Ventura’s historic architecture focal point of weekend

Ventura is one of California

The San Buenaventura Conservancy will host the Ventura Architecture Weekend from Fri., Nov. 4 to Sun., Nov. 6. There will be a new event on Friday night, “Upstairs/Downstairs.” The 1892 Victorian Dudley House Interpretive Museum will be featured on Saturday and Sunday.

Ventura is one of California’s oldest cities, founded 223 years ago by Father Junipero Serra. Ventura and San Luis Obispo are the only cities whose missions are in the heart of Old Downtown. After decades of commercial abandonment, beginning in the 1960s when the mall was built, Ventura’s Old Downtown has experienced a vibrant revitalization.

To commemorate this new urban energy, the San Buenaventura Conservancy is offering a behindthe-scenes look at contemporary and vintage uses of the historic buildings in Old Downtown.

The weekend will kick off with “Upstairs/Downstairs” from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday. The public will go behind the normally closed doors of the city’s oldest fraternal organizations, the Masonic Center and the Odd Fellows Hall. Never publicly shared ceremonial costumes and paraphernalia will be displayed, along with historic photos.

Room 17, the haunted lair of Sylvia the Ghost, will be open at the Bella Maggiore Inn. Erle Stanley Gardner’s office will be dressed with reproduction furniture of the late 1920s where he wrote his first Perry Mason novel, complete with a very live flapper in the person of Glenda Jackson.

At Nicholby’s Night Club, guests will learn about the building’s history, beginning as the 1890s Great Eastern Dry Goods Store and turning into a Woolworth’s in 1948, then reconnect its association with the Tortilla Flats Mural Project.

Main Street Architects will offer a continuous showing of historic photos of Ventura, in collaboration with the recently published Ventura “Then & Now” 2006 calendar from Schaf Photo Studios. The evening will conclude with a reception at the Old Livery on Palm Street.

The Dudley House Museum will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. This is the featured house of the tour, completely restored and accurately period furnished. This interpretive house museum offers a view of Victorian agricultural life in 19th-century Ventura County.

ArtWalk will be from 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday. From 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Kid Ramos and his Blues Band will perform swing blues music at the San Buenaventura Mission’s Serra Center.

Event pricing ranges from $22 to $37, with free admission to Artwalk. For more information or tickets, call (800) 483-6214.

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