Recent San Clemente landslide threatens the Casa Romantica

Damage from the landslide leaves the Casa Romantica patio fractured and unsupported. Orange County Register

Ava Miller | Opinion Editor

May 5, 2023

PRE LANDSLIDE: The historic Casa served as a popular location for weddings and sightseers alike. OC Register

On April 27th, part of the cliff supporting the historic home of Ole Hanson, The Casa Romantica, collapsed, sliding down towards the beach trail in a landslide. The Casa Romantica is one of the last original Ole Hansen designed homes built in 1927. The furnishing, rugs, and architecture are original and an important part of San Clemente’s history. The landslide caused part of the patio and its landscaping to fall down the cliff side, fracturing the structure and the foundation the Casa Romantica was built on. 

Griffin Croft, Senior, said, “I cried when I heard about the loss of that beautiful place”. He shares similar emotions with the rest of the town as the Casa was a defining feature of our history. 

Following the fateful slide, the neighboring apartment complexes were red-tagged, and the occupants were forced to leave. Homeowners of that area, on the cliffs North of the Pier, are living with the fear that their homes are next. The slide uncovered sandy material raising a concern about future problems and the current unstable state of the land. 

The Casa Romantica announces closure until further information can be gathered regarding the safety of the area. Orange County Register

Residents of San Clemente are distraught about the disaster as this has been an iconic area to take in the history and beautiful views of San Clemente. When asked about the landslide, Christian McCleary, a senior, was at a loss for words. McCleary could only muster one word: “Tragic”.

 Days before the collapse of the cliffside, a crack was observed in the concrete of the outback patio. Since then, a geologist group was hired to further evaluate the stability of the land. Following the slide, greater efforts on behalf of the geologist have ensued. An inclinometer was installed to measure the ground movement and a soil boring was taken to evaluate the sediment that compose the hillside. These steps are being taken in hopes that the historic building will be salvageable and safe in the near future.

Brooklyn Goudchaux, a senior, commented “I hope there is positive news that comes out of the geologist studies. The Casa Romantica is such a historic building” 

The landslide not only destabilized the Casa, but it also forced the suspension of Amtrak and Metrolink services through the area. The debris from the Casa are interfering with the train tracks, and railroad engineers are actively evaluating the extent of the closure. 

This landslide is one many suspected to happen far in our future, but the sudden erosion leaves many cliffside residing residents of San Clemente concerned. The slide was a wake-up call. Coastal erosion isn’t suspected to happen, it is happening now, and San Clemente has become a victim. 

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