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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administration Information
  • History
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Heritage House Collection
    Dates: 1847-1989
    Collection Number: Consult repository.
    Creator: Heritage House Museum
    Extent: 3 boxes 3 linear feet
    Repository: California State University, Dominguez Hills Archives and Special Collections
    Archives & Special Collection
    University Library, Room G-145
    1000 E. Victoria Street
    Carson, California 90747
    Phone: (310) 243-3013
    URL: http://archives.csudh.edu/
    Abstract: A small collection of materials from and about the Heritage House Museum in Compton, California. Materials include correspondence, ledgers, and paper from the Auxiliary; programs, booklets, and correspondence about the museum itself; and ephemera and journals from the 19th century donated to the museum from citizens of Compton.
    Language: Collection material is in English

    Administration Information


    There are no access restrictions on this collection.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    [Title of item], Heritage House Collection, Courtesy of the Department of Archives and Special Collections. University Library. California State University, Dominguez Hills

    Acquisition Information

    The Heritage House Collection was donated to CSUDH after the City of Compton started the renovation of the city center in the late 1980s. This required emptying the building and moving the Heritage House to another location. Members of the CSUDH history department were crucial in obtaining this collection.

    Processing Information

    The collection was inventoried after being accessioned, but not processed.

    Project Information

    This finding aid was created as part of Early Los Angeles/Rancho San Pedro Manuscript Cataloging Project, a CSU Dominguez Hills Library project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The project started in 2005. Project Director was Greg Williams. Project Archivists were Thomas Philo and Jennifer Allan Goldman.


    The Heritage House was built in 1869 by A.R. Loomis and later became the property of the Gaines family. The house stood on Lemon Street (later Main Street, then Compton Boulevard) until the 1950s, when the land was acquired by the city to be used for a new fire station. By this time, the house had been deemed the oldest house in Compton, and the newspaper roused community support to protect it from being demolished. The City of Compton provided a site onto which the house would be moved, an area in the city center next to City Hall, the Police Station, and the Post Office. A large volunteer base donated money, labor, and materials for moving the house, as well as the restoration and renovation required to make it into a museum. Members of the community also donated items to be displayed in the museum, many actually used in Compton during the 1860s and 1870s. The museum officially opened to the public on April 14, 1958. An auxiliary, sponsored by the Native Daughters of the Golden West, was formed in the following months, and was responsible for the care and upkeep of the museum. In 1959, a year from the opening day, the Heritage House was named California State Landmark No. 664. This was the first state landmark given in the community.
    In 1970, the City of Compton began development of a new Civic Center Complex to replace City Hall and the surrounding buildings. Part of this plan would require the land on which the Heritage House stood. Under pressure from the Auxiliary, as well as Judson Grenier, Professor of History at CSU Dominguez Hills, and members of the community, the City Council agreed to move the Heritage House into storage instead of demolishing it. Attempts were made to return donated items to the original owners; items that could not be returned were transferred to the Department of Archives and Special Collections at CSU Dominguez Hills.
    After a few years in storage, CSU Dominguez Hills Professor of History Howard Holter petitioned the Compton City Council to move the building back to the Civic Center at the corner of West Myrrh Street and South Willowbrook Avenue. The Council agreed, and Holter began renovations on the house. Through the 1980s, Holter created plans for returning the Heritage House to a museum. In 1989, the Compton Community Redevelopment Agency dropped discussion of the plans. The empty building is now used for receptions and occasions by the City of Compton.

    Scope and Content

    Materials include donation forms, membership rosters, financial ledgers, newsclippings, correspondence, programs, booklets, journals, and ephemera from the late 19th century, including pieces from “Godey’s Ladies Journal”. A majority of the documents were created during the renovation and opening of the museum in the late 1950s.


    Arranged in two series:
    • Series I. Auxiliary (1957-1973)
    • Series II. Museum (1953-1989)

    Indexing Terms


    California -- Division of Beaches and Parks
    Cottages -- California
    Historic buildings -– California -- Compton
    Small houses -- California -- 19th century

    Personal Names

    Dollarhide, Douglas

    Corporate Names

    Native Daughters of the Golden West

    Geographic Areas

    Compton (Calif.)


    Magazine illustrations -- 19th century
    Women's periodicals -- American -- 19th century

    Related Material

    The following collections are available in the CSUDH Archives and Special Collections:
    • Compton History Collection
    • Robert C. Gillingham Working Papers
    • South Bay Photo Collection