Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Past is Present in Placerville #1: Nick Fox House

Good morning. This is Tina, and today I am starting a new series showing Placerville homes and places which are still around. I didn't want everyone to think that we have torn down all the great old places!
I am starting with an old photograph I purchased recently, which was taken in 1919. The actual size is only 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches. Written in pencil is "House on Placerville Road, August 17, 1919". We now know this beautiful old mansion as the "Nick Fox House"
This home was built around 1895 by Mr. Fox, a Placerville saloon owner. Looks like he did well for himself! He also served as mayor when he was in his 90s. His wife Mrs. Fox was the 4th of July parade Grand Marshall in 1896. As you can see there was a lot of countryside around the home where she could raise her horses.
This is a photo I took of my Thomas Kinkade Victorian Christmas II print from 1992. It was second in a series which he did of well known Placerville homes. His Placerville images remain my favorites of his art work.
A few years ago this home was featured in the HGTV TV series "If Walls Could Talk". It was a great way to visit inside and meet the lucky owners.
On July 10th I went garage sale-ing with my friend Cindy for her birthday. Our first sale was held in the front yard of the Nick Fox House. I parked in the parking lot of what was once the carriage house, and is now a child care center. This photo was taken from the parking lot.
About 30 years ago (or more) parents of a childhood friend owned this home, and we were lucky enough to be able to visit and play there. I remember a wonderful little nook off of the stairwell where you could tuck in and read or just sit and wonder at all the people who once lived here. The fireplace contained many great old crystals and stones collected on the property.
I took this photo from the sale itself. Notice the wonderful old rock wall with the stones topping it which contain crystals. I imagine they were probably gathered from the property when the home was built. Also in the center are cattails. There is a semi-bog in front of the home. The wonderful countryside that was to the right is now filled with homes and apartments. Oh well... time marches on.
In the late 1980s I attended a tour of Placerville homes and was able to visit the Fox house again. The lady who owned it at the time had a marvelous rose garden on the left of the home. When they bloomed you could smell the garden all the way to Coloma Street.
This image from the El Dorado County Historical Museum shows the rock wall very well and also a little bridge over the boggy area. When I drive by this home at night on my own way home, I always can see into one of the downstairs rooms and there is a very large screen TV, so large you can almost see the image on it. What a contrast from 1895 to 2010. This image was printed in the book "Placerville Reflections" by Elizabeth Fairchild and Jon McCabe.
Well, that is it for today. Take a drive around your town and enjoy the buildings which have survived from the past.

(P.S. Sister Heidi chiming in with an additional photo of this lovely home that I took in 1970 - I asked Tina if I could add it onto her post. It needed to be here, yes?)


Heidi Ann said...

Love it, Tina!! But you already know I've been in love with this house and many others in Placerville forever. I will look forward to your continuing series!

Lorlore said...

Love the home and memories of playing there as a child!!!

yosemite faith said...

i love the old photos. the house we live in now was where my gramps was born.

Karen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen said...

Hi Tina, This is great! Did you know that Cappie lived in the carriage house when he was a kid? In fact, I remember both of your sisters from high school. I had band with Lori when she was a senior and I was a freshman. She was first chair flute and I was very impressed!

Karen said...

We also have this Thomas Kinkade print. Cappie loves it because of his house in the picture and he has fond memories of living there when the Smiths lived next door.

Ron said...

Loved the post! My family and I are the current owners of the Nick Fox House. I too have been a long time Placerville resident and have admired the house. We were fortunate enough to buy it from the Smiths several years ago when it became too much for Betty to care for after Don passed away. It's nice to see there are folks who appreciate the local history as I do. I look forward to serving on the Placerville Historic Advisory Committee to help ensure that our town retains its historic integrity.


Anonymous said...

Nick Fox was my great uncle on my dad's side and have been to Placerville to see the house. I live in Sun City West, Az. but both my parents are gone. I have a Christmas card from Thomas Kincaid of the house and bring it out every Christmas. Wish I would have talked to my dad more about Uncle Nick. Thanks for your site! Betty Holm