Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Once Upon a Time in Placerville No. 11: The O'Donnell Residence on Main Street

Good morning, Tina here. We are paying a little visit to downtown Placerville today. We are going to stop by the O'Donnell residence. We can park our car at the belltower, which is right in front of the house. How handy.
What an attractive place. With its backdrop of pines and a lovely front porch to sit on, you could imagine it was out in the country, not plopped right down in the middle of town.
Oh what I would give for a lovely old home like this, with a wrap-around porch and a window seat in the second story tower!
On this postcard showing prospectors in Hangtown Creek you can see the O'Donnell residence upper-middle on the right. This photo is from the vicinity of the Placerville News Company. These miners thought nothing of digging up the street if they thought they might find some gold (and they did indeed find enough to make it worth their while)!
Plenty of parking at the belltower today. 

From the Mountain Democrat May 31, 1929:  The Placerville Shakespeare Club will hold a rummage sale at the O'Donnell Residence on Main Street Friday and Saturday.

Apparently the rummage sales were held frequently, about twice a year. Our Club just held one at the beginning of May 2013. I would have loved to have attended the sale 84 years ago, what bargains I would have found!

Article from the Mountain Democrat, September 27, 1929:

"The pioneer O'Donnell residence, which has stood like a jewel, and later like a sore thumb, alone in the Placerville business section, is being razed.

Workmen started during the week to demolish the structure at the request of the Misses Mary and Matilda O'Donnell, who have announced they will move into a new home which they will build at the corner of Cottage and Union Streets.

Rumors spiked when work was started, the impression gained circulation that Placerville's new theater transaction had begun to show actual results.  Although it is not to be inferred that there is any doubt concerning the ultimate success of the project recently launched by Roger W. Brown, it was explained by Mrs. Mary O'Donnell that the residence is being wrecked at the special insistence and request of her sister and herself. The theater transaction, according to Browne, is as much a live proposition as ever and details are nearing a form in which they will be given public announcement.

The O'Donnell residence has been a public landmark for more than a century, although not in the form that residents have seen it in recent years. Twenty-odd years ago, the present front first floor of the structure was remodeled and enlarged, with additions to the back, and the second story was added.

The wrecking of the O'Donnell house removes the last but one of the residences in the Placerville business zone.  One other residence remains on the north side of the street."
A sad farewell to the O'Donnell residence, but a excited hello to the new "Empire Theater" building!

We will make another visit to old Placerville soon. Hope you enjoyed this one!

1 comment:

Heidi Ann said...

Oh, yes! I ALWAYS enjoy the visits to Old Placerville via your fabulous collection of postcards and photos - and this one was fabulous!