Electronically Serving Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, & Rosemead



By Charles N. Stevens

Photos by Dolores Seidman

Located like an oasis among industrial buildings in the City of Industry, is the Homestead Museum. It centers around the former homes of the Workman and Temple families. Most of us are familiar with Workman Mill Road in Whittier and the nearby town of Temple City, named after these early settlers.  Adding to the look of an oasis is a park with green lawns and towering trees. An attractive walkway leads from the museum to a large pond with water lilies and near it, a private cemetery where members of the Workman and Temple families are buried. The cemetery, El Campo Santo, also holds the remains of Pio Pico, the last Mexican governor of California and a friend of the Workman family.

On this visit, we left our car in the ample parking lot then walked to the shaded picnic area next to the museum homes where we met my granddaughter- in- law, two great grandsons and their friend.  We had a very pleasant picnic with plenty of time to allow the boys to run on the grass and play hide and seek among the trees.

Near 1pm, we assembled with others in the museum’s air-conditioned offices and meeting room. A video playing on a large screen gave us information about the two old houses and the people who once lived in them. The meeting room also contained exhibits, photographs, posters and objects, pertaining to historic places in the San Gabriel Valley. Programs of historical significance are regularly provided here.

From here, we joined a docent led tour of the Workman House. We stood on the back porch of the home as the docent explained more about the house, its construction and history. The house was built in 1842 but remodeled in 1870. Glassed window-like spaces allowed us to see the basic adobe construction of the house. That the house was built primarily with adobe bricks was certainly not evident from the outside, as the bricks were covered by plaster made to look like quarried stone. Once inside the house, we were able to hold a single adobe brick, and were surprised at how heavy and hard they were. My great grandsons were especially interested in them. In the same room was a branded cow hide draped over a sawhorse. The boys were interested in stroking the hide and lifting branding irons, one with the mark of the Workman family.

The docent led us into the bedroom where period furniture, especially the ponderous bed, and implements as well as the wallpaper gave us an idea of what it was like to live in those days. Just outside the bedroom was a parlor where several stereopticons were available for us to look through. The boys especially liked peering through the eyepiece to look at scenes in 3D. We all enjoyed them.

Out on the ample front porch with its long veranda, we appreciated a cool breeze and a look at the gardens. On our way out of the grounds, we passed a small but healthy-looking vineyard and a path edged with pomegranate trees, some of the fruit beginning to form. We left the grounds through the old tank house where mementos and gadgets related to the period were on sale.

On this trip, we did not go through the Temple house, La Casa Nueva, which is much grander with period furniture and stained glass. The house, built in 1922-1927, was also constructed of adobe bricks.  We had been through it on a previous visit, and it was magnificent. The boys were tired and not up to another hour’s tour.

The Homestead Museum is only about 20 minutes from Monterey Park. The address is 15915 Don Julian Road in Industry. Drive east on the 60 Freeway then take the 7th Street North offramp. Drive north on 7th Street to Don Julian Road then turn right.

Tours of the Workman House are at 1pm and 3pm

Tours of La Casa Nueva are at 2pm and 4pm.

Houses are closed Mondays, Tuesdays and major holidays.

The cemetery is open Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm.

We all sit in front of the Homestead Meeting Room.  Note the gazebo in the background.

We all sit in front of the Homestead Meeting Room. Note the gazebo in the background.

Ryan and Colin enjoyed looking through the Steriopticons.

Ryan and Colin enjoyed looking through the Steriopticons.

The bedroom in the Workman House featured this wonderful old bedstead.

The bedroom in the Workman House featured this wonderful old bedstead.

This is the grand front porch of the Workman House.

This is the grand front porch of the Workman House.

A small part of the garden at the Workman House.

A small part of the garden at the Workman House.

MONTEREY PARK AUTHOR PUBLISHES 4th BOOK – Seeking More of the Sky: Growing Up in the 1930’s:

Charles “Norm” Stevens, a 43 year resident of Monterey Park has recently published his 4th book: Seeking More of the Sky: Growing Up in the 1930’s. This is the story of a young boy growing up in Inglewood, California in the l930’s. This was a time during the depression when unemployment was affecting many and the banks were closed, while the clouds of war were gathering in Europe. But he was lucky enough to be raised in a loving family, the power of that love reflected throughout his stories.

Stevens is the author of three previous books about his experiences during WWII:

An Innocent at Polebrook: A Memoir of an 8th Air Force Bombardier (Story of his 34 bombing missions from his base at Polebrook, England over Germany and France)

The Innocent Cadet: Becoming A World War II Bombardier (A prequel to the first, telling of his training in the U.S. before going overseas into combat.)

Back from Combat: A WWII Bombardier Faces His Military Future from Combat: (This book details the time from when he returned from combat in England until the end of the war.)

He is known to the readers of The Citizen’s Voice as the author of Travel Log Articles including “Cruising the Rhine and Mosel”,” Best of the West”, “In Search of Snow” ,  “From Paris to Normandy on the Seine”, and “Exploring New York”.  He is retired, having taught for 32 years, primarily in the Montebello Unified School District.

Those interested in purchasing an autographed copy of any of his books, may contact the author at 323-721-8230 or  Normstevens24@gmail.com.

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