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Photo of Reed House

Landmark Status Achieved!

One of San Jose's newest landmarks is the Henry & Florence Reed House Landmark #160, located in the Hensley Historic District.

This house sits within a distinguished grouping of late 1880s and 1890s Victorian residences along the east side of the street.

The house was designed by notable architect W.D. Van Siclen, and represents one of the first houses he designed after settling in San Jose as a young architect in the early 1890s. The original owner, Henry Reed, was associated with the Independent Mill and Lumber Company, a supplier of fine wood products.

The elaborate representations of Victorian-era workmanship embodied in this house are clearly connected to his involvement in the wood product business. Queen Anne details found in this house are exemplary, such as the unusual shingled eyebrow over the front bay window, a rare curved porch, a gabled and angled corner bay, and sophisticated trim work associated with the high-point of Victorian-era ornamentation such as carved wood brackets, turned spindles, wide frieze boards, and rope pattern trim.

The Reeds, as well as later long-time residents such as the Keffel and Vincenz families enjoyed living in one of the finest examples of Renaissance Revival interiors. Much of the interior is still in pristine original condition. The house remains a distinctive representation of its era, in both design and detailing. It is clearly the work of a master architect, being an especially fine example of the Queen Ann architecture in San Jose.

Integrity and character-defining features

The property maintains almost all of its historic integrity as per the National Registery's seven aspects of integrity. The house and carriage house maintain their original location on the site which is a historic residential neighborhood in the Hensley Historic District.

The house and carriage house contribute to this district; the property is surrounded by much of its historical residential setting, including the open space of the wide street and surround properties of a similar scale and setback, mature street trees and other landscaping, and adjacent houses of similar age, scale, and design.

The subject property retains its late-nineteenth-century residential scale and feeling and continues, through the design strength of its original forms, massing and detailing, to illustrate its associations with significant patterns of development of this neighborhood.

The house has most of its integrity with its Queen Anne design, and the removed trim pieces are proposed for restoration. This building has a distinctive character and composition that is expressed through its preserved materials and overall design. The carriage house also retains its associations and feelings; its design continues to embody a rare
building type, and its materials and workmanship are noteworthy.

Historic Landmark number 160, The Henry & Florence Reed House

This house, a Contributing Structure (CS) to the Hensley Historic District, sits within a distinguished grouping of late 1880s and 1890s Victorian residences along the east side of the street. The house was designed by notable architect W.D. Van Siclen, and represents one of the first houses he designed after settling in San Jose as a young architect in the early 1890s. The house has a distinctive character and composition that is expressed though its preserved materials and overall design.

The original owner, Henry Reed, was associated with the Independent Mill and Lumber Company, a supplier of fine wood products. The elaborate representations of Victorian-era workmanship embodied in this house is clearly connected to his involvement in the wood product business. Queen Anne details found in this house are exemplary, such as the unusual shingled eyebrow over the front bay window, a rare curved porch, a gabled and angled corner bay, and sophisticated trim work associated with the high-point of Victorian-era ornamentation such as carved wood brackets,
turned spindles, wide frieze boards, and rope pattern trim.

The house remains a distinctive representation of its era, in both design and detailing. It is clearly the work of a master architect, being an especially fine example of the Queen Ann architecture in San Jose.

Steinbeck’s Twin

Image of house in 2003

John Steinbeck's boyhood home located in Salinas is an almost exact copy of our home. With a few differences in the exterior (we have gables, while the Steinbeck home boasts a turret above it's Formal Parlor), and the type of finishing details inside, they are exactly alike!

Image of house in 2003

Our home was the first house to be built by architect William Doty van Siclen. At that time to get business, an architect would partner with a lumber mill and together they would build a "model home". This would serve as an example to potential buyers not only of a home style, but also material source. Prospective homeowners would be invited to tour the "model home" and orders for building replica's would be placed. Therefore, it is very likely that the Steinbecks could have actually been in our home when ordering their home.

Cookbook image

We took a "field trip" out to the Steinbeck House to see for ourselves and while the Steinbeck Mansion has fifteen rooms, ours has twelve bedrooms, Drawing Room/Formal Parlor, Family Parlor, Formal Dining room, Conservatory, Library, Kitchen & Scullery (not counting our two-story five room Carriage House in the back). The Steinbeck house is open to the public for tours and also serves lunches and formal Tea.

Visit their website for more information.

"How do we know it's us without our past?"
- John Steinbeck

History of San Jose

During the 1800's San Jose was the capital of California. As a result, San Jose has a rich assortment of Victorian architecture in both large buildings in the downtown business area, as well as beautiful Victorian mansions, cottages and bungalows in the surrounding residential neighborhoods.

San Jose City Hall Image

Our home is located three blocks from downtown in an area where doctors, lawyers and wealthy business owners chose to build their homes.

Directly across the street from our house was the location of the beautiful Morrison mansion. James Morrison was an early mayor of San Jose, his two daughters lived in the house until their deaths, and in 1950 the house was deeded to San Jose State University.

 

 

The Hensley Historic District

Map of Hensley Historical District

In 1970 the federal government established this concentration of larger Victorian homes as the Hensley Historic District and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

It is composed of the largest concentration of Victorian homes left in the central city area. Bounded by Second street to the west, Empire Street to the north, Sixth Street to the east, and Julian Street to the south, the area has a mix of single and multi-family uses. Many of the larger residences that have been divided into flats and apartments, are now being converted back into stately single family homes.

Historically, the eastern side of the neighborhood was a part of the Hensley estate, bounded by First, Empire, and Fourth Streets with the Southern Pacific railway tracks serving as the southern edge of the property. Major Hensley settled here after 1849 when he left the gold fields. The property was subdivided in 1896; again with the services of T.S. Montgomery.

Image of the Hensley Estate

Hensely Estate
photo credit: David Rumsey maps
(see links page)

Architecturally speaking, the houses represent some of the best examples of Italianate, Stick- Eastlake, and Queen Anne styles popular between the 1870s and 1890s. The neighborhood is made up of representative examples of the styles. The many larger and more elaborate homes located on North Third & North Sixth Streets.

Our house is located within this historic district and sits proudly amongst five other grand Victorian homes, anchoring the corner of one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. Built in 1893, it was one of the first houses to be built on the south end of the block.

http://www.hensleyhistoricdistrict.org/about.html
http://www.enative.com/ca/scl/hhd/index.htm
Landmarks

 

 

 

 

We are looking for old photos of the house and surrounding areas, so if anyone has a source
they can suggest, we would be grateful. You can sign our Guest Book and add your comments there.

 

Please check back for the latest updates as we will be adding more pictures, information, and tidbits as our journey unfolds.

From this day on, our families will probably call us the "Crazy Ones" but we're young (well sort of), enthusiastic, and have a passion for Victorian's that borders on obsession...

We've been dreaming about this day for many years~

and this is our story.

Thanks for visiting, 5320 folks have visited us since December, 2006

Images of the Steinbeck house courtesy of www.infopoint.com/mry/orgs/steinbeck/

Research Material:

  • Archives & Architecture, Historical Context Survey, 13th Street Neighborhoods, 2006.
  • Palmer, Christine, Historic Seattle Nominates Eitel Building for City Landmark Designation.
  • San Jose City Directories 1900-1979.
  • San Jose Daily Mercury, Architecture and the Architects, 1/1/1892.
  • San Jose Evening News, Foreclosure Suit, 1/14/1896.
  • San Jose Evening News, Real Estate Transactions, 1/15/1901.
  • Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, San Jose, 1891-1961.
  • San Jose Mercury News, Victorian Revival – Major Overhaul Takes House from ‘Haunted to
    Enchanting,’ 9/23/2006.
  • Santa Clara County Deeds, E.P. Reed to H.W. Reed, Book 131: Page 482, 9/17/1990
  • Sawyer, Eugene, History of Santa Clara County, California, 1922.
  • San Jose Evening News, Smith, Kenneth B., Many Famous Saloons will Close Tonight, 12/31/1917.
  • U.S. Population Census 1870–1930.
  • Vincenz Family Photos in possession of current owners.
  • website: http://www.steinbeck.sjsu.edu/biography/halsteinbeckhouse.jsp
  • website: http://www.newspaperabstracts.com/link.php?id=3097

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