Swan Levine House in Grass Valley to be listed for sale | TheUnion.com

Swan Levine House in Grass Valley to be listed for sale

Victoria Penate
Staff Writer

After owning and operating the Swan Levine House since 1973, Howard Levine has decided to sell the historic Grass Valley house.

Levine described “a few years of reflection” leading to his decision to sell the house, following the death of his wife, Peggy, in 2017, as well as a spinal surgery and marriage last year.

“It was becoming very difficult for me to maintain, and over a period of time, I was wondering what I wanted to do with the rest of my life,” said Levine.

He has chosen to relocate to Sacramento in order to be near and available to his children and grandchildren.

“I’ve been very happy and proud to live in Grass Valley, and at one point I thought I would never move away. But I’m not moving that far,” said Levine, adding that he looks forward to visiting Nevada County.

With regards to the transition, Levine said, “It’s really hard, but it’s exciting to think about having a different set of priorities.”

Most recently, the Swan Levine House at 328 S. Church St. has served as a guest house, art gallery, and workshop space, although it has seen many uses — including a hospital — since its original construction in 1867.

“My concept of art from when I was in college was art in public places, and we created this house which puts art in a very public place and is a testament to living with art,” said Levine.


As far as his predictions for the future of the house, he said, “It was a bed and breakfast for 45 years, and it could easily be reused as that. It was great raising a family here, and that is also a possibility.”

According to Levine, a couple of parties have expressed interest in buying the house so far, though it will not officially be on the market until late July.

A virtual estate sale was held for the house on Friday and Saturday through Facebook Marketplace and Nextdoor, organized and hosted by local artist Franceska Alexander. Levine described the sale as successful.

Levine’s current term on Grass Valley’s City Council ends in December, and he plans to fulfill this term to the extent that it remains possible.

“We are living in our house until it sells, when the contract and escrow is over. But, we have no idea when that will be, and I plan to remain on City Council through that time,” said Levine. “It’s up in the air.”

He also plans to remain active in his involvement with the North Star Historic Conservancy following his move to Sacramento.

“I’m strongly involved with the Margaret Warner Swan Levine gallery and exhibit space, and I will continue to do that,” Levine said, explaining that he is dedicated to continuing the collection of local art from throughout history.

“I think that’s a really important aspect of who we are and our history. From the high schools and Sierra College to elder artists, there are so many names of fabulous artists here and it’s important to assemble what they’ve done.”

Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com.

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