Friday, March 31, 2023

Solve the Mystery of Henry Serrano's Door

Do you have information about this door, which was given by Henry Serrano (of the pioneer Serrano family) to a respected historian and archaeologist I'll call "J" sometime around the 1980s? Henry passed away long ago. J probably knows the door's story, but a recent stroke has made communication extremely difficult. J has also moved out of Southern California and took the door along, but would now like to see it returned to Orange County.

The wood door has carvings of initials, horses, other animals, and dates that range from 1885 to 1890. It is delicate with age and use and is held in a custom-built plywood box for protection. The measurements of the door (encased within its protective frame) are 73” tall by 36” wide.

We'd love to see the door displayed at the Serrano Adobe in Lake Forest's Heritage Hill Historical Park, if appropriate. When that possibility was mentioned, J nodded vigorously, indicated that the Serrano Adobe was indeed the right place for the door. But OC Historical Parks (which owns/operates the adobe) quite correctly requires more provenance than simply "this came from someone in the Serrano family" before accepting an artifact. Which means all of us (including, perhaps, you) need to band together to share/research more information about it.

The reason that J got to know and become friends with Henry Serrano is because J assisted (the late) Jim Brock of Archaeological Advisory Group and/or (the late) Mark Roeder, paleontologist, with a site survey that also involved Henry's input.

I'll try to track that property and survey down and perhaps some of the other people involved in it, to see if the door is mentioned. But that may be a long shot. 

I'm hoping some member of the Serrano family, or the Saddleback Area Historical Society. or a random El Toro old-timer, or SOMEONE will step forward and say, "Sure! I remember Uncle Henry telling me about this door and where it came from!" 

As an artifact, it's a wonderful, functional piece of everyday life that's made dramatically more interesting by the folk-art carvings and inscriptions added to it.

So, if you know the story of the door, or part of its story, or if you think you might know who DOES know the story, please drop me a line at CJepsen at socal dot rr dot com or through my Facebook page. We have volunteers ready to bring this great artifact back to Orange County and its rightful home -- but we have to figure out what that rightful home is.

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