A Tribute to Bolton Hall’s 100Th Anniversaryby Representative Adam B. Schiff
Posted on 2013-03-12
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Mr. SCHIFF. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay special recognition to
Bolton Hall in Tujunga, California as it celebrates its one-hundredth
Shortly after the turn of the century, the Glorietta Heights area of Rancho Tujunga came to the attention of Marshall Hartranft, a land developer who engaged William E. Smythe to publicize the upper slopes of the area. Mr. Smythe was the founder of the ``Little Lands'' movement, a utopian movement that believed that families settling on an acre or two of land could support themselves and prosper. Settlement of the lots by Smythe's ``Little Landers'' began in 1913 and in April of that year, Marshall Hartranft donated land and financed construction of Bolton Hall for the new colony. The edifice was designed by ``Nature Builder'' George Harris, who used rocks gathered from local hillsides and the Tujunga Wash to create a building that harmonized beautifully with its setting between the Verdugo Hills and the San Gabriel mountains. The structure was first called The Clubhouse, but was later named in honor of Smythe's friend, author Bolton Hall. Dedicated in August 1913, the hall quickly became the center of all community activities, including church services, dances, town meetings, socials, and the San Fernando Valley's second library.
Though the ``Little Lands'' movement declined by 1920, Bolton Hall continued to serve the community, becoming Tujunga's City Hall and town jail after the town was incorporated in 1925. Following the annexation of the city to Los Angeles in 1932, Bolton Hall housed Los [[Page E268]] Angeles' Department of Building and Safety as well as its Health Department and local police. The city eventually built a new municipal building, and the old stone structure was boarded up in 1957. For the next twenty years, members of the newly-formed Little Landers Historical Society and others fought to save the historic building from demolition and worked toward restoration. Starr Von Fluss, past president of the Little Landers Historical Society served as campaign chairwoman to raise funds for the restoration. With the acquisition of additional funds by Roberta Stewart and L.A. City Councilman Robert Ronka, the campaign to save and restore the building was a success, with restoration work beginning in February of 1980 and its official re-opening celebration held on June 27, 1981.
Today artifacts, photographs, documents and memorabilia of Sunland, Tujunga and the foothill areas are displayed, ranging historically from the village of the Tongva Indians, through the Mission and Mexican Land Grant periods, to the development of Sunland Tujunga and the rescue of Bolton Hall. The building also serves as the office for the Little Landers Historical Society. Along with John Steven McGroarty's home, now the McGroarty Cultural Art Center, Bolton Hall is one of ten historical monuments in the Sunland Tujunga area and is also included in the National Register of Historic Places.
I ask all Members of Congress to join me today in recognizing Bolton Hall's historical importance and celebrating its one-hundredth anniversary.