Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Muckenthaler turns 90

It started with a dream to build the perfect home for a small practical family that also enjoyed the finer things in life.

On top of a hill, the beautiful Mediterranean-architecture home with its landscaped gardens overlooked orchards in Southern California.

Walter and Adella Kraemer Muckenthaler built their home, Muckenthaler Villa, in 1924, a time of growing prosperity in the region.

The Muckenthaler in the 1920s.

The Villa which reflected Walter’s interest in Mission-style architecture was designed by architect Frank Benchley who also designed the now, Villa del Sol.

The home was built in the Golden Hills area of Fullerton for $35,000 and was completed within six months.

The Muckenthaler Cultural Center celebrates 90 years of the Villa’s construction this year. What the Muckenthaler’s intended for as a home for themselves has become a breeding ground for uniting a community through culture and arts.

A home that has seen 90 years has many stories to tell, many rich and defining moments that have played a role in shaping the history and foundations of Fullerton.

What makes the Villa special is not just that it has been around for 90 years, but what the Cultural Center and the Muckenthaler staff have done for the community.

Zoot Velasco the executive director of the Muckenthaler has seen the Cultural Center tremendously grow since he took the position in 2007.

Velasco described that this is his ideal job to work for a cultural center in a historic building.

Walter and Adella White pose in front of the Muck.

“I got the job in about a week and it was love at first sight,” Velasco said. “The board loved me and I loved the Muck.”

Under Velasco’s leadership the Muck has grown from 94 members to 650 and from an audience of 512 to 11,778 since 2007.

Ann Milazzo, the receptionist at the Muckenthaler describes that Velasco’s zeal for not only the Villa but the community is what has caused that growth and she credits him for their revival.

“Everything Zoot has done has been wonderful. It’s a huge difference from before,” Milazzo said. “If it wasn’t for him, we would have most likely closed down.”

The vision of the Cultural Center since 1968 was to be a regional cultural center that catered to North Orange County since there isn’t enough of the arts in the O.C. Velasco believes that the vision has always been there but just for a period of time it was lost.

“It’s not like I came in and did magic, there was a great board and staff here. It just needed leadership.” Velasco said. “What we are doing now is the original plan of 1968.”

Velasco credits the growth to the board and staff at the Muckenthaler. He believes the growth came as a result of their support and approval behind decisions for the Muckenthaler.

“We are getting a lot of the younger crowd now. When I started we had mainly an audience over 65 in 2007,” Velasco said. “But you look at our events now and it is a diverse age made up of families. That is what reflects our community.”

To commemorate their anniversary, the Muckenthaler will be hosting several events throughout the year; Sunday Social at the Villa, Gatsby’s Black and White Soiree, Oktoberfest and the Speakeasy: “The Golden Scarab Club”.

The Cultural Center aspect of the Muckenthaler will be celebrating 50 years next year and has a list of events in the process.

The Muckenthaler Cultural Center is located at 1201 W. Malvern Ave. 92833

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