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Mother Colony House

Subfacility of Heritage Center

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  1. Class Visits
  2. Outdoor Classroom Area
  3. Parking

About the House

The Mother Colony House was one of the first buildings constructed in Anaheim, which had its beginnings in 1857. Classified as an American Territorial style cottage, it is built of redwood and consists of 3 small rooms. The single gable roof, with its decorative roof crest, has a flaring eave which fully covers the front porch. The addition at the rear was added in the 1870s.

The Builder

George Hansen, a Los Angeles surveyor, was hired as the Superintendent of the Los Angeles Vineyard Society, a group of fifty German colonists who joined together to establish the town of Anaheim in 1857. Hansen, who built this house for his own home and office, is known today as the "Father of Anaheim."

The Occupants

After George Hansen, several families inhabited the house, including Señora Vicenta Sepulveda de Carrillo, widow of 2 prominent Californios, Tomas Yorba and Ramon Carrillo. Señora Carrillo purchased the house in 1872. Twelve years later Frederick Ruhmann, a popular saloon owner fondly known as "Five Cent Fritz," bought the house. In 1929, the Mother Colony House was saved from demolition and deeded to the Mother Colony Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. They moved it from its original location at the corner of Los Angeles (now Anaheim Boulevard) and Cypress Streets to its present site at 414 North West Street. Marie Horstmann Dwyer generously donated the land and for twenty years the Daughters of the American Revolution used the house for their meeting place. Her husband, J.J. Dwyer, created an endowment fund to preserve the House for future generations.

Dedicated on March 14, 1929, the Mother Colony House is the oldest museum in Orange County. In 1950 it was designated as State Historical Landmark No. 201. In 1954 the House became the property of the City of Anaheim., and since 1962 it has been under the supervision of the Anaheim Public Library. The Anaheim City Council has appointed the Mother Colony House Advisory Board to make recommendations regarding the maintenance and preservation of the house. They have proudly named the Mother Colony House "A Symbol of Anaheim's Heritage," a name it has rightfully earned.

The Mother Colony House, along with the neighboring Woelke-Stoffel house, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in July 2013. Commemorative plaques for both homes were dedicated on June 7, 2014.

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