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Ventura County

House May Make Historic Move

Preservation: Owners of the Victorian Rose Bed & Breakfast inn are awaiting the city's approval to relocate a 127-year-old gothic residence in Ventura.

January 28, 2002|KEVIN F. SHERRY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

One of the oldest houses in the county could be on the move, if the owners of a Ventura bed and breakfast have their way.

The 127-year-old Herbert House at 351 E. Thompson Blvd. sits empty next to a vacant lot, surrounded by a chain-link fence. But Nona and Richard Bogatch, owners of the Victorian Rose Bed & Breakfast, a converted church, want to move the house several blocks east to their property.

Because the Bogatches would need to make changes to their property, they must obtain permission from the city, and neighbors will be asked for their input.

At least one neighbor said he wouldn't mind.

Ivor Davis, who lives across from where the house would sit, said, "It certainly is an interesting idea." He added that the Bogatches have shown their dedication to preservation through their work on the bed and breakfast. "I have a great deal of admiration for both of them for what they've done."

The 32,200-square-foot lot on which the house sits is for sale for $2.1 million. The site will offer visitors to downtown their first view of the city once the Ventura Freeway offramp is moved to Oak Street from California Street. The 18-month offramp reconfiguration is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2004.

The McFerrin Group, which owns the home and the land, planned to raze the structure, said Donna Moore, the group's director of management. But Moore was willing to sell, or even give away, the historic home to save it.

"If you just pick it up and move it, we would be happy," Moore said. "The problem is, it's so expensive to move."

Only Part of the House Could Survive Move

The Bogatches are petitioning the city to let them relocate a part of the house to sit next to their bed and breakfast at 896 E. Main St. The 1,500-square-foot house has several rooms, although only the oldest, original portion is structurally sound enough to survive transport, Richard Bogatch said.

The couple plans to renovate and restore the house, which would become their residence. "As it is now, we live in the basement [of the bed and breakfast]," he Bogatch said.

If given city approval, the couple will get the house for free and only have to pay the cost of the move. The move and subsequent renovation would cost about $100,000, Richard Bogatch said.

House Would Fit With Their Gothic Church

The relocated house would face Kalorama Street, and would require removal of a hedge, a tree and one or two of the site's six parking spaces. Because the house has some gothic elements, it would fit well with their 1888 gothic church, Nona Bogatch said.

"Our gables match the gables of the little house," she said. "We want it to look as if it's as original as possible."

Their plan requires a series of approvals from the city. On Monday, the Historic Preservation Committee will review the proposal, said Brian Randall, an assistant city planner. The move also will need approval from the Design Review Committee and Planning Commission, Randall said.

The city supports the preservation of the old house, he said. "We do look at it as historically significant."

The house was built in 1875 for Lafette R. Herbert, according to Charles Johnson, librarian for the Ventura County Historical Society.

Additions were made in 1890 and 1892. It is the only house in town with gothic details, Johnson said.

Local historian Judy Triem, who has a pencil drawing of the house in her home, said, "It reflects the simplicity of the earliest buildings in Ventura."

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