Huell Howser donates volcano house to Chapman

Huell Howser’s latest gift to Chapman, a house sited upon a small volcanic cone, will offer students a location for desert field trips, film sets and artist retreats.

Howser donated “The Volcano House,” a space-age house between Los Angeles and Las Vegas in Newberry Springs, Calif., to the university two weeks ago.

Howser, host of “California’s Gold,” a statewide public access TV show that explores cities and cultures throughout California, originally planned to sell the 60-acre property, which includes the two-bedroom, two-bath home, for $750,000.

President Jim Doti said he had been discussing the possibility of Howser donating the house for several months.
“When I saw a real estate ad online noting that it was owned by Huell Howser, I asked him about it,” Doti wrote in an email. “He said that though it was for sale for $750,000, he told me that he’d much rather gift it to Chapman than sell it.”

Howser last spoke at Chapman in October 2011. At that time, he donated all the tapes from “California’s Gold” to be digitized and made available to the public. He also donated 1,800 books about California to Leatherby Libraries and funds California Gold Scholarships for students.

The volcano house was designed by architect Harold J. Bissner, Jr. in 1968. Doti said Chapman will renovate it for student use. The cost of renovating the house has not been determined, Doti wrote.

“It’s in pretty good shape, but it is only a two-bedroom, two-bath house, so we will eventually want to build modular dorm-style housing for 10-15 students,” Doti wrote.

Keegan Mullin, a freshman film production major, said he is excited for the house to be used for Chapman.

“It sounds fantastic. The first thing that comes to mind is using it for film,” Mullin said. “It’s cool that Chapman can have something like that, but it’s a shame it’s so far.”

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