Where History Comes Alive!
The Hale House was built in 1887 by George W. Morgan, a land speculator and real estate developer, at the foot of Mount Washington just a few blocks from the museum in Highland Park. From the time of its construction, the house was sold many times and was moved from 4501 to 4425 North Pasadena Avenue (now Figueroa Street) before being purchased by James G. Hale in 1906.
James Hale, a motorman for the railroad, met Beret ‘Bessie’ Hovelsrud when she worked as a waitress in the Pio Pico House downtown. Dealing in real estate, Bessie mortgaged the Hale House several times in order to purchase other properties. Bessie and James Hale separated a few years after purchasing the house. However, Bessie retained title to the house, living in and using it as a boarding home until the mid 1960s. James Hale died on August 15, 1921 at about age 51. Bessie Hale died in a rest home in 1967 and left the house to her niece, Mrs. Odeana Johnson, who donated the structure to the Cultural Heritage Foundation of Southern California in 1970.
The building is an outstanding example of Queen Anne and Eastlake styles. The exterior colors of Hale House were reproduced from chips of the original colors found on the house during restoration. The interior has been restored to represent the rooms as they may have appeared in 1899. In the front parlor visitors may see an oriental door bracket purchased by the Hales. Lighting fixtures throughout the house are equipped to use both gas and electricity. The wainscoting downstairs, called Lincrusta, is original to the house and made of a pressed paper mixture processed to look like embossed leather. The Eastlake-style dining table and chairs belonged to the Hale family. The modern looking ceiling paper in the dining room is, in fact, a reproduction of the original paper.
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Heritage Square Museum thanks the City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks, for their role in helping to preserve our past.