A visit to La Cañada's Lanterman house is the perfect family field trip. The Lanterman house provides an exciting glimpse into the 1900s.
The Lanterman house is a large Craftsman style home; behind it, you'll find a visitor's center that is home to all kinds of interesting books with pictures of La Cañada and surrounding communities like La Crescenta and Montrose from almost 100 years ago. Very informative and entertaining docents are on hand, happy to tell everyone about the Lanterman family and the history of the area.
Ann Neilson and Susan Partamian were the docents for my family's tour and they were truly a wealth of information. They joked that if the Lantermans were alive today that they might be featured on an episode of Hoarders because they did not throw out anything. Among the things they did not throw away were newspapers and advertisements which give a perfect idea of what was happening in the world at turn of the century. There are even old tin cans with food labels in tact!
The Lanterman's built their home after the big 1906 San Francisco earthquake and made it quite earthquake proof with concrete and metal support. The home was built for about $70,000 and is 11,500 square feet.
The bedrooms and bathrooms are some of the most interesting rooms to explore because the medicine cabinets still have original items in them such as toothbrushes and prescriptions from the 1900s. The Lanterman family's wardrobe still hangs in the closets around the home.
Dr. Lloyd Lanterman's wife, Emily, loved to play hostess; the kitchen testifies to this fact. It's a spectacular shrine to her cooking, and her original spices and cook books are still on display. You can also find her famous recipe for peanut butter cookies:
Emily Lanterman's Peanut Butter Cookies
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup shortening
- 3 cups of flour
- 2 well beaten eggs
- 2 teaspoons of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Mix together all of the wet ingredients, then mix in the dry ingredients until well blended. Drop by the spoonful onto cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
This is a recipe you can create at home with the family long after your trip to the Lanterman House is over!
Before you leave the house, though, you'll definitely want to check out the incredible ballroom that takes up nearly the entire upper floor. Beautiful clouds and roses are painted on the walls, and its easy to imagine our Crescenta Valley ancestors waltzing the night away.
Tours are provided Tuesday, Thursday, and the first and third Sundays of the month from 1-4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults. Seniors and students (12-18 years old) are $3. Children under 12 are free with adult admission.