Friday, July 01, 2011

Evangeline restoration, living history, and parks

Glad tidings! First of all, my computer is (mostly) working now, so I can post again. But also, I was just sent a link to the very impressive plans for the exterior restoration of the historic Evangeline Hotel (1906) in Huntington Beach! (Links to old photos here and here.) Just for starters, they're tearing off the asbestos siding, putting back the cedar shingles, and replicating the original porch pillars. And better yet, it's going to be a residence, not a rehab facility or halfway house. I've lost count of how many times the Evangeline seemed doomed, so this is an especially pleasant surprise. (See the plans here.)

The Orange County Historical Commission is hosting three days of how-to workshops on "living history" later this month. It will begin with a two-day intensive training entitled, "What is Living History: Techniques to Bring History to Life" on July 14 & 15, 9am to 4pm at Heritage Hill Historical Park in El Toro. On Saturday, a class entitled “Past Voices, Present Faces” will be held at the Old Orange County Courthouse in Santa Ana. The instructor will be John C.F. Luzader, V.P. of Programs for the National Association for Interpretation. He is also a principal with Living Museums of the West, a historical consultant, and an actor. For more information, contact Sue McIntire at (949) 923-2231.

The Voice of OC recently posted an article about the history and development of parks in Orange County. It's very interesting, and I learned a number of things from it. Link on over.


Hillary said...

I had a good friend who lived across the street from the Evangeline when I was a kid. We used to hang around and talk to travelers when it was a hostel.

Do you know where I could find any info on the house at 740 Main street? Will it be covered in any of the upcoming talks? I grew up in that house but my knowledge of who owned it begins in the early 70s with Mrs. Russell and her family. I'd love to know where it was moved from and why, and if it was converted to apartments or was built that way. Such a cool old house! I loved living in it.

Chris Jepsen said...

Hillary: I'm not sure what talks you're referring to.

As for 738/740 Main Street,... That's the Griffith Apartments, built around 1914. I believe it may have also been called the Arrowhead Apartments at some point. Anyway, it's one of the nicest Craftsman Bungalow style buildings in town. It was moved from Ocean Ave. (PCH) and 12th St. in June 1927, as the oil fields encroached. The folks who own it now understand what a gem they have, which is wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Hillary & Chris, My husband and I purchased the Griffith house 10 years ago and have spent a great deal of time returning it to its original condition and removing much of the 1970's modernizations. The house is 98 years old this year. It still has the original unpainted woodwork in most of the rooms, California coolers, transom, stained glass, Murphy beds, built in buffets, a few gas light fixtures, dust guards on the stairs, push bottom lights, claw foot tubs, O’Keeffe and Merritt & Wedgwood stoves from the 30's & sleeping porches. It has an outdoor shower under the back stairs. There are quarter-saw oak herring bone floors up-stairs in a few rooms and hard pine in most of the other rooms. When we purchased the building it was in disrepair and had graffiti inside of one of the flats. One of our current tenants, who we met in the 1st year of our restoration project, as he specializes in craftsman woodwork and furniture making, has done an amazing amount of woodworking to replace and repair things that were torn out or damaged. I have never heard that the building was called the Arrowhead before, but the Arrowhead magazine was in wide circulation on the trains that brought people to HB at that time. We have been told that the building was featured in the Arrowhead magazine, but we have been unable to locate the issue. We had an architect take a look at the building and he confirmed that it has always been 4 flats and is not a converted home. We were also told it was built for oil workers, but we think this story doesn’t smell right because it was built in 1914 and I think the oil companies came to HB in the mid 20’s. The quality of the craftsmanship also leads us to believe it was built for or by affluent folks. We toured the Evangeline building and considered purchasing it. In comparing the two buildings it was very evident that whomever build The Griffith house spared no expense on quality construction and adornment. Any information you have would be very valuable to us. Thank you, Angela Rainsberger

Connie Moreno said...

WOW! Loved today's post AND all the comments!

Major Pepperidge said...

Wow, that's great news about the restoration!

Anonymous said...

A couple of clinkers in that parks article . . . and interesting not to find Tom Riley's name mentioned.

Chris Jepsen said...

Hmmmm... That explains the "Arrowhead" I have written in parentheses next to "Griffith Apartments" in my notes. That (the magazine) would be, in fact, what that was a reference to. As the kids say: My bad.

Yes, some clinkers in the parks article. Another Supervisor who should have been given more credit was C. M. Featherly.

Hillary said...

Wow, thanks so much for the follow up!
I was brought home to the unit on the bottom left (if you're facing the house) when I was born and lived there until I was 12 years old. My dad moved had been living there for years prior, a true surfer dude of the 60s! Mrs. Russel was the owner at that time and she was a wonderful landlady. She used to let us slip rent for Christmas! ha!
I always think of that house on 4th of July, what a perfect spot for a child to grow up! Parades in the front yard, the beach a skip away!