The Roberts - Van Doren House
Bob & Beverly Lauderdale
405 Townsend Street, Cedarville
Erected almost a century ago, this Victorian
residence was built around a pre-existing one-room structure.
Today, that original building, with its thick hollow walls, is
the home's kitchen.
The home's builder, a local rancher named
Barney Roberts, used native rock for the foundation, constructed
the house with recycled materials, and, true to the period,
included very few closets in his design. The house has three
bedrooms and two bathrooms. The upstairs bathroom retains much
of its 1920's style though the one downstairs has been recently
The Roberts family moved into to the home each
winter, traveling by horseback from their ranch nine miles away.
The home's location "in town" made it easier to get the children
to and from school during the seasons when cold weather settled
in and ranch life slowed considerably.
The original porch cover and upstairs balcony
were removed at some time in the past though the cement steps
leading to the front remained untouched. The current owners have
faithfully reconstructed the front entry and second-floor
balcony, consulting the historic photo now on display in the
front parlor to ensure the addition echoes the original design.
That photo, believed to have been taken soon after the house was
built, reveals that Townsend Street was still a graveled road in
405 Townsend shortly after it was built in
|While the house has had four owners,
Rilla Van Doren, who lived to celebrate her hundredth
birthday, is perhaps the best remembered. Mr. Van Doren
bought the house as a gift for his new bride; he also owned
the Cedarville garage on Main Street. Unfortunately, he died
before they'd shared many years of marriage.
Rilla was soon joined in the home by her
widowed sister Ollie who lived with her for more than fifty
years before dying at the age of 104. Stories about the
sisters and their zest for life are part of Cedarville's
The current dining room once served as
Rilla and Ollie's bedroom, so a picture showing the sisters
in period costumes sits on the buffet. It was taken as a
lark when they were in their late eighties.
During World War II, Rilla turned the home
into a boarding house - hence the many interior door locks.
The upstairs back bedroom served as a kitchen for the
renters, while the yellow-painted front room on the lower
level contained a beauty shop.
"Don and Judy Steger, owners of the home
for eleven years until we purchased it in 1999, deserve
credit for much of the remodeling and beautification of the
home", said Beverly.
|Of particular note are the home's
original windows which Steger says "Are beautifully clear
and still open so easily with just a touch of the hand." The
home also has pocket doors which function properly despite
their age. The kitchen's wood burning cook stove was
purchased in Eagleville five years ago. Its markings
indicate it was forged in Montana in the 1880's. The Lauderdales use it regularly for cooking.
The home's builder apparently utilized
whatever fixtures and pieces he could acquire. Judy Steger
says the small outbuilding "with a very peaked roof" located
to the south was the original portico of the Baptist church
in Lake City, the valley's oldest house of worship.
Bob and Beverly Lauderdale divide their
time between Cedarville and Martinez, California. Bev is a
free-lance writer and part-time teacher while Bob is a
retired hospital administrator.
The kitchen's wood burning cook stove,
built circa 1880