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Groundbreaking ceremony held for Teten House renovation

ENCINITAS — After more than 130 years, it’s time for a facelift. 

That’s what representatives of the San Dieguito Heritage Museum said on Tuesday during a groundbreaking ceremony kicking off the Teten House’s renovation.

“I’m glad that the house will get new life,” said Dave Oakley, who has worked on the Teten House restoration since 2009 with two other residents.

The house, located on the museum’s property at 450 Quail Gardens Drive, goes back a ways.

Built in 1885 in Olivenhain, it was used as a schoolhouse for children of early settlers. Fred Teten, a blacksmith, bought the home in 1892 shortly after moving to Encinitas from Kansas with his family. Teten grew barley, corn and lima beans on the property.

Among Teten’s grandchildren was Gladys Teten Schull, who was born in the house in 1926.

Schull, an honorary guest at the groundbreaking, recalled memories of growing up in the house as a small crowd listened. Notably, one of her days consisted of raising turkeys by morning, and getting married by night.

Volunteers and museum officials gather for a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday. The Teten House will soon be undergoing a $65,000 renovation.  Photos by Jared Whitlock
Gladys Teten Schull, who was born in the Teten House in 1926, and San Dieguito Heritage Museum Board President Fred Bruns break ground on the Teten House revamp.

“That was my wedding day,” Schull said with a laugh.

After the groundbreaking, she noted that the house didn’t have electricity, plumbing or a telephone. There were corn and bean fields as far as the eye could see — and, of course, turkeys.

“We had a lot of turkeys,” Schull said. “My mom and dad raised the turkeys for the entire county for Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

She noted that there were only 20 homes in the area. “Everybody knew everybody,” she said.

In 2007, volunteers transported the Teten House to the museum.

The restoration effort includes pouring new concrete foundation, repairing the roof and renovating the house’s three porches. $45,000 of the $65,000 cost came from individual and business donations. The remaining $15,000 was secured by a San Diego County Neighborhood Reinvestment grant. And the museum plans to raise additional money to re-create what the home’s interior might have looked like 100 years ago.

The city’s Planning Commission approved the Teten House restoration about a month ago as part of a larger master plan.

The museum currently has a Native American grass hut, a historic Texaco gas station, a 1930s shack built in the early days of Ecke Ranch and more. Down the line, organizers hope to flesh out the viewable history with a remake of 1940s downtown and 4,000-square-foot barn to house old documents and public meetings.

The museum is open from noon to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

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