Muller House Museum gives visitors a taste of the 'Good Old Summertime.'

The calendar may say 1991. But it's always the 1920s and '30s at the Muller House Museum overlooking the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro.

In the kitchen, a gas stove stands on tall legs and there's an old-fashioned circular compressor atop the refrigerator. The service porch features a washer with a mangle. And a medicine chest in an upstairs bathroom contains bottles, a metal aspirin box and shaving brush right out of the past.

Vintage family portraits and an antique organ still capable of making music decorate the living room, which features a fireplace and ornate wooden mantle.

"People feel the house is lived-in. Many come in and say, 'Oh, I'd like to live here. It feels like the home I grew up in,' " said Nan Roberts, president of the San Pedro Bay Historical Society, which owns the white, two-story gabled house with a wraparound porch supported by classical columns.

A few of those "ohs" may be heard Sunday between 1 and 4 p.m., as the society offers free guided tours of the turn-of-the-century house at 1542 Beacon St.

As they move from room to room in the home, visitors are told about the furnishings and decorations. Curiosities in the living room include two weathered, hand-carved whirligigs. Designed for outdoors, the whirligigs' propellers send figures of animals and people into motion.

One of the Muller House treasures is an 1860 dollhouse, with lace curtains, patterned wallpaper and miniature furniture, including high-backed Victorian beds. It's in an upstairs bedroom.

"In the Good Old Summertime" is the theme of the society's summer tours of the house, which are held on the first three Sundays of each month. Lemonade and iced tea are served in the garden.

A special exhibition now is focusing on the civic activities of San Pedro's garden and women's clubs, with old scrapbooks showing decades-old articles on flower shows and tree plantings.

During July and August, the house will display old scenic postcards sent home by travelers and newspapers announcing summer sales at stores. "We want to show what people did in the summertime back in the good old days," said Kay Schultz, the society's archivist.

After the death of the last Muller child who lived in the house, the aging home stood in the way of an apartment project. The family donated it to the historical society in 1986 for relocation, and Roberts said it provided a perfect opportunity to preserve an early example of San Pedro living.

"It's neo-classical and typical of the era," she said.

Built in 1899, the house originally overlooked Los Angeles Harbor from Nob Hill near what is now Harbor Boulevard and 1st Street.

The house still bears some personal touches of owner William Muller, a German immigrant who helped build the early steamships that carried visitors between San Pedro and Santa Catalina Island.

Muller installed the rich wood paneling that gives the dining room a feeling of luxury, and hand-carved the intricate agapanthus-leaf designs and Doric columns on the dining room mantelpiece.

In 1912, the house was moved by mule and wagon to 19th Street near Grand Avenue, where it was enlarged. Indoor plumbing was added, ending the Muller family's trips to an outhouse.

After acquiring the house, the historical society moved it to its present site on property leased from the city of Los Angeles on a bluff at the end of Beacon Street.

The house arrived as a kind of architectural basket case: fallen plaster and flaking paint, missing porch railings and linoleum covering the maple and pine floors. But years of restoration by volunteers gave it its present gleam.

"It's satisfying just to see all this and to give something back to the community," said Bill Roberts, a retired general contractor who supervised the restoration.

Added Nan Roberts: "It shows what can be done with an old house. Modern houses don't have the feel of all this handwork."

What: Muller House Museum.

Where: 1542 Beacon St., San Pedro.

When: Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.; also first three Sundays of every month.

Admission: Free.

Information: 548-3208.

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