Ole Hanson, who master-planned San Clemente, built Casa Roman- He lost the Casa to a bank foreclosure in 1934 because of The Great Depres sion. The house survived for over 55 years until the City of San Clemente purchased and restored it as a cultural center that is now open to the public. This year, we almost lost the Casa to a landslide, but, fortunately, it is being repaired.
The 7,200-square-foot house originally had 7 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms, all on one floor, and was designed in a tradi- tional courtyard shape by architect Carl Lindbom. After the Bank of America foreclosed on the property, the bank continued to own it for 12 more years. During those years, a Bank of America employee named Thomas M. Walker and his farmily lived in the house intermittently to maintain it properly.
Also, during the time that the bank owned it, from 1939 to 1942, the house became the Miramonte Beach Club and was very popular with over 750 members who used it as their clubhouse. There were plans to build a breakwater that surrounded the pier to create a pri vate yacht harbor, but those plans came to an end when World War II started.
Casa Romantica was officially named in 1946, when the property was sold to Lambert and Nora Schuyler. Mrs Schuy ler had lived in Chile, and she loved Spanish architecture, and she named it “Casa Romantica.” She wrote a children’s book about all of the animals that lived on the property. A copy of the book can be found in the Casa’s collection. In 1952, Fred and Evalyn Waring bought the Casa as their vacation house. Fred was a popular orchestra leader in Los Angeles, and he often had parties at the Casa for his famous friends. Evalyn was a dancer who had visited the house with Ole’s son, Bill Hanson, in 1928 and had fallen in love with the property at that time. When the Warings divorced, Evalyn remarried Ramiro Santiago, her former dance partner, who had become her Casa gardener and handyman.
Aftera short time at the Casa, they moved to Solana Beach. The Whitehouse family bought the house in 1956 and changed the name to Casa Blanca. They built a large swimming pool in the front where the parking lot is today. They had planned to convert the Casa into a resort, but instead, they sold the property to Tom Sanford in 1958.
In 1959, George and Louise Welsh bought the property and converted it into a home for the elderly. They were wonderful keepers of the history of the Casa. The City of San Clemente purchased the Casa in 1989, restoring and preserving the house and the grounds and giving it back to the public as a Historic Cultural Center. The house sits on 2.5 acres and is renowned for its gardens, as well as the historic architecture. However, in 2023, a large portion of the hillside collapsed, taking much of the rear patio down the hill. The hillside is being repaired and should be completed in 2024.
Christine Lampert is a member of the San Clemente Historical Society, as well as the American Institute of Architects (IA), and has designed many projects in San Clemente and California. She has been a professor of architecture at USC, and SCAD Hong Kong She and her family have lived in San Clemente for more than 46 years.