Through the years, the house changed hands several times.
In 1909, it was purchased by Antone and Mary Jacobs, emigrants
from France who co-owned the “Fritz and Jacobs General
Merchandise” (also located in the Cressler Bonner Building).
Records show the couple bought the house for a $10 gold coin.
On August 27, 1927, Mary gave the place to her children Andrew,
John, and Annie (the deed says Annie was a widow).
In 1945, Annie and her husband George Doss paid her brothers
$400 each, buying out their shares for the home she lived in
until 1950, the year she was again widowed.
Annie later rented it to Gail and Alice Hicks (who lived there
with their four sons) before finally selling it to Mary Martin
in 1954 for $4000, quite a “nice little profit” in
Before Dan acquired the property in 1971, it also belonged
to Leslie Harden who converted the upstairs into an apartment
sometime in the 1960s.
Cathy says many local residents still recall having visited
the home as children, to play or to attend birthday parties.
Members of the Doss family have also stopped by over the years,
providing additional glimpses into the home’s history.
For example, a son of Annie’s told how his entire family
was forced to leave the area during the Great Depression to
search for work. So they dug out the home’s old well
and hid most of their possessions down its deep shaft. When
they returned some time later, everything had remained intact
By 1970, years of neglect had reduced the home to near ruin,
remembers Dan. “Water damage on the upper floor had flooded
the downstairs though that didn’t seem to bother the
mice and birds nesting indoors”, he said. “The
siding on the entire west side was rotten to the point it couldn’t
be repaired, and I counted at least 14 broken windows.”
The couple has worked non-stop on the home and even a quick
review of past projects is exhausting: painting the 2-story
exterior four times over the years, replacing every window,
gutting and modernizing the kitchen, tearing down the old garage
and adding a new shop complex, sheetrocking every room (“because
when the wind blew hard, we could see the wallpaper move – there
was no insulation!” remembers Cathy.)
Cathy has endeavored to keep period touches as she decorated
the home (which has 4 bedrooms and 3 baths). For example,
the hall and stairway wallpaper, with its large floral design,
closely mimics the original paper discovered during remodeling.
Last year, Dan remodeled the back mud room, discovering in
the process that it rested on a “foundation” of
rotting 2X4s laid directly on the ground. As one floor rotted,
subsequent owners apparently added another right on top; he
tore off four in all. They also added the deck and a hot tub
off the kitchen, re-roofed the house, and added an apartment
east of the front entryway for Dan’s mother Bertha.
“We never get finished with projects”, said Cathy. “After
every major remodeling job we say it’s the ‘last
one’…then we start thinking, ‘just one
Despite decades of renovations and improvements to make the
once abandoned house into a livable and cozy home, visitors
may still glimpse some original features that hearken back
to another century.
The home’s pocket doors and wood trim in the entryway
are all original as is the mantle and marble surround behind
the wood stove. At the top of the stairs stands a large wardrobe
that was the home’s only closet when the Rosses moved
in. All the 10-foot doors are original, as is the banister
railing leading upstairs.
A small bathroom is now home to the home’s first kitchen’s
one original cabinet. That, along with a small built-in hutch,
was all the “formal” storage generations of women
had for their cooking supplies!
“We have worked to make this home a comfortable place
to live”, said Cathy, who reports they squeeze in 21
when all their children and grandchildren gather for holidays.
In the summer of 2008, Dan, Cathy and Bertha moved to the Chico-Dunham area where they now live in the middle of a walnut orchard. The house is currently for sale but no matter who eventually moves in to the home, it’s a good bet most locals will persist in referring to it as “The Ross House”.
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