Leading the way for a historic move – Simi Valley Acorn

MOVING HISTORY—The Printz/Powell Colony House at Pacific Avenue and Second Street is one of 12 prefabricated homes brought by rail and wagon to Simi Valley in 1888. Plans are underway to move the house to Strathearn Historical Park and Museum so it can be preserved. Courtesy of Simi Valley Historical Society

MOVING HISTORY—The Printz/Powell Colony House at Pacific Avenue and Second Street is one of 12 prefabricated homes brought by rail and wagon to Simi Valley in 1888. Plans are underway to move the house to Strathearn Historical Park and Museum so it can be preserved. Courtesy of Simi Valley Historical Society

The Simi Valley leadership class of 2018 is paving the way to honor the city’s past, working in partnership with the Simi Valley Historical Society to preserve a 130-year-old home for future generations.

The leadership program is an annual 10-month course designed by the Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce to identify and develop effective community leaders.

This year, the 16 individuals enrolled in the course are helping to organize a fundraiser to sponsor the move of the Printz/ Powell Colony House from its current site at 975 Pacific Ave. to Strathearn Historical Park.

The Printz Colony home at Pacific Avenue and Second Street served as Simi Valley’s first post office. It was one of 12 prefabricated, partially assembled homes brought by rail from Chicago to Saticoy, then by wagon to Simi by a group of investors who formed the California Mutual Benefit Colony of Chicago, later shortened to the Colony.

The Chicago group was so named because of its vision to create a new town in California called Simiopolis.

The Printz family was among the early Simi Valley residents who journeyed from Chicago and stayed. Bessie Printz’s mother, Rose, ran the house as a post office from 1904 until 1941, but the outside did not have any signs or markings.

The Printz family owned the home until the early 1980s, when it was purchased by Larry Powell, who promised the Simi Valley Historical Society he would never tear it down and would eventually allow it to be moved to Strathearn Historical Park and Museum.

Another of the dozen structures brought to Simi in 1888, the Haigh-Talley Colony House, was moved from Second Street and Ashland Avenue to the park in 1970 at a cost of $5,000.

The other 10 homes no longer exist. Some were torn down; others burned down.

The Simi Valley Historical Society is now working to relocate the last homestead on the Pacific Avenue settlement site to Strathearn Historical Park and Museum, where it will be turned over to the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District.

The undertaking will involve removing the roof, raising the house off its foundation, placing it on a truck and moving it over a mile to the park, said Phil Englander, a member of the Simi Valley leadership program.

The relocation will cost an estimated $75,000.

Powell will likely buy a modular home so he can stay on his property for the foreseeable future.

The house is scheduled to make its way through Simi Valley on April 6.

On Feb. 3, 180 people will have the opportunity to eat, drink, dance and mingle on the old Simiopolis site, where the Printz/ Powell Colony House was built over a century ago.

Proceeds from the event will help fund the house’s move and preserve a piece of history, Englander said.

The event takes place from 4 to 11 p.m. The cost for a single dinner ticket is $125. The deadline to get tickets is Fri., Jan. 26.

For more information and ticket price options, call the Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce at (805) 526-3900 or email rana@simichamber.org.

Sylvie Belmond

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