Historic Sonoma home will be restored
BILL JASPER has plans to restore the old estate home, built in 1910 by Christian Bosse, to its former beauty. That restoration will also include a lot of landscaping repair, plus figuring out how to get two original stone fountains (like the one on which he is resting his foot) to work after being shut down for many decades.
The long abandoned home at 121-131 Fourth St. E. in Sonoma, sometimes referred to as the "haunted house," was purchased recently by Sonoma Valley resident Bill Jasper for a price of $1.497 million.
He has hired Sonoma architect Robert Baumann to draft plans for its restoration.
Jasper, who retired in 2009 from his position as president and CEO of Dolby Laboratories, is the property's closest neighbor, having purchased adjacent hillside property in 2006 to build his home there. He indicated that he has a strong interest in seeing the old estate restored to its original beauty, adding that once the building and grounds restoration is complete, it will probably be offered for rent.
The original mansion was built in 1910 by Christian C. Bosse, who earned his fortune in the 1880s working for H. Hackfelt, Inc., which had vast plantation interests in the Hawaiian Islands.
The estate Bosse built was said to be a demonstration of the owner's "exquisite taste," and a place where he entertained many San Francisco friends and local residents. Bosse retired to his new Sonoma estate, but did not get to enjoy it for long, as he died there in December of 1918, one of the many victims of the great influenza epidemic of that time.
His home was auctioned off in May 1919 with Fred Dobbel, a prominent local chicken and egg farmer, acquiring the property with a high bid of $4,000.
Over the decades it passed through several hands before being acquired by Raymond J. Martelli in the early 1960s. Martelli has not lived on the property since at least the mid-1970s, and left Sonoma for good in 1978 after more than a decade of property-use feuds with his neighbor, Bill Blake, and the City of Sonoma.
Unoccupied and neglected, the once stately old home became a not-so-secret hangout for local youths. Martelli authorized neighbor Mike Carroll to "look after" the place for him, and Carroll said he did his best to keep vandals out, but over several decades vandals found ways to sneak in and take their toll.
Martelli's health apparently failed in recent years and his affairs were taken over by a court-appointed conservator, Scott R. Hodges, of San Francisco, who handled the court-administered real estate sale via local Realtor Avram Goldman of Pacific Union, with Realtors Michael and Joy Freethy representing the conservator and property in San Francisco. Mary Szykowny of Century 21 Wine Country represented the buyer in the transaction.
Jasper's bid of $1.497 million was accepted by the court last month, and escrow closes in early May.
Jasper retired in 2009 from his position as president and chief executive officer of Dolby Laboratories, where he spent three decades in various leadership positions, including president since 1983. He is still a director on Dolby's board, is an at-large member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a member of the Audio Engineer Society. Besides growing wine grapes on his Schoken Hill property, he is a woodworking hobbyist.