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The decorative Trinity Episcopal Church, a Fillmore landmark, is just one of the fascinating stops on the April 23 Santa Clara Valley Hospice Home Tour.

Trinity Episcopal Church: Redwood landmark SCV Hospice Home Tour stop

April 19, 2006
Santa Paula News
In 1901 Senator Thomas Bard had a small English-style redwood church built for his wife Molly, a devoted Episcopalian, close to his estate in Port Hueneme. Now Trinity Episcopal Church, an excellent example of Craftsman architecture, is among the featured stops on the April 23 Santa Clara Valley Hospice/Home Support Group Spring Home Tour, held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.Tours of Trinity Episcopal Church and service of Baskin Robbins ice cream sundaes - as well as an opportunity to “freshen up” - will begin at noon, although the popular outdoor Plant Sale will start at 10 a.m.Comfortably nestled in a neighborhood of vintage homes, Trinity Episcopal Church, located at the corner of Saratoga and Second streets, will offer access to Hospice Tour visitors through the Second Street church hall entrance, just east of the chapel.The uniqueness of the redwood building with vivid white trim is even greater than its roots: the steep pitched gable roof is offset by an open bell tower that rises comfortably above the gabled recessed entry, showing fine wood details that are continued inside the structure.Under the main gable three pointed arched windows - some with leaded glass and diamond shape designs - give just a hint of the detail inside revealed when Charlene Smith, a member of the congregation and this year’s Home Tour Chairwoman, unlocks the doors.“It’s a family,” is what Smith said she appreciates most about Trinity Episcopal Church, whose Rector is the Rev. Pat Bennett. “We like the grounded feel of the church...”Grounded the church was when moved to the present location in 1933; two adjacent houses - not open Tour Day - were built shortly thereafter and eventually donated to Trinity Episcopal.Inside the church the elaborate carvings on the rich woods throughout the building gleam under the varying light coming through the numerous windows, including the stained glass series devoted to notable Biblical figures.The intimate church holds two pedal organs, one a Clough & Warren - “They captivate the world!” was the motto of the company founded in 1874 and closed in 1913 - and the other of unknown origin, although impressive girth with 12 pedals.The baptismal font is located in a charming niche surrounded by stained glass windows that caresses the font in the light that bounces upward to the open-beam ceiling.Vintage light fixtures run the length of the church, whose only noticeable modern touch is antique-looking ceiling fans that seem to whisper when they swirl.Outside one of the buildings in the church complex is a Richard Bersbach sculpture of Trinity Episcopal...although originally created as a mailbox the elaborate work is treasured for its fine detailing and the obvious affection the artist felt for his subject.Other Tour stops include the fascinating home of Deborah and Vincent Burns, 20596 South Mountain Road, Santa Paula, that is nestled in a quiet orchard where numerous windows let in the light and offer an “up-close” view of the country. The environmentally friendly minimalist-style home was designed to take advantage of nature’s elements and constructed using a wide variety of “green” materials.
A short drive through rural Bardsdale leads to the Mediterranean Spanish hacienda that is home to the “Familia” of Oralia and Jorge Herrera. Tucked away at 573 W. Guiberson Road, this contemporary hacienda with Old World charm strikes just the right note for this well-known musical family whose five children - Hermanos Herrera - have preformed to international acclaim.At 458 Central Avenue, above Fillmore’s quaint downtown, is the home of Michael Keegan, a lofty Neo-Classical influenced landmark that was built in 1914 as a Catholic Church. Now the former church holds Keegan’s unique collections amid living quarters that strongly reflect its roots. Outdoors, three separate and distinct gardens exhibit the green thumb of Keegan, who grows award-winning dahlias.A crafty couple, Phyllis and Jim Austin, made a contemporary home uniquely their own with ambitious projects and elaborate finishing touches evident both inside and out. The home at 415 Fourth St., Fillmore, utilizes many aspects of nature and boasts an outdoor entertainment area that seems to call “Party on!” Although the couple has a little bit of everything nature is a strong theme of the decorations.A vintage house found its own homesite when long ago moved from a Texaco oil field to 249 Third St., Fillmore. And this home found even newer life when purchased by Suzanne and David Dobson, who lovingly restored it to the perfect backdrop for custom-built Craftsman furniture and a garden with bursts of color defining separate patios and a vegetable growing area.Tickets for this very special Santa Clara Valley Hospice/Home Support Group Spring Home Tour are available for $20 each, on Tour Day $25 at the door.In Santa Paula tickets can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce (200 N. 10th St.), Pamela’s (861 E. Main St.), Santa Paula Times (944 E. Main St.) and John Nichols Gallery (916 E. Main St.).In Fillmore at Mirage (corner of Central Avenue & Santa Clara Street) and Fillmore Flowers (354 Central Ave.).In Ventura at Jan’s Hallmark & Mail Center (4756-4 Telephone Road, Mervyn’s Shopping Center) and The Senior Center Craft Shop (429 E. Main St.).In Ojai at Tottenham Court (242 E. Ojai Ave.).For ticket information including Will Call reservations, call (805) 524-5131.