About a year after the 1906 earthquake, Santa Rosa’s beer baron decided it was time to build a house unlike any other in town.
Joseph T. Grace was the managing partner in the renowned Grace Brother’s Brewery (brother Frank was county sheriff, but about to retire) and owned a choice location at the southern foot of McDonald Avenue. Next door was a park that was arguably the true soul of the town, dating back to before the Civil War. The brother’s owned that, too. (MORE)
Although the article in the Press Democrat announced that Grace would be building a “modern home,” a “twentieth century structure,” the result was a heavy, Federalist-style design that wouldn’t have been out of place in Washington D.C, circa 1800. Call it mausoleum-modern.
The house at 1116 Fourth Street was demolished mid-century to make way for a Safeway store, and is currently a Grocery Outlet.
(RIGHT: Photo above from 1913 and below from 1910. The landscaping suggests that the turn-of-the-century fad for palm trees began to wane about this time. Both images courtesy the Sonoma County Library. CLICK to enlarge. )
PASSING OF AN OLD LANDMARK
Brick Dwelling House on the Grace Property is Being Demolished to Make Way For a Modern Home
The brick dwelling house on the Grace property at Fourth street and McDonald avenue is being torn down, and when that has been done a new house will be built there, which will be the family residence of Joseph T. Grace.
The dwelling now being demolished was built in the early ’70’s by H. T. Hewitt, an old-time builder and capitalist, whose son, Dr. H. A. Hewitt, is now a Healdsburg dentist. The Hewitt home was one of the handsomest and most costly dwellings in the Santa Rosa [area] of those early days. Later, it was the home of Phillip Kroncke, and then it passed to Grace Brothers, together with the park adjoining, which was laid out by Mr. Kroncke.
The building was damaged by the earthquake last year, and being regarded as unsafe, has since been tenantless. Still, there is good, tough mortar there, as hard as the bricks themselves, and the bricks are hard to separate. When the house was [illegible microfilm] work upon it completely covering the brick walls.
The house was burned on the Fourth of July, 1876, and nothing but the brick walls remained. The partitions as well as the outer walls were bricks of heavy construction. When the building was restored, there was less woodwork. The brick walls were not covered, and there were not the heavy, ornate wooden cornices of the original dwelling. Still it was a handsome house, and a comfortable residence withal.
Mr. Grace’s new residence will begin to rise as soon as the site is cleared. It will be a twentieth century structure, and as much of an ornament to the new Santa Rosa as the Hewitt home was to the Santa Rosa of the ’70’s.– Press Democrat, July 13, 1907