Heritage Square Museum – Los Angeles, California - Atlas Obscura

Heritage Square Museum

Beautiful Victorian buildings from L.A.'s forgotten architectural past. 


Wandering around this cluster of Victorian buildings, visitors are able to glimpse a forgotten chapter in the history of Los Angeles, back before it became the bustling city it is today.

The open-air Heritage Square Museum features architecture from the 100-year period between 1850 and 1950. As L.A.’s population boomed in the 1960s, many of its 19th-century buildings were demolished with the rapid urbanization that took hold. Thankfully, some of the historic structures were saved.

The beautiful buildings at Heritage Square now preserve pieces of the city’s history that would have otherwise been destroyed. In the late 1960s, a group of citizens who were dedicated to protecting these architectural remnants of the past formed the Cultural Heritage Foundation of Southern California, a nonprofit which then created the Heritage Square Museum as a safe haven for otherwise doomed structures.

One of the most eye-catching houses at the museum is the Hale House, a home that is covered in rather garish green and orange paint. The colors were reproduced from the original paint chips found within the house while it was being restored. Other noteworthy sites include an octagon house, an adorable carriage house, and a historic train depot. Tour guides dressed in period clothing add an extra touch of authenticity to experiencing these architectural treasures.

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