The Cressler House
Judy Metzker Topel
The JK Metzker House,
The Cressler House was built circa 1880 by
William T. Cressler, one of the two entrepreneurs who founded
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
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
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
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 only son
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
The paintings lining the stairway depict
the house in three seasons. They are by local artist Jan
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.
The dining room features
beadboard paneling and an eclectic art collection.
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.
Relax in one of the
parlor's overstuffed sofas near the wood-burning stove./font>
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