The Volcano House in Newberry Springs, previously donated by
Public Broadcast Service celebrity Huell Howser to Chapman University, has been reportedly
sold to an undisclosed purchaser for $100,000 above the $650,000 asking price. The
house reportedly sold within 5-days on the market with multiple offers.
Huell Howser is reported to have spent only a couple of nights
in the house that is said to have been purchased by the new owner for its uniqueness.
That uniqueness is what is said to have attracted Howser to originally purchase the house
that he planned to entertain his West L.A. friends in. Unfortunately, due to the
Volcano House's remote location in the rural desert, the distance proved too far for his
friends to travel.
Howser acquired the 2,200 square foot house in September 2004 and
it sat unused for nearly 8-years. Howser employed caretakers who lived in a second house
on the 60-acre parcel. Over the years of Howser's ownership, deferred
maintenance caused the exposed wooden roof arches to deteriorate with the first
signs of rot. Howser donated the house to Chapman University in July 2012 and
upon the transfer of ownership, the school did renovations.
After the donation, Howser died within six months on January 7, 2013.
The school soon also learned that the property was too distant, and
the house's interior too small to serve a practical need. The lack of Newberry Springs'
infrastructure to support students is furthered claimed to have been a concern of the school.
Despite the home itself being an observation deck, the roof has
a stairway access to an observation platform that provides an unobstructed view from
any direction one turns.