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Tom Marshall

By Tom Marshall

When San Clemente founder Ole Hanson began building his dream, Spanish Village by the Sea, in 1928, he required that all structures be in the Spanish Revival style of architecture.

That meant all buildings must have white stucco walls with red tile roofs. The dream ended for Ole because of the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Spanish Revival restrictions were lifted a few years later. But remnants of Ole’s original dream live on for those of us lucky enough to reside or visit here.

There are approximately 200 “Ole” buildings still gracing our community. Many are registered historic landmarks. For that designation, the owners must maintain the architectural integrity of the building in return for a considerable property-tax credit. There are many other homes and businesses that encompass or complement the Spanish Colonial style.

For the first time since 2008, the San Clemente Historical Society will offer special public tours of some of those historic homes and commercial buildings. The 2019 Historic Home Tour will take place on Saturday, Oct. 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., visiting a total of nine structures that will be open for viewing.

The owners of all nine residential and commercial buildings will be on hand, along with Historical Society docents, to explain the history and importance of the structures. Food tastings and music will also be included.

“Previous home tours have been very popular and well over a hundred people have already purchased tickets for this year’s tour,” said Historical Society President Larry Culbertson, who will open his own home for the tour as an example of a modern take on the Ole Hanson style.

The cost is tax-deductible since it is a fundraiser for the nonprofit’s San Clemente High School Scholarship Fund, the historical tiles on Avenida Del Mar and a future museum.

Advance tickets are $30 per person or $100 for four, and they can be ordered online at There will be two will-call locations: The Abode, 128 Avenida Del Mar and La Casa Verde, 130 Avenida Granada, which are both on the tour. Tickets can also be purchased the day of the tour for $40 per person.

All nine buildings are in the downtown area and can easily be toured by either walking or driving between locations. Upon ordering, you will receive tour details and a map.

“These are some really beautiful homes and businesses. The owners are very proud, and I’m sure visitors will be impressed,” promised tour organizer Freda D’Souza, owner of the local Always Inn Bed and Breakfast.

D’Souza said the tour will happen rain or shine. Like there’s a chance it will rain here in mid-October.

See you there.

Tom Marshall is a member of the San Clemente Historical Society and retired journalist.

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comments (1)

  • Fun Fact– Look at your title search docs if you bought a house that sits on original Ole Hanson lot.

    Each original first lot deed came with a race restrictive covenant that made the lot revert ownership back to Ole if the property was sold to a non white person. Sometimes disillusionment is a good thing. We live in a Nation with deep racist roots. And, God Bless him, his Spanish village by the sea was not necessarily for the Spanish speakers!

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