The release of The Great Gatsby film last May served as a great introduction to our 2013 Home Tour. Based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel, the film depicts and contrasts the cultural changes in American society in the years after World War I and before the Great Depression. The development of Dana Point in the 1920s was an example of wealthy businessmen investing in the future — a beach community offering resort living to the newly wealthy and those aspiring to be part of the American dream. Developer Sidney H. Woodruff, having experienced success with Hollywoodland, arrived in Dana Point in 1926 and, despite the stock market crash of 1929, would continue to promote his Community of Enchantment By-the-Sea until a lack of finances brought it to an end in 1939. Our 2013 Lantern Village Home Tour recalls the optimism of the 1920s era with visits to five homes built from 1928 to 1930 and a reception at the StillWater Spirits & Sounds with its period décor complimenting one of Dana Point’s oldest commercial buildings. This is a tour that celebrates our 1920s heritage. The DPHS Home Tour Committee invites each of you to “experience” this salute to 1920s optimism, rather than just being a spectator in a theater audience. The home once occupied by the Woodruff family has been restored to its original period within the last year. Another tour home is hidden in plain sight with a charming casita in a secluded patio. Two other beach homes were built as weekend getaway homes and there is a fifth property that has been nearly returned to its original appearance. In attending our home tour, you will have the added satisfaction of contributing to our one annual fundraiser and supporting our mission to preserve the history of Dana Point.
We hope you will invite a friend and gather with us to make an event of our first fall meeting at the Casino San Clemente, a local building constructed during the post-World War I Jazz Age. If the Charleston epitomized the 1920s, until crushed by the 1929 market crash, the Big Band era represented the country’s hope for a better economic future in the 1930s. Folks across the country went to dances (for as little as 10 cents on a weeknight) during the depression. It is a testimony of faith in the United States economy that the Casino San Clemente opened during the depression in 1937. It is a smaller version of the casino in Avalon on Catalina Island that opened in May, 1929. “Casino” is defined as a gathering place and today’s restored Casino San Clemente is an event center. You will want to meet our hostess, Linda Sadeghi, the owner and a preservationist who has repurposed this charming venue.
Our June Scholarship “Picnic Mexicano” in Lantern Bay park was one of our most successful ever thanks to our volunteers. We could not have done it without Jack Saunderson of El Patio Café, the family and friends attending in memory of Beverly Sels and all our members. The food was delicious and enough funds were raised for two $1000 scholarships for two deserving young ladies with an additional $500 reserved for next year’s scholarships.
It is never too late to donate as a sponsor or get a donation from your favorite restaurant or shop for the 2013 Home Tour. Or buy a ticket for yourself and a friend to attend. The Home Tour Committee is spending untold hours organizing the tour and we need your support to spread the word and, of course, to attend. We can be a success with our members’ support.
Barbara Force Johannes