Can historic house be saved? We may learn all too soon |

Can historic house be saved? We may learn all too soon

The historic home near the Northstar Mine may yet be saved, and a representative of the property owners has said they are taking steps to do that. However, the rescue effort so far seems ineffective.

One of the primary concerns has been vandalism, which has expedited the natural process of deterioration at the 18,000-square-foot structure, built in 1905 and designed by noted architect Julia Morgan.

To guard against future vandalism and deterioration, a caretaker and a large dog are on the site, protective tarps have been placed on the roof, and the first floor is boarded up, says an owner’s representative. Such declarations have been encouraging to those who want to save the home.

However, the home’s supporters still worry. A neighbor who recently visited the site reported seeing no caretaker and warned that chicken wire used to fence off the building has been cut and that the roof is rotting.

At the risk of being tiresome, we’d also suggest – as we have in the recent past – that the property should be saved with all haste. Aside from the fact that the home was designed by a famous architect, it also represents an integral part of Nevada County’s past. The home served as the living quarters of the mine manager and included among its guests Herbert Hoover.

There seems to be interest among the home’s admirers, public officials and even the owners to save the home.

The owners want to annex the entire 760-acre site to the city of Grass Valley and have already reached an agreement to dedicate the home and adjoining land to a third party for preservation. The city and the county have even approved the tax-sharing agreement for the annexation.

But there has been no annexation just yet.

A cynic might note that the house has been useful in the owner’s development plans, allowing the community to have a historic resource in return for allowing owners to develop that property in the way they want. However, if the home is falling apart as fast as some say, it won’t be of much value as a bargaining chip. The developers could lose. More important, so would the community.

Certainly, these public-private development proposals can take time, but in this case, we just can’t spare any.

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