About the Museum

The history of the Roy Jones house

The building that houses the California Heritage Museum is as interesting and unique as the exhibits themselves.


In the late 19th Century, renowned architect Sumner P. Hunt built the home for Roy Jones, son of the founder of Santa Monica Senator, John Percival Jones. City Trustees granted Jones a permit to dig a cesspool on April 16, 1894, marking the first step taken in the construction of the house. One of Sumner P. Hunt's earliest surviving buildings, the Roy Jones home is designed in a style that transitions between the elaborate Victorian Queen Anne Revival to the more simple American Colonial or Georgian Revival.


The beauty and grace of the first buildings were documented in 1894 May publication of 'Outlook': "Five new residences, ranging in cost from $3,000 to $5,000, are now in the course of construction in Santa Monica. Those of Messrs. Roy Jones and Kennelly, on Ocean Avenue are about completed. They are all handsome structures, and show that there is to be no deterioration in architectural styles in our growing city by the sea." The June 30, 1894 edition further reinforced this appreciation: "Sumner P. Hunt, architect, of Los Angeles, had made his 'imprint' upon this town in a pleasant way that is not excelled by anyone who has ever 'struck' it. He designed the residence of Mr. Roy Jones. They are all neat, slightly edifices, and are a gratifying step in advancing the style of our architecture." The house spent its first years on Ocean Avenue, lived in by the Jones family, followed by Gustavus S. Homes. It was later converted from a single family home to a rooming house. 

The house history was the impetus for the City deciding to save it from the commercial development in Santa Monica, and in 1977, it was moved in it's entirety to the current location of 2612 Main Street. In 1979, the building was named an Official City Landmark and became home to the California Heritage Museum. 

The permanent exhibition at the museum includes photographs of the extraordinary move to Main Street, the Jones family, and an Ostrich Farm that made up a great deal of Ocean Park in 1893.

The California Heritage Museum is committed to promoting the diversity and rich history of California's heritage through exhibitions, lectures, publications and community events.