By John Earl
SUSAN WORTHY and her husband, Guy Guzardo, had been trying for decades to save and restore their small two-story, eastern-style, cottage and its accompanying large commercial building, both located at the corner of 6th and Walnut streets in downtown Huntington Beach. After years of fighting redevelopment politics and searching for funding, they began a full restoration of the two buildings about a year ago.
H.B. residents might appreciate their perseverance because the structures are extraordinary and vital to understanding the city’s history. The 1200 square foot house and the 5,000 square foot commercial building date prior to 1904, the year that electricity first came to the city and it officially took the name Huntington Beach.
Both buildings are in the National Register of Historical Places because they retain their original materials and structure (the Newland home is the city’s only other un-remodeled historical structure) and due to their direct connection to two of the city’s founding settlers-Matthew and Mollie Helme, Susan’s great grandparents.
“There’s nothing that looks like it in all of southern California,” Worthy says. Although small, the home started out with four bedrooms and an outside bathroom. In 1907 walls were knocked down to create two bedrooms. Today, one of those rooms is the bathroom, leaving only one bedroom. (more…)