-channel siding, were shipped from San Francisco by steamer.
Lewis family members lived in a house to Malcolm and Elizabeth McAuley, settling permanently in Los Angeles, where he had already
opened another stable. LaFayette’s son Arthur, however, remained in Anaheim, and he and his son Fayette were community leaders.
McAuleys remained in the home for the rest of their lives, and then their daughter, Janet McAuley Spencer, inherited the home. Their
sons, Angus and Robert, put down firm roots in Orange County; Angus operated the McAuley and Suters Mortuary and Robert became
a Presbyterian minister in Orange. Janet and her husband built the bungalow next door, and various family members appear in City
Directories, inhabiting both of the homes.
adding stained glass touches. Mr. Valenti sold the house to the Weedman family, and the current owners and painstakingly resisting the
urge to modernize, instead honoring the rustic nature of the home with simplified landscaping reflecting the time of construction. A
major project was recently finished when the western enclosed porch was reopened and rebuilt, and more work is planned as the owners
determine how to balance the original 1872 house with the 1905 changes.
opened Anaheim’s first furniture store. Later, their furniture making
expertise made them in demand for constructing the community’s caskets as
well. They learned the mortician business along the way, and eventually
became immensely successful as Anaheim’s undertakers. Ferdinand married
Louise Werder in 1875, she 18 and he 31. The Werders had been among the
first 50 families in Anaheim, with Louise being just two when they arrived in
with her brother-in-law Edward Neihaus, a prominent Berkeley lumberman, she designed the house featured on the tour.
architecture shows an oriental influence in the unusual shape of the gables. The finest materials were used to build this beautiful and
unique home, which illustrates the style and quality of life lived by a family in the upper social strata of Anaheim just after the turn of
the century. A two-story carriage house, a summer kitchen, and other outbuildings were built at the same time. Ferdinand and Louise
lived in this home until their deaths, he in 1922 and she in 1936. The home then passed into the care of the two youngest daughters,
Emma Backs Jackson and Frances Backs.
unique place in the hearts of many people involved in the Anaheim Historical Society as it was in the dining room of this house that the
Anaheim Historical Society was formed in 1976, with Andrew as our first president.
throughout the seventies and eighties. Alas, even this home would not be free from the controversy and conflict of that time. The
Anaheim Redevelopment Agency purchased the house in the 1980’s and moved it to its present location on Vintage Lane.
has continued that process.
enjoyed the many advancements being made in this thoroughly modern
period, with changes in fashion, transportation (the affordable Model T
Ford was introduced for 1909), and more, including housing styles. This
classic Craftsman house was built in 1910 for a nurse, Mrs. F.C. Nelson,
and her children. She sold the home in 1923 to a widow, Nellie Buzzell, who
kept the house until 1944.
(as witnessed by deadbolts on all the doors and even a small kitchenette in the largest of the upstairs rooms).
the porch and balcony, and followed suit. Numerous coats of paint buried the interior wood, and the lath and plaster wall were covered
over in a “modern” texturing. Original light fixtures were long gone. The kitchen and bathroom had been remodeled in the 1980’s
with no regard to the home’s history. The exterior had fared no better. The house had been clad in cement tiles and the ’87 Whittier
quake had left the chimney partially collapsed, the remaining portion left barely clinging to the side of the house. The house had been
re-roofed with no regard to a possible chimney rebuild, and the fireplace had been completely removed and drywalled over, leaving
virtually no trace of its existence.
house and jacking the structure up where needed. Because of the extent of sag, the old plaster cracked and burst out during the
leveling process and had to be replaced throughout the house with an appropriate smooth plaster finish. They stripped all the interior
wood, including all doors, windows, wainscoting, and built-ins. Door and window hardware was boiled in baking soda to remove paint
so it could be reused.
some lovely Claycraft tiles rescued from another Craftsman a block away, just before the wrecking ball took that house down. Sadly,
the original carriage house (sorry, now a “garage”) had gone beyond the point of restoration and had to be demolished. In its place,
Gail and Eric built a new, but historically sensitive one that matches the style of the home. They’ve also restored the kitchen and
bathrooms using historically appropriate flooring, tile, and appliances. The hardwood floors were refinished and, where necessary,
replaced with compatible wood. The house features archived wallpapers by Bradbury and Bradbury and period-style furnishings.
largely of prosperity. This Craftsman Bungalow is quite typical of those
built in the area in the 1920’s. While deceptively conservative in size, it
incorporates striking detailing such as the glazed bricks in the front pilasters
and front porch that makes a home like this truly special.
several years as the Grefe Famiy’s own residence before turning it into a rental property in 1925.
Rose. Rose, interviewed some time before her recent passing, was able to recall being a very young girl when the disastrous flood of
1938 hit Anaheim. She remembered how her father’s wine bottles washed up to the front of the house from their small, post-Prohibition
wine cellar and were lost. Indeed, many of those old bottles were recovered during repair work in the 1960’s. Rose also said that her
home was the center of the French community in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The grandchildren have recounted large, lively dinners with
everyone gathered in the dining room around Mrs. Mirande’s cooking and her husband’s wine.
been kept, with the dramatic and loving restoration the house displays today.
varnish. Most windows have retained their original glass, with restoration glass used to maintain the proper look in those needing lost
panes replaced. The floors, oak in the living and dining rooms and, as was customary, fir in the “private” areas of the house, have been
recently refinished. The original doorknobs found in a box in the cellar have been returned to their rightful places. The home even still
uses its original knob and tube wiring, although forced air heating and air conditioning have been added. The front bedroom’s light
fixture is original; others are careful replacements. For example, the sconces on the pop-outs between the living and dining room
replace originals evidenced by wiring uncovered during restoration.
other authentic period fixtures. The kitchen restoration is almost complete with new countertops and sinks in its future. The stove is
Mrs. Mirande’s from the 1940s and still works quite well, merci beaucoup!
pleasure to those of us who pass by regularly to see the tremendous progress they have made in just a few years’ time.
recovered from under the house from that flood of a childhood’s memory.
were still opportunities for people to enjoy life, and elegant homes were
built in the years following the stock market crash, even here in Anaheim.
This striking 1931 Mediterranean Revival/Spanish Eclectic style home
welcomes visitors with a lovely Moorish arched main window, as well as an
outdoor courtyard with a fountain and fireplace. Many characteristics of
the home evoke a mission, including the massive original front door, arched
doorways, Monterey arcade and balconies, and niches in the entranceway
business, Mr. Beck would be listed in the local directories for 1939 as an oil man, by then a growing industry in the area.
manager of a citrus juice plant, and his wife Irene. Their daughter Joy, whose stage name was Joy Lane, was one of the lesser known
kids in the Hal Roach Studio’s Little Rascals movies. She also appeared in the 1934 Laurel and Hardy Babes in Toyland. She later
went on to be a singer with Ted Fiorito and his Orchestra. The home continued to house an extended family, as Robert and Irene’s son
Robert and his wife Rosemary are listed as residents in 1955. The home remained in the Wurgaft’s care until the late 1960s.
and kitchen converted to feed the congregation on a regular basis. The resident priest had a room and kitchenette upstairs. Prominent
features of the house added by the Byzantine church are the bell towers (which still house working bells) on the northeast corner of the
property and above the roofline of the house adjacent to the courtyard. The church also added the adobe style wall, which encloses the
northeast side of the property, and a parking lot on the south side of the building. Other additions made by the church were industrial
carpet and fluorescent light fixtures, giving the house a somewhat institutional character, not surprising in a building housing an active
congregation for more than twenty years. The congregation put the building up for sale in 1998 as they prepared to move to their
beautiful new church building on West Street near La Palma.
to its original historic charm. They have removed the carpeting and refinished or replaced the hardwood floors, and brought the kitchen
back to early twentieth century style, although they have kept the industrial stove and refrigerator they use for frequent entertaining.
They have removed most of the fluorescent fixtures and replaced them with appropriate period style lighting. The parking lot was
removed and, in its place, the couple has built a lovely pool and garden area. Lew and Michelle often open the house and grounds to
host wedding receptions and other large parties in the community.
Agriculture, particularly o
ranges, was still the city’s main claim to fame, but
the summer of 1954 saw some 160 acres of those orange groves cleared out
to make way for something new in town – Disneyland.
and his wife Dorothea, who both grew up in Anaheim, custom built the
modern ranch house featured on today’s tour on a large one and a half sized lot.
families, including Mayor Charles Pearson (in whose honor City Park was renamed), the Horns, the Thoms, and the Martenet family
sought by families after the end of World War II, is itself an important historical style.
customized for Dorothea in several ways. She had respiratory problems, so they built an air purifying system into the venting system
and added special seals on the doors to help keep out outside air. Dorothea was also rather tall for a woman of her day at perhaps
5’8″, so the kitchen and laundry room counters and cabinets are scaled to that height.
and who had been living with Charlie and Sarah Parson, became his second wife. They enjoyed many years of traveling and entertaining
Stephenson, became a dentist as well, and eventually took over the practice that he continues today in the same building
inherited it in 1989. Dan and Jennifer and previously restored a 1920’s bungalow on Broadway, which had qualified for Mills Act
recognition. While their ranch house required little restoration, they have done a fabulous job decorating and furnishing it in a retro
1950s style appropriate to the age of the home. The home has been featured in Atomic Ranch Magazine, a publication dedicated to the
appreciation of these homes and 1950’s era culture.
Across the street and north two lots from this home was the home of Morris Martenet, Sr. and his wife. Mr. Martenet was one of
Anaheim’s most well-known businessmen and civic leaders, with a hardware store that had been in business since the teens. The store
was razed during the loss of Anaheim’s downtown in the 1980’s, but his quality-built 1946 home survived here in the neighborhhod…
until just a few months ago. It was demolished, despite pleas from concerned citizens, to make way for a modern home. Incidentally,
Martenet Hardware still exists, although under new ownership and in a different, smaller building, on Lincoln Avenue west of State