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OC Parks Completes Restoration of Historic Pleasants Stone House in Modjeska Canyon

Pleasants Stone House Ribbon Cutting

(Modjeska Canyon, Calif.) –  Following an extensive restoration project, the oldest building on the grounds of OC Parks’ Arden: Helena Modjeska Historic House and Gardens is complete. Originally built in the 1870s, the restored Pleasants Stone House is now fully open to the public for the first time in park history.

Constructed around 1875 by Joseph Pleasants and Mary Refugio Carpenter, the Stone House was first used to keep supplies on their homestead cool during the hot summer months. Pleasants went on to sell the ranch to world-renowned Shakespearean actress Helena Modjeska in 1888. The second floor of the Stone House later became living quarters for staff working at the Arden property, including Modjeska’s gardener Theodore Payne, who is well-known for pioneering the use of California native plants in the early 20th century. 

“The Pleasants Stone House is an important part of Orange County’s history,” said Chairman Donald P. Wagner, Orange County Board of Supervisors. “Built by some of the earliest homesteaders in Modjeska Canyon, the Stone House can now be enjoyed by future generations while further adding to the historical significance of Arden, a National Historic Landmark.”

The restoration was made possible, in part, by a “Save America’s Treasures” grant through the U.S. Department of Interior’s National Park Service. The project took nine months to complete and focused on the meticulous restoration of the second-floor interior and exterior, ensuring preservation of existing character-defining features. 

In 1990, Arden was declared a National Historic Landmark, one of only two sites in Orange County to receive this designation. The restoration now allows visitors access to the second floor of the Stone House, further adding to this historic site.

The Pleasants Stone House can be seen during guided tours offered Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10 a.m. with advance registration. Visitors can enjoy self-guided tours of the grounds Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For information about Arden: Helena Modjeska Historic House and Gardens, please visit

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OC Parks
OC Parks manages nearly 60,000 acres of parks, historical and coastal facilities and open space for the County of Orange as part of OC Community Resources.