Casa Romantica, The Jewel of San Clemente
From The Heritage of San Clemente Foundation
Casa Romantica, a magnificent Spanish Colonial Revival building, was completed in 1928.  Built by Ole Hanson, one of the founders of San Clemente, he lived there with his family from 1928 to 1932.  There were 12 bedrooms with six baths.  The servants, who were all Chinese, lived in the buildings near the main driveway.  In the mornings, because of all the entertaining Ole Hanson did, the cooks had to check each bedroom to see how many guests to prepare breakfast for.  The entire house is approximately 8,000 square feet.  There is an octagon den in which Ole Hanson envisioned San Clemente's destiny and his original desk continues to grace the room.  There were originally several fireplaces, many garages, and three fountains.  The entire estate covered 5 acres. 

Ole built homes for two of his children, daughter Doris, and married son, Ole, Jr., whose home was on the north side of Casa Romantica.  The Casa was designed by Carl Lindbom who also designed San Clemente's Casa Pacifica, which became known as The Western White House. 

The Hanson family lived in the house until 1932, when following the stock market crash, Bank of America foreclosed on the property and they were forced to vacate.  The Casa was then used as a summer vacation home by a number of families.  

In 1945 the Lambert Schuylers purchased the estate and named it Casa Romantica. The Hansons had merely called it "The House." During the period when it was essentially vacant, it is said that it was taken over by the wild animals. This prompted Mrs. Schuyler to write a delightful children's book about the creatures who took it over during that period of time. The Schuylers lived there until 1952 when it was purchased by Mrs. Santiago, the first wife of Fred Waring, a well known orchestra leader. Mrs. Santiago sold it to the Whitehouses in 1956 who renamed it Casa Blanca after their own name. They owned it until 1958 when Tom Sanford bought it as an investment. Mr. Sanford sold it to Mr. & Mrs. Welsh in 1960 who turned it into a rest home.

The Welsh family owned Casa Romantica longer than any family before.  In 1989 the Redevelopment Agency of the city of San Clemente purchased it.  For a time, it was leased to Events By Design, who operated a very successful wedding/special event business at the Casa.  On November 7, 1991, Casa Romantica was listed on the National Register of Historic Structures. 

In 1994 an anonymous donor came forward with $1.25 million to determine the Casa's future use as a cultural center.   In 1996, G. Wayne Eggleston, CPM, a local resident and historic activist, found a restoration grant in the amount of $110,400 and wrote a conceptual plan to turn it into a Cultural/Art/ Wedding Center.  In 1997 the city of San Clemente applied for and received a matching grant in the amount of $110,400.

The Casa Romantica was largely restored in 2003, and has begun to offer cultural activities and tours. As of Spring 2004, The Casa is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 5 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10 to 3 p.m. For special tours or more information, call 949-498-2139 or visit the Casa's official web site.
Mike Cotter, Broker Associate, DRE #00806890
Century 21 O.M.A., 229 Avenida Del Mar, San Clemente, CA 92672
Mobile 949.322.6009, Fax 949.492.7850
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