Most folks are content to put their name on the mailbox and leave it at that. Paul T. Hahman put his moniker on his doorknob – well, his initials, actually.

The Hahman home at 718 McDonald Avenue is currently on the market for the first time in ages. The exterior and most of the interior is beautifully preserved, in part because the house has had so few owners. The original family lived there for the first 42 years and the listing agent says the current owners have been there for three decades. That’s 72 out of the 107 years – more than two-thirds of its existence.

The monogrammed knob is a cute touch by architect Brainerd Jones. (CORRECTION: The “PH” didn’t stand for Paul Hahman, but San Francisco’s Palace Hotel! And here I’ve always felt guilty about taking home the complimentary shampoo. Thanks, Paul Woodfin for the correct info.)

The 1910 Hahman House is the fourth Shingle Style design that Jones created in Santa Rosa and is the most conventional. Where the 1902 Paxton House, 1905 Comstock House and 1908 Saturday Afternoon Club were in the Eastern Shingle Style that tried to be both rustic and elegant, the Hahman House is more like an example of the Prairie School – an American Foursquare with Craftsman features. Still, it must have seemed shockingly modern amidst McDonald Avenue’s dull Victorian mansions.

What the Hahman House most closely resembles is Jones’ 1908 Ellis-Martin House at 1197 East Washington St, Petaluma – which coincidentally is also for sale. Although the Petaluma house was smaller (4,450 vs. 3,435 square feet) they share the same general massing and details, inside and out. There are corbels under the eaves and window boxes with brackets and rafter tails wherever possible. His trademark “Union Jack” pattern is used in small square windows. Both houses have high redwood wainscoting throughout the downstairs, a staircase with a fine oak newel post and handrail, along with tight spacing between the rails to ensure a small child could not squeeze a head through. (By contrast, the balusters at Comstock House are wide enough apart that a cat can launch itself between them to pounce on an unwary homeowner.)



1910 Hahman House and 1908 Ellis-Martin House. Photo credits Coldwell Banker, Century 21


There are a couple stories of interest about the Hahman House beginnings. Harriet and Paul Hahman had two young daughters, Margaret and Henrietta, who they took over to the property in 1909 for a ground-breaking ceremony. “They were each presented with spoons and told to ‘Dig!’ which they proceeded to do as if their little lives depended on it,” the Press Democrat reported. “These spoons will be suitably engraved and in the after years may be handed down as family heirlooms.”

The Hahmans also had the exceptional good taste to hire local master craftsman Frank S. Smith to create a complete set of living room and reception hall furniture intended to harmonize with the house. The furniture – described in the Santa Rosa Republican article transcribed below – took about a year to make.

Paul T. Hahman was a pharmacist and had Santa Rosa’s main drug store next to the Empire Building (see postcard). He was part of James Wyatt Oates’ crowd and has often been mentioned here. My favorite story happened about a month after the Hahmans moved into their nice new house, when the town’s veterinarian staggered into the drug store asking for help, having accidentally swallowed a pill containing enough poison to kill several people. Paul gave him an emetic plus some sort of “hypodermic” as most of the doctors in town rushed to the scene, probably partially out of curiosity to see whether the antidote would work.

Paul’s parents were Feodor and Henrietta Hahman. In the 1850s Feodor and his partners ran a store in the old Carrillo adobe and then – for reasons which have never been clearly explained – platted out a town they called “Santa Rosa” (see “CITY OF ROSES AND SQUATTERS“).

Hahman Home at 718 McDonald Avenue (This Photo and doorknob: Jennifer Knef/Coldwell Banker)


Designed and Made by Decorator F. S. Smith

Frank S. Smith has just completed and delivered to Paul T. Hahman one of the handsomest sets of furniture which graces the homes of the City of Roses. Mr. Smith is a decorator, and does special works in furniture and draperies. The set which he has manufactured for Mr. And Mrs. Hahman is artistic and handsome in every way. The entire work was done in Mr. Smith’s small workshop on his premises at 1209 Ripley street.

The furniture made by the Santa Rosan was for the reception hall and living room of the handsome Hahman residence. A reception chair, cozy arm chair, table and tabouret were designed and made for the reception hall. The furniture for the living room included a mammoth Davenport, two large rockers, one large easy chair, a window chair, pedestal tabouret and large table with drawer.

Mr. Smith claims for this set of furniture that there has been nothing made where the identical lines are carried out and still secure the uniform lines are carried out and still secure the uniform lines as in the pieces he has turned out for Mr. Hahman. It was designed and made exclusively for the Hahman home, and to harmonize with the other furnishings and draperies of the residence. Mr. Smith manufactures furniture of different designs for each particular home. He has made an elegant dining room set for Senator and Mrs. Thomas Kearns of Kenwood.

All of the furniture for Mr. Hahman is upholstered in a silk damask of conventional figure, in two tones of brown. The elegant Davenport is 78 inches long and 30 inches deep. All of the furniture is equipped with sunken leather casters, which prevents scratching the polished floors of the home. It is all made of heavy quarter sawed oak and finished with a handsome piano polish, which makes it have an appearance of elegance seldom found in furniture.

 – Santa Rosa Republican, April 7, 1911


Mr. and Mrs. Paul T. Hahman are moving into their handsome new home on McDonald avenue. Friends who have inspected the residence pronounce its arrangement calculated to prove most comfortable in all respects.

– Press Democrat, February 27 1910


Ground was broken for the erection of the Paul Hahman residence on McDonald avenue last week. The Misses Margaret and Henrietta Hahman, the cute daughters of the family, assisted materially in the work. They were each presented with spoons and told to “Dig!” which they proceeded to do as if their little lives depended on it. These spoons will be suitably engraved and in the after years may be handed down as family heirlooms.

– Press Democrat, September 12 1909


Mr. and Mrs. Paul T. Hahman were visitors in Petaluma yesterday, consulting Architect Brainerd Jones regarding plans for a new home to be erected at once on McDonald avenue.

– Press Democrat, June 5 1909



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