~ Come Experience History ~


The History of The Jonathan Bailey House

0After Aquilla Pickering, a Chicago Quaker and financier had selected the site for the new Pacific Coast Quaker community, the Pickering Land and Water Company was formed, and the Thomas Ranch was purchased for $69,850, or $55 per acre. The election of the Company officers was held in a barn behind the ranch house, and Jonathan Bailey, then living in Los Angeles , was named President. Born in Prince George County , Virginia , in 1819, he had migrated with his family and many other Quakers to Ohio when he was a young boy. After a successful life as a mill-owner, farmer, community and church leader, he started his new career as a Founder of the new Western town at the age of sixty-eight

On May 15, 1887, four days after moving into their new home, the Baileys conducted the first Quaker meeting for a group of approximately ten people who gathered on the porch of the Ranch House. Services were conducted at the Bailey home until a church building was erected four months later, the First Meeting House of the Society of Friends in Whittier . 1

For a time, the Jonathan Bailey Home was the center of Whittier 's business, social and religious activity. President Jonathan Bailey (known as "Uncle Jonathan" throughout the area) directed the development of the new community from this historic site. He frequently arose at 4:00 a.m., saddled his horse, Polly, and rode through the hills, directing the workmen in their search for water. Rebecca entertained new-comers and worked in her beloved flower garden during his long absences.

In 1892, the entire populace of the struggling new settlement was invited to attend the Bailey's Golden Wedding Anniversary celebration, for which school was dismissed, and young and old dined, played games, and were entertained under the surrounding pepper trees.

This small, dignified home has furnished much of Whittier 's early history and is a symbol of our heritage for present and future generations.

The Jonathan Bailey House and Grounds were deeded to the City of Whittier on January 7, 1975. The House is operated under the auspices of the Whittier Historical Society. The "Park" is maintained by the City of Whittier Park Department with special help from volunteers. This property has been placed in the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

1Bailey House Pamphlet

The Bailey House Docents
Friends of the Bailey House, are a volunteer group of adults who interpret the history of the house and grounds. They meet on the second Wednesday of each month and plan special exhibits and activities as well as tours to other historical places. At Christmas time, the Docents have a special tea and open house in the seasonally decorated home.

If you are interested in becoming a Docent and joining the Whittier Historical Society, call (562) 945-3871.

13421 E. Camilla Street
Whittier, CA. 90601

Tours: Sundays 1-4
Schools Tours: by appointment only
(Closed for the month of August)

Highlights of Your Tour

  • The tall, very old palm tree in the front yard.
  • Historical Marker to your left approaching front step. Authentic rose bushes in front of house from period of ''Rebecca's Garden". Period furnishings of the 1865-1904 era. Several items are original to the home: Jonathan's rocking chair, cane, mantle clock, hat rack, books, fireplace shield, coverlets, dishes and mementos. Most articles were donated by family members, interested friends and organizations. The line in the plaster on north wall of Master Bedroom indicates where rooms were enlarged in approximately 1887.
  • This remodeling included an ''inside bathroom" which was a novelty at that time. The original core of the house was redwood.
  • The "Lincoln Bookcase" contains many interesting Bailey family mementos and a representative Quaker Library. The original cistern in the rear yard which was used for water storage. The herb garden and other authentic plantings which Rebecca grew in her garden - the first in Whittier . The converted barn with its old ''gravel wagon'', and collection of antique tools. The old root cellar beneath the barn.
  • Notice the huge eucalyptus tree in the rear yard with its embedded plow brake.



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