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10-year effort ends with sale of Nixon homeby Margaret Anderson,
Yorba Linda Star July 15 1978 page 1
When escrow closes on Richard Nixon's birthplace this week part of a 10-year effort will be realized.
The Nixon Birthplace Foundation has been trying to preserve the clapboard house as an historical monument and museum since President Nixon's election in November 1968. According to W. H. Barton, former foundation chairman, the attempt took “at least five years longer than we expected.”
The house on Yorba Linda Boulevard has been owned by the Yorba Linda Elementary School District since the 1920's. The district's refusal to sell was the main problem in purchasing the house, according to Dr. Bob Meador, the foundation's present chairman. The house did not come on the market until three years ago. The foundation then had to raise the $225,000 purchase price for the house and its 1.3-acre lot. At the request of former President Nixon, all fund raising was done by word of mouth. Money was donated mainly by wealthy Nixon supporters from the East and South, as well as local citizens, Yorba Linda civic organizations, and foundation members.
The group's activities did not stop with acquiring the house. At least 120 of the original furnishings have been collected and are stored in Santa Ana. The items, described by Barton as “old but good,” include dishes, which will be displayed in the original china cabinet, a settee, and the upright piano Nixon played as a child. Clara Jane Nixon, Don Nixon's wife, played a big role in getting much of the furniture, Barton said.
Most of the furnishings had remained with Nixon family members. The piano, however, had been left in a former Florida home by Nixon's parents. The foundation bought a new piano for the owners and traded it for the upright. The group also has the settee owned by Richard and Pat Nixon when they were first married. It was sold to the foundation five years ago, Barton said. The settee may not go in the house, but the foundation feels it has historical interest.
The monument in front of the birthplace was another project of the local organization. One rock from each of the fifty states was sent to Tom Hardin at Hardin's Building Supply on State College in Fullerton.
Funding for the proposed museum is uncertain as yet. Dr. Meador speculated that the foundation would apply for a Grant-in-Aid under the National Historical Preservation Act. The house is already recognized as an historical landmark by both state and federal agencies.
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