February 4, 2010

Take me back to 1895

Yesterday I fell in love. With this house.
(Click all the images for a larger view)


I was out in Perris taking the back roads home, turned down a wrong street and ended up near this house which made me gasp out loud.


I went to go take pictures secretly hoping it was abandoned so I could sneak inside. My head filled with thoughts of finding remnants of times gone by hidden away in this magical place.


What I found was a beautiful house is horrible disrepair. I parked my car and got out, camera in hand, to be greeted by a pitbull across the street trying to break down the chain-link fence that surrounded the shack across from my house. A man, who looked like he would have felt more at home in a mountain cabin sat on the porch of the shack smoking a pipe. A pipe. He called off the pitbull as I began to take pictures. He watched me, clearly sure I could only be there for nefarious purposes. And because I technically was there for nefarious purposes, I tried to smooth it over with the old mountain man.


"Do you know if anyone lives here?" I asked.
"Yeah. My sister does." he replied. Crap. There went all my dreams of finding ancient artifacts buried in the attic.
"It's a beautiful house." I said still hoping he'd leave.
"It was built in 1895. The whole area around it was a farm." He said proudly. My heart skipped a beat. An old farm house, still surrounded by most of the old farm. It was perfection. Utter and complete perfection. The wind blew own the road and floated my skirt around my knees. Suddenly I was back in 1895.


Riverside was founded in the late 1800's. It was a heavily British expiates populated area. Some even jokingly referred to it as a British Colony. Riverside was founded for the specific reason of having a town dedicated to the production of Orange Trees. The first Navel Orange tree that was planted is still around and is gated up with a plaque telling it's tale. (For locals, it is on the corner of Arlington and Magnolia, where they cross each other.) Packing houses, train stations, delivery services, all popped up across the landscape. It became hugely successful. More and More people began to head west to stake their claim on success, and ended up in Riverside. The town boomed and spread and today Riverside County stretches to the border of California and Arizona. The more rural areas were where the farms were. My current neighbour hood was once an orange grove. Alot of city land is still taken up by orange groves, though many on the outskirts of town have since been demolished to make way for stuccoed track housing.


And yet my little house still stands. I'm sure it won't stand for much longer. I'm sure some enterprising housing development with come in a sweep away my little house. But for now I'm glad it's there. I'd love to rescue it, paint it up lovely, fix the broken windows, plant a little garden, put yellowed lace curtains in the kitchen windows, and breathe a little bit of life back into the old house. Imagine the things this house has seen! I wish I could find out more about it's history. Who build it? What did it look like then? Did they farm oranges, or was it something else? How I wish I could get inside! I want to know everything about the people who lived here. I can see in my head how they must have looked, a woman at the kitchen door, skirts billowing in the wind, hair piled high atop her head, calling her children and husband to dinner after a long day of hard work on their land. My curiosity had gotten the better of me, and I'm quite thrilled with that.


Finding this house wasn't just wonderful for my imagination, it was something I needed to find for me. As my moving away creeps closer and closer I am becoming more and more impatient with being stuck here. Despite my comprehensive knowledge of this two bit town, I really hate it. I mean really hate it. I've never liked it, but that doesn't mean that there aren't things about it that are beautiful and worth finding. Because there are. There are still abandoned houses to find, and hidden secrets just waiting for me to turn down the wrong street. And that's what I intend to do. From now until June I'm going to search out those secrets and hidden places. I'm going to photograph them and learn as much as I can. Because these things weren't meant to be forgotten, and even if I'm the only one who cares to remember them, they still deserve a memory. Maybe these next few months won't be so boring after all :-)



  1. Thank for sharing good and useful information. This information is very valuable.

    Mountain House

  2. I love this! What a beautiful place. I am so glad you managed to get the old guy to converse with you and tell you a little about it. I wish America had the listing system for historical homes like they do in the UK... in the UK it is illegal to demolish a lot of period homes (classified as Grade I, Grade II)... I wish other people in America would wake up and recognize that once buildings like these are gone, they're gone forever.

  3. Beautiful house! My dad's dream has always been to live in a Victorian house so we are always looking. Being local, I'm sure you know this, but if you feel the need to photograph more gorgeous houses, I would suggest a scenic drive through Redlands with a stop at Kimberley Crest. It is well worth it if you haven't done it before!

  4. Whereabouts in Perris is this?

  5. Mobile- You're welcome!

    Sarah- I know! It breaks my heart when I see these grgeous old houses being demolished to make way for ugly new houses. I mean I get that here in CA we have a serious housing shortage, but there has got to be a better way than to destroy old homes.

    Sarah- Thanks for the suggestion! I love the houses in Redlands! I used to do theatre out there and I lovedpassing by all the old Victorian homes on my way to the theatre!

    Anonymous- It's out near Cajalco and the 215 freeway. I was at the big Salvation Army out there off Nuevo and I took the street that runs parallel to the freeway. It's a good 2 miles down the road, on the left hand side and it's pretty hard to miss. There isn't anything but a field between that and the road.

  6. What a beautiful house! New Zealand is such a young country that we don't have this kind of history,so its such a pity to see such old things lost :-(

  7. That was a very inspiring story. I love to read about history, and I was following you the whole time, just like I was reading a book or even better, watching a movie.. give me more, give me more.. i hope you find plenty of other unknown treasures in your community before you leave in June. I guess i can read some of your other blog entries to find out where you are going...

  8. My WORD that is a gorgeous house! Love these photos, they are perfect.

    ♥ Aya