Old House to Fall, but Accents Get 2nd Chance

The 70-year-old Siemsen house on Main Street will fall to a wrecking ball in October, but the Santa Ana Historical Society on Friday made sure window sills and features will survive.

About 10 volunteers salvaged architectural details from the house on the 1800 block of North Main Street, which is being demolished to make way for a ballet school. The society plans to sell the pieces to anyone interested in preserving a piece of history.

"We wanted to preserve the house, but that didn't happen," Historical Society member Alison Young said. "It's a sad thing to see it go."

The Historical Society searched unsuccessfully for someone to buy and move the house after the city's Redevelopment Agency sold the land to the St. Joseph Ballet Company, a 15-year-old nonprofit school that is expanding its programs for underprivileged children.

The house is a hybrid, Young said, built atop a concrete shell, which until recently was home to an immigration center, a meat market and other businesses. The whole building will come down.

"It was not an option for us to preserve the building because of the kind of building it was," said Cathy Michaels, managing director of the ballet company. "It wouldn't work for the type of center we're planning."

Historical Society members said they were thankful for the chance to preserve parts of the Spanish Colonial-style home, built in 1939 by the prominent Siemsen family.

"We're going to be able to recycle history," Young said. "It's the lesser of two evils."

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World