Historic Properties

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Morse Mansion

  • City Manager
  • Historic Properties
  • Service Address981 Fremont Street
  • Morse Mansion
Queen Anne was a dramatic departure from previous architectural styles when it was introduced in the early 1880s. Described as a "buxom gypsy, her ruffled skirts, billowing blouse and patterned kerchiefs infinitely artful, but always in disarray and never quite matching,” it quickly became the most popular building style of its day. In 1892, Charles Copeland Morse chose this style and had a local builder, Zibeon Field, construct a magnificent new residence in Santa Clara.

Shortly after its construction an article in the May 15, 1892 San Jose Daily Mercury described it as "the largest and most striking example of modern architecture in Santa Clara. The grounds occupied by this handsome residence cover an entire block in the heart of the town." The article further stated that "at the rear of the house are the extensive stables and carriage room, the most commodious and the handsomest in Santa Clara." Although the carriage house was demolished in the last few years, Morse's magnificent Queen Anne mansion still exists at the northeast corner of Fremont and Washington Streets. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Morse Mansion was last used for law offices.

In 1877, C. C. Morse, frequently referred to as the “American Seed King", and A. L Kellogg purchased the seed company that 0. W. Wilson started on land where Santa Clara High School is now located. When Kellogg retired in 1888, C. C. Morse became the sole owner. By then seeds were being produced on 1,400 acres of land leased from the Martin Murphy estate in Sunnyvale and, later, more land was leased in Gilroy. Seeds continued to be grown by the Ferry-Morse Seed Company until its purchase by a French company a few years ago when the name was changed and operations moved to the Central Valley.
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