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Offer to move, restore historic home

Original post made on Mar 3, 2011

The dilapidated 1880s home at 902 Villa St. near Chez TJ could become a major part of a Mountain View history museum under a proposal by developer Roger Burnell.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 3, 2011, 10:46 AM

Comments (18)

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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 3, 2011 at 4:04 pm

At the Cuesta Park Neighborhood Association meeting, Burnell appeared to be speaking on behalf of the Mountain View Historical Association. It now appears that he's speaking on his own behalf to try to do a development deal that's contingent on offloading the house on MVHA and the Cuesta Park Annex.


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Posted by Concept B
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 3, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Rather than having this house "in addition to" the museum in the annex maybe this house should "be" the museum. It is much smaller and more in line with the original concept of a small cultural/agricutural building.


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Posted by Jojo Galle
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 3, 2011 at 9:10 pm

The house currently is an eye sore and brings down the entire neighborhood. I think that moving and restoring the Pearson house is a double win for the Mountain View community.


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 3, 2011 at 9:20 pm

The house is an eyesore and should be removed, but it is not a historically important house and it does not belong in the natural setting of Cuesta Park Annex. If the city and developer really want to restore the house, they should buy a distressed property in Old Mountain View, move and restore the house there and sell it as a private residence. The current plan for a history museum in Cuesta Park Annex is a huge monstrosity that will destroy the natural beauty of the Annex and adding another building to the plan does not improve it.


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Posted by Another CP Neighbor
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 4, 2011 at 7:03 am

The annex is an utter eyesore, filled with dog crap, beer bottles, and neighborhood granola munchers. The house (and the flood basin) and the proposed museum could only improve it, the whining of a small number of people with nothing better to do to the contrary.


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Posted by Political Insider
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 4, 2011 at 11:58 am

Great points CP. What you have here is all of the whiners who wanted option A - do nothing but settled for option B because they were afraid that the city might put usable fields in the annex to accommodate the field users. All of these people now claim the proposed history museum is too big even though they supported the concept. Talk about sleaziness. Stick the deal.

Or maybe council should open up the process again to the entire community and lets see what happens.


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Posted by A
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Mar 4, 2011 at 12:51 pm

"Or maybe council should open up the process again to the entire community and lets see what happens."

A third time?
Will the outcome be different?


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 4, 2011 at 1:40 pm

@Another CP Neighbor

It's not a small minority who think the Annex should remain natural, it is the most popular option based on the City's own random survey of 423 people in 2006. The most popular of eight options was "Nature Trail" which is largely what it is today. The "History Museum" was second to last.

At the CPNA City Council Candidate Debate last fall, one of the candidates asked the 60 or so assembled neighbors who supports the proposed History Museum in the Annex. Not a single person raised their hand.

@Political Insider

There's nothing sleazy about the people who wanted Concept B being unhappy with the ever expanding size of the history museum plan. What was in Concept B was a 'Structure with restrooms' that looked relatively small. When the details of the history museum were proposed, many people objected to a 35 foot tall building that will dominate the views in the Annex. The council has basically rubber stamped everything the MVHA has proposed at the site, but most of the public input has been against the design. I'd like to know how much money the MVHA has raised in community support for this idea. That will be the measure of its popularity.

Now they want to add another building with a security fence around it. It suggests that the development proposals for the Annex will just keep coming.


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Posted by plazno
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 4, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Gee, what would they do in Palo Alto?? Restart the process because someone finally aid attention and is not happy, stirring up all sorts of knee-jerk alarm. We do have a good five years of going in circles before we get to that level. Let's not start chasing our own tails here.

The annex is not a natural preserve and is currently a messy and little-enjoyed space. The "monstrosity" proposed is a relatively modest impingement on this amount of land, with no close neighbors who will suffer. The old building is not a distinguished or truly historic one - it is just an old, rundown place that served its purpose and is now finished. Something beautiful and much more useful could likely be built for a good chunk of the cost of moving and restoring it - a green showplace, for example, in a style that reflects local history?


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Mar 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm

I grew up near the annex, it would be cool to have a history and farm center, a working farm where you can be fruit or preserved friut, see fruit being dried. The old Parson home being used as a place to show an old Mtn View family what is was like living on the farm. Old family photos on the wall, old letter jacket on a bed, fruit being prserved in the kitchen. Radio Broadcasts, old TV in the corner, old evening newspaper on a chair in the living room, knitting on the cocch, toys and books on a shelf or on another bed. It would be a working farm so it would have a veggie garden a flower garden grown from Ferry Morse Seeds. Old farm tools and a truck, with a old car. Right now the annex is being used for what so peolpe can walk with their dog.


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Posted by Political Insider
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 4, 2011 at 8:44 pm

@Neighbor. Clearly ignoring other information. It 's sleazy to support an option and then object to everything. MVHA had a plan available and everyone knew what it looked like. Hard to understand when they are looking at a parking structure similar in height. Some of the whiners had no problem and now claim they object. They dont want anything built. How does that square with their earlier support of option B.


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Posted by DCS
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 5, 2011 at 7:52 am

@Garrett - I like your vision for this old house.

I don't know much about the Cuesta Annex, but my condo overlooks the Pearson home and I have looked at the concept plans for the office building. I hope Mr. Burnell tries to get support from those who will live next to this new development, not just those who live near the Cuesta Annex.

The Pearson home is dilapidated, but it's not ugly in my opinion. It can be renovated to look like what it once was, and I 'm sure more people will like it then.


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 5, 2011 at 9:31 am

@Political Insider

I think you are misremembering the sequence of events. When Concept B was approved in 2006, there was no detailed plan from MVHA -- the structure was not even specifically identified as a history museum in Concept B, though the history museum was discussed.

The details of the history museum plan were not available until 2008. That's when many people objected to the size, height, and placement of the building. These concerns were ignored -- no changes were made to the design as a result of this public input.

So it is not surprising that these concerns are still there and the history museum plan still has widespread opposition in the community.


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Posted by JRF
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 5, 2011 at 10:07 am

I own a house around the corner from the Pearson house and would like to see it removed. However, I also enjoy the Cuesta Park Annex as a natural open space -- it's beautiful right now with the tall grass and flowering trees. I don't think we should build on our limited open space. There must be other places more appropriate for the Pearson house.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2011 at 1:25 pm

DCS The annex was part of the Higgins farm, the back part was a school site, the front part was planned homes in the 70'a, rhis was all part of the Higgins tract. The Higgins home stood on Grant Rd.
Many places use old homes as a history center, the annex can keep is nature but also a working farm, the tree will once again blossom but bear fruit. Walkers you can walk around this bit of history.


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Posted by Seer
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm

This expensive obsession with history is a distraction from focusing on the present. What is the best option for the Cuesta Park Annex and for the Pearson property if we stop worrying about preserving a past which does little more than satisfy people's need for nostalgia? For the Pearson property, *anything* except letting the house stay there would be an improvement, and a mixed office/retail structure would complement downtown nicely. For the annex, since the flood control options seem to be getting little support, leaving it as-is is becoming a viable option, as opposed to building an expensive museum that serves a tiny minority of citizens while creating another eyesore that ruins the openness of the place.


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Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 8, 2011 at 7:54 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

( PS, the login system is buggier than a bait store )

To do this right look at the examples of various history museums in cities like the ones around Denver and in Northern Wisconsin. The LAKEWOOD Heritage Museum set-up is probably closest to what is wanted, but on a smaller scale. Evergreen has it's Hiwan Homestead Museum, and some towns ( like Chippewas Falls ) has a little zoo/museum inside the city limits.

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

So get off your NIMBY 'tudes, restore the house and get the attraction built!


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Posted by Political Insider
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 8, 2011 at 10:42 pm

@ neighbor

I am not mis remembering anything. The project was not ID'd as you state but the history group was very clear about what they wanted to do and so were the people who cut a deal with them. Not all Cuesta neighbors were aware of the deal being cut but some of the most vocal annex people were aware of the size of the project. They knew it would be a history museum much like the one in LA. IN fact council clarified this at a later meeting when some annex people feigned ignorance about the structure being a history museum.


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