Monday, April 14, 2008
Minnie Hill Palmer Residence and Dynamite Shed
c. 1913, c. 1900
Chatsworth Park South, Chatsworth – map
Declared: 11/20/74, 11/20/07
Okay, there are two different halves to Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 133: the former home of Minnie Hill Palmer and a small dynamite shack. Both are located in Chatsworth Park South and are combined into one official landmark for the sake of proximity.
The Minnie Hill Palmer Residence is run by the Chatsworth Historical Society and is open the first Sunday – for just three hours – of every month. That is, it’s open when the park in which it’s located isn’t closed as the Environmental Protection Agency tests its soil for high levels of lead. Which it is. In other words, Chatsworth Park South has remained closed since Valentine's Day, thereby making the Minnie Hill Palmer Residence off limits. Sorry.
From the Department of City Planning website:
If you were allowed in the park, you’d see a redwood cottage (above), the second home built on what was once a 230-acre ranch homesteaded by James David Hill and his wife, Rhoda Jane, in the spring of 1886. Their daughter, Minnie, the seventh of their eighth children, was born later that year. Minnie, except for some time spent down in Hawthorne and up in Montana, lived most of her life on the homestead, a big chunk of it in this bungalow, built in 1911 or 1913.
Here’s a portrait of Minnie taken by Kevin Hass on May 4, 1980, about a year before her death. It's part of the collection of the Chatsworth Historical Society.
The Minne Hill Palmer Residence is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, when there’s not EPA soil-testing going on, the landmark is rented out for receptions, private parties, movie shoots, and small weddings (“I now pronounce you man and – hey, does anyone else smell lead?”).
Much closer to – and viewable from – the Chatsworth Park South entrance stands the Dynamite Shed, tacked onto HCM No. 133 thirty-three years to the day the Hill Palmer Residence got its designation. Built between 1890 and 1900, it’s a one-story structure built to house dynamite during the construction of the Southern Pacific Railroad’s Susana Pass Tunnel between 1898 and 1904. The picture of the shed at the top of the post was from when I visited the park back in December to visit HCM No. 92, the Old Stagecoach Trail, now also off limits due to that lead-testing in the park.
Today, the Dynamite Shed is rented out for receptions, private parties, movie shoots, and small weddings (“I now pronounce you man and – hey, can we can go easy on the lit candles?”).
Up next: Crossroads of the World