M any homes built during the last years of the 19th Century are viewed with affection today because of their intricate and ornate style. They stand as evidence of an era of minute detail and a sometimes mannerly society.
Yet it was not always so. The typically Victorian, turn-of-the-century homes fell into disfavor in the 1920s and '30s as the cleaner, more modern look of Art Deco and Streamline Moderne took over.
Through ensuing decades, many of the grand old Victorian-era homes suffered first from neglect and later decay, spending their final years as forgotten dowagers before succumbing in noble silence to the final humiliation of the wrecker's ball.
Fortunately, a few of the grande dames were spared through the determined efforts of preservationists. Today, a number of late-19th-Century homes are open to public view, including some that were built in the Eastlake, Queen Anne, Stick and even French chateau styles that are now called Victorian.
Here are 10:
Hale House (1888), 3800 Homer St., Highland Park (Avenue 43 exit off Interstate 110), (818) 449-0193. Little is known of the history of this colorful, two-story home that combines Eastlake and Queen Anne styles before it was purchased by James and Bessie Hale in 1901. It was moved to Heritage Square in 1970 where it now sits amid other turn-of-the- century homes, a church, a train station and the newly arrived octagon house. The Cultural Heritage Foundation hopes to turn the park into a Victorian street scene. Docent-led tours Sundays, noon-4:15 p.m. (House closes at 5 p.m.) Admission $3 for adults, $2 for children 7-17 and seniors, children 6 and under free.
The Doctor's House (1890), 1001 W. Mountain St., Glendale (in Brand Park), (818) 242-7447. Four doctors lived in this home at different times. The Glendale Historical Society saved it from demolition in 1979, moving it from Wilson and Belmont streets to Brand Park. Volunteers have painstakingly restored it inside and out with an eye toward its Eastlake and Queen Anne authenticity. Docent-led tours Sundays, 2-4 p.m. Donation.
Hargitt House (1891), 12450 Mapledale Ave., Norwalk, (213) 864-9663. This two-story, yellow-and-white farmhouse was built by D. D. Johnson, founder of Norwalk's first school system. Owned by the City of Norwalk, it sits on its original site, now incongruously surrounded by tract homes. Docent tours Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 p.m. Free admission.
Queen Anne Cottage (1885-86), Los Angeles State and County Arboretum, 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, (818) 446-8251. Known to some television viewers as the hotel in "Fantasy Island," this home was built by E. J. (Lucky) Baldwin, millionaire developer of much of the San Gabriel Valley. You can't go inside, but the furnishings can be viewed easily from the wide porch. Arboretum hours 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. Admission $1.50 adults, 75 cents children 5-17 and seniors 62 and over. Free parking.
Roy Jones Home (1894), 2612 Main St., Santa Monica, (213) 392-8537. Built for Roy Jones, son of Santa Monica's founder, this American Colonial Revival home and its furnishings serve as the Heritage Museum. The home was moved from Ocean Avenue in 1977 and sits across the driveway from its former next-door neighbor, restored as the Chronicle Restaurant. Docent-led tours Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sundays, noon-4 p.m. Free admission and parking; facilities for handicapped.
Fullerton Heritage House (1894), Fullerton Arboretum, entrance on Yorba Linda Boulevard at Associated Road, Fullerton, (714) 773-3579. This small, gingerbread-trimmed cottage--a Queen Anne style--was built by Fullerton's first physician and moved to the Fullerton Arboretum in 1972. Docent tours Sundays, 2-4 p.m. Adults $1, children 12 and under 50 cents.
Stanley House (1891), 12174 Euclid St., Garden Grove, (714) 530-8871. When the Stanley family sold its 40-acre homestead, they donated two acres of it to the Garden Grove Historical Society, which created Heritage Park and moved the farmhouse to it. Vintage Garden Grove homes and businesses have since been added. The home was built by Edward G. Ware, pioneer walnut and orange grower, and taken over by his daughter, Agnes, and son-in-law, Arthur Stanley. Docent tours Sundays, 1:30-4 p.m. and by appointment. Donation. Riverside Heritage House (1891), 8193 Magnolia Ave., Riverside, (714) 689-1333. This handsome, two-story home was built by Catherine Bettner, widow of a prominent Riverside land developer. Purchased by the City of Riverside in 1969, it was restored under the guidance of the Riverside Municipal Museum. It combines Queen Anne with Moorish, Georgian and Chinese elements. Docent tours Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon-2:30 p.m. and Sundays, noon-3:30 p.m. Donation.
Morey Mansion (1890), 190 Terracina Blvd., Redlands, (714) 793-2957. The richly appointed, 22-room mansion, designed for shipbuilder David Morey, is now a bed-and-breakfast inn. The home is noted for its intricate interior woodwork. It is in Queen Anne style but adds a Saracenic onion dome, Gothic and Romanesque arched windows, a French mansard roof, Italianate balustrades and a Chinese-tracery veranda. Guided tours Sundays, noon-3 p.m. Cost: $3.25 adults, $2.50 children 12 and under and seniors 55 and over; proceeds benefit the YWCA.
Kimberly Crest (1897), 1325 Prospect Drive, Redlands, (714) 792-2111. Built by Cornelia Hill, who moved from New York, the home was later purchased by John Alfred Kimberly, one of the founders of Kimberly-Clark Corp. Designed in the style of a 16th-Century French chateau, the hilltop home is filled with European antiques and surrounded by terraced, Italianate gardens. Guided tours Thursdays and Sundays, 1-4 p.m. Admission $2, children under 2 free.