Preservation group confers honors
JOHN AND NANCY LASSETER had the Grizzly Flats Station at Justi Creek Ranch taken apart in Southern California and reconstructed on their Glen Ellen property.
The Sonoma League for Historic Preservation honored five properties and three individuals during its annual awards ceremonies Wednesday evening.
The awards included:
• Award of Excellence – Major renovation and preservation of a historic home, guest house and barn to Scott Andrews and Beatriz Posada and landscape consultant Greg Noel for Buena Tierra, 18590 Lomita Ave., Sonoma.
Andrews and Posada renovated this six-acre, 1928 dairy farm property largely by themselves since purchasing it in 2003. The renovation was extensive starting with a three-year project by Adobe Associates to design and construct a new pressurized septic system and to replace the original leach field located too near the creek. Before the house could be remodeled, the chicken coop required a significant rebuilding to accommodate Andrews and Posada while they continued the renovation project. Their use of repurposed wood from the barn in the guesthouse as well as the incorporation of many items from salvage yards and antique dealers provides a hint of the craftsmanship and decorative expertise of the owners.
In the house, the foyer, stairway and the great room have been opened up to the interior and to the expansive deck with an outdoor kitchen. A former covered porch has now become a sunroom and the kitchen and butler pantry have been updated but are still in keeping with the country style.
• Award of Excellence – Major renovation and preservation of an historic 1923 home to Francine Clayton, 693 Second St. E. Architect, Vic Conforti; builder, Cam Fraser, Wine Country Builders; Decorator, Sandy Burgess and landscape architect Penny Magrane.
Clayton purchased the historic 1925 Dunn residence in 1999, but rented it and continued to live on her farm estate on Broadway until she was ready to move into town. The original 12-room house is one of the finest examples of the local builder C.C. Bean. The house is believed to have been built in 1925 for the Dunn brothers, who had a ranch at the southeast corner of Fifth Street East and Napa Road. Their mother was Fanny Sutherland Dunn, and assisted by her husband Thomas Marshall Dunn and five other couples, founded the Congregational Church.
In 2009, Clayton began the project to renovate the house with Vic Conforti and Cam Fraser and completed it in 2010. Her objective was to preserve the exterior look, but open up and combine small rooms, as well as add a bedroom suite.
• Award of Merit – Reconstruction and preservation of a 1947 historic structure, the Grizzly Flats Station at Justi Creek Ranch owned by John and Nancy Lasseter, 12250 Dunbar Road. Builder was Molofsky Builders Incorporated.
The historic Grizzly Flats Station can be traced back to the late 1880s, when the Lehigh Valley Railroad built a small “flag stop depot” in Pottsville, Penn. In 1946, the Model Railroader Magazine included a copy of the drawings. In 1947, Walt Disney approached his train enthusiast partner, Ward Kimball, for a source of inspiration for a train station he imagined in his new upcoming movie. Kimball showed Disney pictures of the Lehigh Valley Station and Disney. An exact replica was built for the movie set, but with only three walls.
In 1949, Disney gave the depot to Kimball who moved it onto his property in Southern California where he reinforced it, added a rear wall, and renamed the little station Grizzly Flats Depot.
Kimball died in 2002. The depot and water tower stayed on Kimball property in Southern California until 2006 when they were deemed unsafe and slated for demolition. It was then that Glen Ellen resident and train enthusiast, Lasseter discovered the depot and water tower. Grizzly Flats was dismantled, packed into four cargo containers, and shipped to its new home in 2007.
In January 2012, Molofsky Builders Incorporated began the meticulous process of uncrating, repairing, rebuilding and painting the historic depot on the Lasseter’s Ranch in Glen Ellen.
• Award of Merit – Innovative design compatible with historic structure for the LaHaye Art Center, 148 E. Napa St., Sonoma, owners, Frank and Sally LaHaye. Project supervisor, Jim Callahan; architect Douglas Mighell and builder, Thomas Bridges.
The building, now known as the LaHaye Art Center, was constructed in 1908 and originally housed Gottenberg’s Garage. County records show that Frank LaHaye Sr. purchased the property and building from Mrs. Duhring in 1936, moved his family from San Francisco to Sonoma Valley, and opened his business, Frank LaHaye Metalworks. The LaHaye family’s dedication to exploration and experimentation can be seen today in The LaHaye Art Center, which came into being in 1980 when the interior began to be divided into working artists’ studios and foundry, galleries and a restaurant currently known as the LaHaye Cafe.
• Award of Excellence – The renovation of the former Dr. Carol Andrews home and office, at 483 E. Napa St., now owned by Todd and Danielle McCartney. Architect, Amy A. Alper; and builder, Mike Masloff Rockridge Construction.
The McCartneys bought the property in 2005. The 1940s house had been the home of Dr. Carroll Andrews. Not only did he live there but he saw patients there. Upon entering the house, a small closed foyer allowed patients access to Dr. Andrews’ examination room without disturbing the rest of the household.
The extensive renovation focused on opening the separate living room, dining room and kitchen to each other. New heating, cooling and plumbing systems were installed and a new master suite was added. The singular rooms connected by a dark narrow corridor were transformed into an open light filled home that focuses on a tree filled courtyard with pool and outdoor living areas
• Recognition of an individual providing leadership in preservation – Yvonne Bowers.
Among her many activities, she serves as chair for some 60 Sonoma/Petaluma State Parks Association docents who lead tours at the Toscano Hotel, the Mission, the Petaluma Adobe, and Lachrima Montes. She also publishes their many-paged quarterly newsletter. At the Sonoma Valley Woman’s Club she serves on the board and also writes its newsletter. She is a part of the effort to repair rather than replace the Watmaugh Bridge.
She serves on the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission, acting as a liaison between the city of Sonoma and the county on county property issues.
For the League, she keeps track of the membership and serves as a docent at the Gen. Joseph Hooker House, where she acts as liaison with the property and the board on financial matters, and is the editor of the quarterly newsletter.
• Recognition of individuals providing leadership in preservation – Fred Allebach and Scott Summers for the Mountain Cemetery Walking Tour.
In creating The “Mountain Cemetery Walking Tour,” Allebach and Summers have provided a new resource by which people can gain a greater appreciation of Sonoma” unique Mountain Cemetery.
Allebach initiated and then conducted major research for the project that highlighted the many colorful personalities buried within the cemetery since it was founded by Mariano Vallejo in 1841.
The Sonoma Walking Tour provided a format. Jason Bell and the archives at the League for Historic Preservation, the Index Tribune, and the Bates and Evans funeral records at the Depot Park Museum provided identification of those buried there.
He selected 21 graves of those he thought typified a range of Sonoma residents. Once Allebach decided what he wanted to show, graphic designer Summers volunteered to provide the cartography and production of the brochure and to work with him sitting and identifying graves.