by Richard Manfredi
October 16, 1997
George Hansen built the Mother Colony House in 1857 when German immigrants hired the San Francisco resident to plan the layout
for the settlement that would become Anaheim.
The original 50 German families were part of the Los Angeles Vineyard Society. They came to Anaheim to grow grapes for wine.
Hansen, a native Austrian, spent his first days in Anaheim living in a tent before the house was completed.
He built the house on land at what is now Anaheim Boulevard and Sycamore Street that he bought from Spanish land-owner, Juan
Pacifico Ontiveros, for $2 an acre.
The Mother Colony House originally was more like a cottage. It had no kitchen or indoor bathroom. It wasn't until Hansen sold it in
1863 that it became a three bedroom house.
Hansen laid out the 50 settler plots around the Mother Colony House, then created North, South, East and West streets to represent
the city's boundaries. Forty-thousand willow trees were planted to define the city limits.
After Hansen sold the house to Francisco Rodriguez in 1863, it went through seven changes in ownership during the next 55 years.
The house was set for demolition when philanthropist Edmond Beazley bought it and donated to the Daughters of the American
Marie Horstmann Dwyer, a daughter of one of the original Anaheim settlers, donated the land at 418 N. West St. where the house
would be moved.
The Mother Colony House was dedicated as a museum on March 14, 1929, making it the oldest museum in Orange County.
The house was moved to an adjacent lot at 414 N. West St. in 1949 to make room for the Red Cross building, also known as the
The Mother Colony House was shifted a few feet in 1965 in order to widen the driveway between the two buildings.
The city took over the Mother Colony House in 1954 when it was deeded to the city by the Daughters of the American Revolution.