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$1 Home Attracts No Bids

Officials in Orange will look at other options to move and preserve the historic Edwards House.

June 03, 2003|Jennifer Mena | Times Staff Writer

Even at $1, the asking price for the 1921 Craftsman-style home proved to be too steep.

City officials in Orange, where historic preservation is a civic mantra, put the house on the auction block in an effort to find someone who would move it and preserve it. It looked promising, as 60 people requested paperwork.

But Friday's deadline passed without a single bid for the 1,900-square-foot house with original light fixtures, stained-glass windows and an ornamental brick chimney.

There was, after all, a catch.

The new owner also would have to buy a piece of land in the city's Old Towne Historic District, move the house there -- most likely in pieces -- and reassemble it according to historical guidelines within seven months of purchase. Bids were to begin at $1.

"No one in our library team expected this to be an easy process," said Librarian Nora Jacob, who is among those leading the preservation effort.

The Edwards House, at 431 E. Chapman Ave., is next to the Orange Central Library. The city bought it in 1981. Now a library expansion plan calls for the Edwards site to be turned into a parking lot.

Officials never considered knocking the house down. They just wanted to find it a new home.

Plenty of people called about the house -- and many even toured it -- but no one was able to keep it in the historic district in the center of Orange.

"I talked to a lot of interested people," said Realtor Dan Slater. "But nobody had a suitable lot to move it into."

Experts estimated the move would cost $70,000 to 100,000. An empty lot could go for about $250,000.

City officials must decide what to do next. Demolition, Jacob said, is not an option. Neither is extending the bid deadline.

One option would be to move it out of the neighborhood, though Jacob said officials haven't determined whether they can legally move a home out of a National Historic District.

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Times staff writer Kimi Yoshino contributed to this report.

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