Lanterman House opens up to Ragtime Tea Dance

Dressed in vintage attire, 60 guests turned out in the ballroom at the historic Lanterman House Sunday to dance to the syncopated sounds of ragtime music and to enjoy an afternoon tea.

The guests, organized via a social media network of like-minded history and costume buffs, traveled from as far as Santa Barbara and San Diego to participate, according to Melissa Patton, executive director of the La Cañada Flintridge museum.

PHOTOS: Ragtime at Lanterman House

“It's become an annual event for Lanterman House,” Patton said. “It's wonderful to see the people all dressed up. They take their costuming very seriously.”

The 1915 Craftsman-style home on Encinas Drive was built by the late Dr. Roy S. and Emily Lanterman of the pioneer La Cañada family. It was Emily Lanterman's idea to create a grand ballroom on the second floor, complete with maple flooring and excellent acoustics, according to Patton. But, while music was performed there over the years, the ballroom was never used for dancing during the lifetimes of its original occupants.

The house was left to the city of La Cañada Flintridge in the late 1980s by the last remaining member of the family, Lloyd, whose brother, Frank, represented the area in the state Assembly. Both men, lifelong bachelors who shared the house, were disinterested in staging grand dances at the estate.

“If Emily had her way, there would have been many dances in the ballroom,” Patton said. “But neither of her sons would agree to take dancing lessons, so it was a lost cause.”

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