Friday, February 29, 2008

Helme-Worthy House (ca 1880), Huntington Beach

I went for a walk in downtown Huntington Beach this evening and was struck by the "naked" state of the historic Helme-Worthy House at the corner of 6th and Walnut. It's needed stripping and repainting for decades, and I'm very, very pleased to see that it's finally happening. Also, it appears that the windows are also being restored. And did I mention that the redwood underneath still looks like new?
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The house was built at 5th St. and Verano Ave. (now Euclid) in Santa Ana around 1880. Matthew Helme purchased the house from the Leatherman family and had it moved to its current location in 1903. Mules were used to pull the house along -- rolling it on logs.
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Helme established the M.E. Helme Furniture Co. in 1904, and the store he built still stands behind the home, facing Walnut Ave. (see photo below). He was also involved in the incorporation of H.B. and served on the first City Council and as mayor. Both the house and the store are still owned by descendants of Matthew Helme.
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According to Diane Marsh, Helme's "main interests as a City Councilmember were the modernization of the fire department, establishing municipal gas and water systems, paving the dirt roads, and installing street lights."
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The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
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Luckily, the enormous "Strand" commercial complex now being built around the Helme complex has left most of the area's historically important buildings in place. This includes El Don Liquor on PCH, which once served as the offices of the Huntington Beach Co., and as the city's first movie theater.

1 comment:

Todd said...

That is pretty incredible that it was moved all the way from Santa Ana on logs! I'll be sure to pay more attention to the place now next time I go by.