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The Cressler House
Judy Metzker Topel
The JK Metzker House,Cedarville

The Cressler House in Cedarville (click to enlarge)

The Cressler House was built circa 1880 by William T. Cressler, one of the two entrepreneurs who founded Cedarville.

While clerking at a store in Red Bluff, John Bonner and Cressler became friends. They formed a partnership, pooled their wages, and invested in a stockpile of groceries, dry goods, boots and shoes to sell to pioneers traveling to the West along emigrant trails that traversed the remote area already known as Surprise Valley.

Cressler and Bonner arrived in the valley on July 12, 1867 with a load of merchandise valued at $4000. Finding the only cabin at Deep Creek occupied by the Townsend family, they lived in and sold their goods from their wagons.

When James Townsend suddenly died, they bought the tiny cabin from his widow and moved it north to the banks of Cedar Creek. They wasted little time before laying out the town of Cedarville and establishing a thriving mercantile business along its Main Street.

Cressler and Bonner both resisted the push to allow people to name the town after them though streets in Cedarville bear both their names, along with a street named after Cressler's wife Ann whom he married shortly after settling in Cedarville.

Ann and William's son Samuel was born in 1869. Daughter Nellie Mae followed in 1875.

While serving as the area's first State Senator, Cressler became dissatisfied that his constituents had to travel over 200 miles to the county seat in Yreka to vote. He introduced legislation in Sacramento in 1874 to secede from Siskiyou County and establish Modoc County.

Cressler and Bonner eventually built three of the town's finest buildings - the magnificent brick Cressler & Bonner Building and the two private homes flanking it. Their families occupied the homes while the partners continued to work on improving life in the valley. The men opened the area's first bank, saw that a road over Cedar Pass was constructed and remained active in politics and community affairs all their lives.

Today, the Cressler home is still shaded by many of the original trees planted by the family before the turn of the twentieth century. Guests are invited to note the towering maple and the lovely Tree of Heaven which was identified for recent owners by Lucille Hill Andrae, a previous resident of the home. It is believed both these specimens were brought to Cedarville from the East; no similar trees have been located in the valley.

The Cressler House sits just to the south of the stately old Cressler and Bonner Building and is actually slightly older. An original wooden structure serving as the partners' mercantile business, built in the 1870's, was destroyed by fire. It was replaced in 1885 by the two-story brick edifice that even today dominates Cedarville's downtown area.

William and Ann lived in the house until their deaths in 1920 and 1924, respectively (both are buried in the Cedarville Cemetery). Their daughter Nellie had married attorney BB Robinson at the Community Church on Bonner and Center Streets. Published accounts tell us their guests enjoyed a memorable reception in the family's front yard where "Chinese lanterns hung from the trees".

The newlyweds moved to San Francisco, returning years later when Ann became ill. While Nellie nursed her mother, Robinson opened a local law practice, with an office in the Cressler and Bonner Building. When Ann died, he and Nellie continued to live in the family home with their son Paul. Their son Basil had moved to Lakeview.

William Cressler's descendants occupied the home until 1954 when it was purchased by the Hill family. It remained a private residence until Ray and Peggy Page acquired it in 1992 and restored it to its original condition before opening it to the public as the Cressler-Hill House Bed and Breakfast.

Cressler House Paintings line the stairway depicting the house (click to enlarge)
Paintings line the stairway depicting the house
in three seasons by local artist Jan Walthers.
Cressler House Dinning Room (click to enalarge)
The dining room features beadboard paneling
and an eclectic art collection.

Judy Topel, who purchased the home in 1995, renamed it the "JK Metzker House Bed and Breakfast". She is a descendant of the Metzkers, one of the valley's oldest families and enjoys offering occasional guests the memorable opportunity to "step back in time" in the heart of Cedarville.

The house has four bedrooms, each with a private bath. The dining room is notable for its collection of historic photographs and paintings. Guests can enjoy a country breakfast while contemplating the images of famous Native American Chiefs lining the walls.

Today the parlor features the Cressler's' original carpeting on the floor, an antique piano, comfortable chairs and sofas, western artifacts, and a variety of mementoes recalling the early days of this small ranching community.

Cressler House Parlor Sofas (click to enalrge)
Relax in one of the parlor's overstuffed
sofas near the wood-burning stove.

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Page modified: 19 Feb 2024 10:17:37 -0800

Surprise Valley Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 518, Cedarville, California 96104

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