Sunday, January 21, 2007

Evangeline Update

The Evangeline Hotel (1906) (a.k.a. Colonial Inn Hostel) in Huntington Beach is being turned into the Huntington Beach Youth Retreat – the third in a chain of facilities operated by the Southern California Alcohol & Drug Recovery Foundation.

Some of the neighbors aren’t thrilled with the new ownership, but it could be worse. In the past few decades, the Evangeline has been a flophouse for bums and a stop-over for itinerant surfers and wandering teens. Turning it into a place where people go to get off drugs is a nice change of pace.

The Evangeline is one of the overlooked historic gems of coastal O.C. It’s the last remnant of the days when that part of H.B. was best known for Methodist encampments and Grand Army of the Republic (Civil War veterans) conventions. It is also the largest and probably most significant of the few buildings in town that pre-date the 1920 oil boom.

Recently, the Evangeline was in serious danger of being torn down and replaced with more of the ubiquitous “tall skinnies” (4-story homes with no yards) that infest my hometown.

The photo above shows G.A.R. members and their families on the porch of the Evangeline sometime around the early teens.

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