Modjeska House

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Modjeska House
Madam Helena Modjeska
in the garden at "Arden"
Modjeska House is located in California
Modjeska House
Modjeska House is located in the US
Modjeska House
Location 29042 Modjeska Canyon Road
Modjeska, California
Coordinates Coordinates: 33°42′32.4″N 117°37′30″W / 33.709000°N 117.62500°W / 33.709000; -117.62500
Area 14 acres (57,000 m2)[1]
Built 1888
Architect Stanford White
Architectural style Queen Anne
NRHP Reference # 72000244
CHISL # 205
Significant dates
Added to NRHP December 11, 1972[3]
Designated NHL December 14, 1990[4]
Designated CHISL 1935[2]

Modjeska House, also known as Arden, is a house designed by Stanford White in Modjeska Canyon, California. It is significant for being the only surviving home of Helena Modjeska, a Shakespearean actress and Polish patriot.


Modjeska came to America with her husband Count Karol Bozenta Chłapowski in 1876 from Poland, and created a retreat for when she was not performing on stage. To design a large Victorian country house, she hired one of America’s leading architects, Stanford White. They named it "Arden" after the forest setting of Shakespeare's play As You Like It and planted gardens with olive trees, palms, English yews, white lilac, and crown of thorns. It was their home from 1888 until 1906.

Post-Modjeska years[edit]

After the property was sold, the romance associated with Modjeska's life attracted developers who marketed parcels of the property for vacation homes. From 1908 to 1923 Gustave A. Schweiger bought and operated the home as a resort, a B & B. In 1923, the Walker family of Long Beach purchased prime parcels in the canyon that included the Modjeska house and its surrounding wooded area.[5]

Historic site[edit]

Modjeska House was declared a California Historical Landmark in 1935.[2]

In 1986, the Orange County Harbors, Beaches and Parks Authority purchased the 14.4-acre property for $1 million[6] and established it as a historical site. A major restoration occurred before the site could be opened to the public. The original house had no indoor plumbing or utilities. A limited number of visitors are allowed on tours. Directions to the park are given after making reservations.[7]

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1990.[1][4]

The property is located in a live oak grove on the banks of Santiago Creek in Modjeska Canyon, California.



  1. ^ a b James H. Charleton (June 16, 1990). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Forest of Arden / Arden / Modjeska House / Modjeska County Park" (pdf). National Park Service.  and Accompanying photos, exterior and of Helen Modjeska and others, from 1988, c.1893 and undated (1.00 MB)
  2. ^ a b "Modjeska House". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-10-11. 
  3. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  4. ^ a b "Modjeska House". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  5. ^ Modjeska House & Gardens OCParks Commission, retrieved on November 18, 2007.
  6. ^ Logan, Dan (April 1990). "Once in Arden". Orange Coast Magazine: 106, 107, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113. 
  7. ^ "Arden" - Helena Modjeska Historic House and Gardens, Orange County Parks, retrieved on June 26, 2016.

External links[edit]