VENTURA : Old-Fashioned Finds at Benefit for Landmark

Mary Ann Benton delivered an early Christmas present to the Dudley House in Ventura on Sunday.

The Ventura resident donated an antique rug beater that had belonged to her great-grandparents, who lived in a Victorian farmhouse on Royal Avenue in Simi Valley.

The rug beater is made of soft wood twisted into a shape resembling a small tennis racket. “It just seemed like it goes at the Dudley House,” Benton said.

But most people were buying rather than donating at the Dudley House’s Victorian Holiday Boutique on Sunday afternoon, a fund-raiser for the continuing restoration of the house.


Even Benton indulged in a couple of purchases--a porcelain ring box decorated with pink roses, to add to a personal collection, and a colorful paperweight for a gift.

The Dudley House, built in 1892, is a National Historic Landmark where five generations of Ventura’s Dudley family lived before it was donated to the city in 1977. The city leases the house to San Buenaventura Heritage Inc., a nonprofit group that has worked for 18 years to renovate the home at the corner of North Ashwood Avenue and Loma Vista Road.

On Sunday, the two-story farmhouse overflowed with crafts and people. Two-foot-high Santa Claus figures stood in one corner, a Christmas tree adorned with ornaments for sale in another. Antique furniture, homemade dolls and display tables covered the floors.

Below the tables and holiday figures remained signs of ongoing renovations. The floors have not yet been stained and the walls need to be refinished.

Jean Bandy, a Ventura artist, displayed her crafts in a room just inside the front door. “I think people really enjoy coming here because there are so many artists in one place,” she said.

Ten percent of the proceeds from the boutique go to the restoration effort, said Jan Hunter, Heritage’s treasurer.

Last year, the boutique took in a total of $23,000, Hunter said. She added that Saturday was a record day at the boutique, taking in more than $5,000, compared to $3,200 last year on the second day of the annual event.

The home still needs expensive renovations, but volunteers hope to have the first floor ready to be rented out for private functions by early 1997.

The boutique will be open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday and Dec. 8 to 10. For more information, call 643-4217.