Options!

We had a small but very interested group that were able to join us for our public presentation on December 8th at the Library. Thank you to all who attended.

We know the time wasn’t ideal for a lot of the community but we did our best to find a time and location that was central to Wildomar and that was time sensitive given the holiday festivities and our time line.

We talked about the past, present, and the future. We followed up at the end of the presentation that we were planning on putting together an online presentation with a survey to garner more interest and feedback from the community.

One thing to remember is that the Historical Society may own the building, however the future of it belongs to the community. What the community members want invest in and the action and efforts are all questions in the survey and will be taken in to account. It’s not only which option you’d like to see but what sweat equity do you want to give to see that your choice is number one.

Please take a look at the presentation and then answer the survey. If you have any questions, please send them to info@historyofwildomar.org

View the Presentation

(Update – The survey is now closed. Thank you to those who took time to take the survey.)

Site Visit

The first Sunday of April, on my way to church, it was clearly visible that the front door of the Brown House had been kicked in. It was devastating to see. That beautiful hardwood door was one of the gems of the house. It was heartbreaking to think about what was waiting for us when we got to the house to survey and damage and secure the entrance.

With ladder, hammer, nails, and extra wood George and I met at the site. I was able to put a quick Facebook post out for others to join us but it was really such short notice that I didn’t expect the Calvary.

I had never been inside the house and had only imagined what damage had been done to the interior of the unattended to house. This was my opportunity to actually see the interior and assess for myself the potential that I believed the house held. The potential that both of the developers of its original location and the current location of the house, the Riverside Supervisors, and community members saw over 10 years ago was clearly no longer visible on the outside.

However, upon the first steps on broken glass inside the building you could see that the house is doing well. It has really held up well and as I suspected has good bones to work with. The house was totally gutted to move it. There are no kitchen cabinets or fixtures, no bathroom fixtures; it was taken down to the bare bones. The rooms are bare and fairly large. You could see where the fireplace had been and there were some old bricks that were saved lying across the room. The living room is spacious with beautiful parkway flooring that really is in surprisingly great shape. The house is spacious with high ceilings and the walls are textured thick plaster, although it’s not intact because vandals had at some point torn into the walls to look for anything of value such as copper wiring. You could see some knob and tube electrical that hadn’t been stripped.

Over the years the house has seen its share of visitors who really didn’t have preservation on their mind. All of the glass is broken. I didn’t see a single window pane that was intact. Walls have been kicked in and torn down. Anything of value that was left in the house would have been carted off. The floor is uneven from years of balancing on the steel beams. But, if you look beyond the surface you see the shiplap that is beneath the surface. There was a piece of ceiling dry wall that had come down and revealed beautiful craftsmanship of the tongue and groove hardwood that still looked watertight.

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Ceiling view, beneath the drywall. Shiplap exterior that is inside one of the porches, and interior wall.

To tell you the truth, I should have never gone in. Now all I can see is potential. With walls taken down and supporting beams put in for an open concept for community space the possibilities are endless. I can see an area for educational exhibits, displays for historical resources, a visitor center, and a common area to hold community events.

The developer and the Wildomar Historical Society are working on getting a true assessment by professionals done by the end of the month. It is the intention of the Strata Group to go before Planning Commission in May to start approvals for the slated project. We all need to know the real potential of the house. I think last year we were able to raise about 12% of the cost of the assessment. We have a Bingo event at the Elks planned for Sunday, April 24th, 2016 from 12-4 with hopes to cover the majority of the cost with some cost sharing possibility with the developer.

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We need a commitment of 71 tickets sold. Right now we are at about 30 and I have until this Friday to cancel the event. If you have been waiting to purchase the tickets at the door, don’t wait. We need an RSVP by this Friday the 15th. If you’d like to purchase tickets for $25 each or sponsor a game for $100, please call me at (951) 265-3820. – Kristan Lloyd

p.s. There was access where the fireplace was, a back window, and the front door were all secured. The weeds around the building were abated on Monday the 11th. We are looking to plan a clean-up day in May to remove the debris of the broken glass, boards, and insulation. We will have teams of 8-10 for two to three hours throughout the day to help. This would be a great opportunity for you to see the potential for yourself. So get your work boot and gloves ready. More information to follow.

 

 

 

The Brown House

The Story Behind the Blue – Brown House

The Rudolph J. Brown house and adjacent tank house, originally located at Grand Avenue and McVicar, were moved by the Wildomar Historical Society to a temporary location on Central Avenue. This distinctive structure is an essential part of our history that needs preservation.

The Brown family were a pioneering family in Wildomar. Dr. Oscar Brown moved to Wildomar in 1890 to improve his health. He setup a practice out of his home on Olive Street. Rudolph’s grandfather, Columbus Brown also lived for a time in Wildomar. In 1904-1907 Columbus was a trustee on the Wildomar School Board.

In 1899 Oscar Brown took a job as a surgeon for the Southern Pacific Railroad that took him to Arizona. He maintained his home and family in Wildomar where he visited often until his death at the age of 91. Of his three children Prudence, Elfred and Rudolph, it was Rudolph J. who graduated from Berkley with a degree in Agriculture to return to Wildomar to make his living. Rudolph Brown was a founding member of the Riverside County Farm Bureau. His community service included being a trustee of the Wildomar School District in 1926. His wife was a trustee from 1933-1936.

For at least 60 years this Rudolph Brown house was the headquarters for the ranch and farming activities of Rudolph J. Brown and then his son David A. Brown. Initially built in 1886, a major addition to the house was made in the early 1900’s. Porches, later were enclosed were likely added in the 1930’s, along with accessory buildings at the farm. The original structure from 1886 can still be identified from the inside of the house.

The tank house has a two story high frame pedestal for a steel water tank, creating a distinctive fortress like appearance. It was originally designed to provide water not only for the house but also for a watering trough used for his own stock and visiting cattle and horses from the Vail Ranch Holdings. It is one of the best preserved water towers in Riverside County.

David A. Brown, who was born in 1918 and died in 1993, was a tireless promoter of Wildomar and its special virtues. As late as 1955 the Browns were planting and harvesting some of over 1200 acres in Wildomar. He was one of the founders of the Wildomar Interest League, the precursor to other community organizations in Wildomar. Dave was the Zone 7 Flood Control Commissioner. Always looking out for his neighbors, he was a member of Radio Amateur Emergency Civil Services and Volunteers in Prevention Radio Amateurs Program. He joined the Wildomar Chamber of Commerce in 1990 and was known as the Wildomar HIstorian. His gravestone includes the words “Mr. Wildomar”. He was honored by having the David A. Brown middle school named after him.

In the future, when it is restored and in its permanent location, the Wildomar Historical Society hopes to use the house and water tower for a museum, education center, and museum store.

To stay up to date on restoration and fundraising efforts please visit and like The Brown House on Facebook

Historic Brown family residence saved from bulldozers

Mr. Wildomar