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Los Gatos Historic Homes Tour

Well, I missed it this year - the tour was two weeks ago - but Los Gatos' annual Historic Homes Tour was a big success, raising money for both the Los Gatos Art and History museums.

The $30 tour visited six homes in Los Gatos' historic Glen Ridge neighborhood, which is jam-packed with pretty bungalows and cottages, most of them with interesting Craftsman details. Alastair Dallas of the Los Gatos Observer has a good article and several photographs of the tour; homes from the 2001 tour can be visited, online, through Shari Kaplan's October 2001 article in the Los Gatos Weekly-Times.

  • 22 Glen Ridge Ave.: A two-story cottage-style house, built in 1904 for lawyer William F. Pierce and his family, will have the original architect's drawings displayed in the library. It has two cutaway bay windows, a hipped roof with widow's walk and a front-facing gable over its front porch. Used for years as a rental, the home has been returned to its original single-family status by its current owner, who tore down a 1908 addition to build a new kitchen and bath in that space.
  • 133 Glen Ridge Ave.: Look carefully for the subtle decorative elements on the house built in 1909 by David Crummey, who started the Bean Spray Pump Co., maker of the first high-pressure pump for insecticides. (The company later evolved into San Jose's Food Machinery Corp., a maker of farming equipment and, later, huge military vehicles.) Corner towers have hipped roofs, cantilevered on the front and sides with decorated braces below. A hipped center dormer has exposed rafters under the eaves. Stained glass can be seen in the top panes of the tower windows. And here's where you can see the aforementioned quatrefoil windows. The house retains its original footprint, front facade and entry porch, but the insides have been updated - keeping to the period - by the current owners.
  • 219 Glen Ridge Ave.: More fun architectural details are on the cedar-shingled Craftsman-style house with its recessed porch and side-gable roof, built in 1907 for Frank A. Dixon, superintendent of the San Jose Fruit Packaging Co. Carved rafter "tails" show off the skills of a fine woodworker, and the stonework at the sidewalk is original. Inside, many period features remain, including built-in bookcases and dining room buffet, paneling in the dining room and coved ceilings. The current owners extended the rear of the house to remodel the kitchen and add a family room in the 1990s.
  • 19 Hernandez:The oldest house on the tour was built before 1891 and is known as the family home of "Judge" Fowler, although Thomas Fowler actually was a senator and may have even died before the family moved into the house. The Victorian Queen Anne-style house has cantilevered bay windows on the right front and side, a porch with turned columns and a central, front-facing gable. The current owner has remodeled in period style and added a second story for a master bedroom and bath in the early 2000s.
  • 119 Tait Ave.: The newest house on the tour was built in 1993 to replace a circa-1890 Victorian that was red-tagged and razed after it was knocked off its foundation during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. It has typical Queen Anne-style features such as a bay window, wraparound porch with turned columns and hipped roof - all designed to allow the new construction to fit seamlessly into its neighborhood. The current owner purchased it in 1994.
  • 142 Tait Ave.: What's called the "Rene Doolittle House" was built in 1923, likely by Doolittle himself. About 12 years ago, the second story was added, but the first story retains its original Craftsman features such as the stucco under the gables and braces and the exposed rafter tails.