South Orange County Real Estate

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Casa Romantica
Every community needs a heart,
a vital place to gather, to grow and
to celebrate the richness of its
culture, history, and people.
South Orange County historic treasure,
Casa Romantica is that place. “
Casa Romantica Cultural Center Web Site
See album pics
History of San Clemente
Donate to the Casa
This stunning Casa Romantica villa, dating to 1927, was falling apart…the city had taken it back due to the former owner owing taxes, etc., then rented it to a firm that conducted weddings and social events. The ex-wife of Bandleader Fred Waring once lived there, too.
(In 1969, an event occurred which accelerated the growth and reputation of San Clemente. In that year former President Nixon purchased a Spanish mansion in the southern part of town that Hamilton Cotton had built in 1927.
This “Western White House” became the site of numerous historical meetings. However, that home is in private hands now and has nothing to do with the Casa Romantica.)
The Casa Romantica home is primarily historic because it was the home of Ole Hanson, the founder of San Clemente circa early 1920s. He is revered here, was a former Mayor of Seatle, and a very sharp dude, though he won and lost several fortunes. Still, he was blessed with incredible vision.
In 1927, Hanson built the Casa Romantica as his family home, and expression of his version of the California dream. The seven-bedroom, seven-bath house was designed by Carl Lindbom, who also designed La Casa Pacifica (the former Western White House).
The villa sat vacant for years, crumbling.
Then, a few years ago, when some firm wanted to turn it into YET ANOTHER Mexican Restaurant, concerned citizens in the city went nuts and said NO!
My good friend, the Mayor Emeritus and current city councilman,Wayne Eggleston, plus Guy Varianno, and a big bunch of others in the community got busy.
Minor early roles were played by me, Realtor Debbie Ferrari and my husband, Marketing and Publicity Consultant, Bill Koelzer—-We went out and started raising money,
($1 million was anonymously donated by someone, too) to start the refurbishing project.
Now the renovation is well underway after many more citizen donations, with more coming every day.
Wayne headed the Heritage of San Clemente Foundation which had a lot to do with the preservation and renovation of the Casa Romantica Villa as an historical home and cultural center instead of becoming “Taco Romantica”.
The Foundation STILL raises funds for the Casa as well as for the MarineMonument project’s maintenance at Park Semper Fi. Wayne was the visionary leader for that beautiful park and statue just down the cliff from Casa Romantica, a tribute to Marines and our armed forces everywhere.
(Donate to the Marine Monument Project HERE)
I think that Casa Romantica is now earning good money for itself, from its growing number of social events, weddings,receptions, business and cultural meetings, etc. But a project this big ALWAYS can use extra donated funds.
Be sure to be at the October 6th “Taste of the Casa” annual gala, where the theme is the Roaring 20s”, catered by leading local restaurants and fine wine outlets.
To donate to the non-profit Casa Romantica, get info HERE.
Jan McKay is the relatively new Executive Director and she is a very bright, sunny, visionary, and hard working director. Read a message from Jan HERE
Just goes to show what a community can do when it WANTS to preserve something…
View from back of casa romantica

Interior courtyard:

Perfect for lectures, seminars, etc. Many big mfg firms rent it for client/customer meetings

A look at the back of the casa, above the ocean:

A dozen rooms inside lend themselves to exhibits of all kinds, many national ones from famous NYC or DC museums:

Cute little courtyards are everywhere:

There are many flying verandas overlooking the sea:

And even the surrounding grounds were improved:

See how the rooms and alcoves come off the main courtyard:

(Above, Scott Melcher and child enjoy a Casa Romantica event)
Perfect for presentations:

(Above, Newspaperman Fred Swegles gives a city history presentation)
CITIZENS saved the Casa Romantica…
………………but of course it takes several citizens to LEAD the charge on a project like this, and thank God that Wayne, Guy, Rea LaForce, and several others did.
Now, the Casa brings many hundreds of thousands of extra dollars to the community each year, and is considered a tourist attraction besides being an official historical monument to California development.
I love stories like this.
And I love it that I can sell San Clemente real estate with such pride and take buyers to the Casa Romantica and show them this wonderful city treasure.
 Yes, of course I also sell Dana Point real estate and San Juan Capistrano real estate, and homes in other nearby cities, too, but I much prefer being mostly a San Clemente Realtor.
Now go reward yourself with a $50 basic membership to the Casa Romantica, or donate money as a sponsor. Or sponsor an event. Or, just volunteer to assist at a community-wide event. Or, hold one of your corporate meetings, or some of your relatives’ weddings there, get married there or hold a reception there.
Casa Romantica belongs to all of us. Enjoy it as fully as you can.
Debbie Ferrari, Broker Associate, Prudential California Realty | 949-463-4111


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