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AMY BEHRENS, Casa Romantica executive director

Fred Swegles was as much a voice for Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens as he was for the City of San Clemente. Maybe it was his own personal history with the estate, which was owned in the 1950s by his aunt (Evalyn Waring), and it was a historical marker key to Fred’s chronicles about the city’s past.

Or perhaps it was his commitment to sharing our mission as a nonprofit organization, seeing the uplifting impact of history, arts, and culture on his fellow citizens. Either way, Fred was always there for us.

A Swegles article published in the San Clemente Times that I share with visitors frequently, “Casa Ro-WHAT-ica?”, gave readers a glimpse of what the home of our city’s founder might have been if not for the fortitude and generosity of local residents who united to protect and renovate it.

I chuckle at the eye-popping plans of Casa Romantica squeezed underneath a hotel, restaurant, and conference center. Fred shared some of these scenarios at length, as well as his childhood memories of visiting Aunt Evalyn’s beautiful home, with our volunteers at their holiday party. Everyone chuckled at the hijinks he got into on the property!

One of the last articles he wrote about Casa Romantica was about how the “beloved historical landmark” had rebounded from the COVID-19 pandemic with a surprising number of programs and activities. His pleasant words spurred many new visitors and dear old friends to stop by.

Thank you so much, Fred, for sharing Casa Romantica’s stories with our community. Now, we will continue to share your story. Rest easy.

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