Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, December 1, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 13



 Mountain Views News Saturday, December 1, 2012 

One Of A Kind: Featuring unique homes and gardens and the people who create them 

Story by Chris Bertrand Photography courtesy of the LA Arboretum


The Los Angeles Arboretum will hold 
a rare open house tour for the historic, 
Queen Anne Cottage located on the 
Arboretum grounds on Sunday, December 
9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The structure is 
listed as a California Historical Landmark 
as well as on the on the National Register 
of Historic Places.

 Used many times as a site for television 
and movies, the structure is famous for its use in the opening scenes 
of the 1970’s television movies and series, Fantasy Island, starring 
Ricardo Montalban and Herve Villechaieze. Villechaize’s character, 
Tattoo, was seen each week calling out the arrival of new guests 
from the top of the cottage tower, yelling “Da plane! Da Plane!” 
More recently, the cottage was used as the Florida residence of the 
elder Fokkers in the movie, Meet the Fokkers.

 Most of the time, visitors can only peek into the windows of the 
charming, Victorian abode, believed to have been constructed as a 
honeymoon gift for Elias Jackson (Lucky) Baldwin’s fourth wife, the 
sixteen year old, Lillie Bennett.

Bennett’s father, architect Albert A. Bennett, designed the intricate 
and elaborate detailing of the structure. The structure’s styling is 
a romantic, even feminine style of American architecture known 
for its lavish displays of ornamental spindles, brackets and other 
accoutrements. “Though it was named a Queen Anne, the Cottage 
is really the Queen Anne style transitioning to the ‘stick style’,” 
according to Bishop.

 Though his name is not well known today, Bennett was a rather 
prolific architect of public buildings. His works include the Folsom 
and San Quentin Prisons and many county courthouses across the 
state. He was also the supervising architect for the state Capitol 
building in Sacramento.

 According to Mitchell Bishop, curator at the Arboretum, the 
cottage was “originally referred to as ‘Baldwin’s Belvedere’ in the 
LA Times when it was first built and also as the ‘Casino’ which in 
those days didn’t necessarily mean gambling so much as a variety of 
pleasure-related activities although Baldwin was fond of gambling 
and we know poker was played.”

 The elaborate home never became the intended honeymoon 
haven; however, as the Baldwin couple separated only a year later. 
Eventually, Lucky Baldwin turned the home into a memorial of 
sorts to the third Mrs. Baldwin, Jennie Dexter, who had passed away 
a few years previous, in 1881.

 The cottage was used as the Santa Anita Ranch guest house, hosting 
theatrical celebrities from Baldwin’s namesake theater in san 
Francisco and other Baldwin family friends and business associate 
guests. Baldwin himself never lived in the cottage, using the cottage 
“essentially as a party house,” laughed Bishop. Baldwin quartered in 
the nearby adobe home until his death in 1909.

Unfortunately, after Lucky’s passing, his daughter shuttered the 
cottage and disposed of the furnishings. Several other large buildings 
on the ranch, also designed by 
Bennett, didn’t survive, according 
to Bishop.

 Luckily, the home’s black walnut 
doors, stained glass windows, 
marble fireplace mantels, and even 
the original bath fixtures and a 
marble walkway were packed up 
and stored for nearly half a century 
in the nearby Coach House.

 A restoration project from 1951-
53 restored these items to their 
original fittings inside the cottage, 
now preserved for the public. 
“The cottage was one of the first 
restorations of a Victorian house,” 
according to Bishop, “very unusual 
in that time. In the 1950’s, Victorian 
restorations weren’t popular. People 
weren’t in that mindset. Modern 
architecture was prevalent. These 
forward thinking people preserved 
that history.”

Later, in 1993, an Eagle Scout 
project by Erik Wanson from a San 
Marino troop restored the intricate 
x-pattern fencing surrounding the 

 Regarding additional renovations, 
Bishop indicated, “The Cottage was 
recently given a new red decorative 
shingle roof based on photographic 
documentation of the original roof 
from the 19th century. Imbricated 
roofs have sometimes very elaborate 
patterns of overlapping shingles cut 
into diamond, half round and other shapes. The term imbrication 
refers to the scales found on fish and reptiles. It also makes a very 
effective waterproof covering. Today, we still see these patterns on 
the siding of Victorian houses but it is rare to see it still on roofs. 
The Coach Barn is currently closed for the installation of a similar 
roof taking it back to its original appearance that Mr. Baldwin and 
his architect intended.”

 Visitors on December 9th will have the chance to view paintings 
of the Baldwin family, which were donated to the Arboretum over 
the years, including two portraits of Baldwin by Joseph Greenbaum 
and two portraits of Lucky’s wife, Jennie Dexter. Another painting, 
hung in the cottage, this one by H.H. Cross, depicts Anita Baldwin, 
Lucky’s daughter, sitting across the lake, near the cottage with the 
ranch’s bull mastiff guard dogs.

 Bishop chuckled, “Originally, there were no railings on the veranda, 
if you fell off the porch in those days, it was your own fault. The 
railings are a concession to the modern era.”

Bishop also indicates the Arboretum continues to seek photos of the 
cottage interior, to get a better idea of what it looked like at the time. 

The cottage will be decked out in Victorian holiday splendor, to put 
guests in the spirit for an old fashioned holiday. Docent led tours, 
at a suggested donation of $3, will be available throughout the day 
on Sunday, December 9 for an up close and personal view of the 
cottage and its history. The nearby Coach Barn and the old Santa 
Anita Depot will also be open to visitors.

 Admittance to the cottage is included with regular admission to 
the Los Angeles Arboretum, located at 301 North Baldwin Avenue, 
in Arcadia. For more information, visit the Arboretum website at or call 626-821-3222. Research information 
was obtained from the Arboretum website. 


While experts may debate the value of holding an open house, your home may be a good 
candidate for this marketing tool. If your agent offers to show off your home on a Sunday 
afternoon, apply some elbow grease and take advantage of the opportunity.

Obviously, get things tidy inside and out. Give all of your countertops a spacious feel by hiding 
your toiletries under the sink in the bathroom, and by stashing your kitchen appliances 
in the cabinets. Clean and clear make a great impression. 

Also remove photographs, appointment cards, school artwork, etc. from the refrigerator and 
other areas of the house. Yes, it’s your home, but you want buyers to picture it as their home, 
so don’t intrude on the fantasy!

You can encourage buyers to linger by simply putting out refreshments, like fresh baked 
cookies (the aroma can be a powerful intoxicant!), and a pitcher of iced tea or minis of bottled 
water - anything to make them pause and take a closer look around.

The one thing that shouldn’t be in the home during an open house is… you. No offense 
meant, but buyers are there to see the home, not the owner, and they may feel uncomfortable 
asking probing questions if you are within earshot. Make your visitors feel at ease, and trust 
your agent to take care of the rest!



The Sierra Madre Farmer’s Market hours have changed to 3:00pm through 7:00pm 
every Wednesday in fall and winter. Vendors include Dry Dock which has fresh 
and wild caught fish, Rustic Loaf with artisan breads, Cutie Pie with fresh pies and 
much more!

For those interested in being a vendor contact Melissa Farwell with Raw Inspirations 
at 818-591-8161 ext. 806.

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: