Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Mowery Was A Busy Little Boy

I went and did a little more research tonight. Some of my dates were fuzzy, and I needed to find out if Mowery built the house over on K Street that I talked about the other day. Unfortunately that house is also unaccredited in The Green Book, at least I think it is. Now that I think about it, I know it didn’t say Mowery, but I don’t recall if it said anything else. I may need to go back. Oh, and I had the address wrong.

The Green Book (a.k.a. Eureka: An Architectural View) was compiled back in the 70s. It is basically an inventory of many of the cities historic homes and buildings. At best, you get one or two short lines describing the house, the year it was built, and in many cases, the first owner, builder, and architect.

The question I really came away with was, were did they get the information about builders and architects for the book. I know you can go through property tax records and get owner information, but where did they get the builders and architects. Not every house is listed with a builder and architect, but many are. It might be the building department. I’ve seen my file and it doesn’t list anything.

My house does not have a builder/architect listed, but as I said the other day, I am fairly sure it was Mr. Eugene Mowery. Mr. Mowery was a fairly prolific builder in the 1880s and 1890s. Aside from a few prominent commercial buildings he built, I found no less 14 houses he built between 1887 and 1893.

All of these homes are still standing, and some are quite nice. You can bet pictures will be following. He did not build The Vance House. I was really hoping for that, and I can’t directly credit him with my house or the K street house, although I didn’t see any homes with his name in 1895, the year my house was built. To be fair, I didn’t go through the whole book.

He did seem to build homes in clusters, though. He built 2 on J Street in 1887 right next door to each other. He built 2 on Hillsdale in 1893, right next door to each other. In two instances, in 1889, he built two sets of pairs on California Street. In 1890 he built 3 on Third Street, all on the same block. The one on K Street is only 3 blocks from me. If that one was built in 1895 like mine, that would be in keeping with his pattern.

The one on G Street is just 2 houses down from The Vance House and the owner was a Vance. I just about craped when I saw that. Because the addresses were almost the same, I thought I was reading that Mowery built The Vance House. No such luck.


Ron said...

The "Green Book" was put together by volunteers and is pretty accurate, but like any "history" is only as good as the accuracy of the source data. Much of the information on builders came from researching newspapers and other documents. So if the information was available it is there, if the information was accurate then it is correct. Every once in a while we learn that something is in error, and when eventually a new edition of the book comes out hopefully these will be corrected.

Ron Kuhnel
Eureka Heritage Society

Greg said...


I praise them for the work they did, but they did get my house wrong. It says the front stained glass window is a later addition. I really have know idea how they came up with this because there are two other houses in town that have almost the same window.

Ron said...

You get what you pay for. These were volunteers. However you raised an important point for me. We do find out about errors but I am not aware we have a systematic method of recording this information so we in fact do gets those corrected in the next edition. Thanks for raising this issue.