Dana Point Planning Commissioners voted unanimously on August 17 to approve the request of Chris Carter and Janet Petterson Carter to designate their 1929 Doheny home as a locally significant historic structure. The home has been in the Carter family since 1960 when it was purchased from the previous owner, well known local artist Louise Leyden. The Carters are the 25th owners in the City to qualify their home for the Historic Register, and their home is the sixth Doheny house to have this distinction.
A highlight of the Planning Commission Meeting was when the Carters displayed two of the full size original 1928-29 blueprints of the home. The blueprints record the owner of the home as Luther Eldridge and the architect as Roy C. Kelley. Louise Leyden gave Chris Carter’s father the original blueprints after they purchased the home, along with dozens more of the blueprints that were in her possession. The Carter family is allowing the Dana Point Historical Society to record and categorize all of these blueprints and has invited us to make their home part of our End of Summer home tour and Doheny Beach Luau this September 27.
In 1928 Doheny-owned companies took title to lots in several tracts of land. Roy C. Kelley was hired as a staff architect for the real estate development owned by California oil mogul Ed Doheny Sr. and managed by his son, Ned. Ned’s development company began building a family home for the Dohenys and 22 other homes, including one for the project architect Roy Kelley and his new bride, Estelle, according to a recent article by Dr. Richard Kelley, Roy’s son.
Unfortunately, on February 18, 1929, Ned Doheny and Theodore “Hugh” Plunkett were found shot to death in Greystone Mansion, the result of an argument or struggle that ended in a murder/suicide. The result was that Edward Doheny Sr. was in shock at the death of his only son and all work stopped in Capistrano Beach.
Edward Doheny later decided to resume Ned’s development plans and hired Harrison Leyden, a distant relative, as his Resident Manager along with his son D. W. Leyden as the field Engineer. The Leydens moved in to Capistrano Palisades House No. 1 in July 1929 as a family of five: Harry and Estelle Leyden, their son Don and his wife, Louise, and their son, Robert, who was six years old.
Cynthia Ward reports the following in her Historic Survey: Doheny-Leyden Palisades House, November 2005: “A Grant Deed filed with the County of Orange shows that Luther and Anna May Eldridge deeded ownership of property in Capistrano Beach to Petroleum Securities Company on October 18, 1929 for $5,500.00.”
Chris Jepsen, Orange County Assistant Archivist recently emailed that the property that Mr. and Mrs. Eldridge sold to Petroleum Securities Company on that date was Lot 18, Block 1 of Tract 901. Today that cor- responds to the address 26805 Calle Real in Capistrano Beach.
The 1930 census recorded Luther and Anna May Eldridge as living in Glendale. Don and Louise Ley- den may have either earned or purchased the home from Petroleum Securities Company at a later date. Louise had sets of building plans from her husband and father- in-law that she later gave to the Carter family. You will see that Louise, her husband, Don, and their son were living in the home in 1938 when they recorded their heights on the wall.
You are invited to tour this charming Doheny house along with another 1929 historic Doheny house on the same street, currently being restored by the Anna Brace and David Brown family. Louise Leyden paintings will also be on display. Then we can all attend a Hawaiian Luau celebrating Dana Point surfing history at Doheny State Beach and visit the Curlew, a 1926 historic schooner moored in the Dana Point Harbor–all part of The End of Summer Celebration on Sunday afternoon, September 27, 2009. This Historical Society event is tied to the Doheny legacy in Capistrano Beach and the story continues to unfold. It will be fun to join you there!