According to the OC Register, the San Clemente City Council voted 5-0 last week to enter into an agreement with La Casa Pacifica owner Gavin Herbert to refurbish the home that formerly served as the Western White House for RN and PN. The preservation effort might also include a study of a mature Magnolia tree on the property, which PN originally planted as a seedling from a tree that President Andrew Jackson brought to the White House:
One of the curiosities that could be explored in the survey, officials said, is a mature magnolia tree at Casa Pacifica that first lady Pat Nixon planted there, using a seedling she had brought from the White House in Washington.
Herbert knew of that tree. As owner of Roger’s Gardens, a home and garden center in Corona del Mar, he took charge of the landscaping at Casa Pacifica shortly after the Nixons arrived in 1969.
“The history of the tree was more than Pat Nixon bringing a seedling,” Herbert said. “Andrew Jackson brought that tree to the White House. And if you look on a $20 bill (which bears President Jackson’s likeness) there’s a picture of it.”
Herbert said it would be fun to do a historic survey. Having lived through the Nixon years and having purchased the home from the Nixons when they moved to the East Coast in 1980, he suggested he probably knows as much as whoever might be hired to do a historic survey.
“We had 17 heads of state there during the Nixon era,” Herbert said. “We’ve had five different presidents on the property over a period of 40 years.”