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Casa Romantica Will Reap Benefits From State Grant

SAN CLEMENTE | Community News Focus

November 23, 1996|KIMBERLY BROWER

The landmark Casa Romantica will get a face-lift and structural repairs with help from a $110,425 state grant.

The money will be used to repair terra cotta roof tiles, improve the building's electrical system and restore two historic murals painted by one of California's foremost muralists of the 1920s, Norman Kennedy.

The grant from the State Office of Historic Preservation's California Heritage Fund was a pleasant surprise, associate city planner Jim Pechous said.

"It was great news," he said. "I didn't expect it."

The San Clemente estate was one of five projects in the state selected by the Heritage Fund.

The other winners are: Fullerton Joint Union High School District Educational Foundation, $25,000; Mariposa County Economic Development Corp., $136,890; College of the Redwoods in Eureka, $114,000; and Center for Spanish Colonial Archeology in San Diego, $87,600.

Casa Romantica, the Spanish-style home built by San Clemente founder Ole Hanson in 1927, is on a bluff overlooking the San Clemente Pier.

The two murals by Kennedy, best known for his work for movie stars and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, depict a picturesque marketplace and Spanish galleons at anchor in a bay.

Dorothy Fuller of the San Clemente Historical Society lived in Casa Romantica in the 1930s. She said this month that seeing what was her childhood summer home restored to its past splendor will be a joy after seeing it decline over the years.

"It's one of the greatest thrills I could have," Fuller said of the renovation effort. "I'm ecstatic about it."

In 1988 the San Clemente Redevelopment Agency bought the seaside estate for $2.5 million. It is now rented out for weddings and other events.

After the restoration, the city and the historical society hope to explore reuse plans for Casa Romantica, including the development of a cultural center, officials said.

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