Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A week of 'Doheniana'

Poster collage of historic Mount bulletins.
THE COLLEGE HAS BEEN CELEBRATING the anniversary of the Doheny Campus, which opened to about 250 students on September 12, 1962.  

The annual Mass of the Holy Spirit on at Doheny on September 13 was followed by lunch and the 50th Anniversary Fair, comprising several booths showcasing different aspects of campus history:  changes to the physical plant and landscaping, notable films and TV shows filmed there, a look at dorms through the decades, Weekend College and the Graduate School, alumnae and the CSJs. Nearly 200 Mount students took advantage of the opportunity for a rare look inside Doheny Mansion and signed up for tours held continuously all afternoon.

'Documenting Doheny' exhibit is on display
at the McCarthy Library through December.
Running between now and December, an exhibit of "Doheniana" -- items from the College Archives illustrating the Doheny family, the College and Chester Place -- is on display in the J. Thomas McCarthy Library on the Doheny Campus. The "Documenting Doheny" exhibit is available for viewing during regular library hours, including weekends. Included are historic photos and books, yearbooks, bulletins and newsletters. Check out those 1960s fashions!

Touring a 'weekend getaway'

Central courtyard of the former 
Doheny hacienda in Ojai.
ANYONE WHO HAS SEEN THE DOHENY MANSION at 8 Chester Place is not going to associate the words "rustic" or "country" with Countess Estelle Doheny.

Nevertheless, we had the privilege of joining the Doheny Docents on a tour of St. Thomas Aquinas College in Ojai, whose beautiful, remote valley was once part of the Ferndale Ranch acreage of Edward L. Doheny. Near the oil-rich hills of Santa Paula, Doheny's company drilled at Ferndale, but in 1928 it became the family's rustic weekend retreat during the dark days of the Teapot Dome hearings and in 1929 after the sudden death of Doheny's only son, Ned. 

The simple, almost austere, pantiled hacienda, designed by Wallace Neff, was legendarily built under Countess Doheny's direction in just six weeks. For many years it has served as the residence of the president of St. Thomas Aquinas College, and recently underwent its first extensive renovation without losing any of its classical California charm. President Michael F. McLean and his wife, Linda, graciously opened their home to the docents, the first time these Doheny history experts have had a look at this hidden treasure.

For more photos, please click here for the MSMC Archives page on Facebook, 

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