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Johnson House
1159 Main street
  • Johnson House
circa 1851

This Greek Revival style home may be the oldest wood house in Santa Clara. Much of the home was built of Maine pre-cut lumber sailed around Cape Horn about 1850. Samuel Johnson, a business and civic leader, was believed to be a squatter on the entire block in 1849 and finished building the home in 1852 when the newly incorporated City of Santa Clara granted him title to the block for $15. The residence is also known as the 1/2 and 1/2 house, because, as the need arose, Johnson sent for lumber to add rooms.

Mary Schumacher, widow of a civil war colonel purchased the home in 1873 and granted the deed to her daughter, Laura Jarvis, in 1909. Most of the one-story and garage additions were completed in 1976 by owner Frank Barcells, a former city council member.

The living room hand-carved Italian Carrera marble mantle and bay window containing a leaded beveled transom were added circa 1900. Four fireplaces, including a charcoal brazier in the dining room, and the living-room picture window were added in the 1920's. The Greek Revival style generally features a freestanding two-story rectangular shape with the short side facing the street. This main structure is often flanked by one-story wing(s) and Doric, Ionic or Corinthian columns supporting balconies or roof overhangs. The front door is often located on one side and opens to a hall with a narrow, steep, straight staircase.