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Conservancy Offers Garden Tour of 'Shotgun House'


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By Lookout Staff

June 11, 2024 -- The Santa Monica Conservancy will offer an intimate Summer Garden Tour this month that focuses on native plants around the historic "shotgun house" in Ocean Park that serves as the organization's resource center.

Shutgun House
Conservancy Resource Center (Photo by Stephen Schafer courtesy of the Santa Monica Conservancy)

The tour -- which will take place Sunday June 23 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. -- will be led by poet and gardener, Hilda Weiss, a Santa Monica resident who "grows her own vegetables in a garden full of native California plants," Conservancy officials said.

During the first half of the event, Weiss will "take visitors on a tour of the garden focusing on the selection and care of native plants and how they contribute to the beauty and health of our neighborhoods."

After a break for tea and light refreshments, visitors will reconvene inside the Shotgun House "for a group reflection on land, poetry, and an exploration our own use of language to connect to place," organizers said.

The tour is part of "a slate of new programming" that includes monthly Main Street Walks "to activate the Shotgun House as a Cultural Commons for history, culture and heritage conservation," Conservancy officials said.

It took an 18-year battle and $278,000 to salvage and preserve the small worn-out structure, which had a price tag of $100 when it was built on 2nd Street in the 1890s ("Saga of Santa Monica's Shotgun House Ends Back on Second Street," January 19, 2016).

The shotgun house typifies the style of house Santa Monica's early tourists and settlers occupied more than 125 years ago, Conservancy officials said.

It earned its name because it was said that a shotgun bullet fired from the front door would fly through the house and out the back door unobstructed. This, according to folklore, makes it attractive to ghosts and spirits.

The shotgun house became a symbol of poverty in the South, where it is ingrained in the region's culture.

The Conservancy has received a prestigious Governor's Historic Preservation Award, as well as a Preservation Design Award from the California Preservation Foundation (CPF) for turning the dilapidated "shotgun house" into its new Preservation Resource Center.

Space for the garden tour is limited and early registration is suggested. Admission is $10 for members and $20 for the general public. To become a member click here

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