Sunday, September 04, 2011

Our house, in the middle of the street...

Last April, I told you about the City of Santa Ana settling a lawsuit filed by the Friends of the Historic Lacy Neighborhood. In short, the City gave in and allowed at least half of the historic homes slated for demolition in the Lacy Historic District be saved from the bulldozers. Those remaining on the demolition list were then stripped for historical salvage materials which went to the Santa Ana Historic Preservation Association. (Give them a call if you need something for your own historic home.)

I thought I'd share some photos I took last week of a few of the houses that have been saved outright thanks to the Friends of Lacy, including the one above, being moved to a lot down the street.
These homes are all in the vicinity of 6th Street in Santa Ana, between Main St. and the Train Station.
All these homes are to be renovated as part of the settlement agreement. The one above is going to take a lot of work after vagrants camped out in it for a while. When it's done, it will make a great home for someone (again).
Why would any city want to tear out charming homes like these to make way for insta-slums? Why should the citizens have to fight city hall to preserve properties like these? It's really impossible to understand.

There used to be a very active group called Let's Improve Santa Ana (L.I.S.A.), which was founded by that juggernaut of community activism, Adaline Walker. It seems like the movement today is Let's Trash Santa Ana. Let's be glad there are a few acolytes of Mrs. Walker left to fight the good fight. Santa Ana has taken a lot of punches to the face, but she's still got a lot of potential.
I've actually been inside this last house, and it's charming. It's an 1870s or 1880s home with high ceilings and an newer (circa 1930s) addition on the back. I can't wait to see what it looks like once it's cleaned up.


Connie Moreno said...

Oh wow, it;s always been my dream to own a house like the ones shown here. Gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

It seems that neighborhoods with historic homes are becoming fewer and far between in OC. I considered buying a few years back, and looked at a lot of historic homes in SA. The architectural details were amazing, and the floor plans were so much more efficient than in the more recently built homes (not to mention how great it is to see old neighborhoods with mature trees!). It's unfortunate that a lot of the neighborhoods with the historic homes tend to be a little dicey/higher crime, with multiple-adult residents and too many cars parked everywhere. It's especially tragic IMHO when new buyers knock one of these babies down to the foundation and built some boxy monstrosity.

Doug said...

It saddens me to see another historic OC neighborhood being destroyed for "progress". Seams that our elected or bureaucratic leaders are often very short sighted and lacking in wisdom.
I hope that with the destruction of this neighborhood, that someone has considered the fact that there is the strong possibility that there may be numerous sub-surface features and artifacts that may be encountered and destroyed by earth moving activities. Considering that age of some of the structures that Chris wrote about, back yard features such as privies, burn pits, cisterns, wells,storage rooms etc..could be exposed when grading and leveling work is carried out in this region.
Nearly all of the above listed features were encountered and examined when pre-construction work for the R. Reagan Federal Building was carried out in the early 1990s.

Doug said...

This post has made me pull out my copy of "Santa Ana's Architectural Heritage, A Guide to Santa Ana's Historic Neighborhoods" Produced by the SA Historic Survey 1980.

In taking a 2nd & #rd look at your photos, I believe there should have been both and an architectural historian and an archaeologist on site during all of the earth-moving work associated with moving these structures.

colony rabble said...

For those who love these old homes, PLEASE take a chance and buy one. They come with property tax deals (OK Santa Ana has some issues with the filing fees) but the tax reductions if done early can offset the filing fees, and they have more character than anything you will buy new. Can the neighborhoods be dicey? Yep, they often come with "character" just like the houses, but I have yet to hear a story of homeowners accosted in their own home. Life in these old beauties if rich with an experience you will never, ever encounter in a boring beige planned community, and these houses need to be owned by people who understand and love them. Please think about it. I have never regretted our family's decision to rehab an old house and we are on number two...with a marriage still intact and the kids none the worse for wear.