In approximately 1978, The James H. Dodson Residence in San Pedro, California, was declared Historical Monument #147 by the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Board. Verono has been fortunate enough to start development on this wonderful piece of property.
This gorgeous home was built on the edge of Vinegar Hill in 1881 by James H. Dodson, for his loving wife, Rudecinda Dodson (daughter of Jose Diego Sepulveda). While on their European honeymoon, Rudecinda became enchanted by the beauty of the Swiss chalet style they had witnessed. As a devout Catholic, Rudecinda liked the idea of the crucifix-shaped floor. James made sure to have their new home reflect this in the Victorian architecture, including the crucifix-shaped floor. The home was built overlooking the small business district and the harbor, which is now known as the northwest corner of Seventh and Beacon Streets. Although the home was among the business districts, it soon became the scene of many parties, as well as business meetings and conferences, all set in an intimate tone.
When Beacon Street needed to be graded, and Seventh Street lowered, Rudecinda highly objected, as she felt it would leave the house fairly secluded. The City went forward with their required plans anyway. In 1903, The Dodsons decided to move to a tract that Rudecinda owned in the country. After Rudecinda’s death in 1929, and James Dodson’s death in 1939, the house languished. In 1900, the house was moved to a small farm owned by the Sepulvedas, bounded from Leland to Meyler, and from 15th to 17th streets, in San Pedro. The high school is now part of this property. In 1936, the old house needed to be moved again, to give the high school land to expand.
After a short amount of time, the house was moved across the street to its present location, at the southwest corner of 13th and Parker, where it became a rooming house. After some time, a house fire broke out, sweeping up the stairs, damaging the upper hall and a bedroom. The place no longer looked like it did in its heyday, so in 1954, when John and Betty Reed put a bid in for $7,500, theirs was the only one, making them the new owners. The Reeds put in countless hours, and spent substantial funds on restoring the 12 room, two story home to its original dimensions and architectural designs. The home now includes beautiful antique door knobs, and all of the hardware throughout the house, including the hinges, are made out of rose bronze; some of them beautifully etched in artful ornamentation. The home is now filled with the warmth of pine walls and hand painted tiles; Mrs. Reed decorated the tiles with sentimental family memories, such as birthdays, and important anniversaries. In the front room, there is a three-way-fireplace, original to the house. The former dining room is converted into the living room today, which has stained glass windows; more than likely original.
The Reeds needs for space was shrinking, so they were worried about what might happen to their beloved Dodson house once they left, having had put so much work and love into it over the years. They never want one to forget how much history this amazing house has, yet they didn’t want it to be turned into a museum, either. Their hope is that one day this home is filled with a loving family, and children’s laughter filling it as when their own children lived here.
That is also Verono’s goal in our current restoration of the home. When Verono acquired the Dodson residence, it had sadly fallen into a deteriorated state again. The foundation was crumbling, and the walls were chipped. We’re fixing that now, and also working on beautifying the landscaping. We’re updating with all the current amenities, completely redoing the kitchen, bringing it up to date and into the 21st Century. The lucky person that next purchases this gem of a home will truly be fortunate; not only for the visual beauty, but for the amazing history that comes along with it as well.