Thursday, February 19, 2009

Heritage Square Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Jessica Maria Alicea-Covarrubias: (323) 225-2700 ext 222
Brian Sheridan: (323) 225-2700 ext 221

A New Veranda marks museum’s 40th Birthday Bash!

On March 6, 1969 the preservation movement was born in Southern California. On this date, the last two Victorian-era structures from Bunker Hill (The Castle and the Salt Box) were saved from the wrecking ball and moved to Heritage Square Museum, marking the beginning of many successes to come. On March 7, 2009, forty years and a day later, the museum celebrates its birthday by opening unveiling the long-awaited, newly rebuilt, veranda at the Longfellow-Hastings Octagon Home.

Join the museum from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., as Heritage Square recalls its early beginnings and recognizes some of the museum’s original founders. Dr. Robert Winter, local architectural historian and author, will provide the celebration’s keynote address and Councilman Ed Reyes, District One, will remark on this important occasion and make special presentations. Living history performances will make this a ceremony no one should miss.

The creation of the museum was a call for Southern Californians to being strengthening the preservation and interpretation of its local history and important architectural structures and homes. Nearly 20 years later, one of possibly three rare octagon homes in the state of California was moved from Pasadena to Heritage Square, saving it from demolition.

In the second part of this grand party, Heritage Square Museum celebrates the completion of the Longfellow-Hastings Octagon Veranda. Built in Pasadena in 1893, the Longfellow-Hastings Octagon Home originally had a wrap-around veranda (or porch) when it was constructed. The three story house sat on a 10-acre parcel of farmland on San Pasqual Street (present day). In 1917, to make way for subdivision of the original farm, the octagon house was moved to a lot about a mile north of the farm on Allen Avenue. During this move, most of the veranda was removed.

The octagon architectural style was first promoted by writer, editor, and phrenologist Orson S. Folwer. In 1848, Fowler published A Home for All or a New, Cheap, Convenient, and Superior Mode of Building. In this book, he endorsed an alternative to the strict styles of the Greek Revival movement, which had taken America by storm. Several of these unconventional octagonal homes and buildings were constructed during their popularity in the Eastern United States. However with the approach of the Civil War, Fowler’s plan for a revolution in domestic architecture fell into ruin and the octagon house movement ended.

The Longfellow-Hastings Octagon Home at Heritage Square Museum is the only known surviving, unaltered example of octagonal architecture in California. It remains an outstanding example of Fowler’s innovative and daring ideas. More than 1,000 of these unique structures were built in the United States during their popularity and approximately 20 are known to have been built in California. Of these, possibly three to five remain. The Longfellow-Hastings Octagon House is the only one of its kind in Los Angeles.

Heritage Square Museum is an open-air, living history museum dedicated to telling the story of the development of Los Angeles. The museum is located at 3800 Homer Street, off the 110 Arroyo Seco Parkway (110/Pasadena Freeway) at Avenue 43, just north of downtown Los Angeles. The museum is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 12 to 5 PM. (Hours vary November to March.) For further information, the public may call (323) 225-2700 or visit our website at

Admission to the event is $10 and is free for museum members. For information, call the museum offices from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at (323) 225-2700 ext 223. Photos available on request.

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