Ole Hanson Home

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Casa Romantica estate is living history.

You can enjoy Casa Romantica in many ways: take a tour of the Ole Hanson home, explore our gardens, eat brunch at the Casa Cafe, or attend an arts program in the Main Salon, Courtyard, or Art Gallery.


Ole Hanson Home | Historic Casa Romantica 1930

Casa Romantica was built in 1927 as the family home of Ole Hanson, the founder of the City of San Clemente. Ole Hanson was an ambitious and enterprising individual who rose from humble beginnings in Wisconsin to become a lawyer, a grocer, the mayor of Seattle (1918-19), and a land developer. When financier Hamilton Cotton purchased 2,000 acres of land then known as the Rancho Boca de la Playa in 1923, he recruited Hanson to plan a ‘Spanish Village By The Sea.’ The resort-style community he developed was characterized by its striking Spanish Colonial-revival architecture, with his own blufftop mansion as the cornerstone model. Even from the beginning, Ole Hanson’s home functioned as a cultural and civic resource. From the gracious design of the property to the exotic gardens, carefully appointed furnishings, and frequent visits of notable persons, Casa Romantica became a unique and treasured destination.

Ole Hanson Home | Keyhole Door Entrance

Casa Romantica was designed by noted architect Carl Lindbom. Situated on 5 acres, it was developed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style which was popularized in the 1920s. One of Casa Romantica’s hallmarks is its keyhole door, handmade on-site by local artisans. The courtyard walkways are made of encaustic tile. These tiles are made of colored cement which is poured into molds that contain the design, so that the color does not wear off. On the right side of the courtyard is the barbecue area with its distinctive beehive-shaped fireplace.

Ole Hanson Home | Main Salon

The Main Salon entryway leads directly into a tiled sunken area referred to as the Solarium because of the natural light that fills the room from the clerestory windows above. In the center of the Solarium is a fountain made of imported Italian tiles and a beautiful crystal chandelier that Hanson purchased the chandelier during a trip to Virginia City, Nevada. The second half of the Main Salon features oak floors, redwood ceilings, a large fireplace, and two arched pocket doors with glass that frame the fireplace and take advantage of the ocean view.

Ole Hanson Home | Dining Room

To the right of the Solarium is the Dining Room. The dining table is one of the rare remaining pieces of original furniture. Many notable guests have dined here, including Chief Justice Earl Warren when he was campaigning for Governor of California.

Ole Hanson home | Octagonal Room

The bright and airy Octagonal Room, off the Main Salon, includes eight walls and five windows, with phenomenal views of the gardens, the pier, and the ocean beyond. Oak flooring, redwood ceiling, and wrought iron light fixtures complete the Spanish Revival look of this room, which was Hanson’s office. Next to it were his bedroom quarters. Ole Hanson’s wife, Nellie Mae Rose Hanson, had a separate bedroom suite down the hallway in what now serves as the ‘Bride’s Room.’ French doors lead from the bedroom to a garden off the main Courtyard, and the high ceilings are adorned with gold-leafed, acanthus-patterned crown moulding.

Ole Hanson Home | Gallery

The two wings at the front of the courtyard each held two bedrooms and two baths. In typical Spanish style, all of the original rooms in the home have doors that open to the courtyard. Today, the wings house the Art Gallery, Discovery Gallery, and the Gift Shop.

Ole Hanson Home | Ocean Terrace

The pocket doors in the Main Salon open to a covered porch and open terrace, collectively called the Ocean Terrace. The Terrace porch archways, which are a hallmark of Moorish architecture in Spain, frame the view of the gardens, the Pier and the Pacific Ocean, with Catalina Island and San Clemente Island visible on the horizon. The foreground focal point is a majestic yucca plant that grows at the edge of the Ocean Terrace, which was planted when the property was built, and serves today as a legacy of the gardens.

Ole Hanson Home | Brides Room

Many types of cactus and other succulents in the Succulent Gardens outside the Bride’s Room, as well as palm trees in the corners of the Courtyard, date to the time of the Hansons’ residency. Hanson also planted a large Coral Tree at the front entrance to Casa Romantica. Coral Trees are not native to California; at his request it was brought from Africa and propagated throughout the city to add fiery bursts of color. Today, it is the official tree of the City of San Clemente.

Ole Hanson Home | Gardens

In Hanson’s time, much of the land was wild and not structured into the gardens of today. Half of the original five acres were sold in the middle of the century, and the remaining 2.5 acres have been transformed into numerous native and educational gardens designed to educate the public about responsible and artful horticulture.

Want to learn more?

Visit the Casa Gift Shop (inside the Discovery Gallery) to purchase our travel-friendly souvenir book with detailed information about Casa Romantica's story.


Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens
415 Avenida Granada
San Clemente, CA 92672
(949) 498-2139

Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization and is the historic home of the founder of the city of San Clemente. Casa Romantica provides programs for all ages in arts, music, history, horticulture, and literature and is a premier Southern California cultural center.

Copyright © Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens.
All rights reserved.


Monday — Closed
Tuesday — 11 am – 4 pm
Wednesday — 11 am – 4 pm
Thursday — 11 am – 4 pm
Friday — 10 am – 2 pm
Saturday — 10 am – 2 pm
Sunday — 10 am – 2 pm

Casa Romantica is closed on President's Day, Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. We are also closed on these special dates:
Saturday, May 5
Wednesday, July 4
Sunday, September 9
Tuesday, September 18 - Sunday, September 23
Saturday, December 1


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