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SUNLAND, TUJUNGA PLAN HISTORICAL HOMES TOUR.

Byline: Susan Abram Staff Writer

SUNLAND/TUJUNGA - Perched on a sprawling front lawn along Fairgrove Avenue, the Tujunga home of Salpi and Victor Chemlekian always gets a second look.

Maybe it's the garden Salpi has carefully tended for the four years she's owned the home. Or it's the fact there are several smaller versions of her house on the same street.

Most likely, it's because the Chemlekian's turn-of-the-century stone home seems to be straight out of a Grimm's fairy tale, most notably ``Hansel and Gretel.''

``When we first bought the house, I couldn't remember who Hansel and Gretel were,'' Salpi Chemlekian said. ``People said that all the time.''

Residents and visitors will get a chance to view this home, inside and out, during the annual Sunland/Tujunga Home Tour next weekend.

Sponsored by the Sunland/Tujunga coordinating council and the Sunland/Tujunga Little Landers Historical Society, the event's proceeds help support the Verdugo Hills High School scholarship fund and Bolton Hall Museum.

``People who come on the tour seemed surprised,'' said Sally Hall, a member of the historical society. ``We usually get a turnout of 200 people.''

Five homes will be featured in the self-guided driving tour. Participants are asked to begin at Bolton Hall Museum, 10110 Commerce Ave., in Tujunga.

Hall said tour visitors often get a good dose of local history and also learn more about the region. Nestled in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, Sunland/Tujunga became known among world travelers for its healthy climate and vast groves of eucalyptus trees.

Bolton Hall, for example, was built in 1913 from boulders collected nearby. It was named after George Bolton, a reformer and advocate of ``sustenance on one acre.'' Originally a town hall or clubhouse for owners of small plots of land - known as ``Little Landers'' - the structure later served as the Tujunga City Hall and town jail.

Now owned by the city of Los Angeles, Bolton Hall houses the area's historical society and museum.

The tour also includes a visit to the McGroarty Cultural Art Center, 7570 McGroarty Terrace, also in Tujunga.

Built in 1923, the structure was the home of John Steven McGroarty, a poet, historian, dramatist, journalist and congressman. He was known for his ``Mission Play,'' which depicted early California history.

This house also is owned by Los Angeles and functions as a meeting place for crafts classes, historical groups and recreational activities.

``These tours are the only way people can find out about these old homes,'' Hall said. ``There's only certain (kinds) of people that are interested in this, but many come back. We try to vary the tour. This year, it is a home and garden tour. We have some spectacular gardens here.''

Salpi Chemlekian said she had never been on the tour herself but was happy that Hall invited her to join. Visitors to her home can expect to see an antique-style fireplace, hardwood floors throughout and a unique color scheme in each room.

IF YOU GO: The Sunland/Tujunga Home Tour will be held from 10:30 to 4 p.m. April 13 beginning at the Bolton Hall Museum, 10110 Commerce Ave., Tujunga. Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased at the museum on the day of the event. For more information, contact Sally Hall at (818) 951-1851.

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A Tujunga home called the Hansel and Gretel house is one of several in a Sunland-Tujunga historical tour next weekend.

Joel Lugavere/Special to the Daily News
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 6, 2003
Words:580
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