Monday, April 14, 2008

No. 133 - Minnie Hill Palmer House and Dynamite Shed

Chatsworth Park South - Dynamite Shed

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.

Chatsworth Park South

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:

Minnie Hall Palmer Residence

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.

Minnie Hill Palmer

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.

Chatsworth Park South

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

6 comments:

Palm Axis said...

When I was last there, I did not smell lead. A shame that the place is closed. It's a very popular park with families. I look forward to your post on Cross Roads of the World

Nathan said...

Hey, I live in an HCM and I don’t have a dynamite shed. I’m commencing to construct one right now. I’m sure the neighbors will be interested in what I’m hammering together but I hope unconcerned when I tell them “it’s just a place to put my dynamite.”

I’ll show that Minnie. To match my house, MY dynamite shed will have half-timbering and diamond-paned casement windows, and more dynamite than she ever had.

Anonymous said...

Lead? Really. When I was a small boy (now 57), Minnie (my 2nd-aunt) was always out tending her garden when we went to visit. She grew all of her veggies in the "lead-polluted" soil and lived into her 96th year! Perhaps the lead has mysteriously shown up after her demise... Maybe an alien plot... Or even a gov't scheme! Or, no I got it, probably Charles Manson is responsible. His compound wasn't far from there. Or, maybe the lead in the soil at his compound is responsible for his pathetic mind and we should turn him loose. Could be it doesn't make a dang bit of difference, or is actually healthy. (Dang. That's ona those words ya use insteada swearin'.) In that case, let's put it back in the paint and save money. So much for tangents. All I know, is I liked it better when Aunt Minnie lived next to the golf course, grandpa ran the pro shop and I worked at the driving range. That also brings out another little tidbit of historical fact. When Auntie sold out all but her little parcel, there were two interested buyers. Walt Disney and Roy Rogers. Who knows what plans Disney had, but Roy won out and we got Devonshire Downs (for awhile). Word has it Aunt Minnie made her decision based on character as she saw it. Actually she was just a cowgirl at heart.

Anonymous said...

Someone posted an Anonymous comment saying they were related to Minnie Hill Palmer (2nd Aunt) I am also related my dad (Danny Palmer) just informed me tonight. I am trying to find a link to the family tree...HELP?

Anonymous said...

Correction, that is actually "great-aunt" and that makes your dad my brother.

Roberta Valladao said...

Lovell Hill married Laura Hindman about 1937 that is my grandmother. Laura Hill had 2 daughters that had legal change their names to Hill. Both of them are still alive.