Historical buildings celebrated in Danville

Town's heritage sites list continues to grow

The town of Danville has been celebrating its heritage and architecture through a series of historical plaques recognizing several buildings with deep roots in the town.

Since March, members of both the Danville Heritage Resource Commission and Town Council have issued five historical plaques to buildings throughout the town.

The plaques are being issued in a continuous series of dedications designed to highlight the rich architectural history to be found throughout Danville, said David Crompton, the town's principal planner.

"The town of Danville has a very rich history," Crompton said. "The plaques provide a sense of place and the historical context of these sites. Many of the buildings in Danville have a deep backstory that is intrinsic to the fabric of the town. The plaques give Danville residents a wonderful sense of the history of their home."

Most recently, a plaque was issued to the former First Presbyterian Church of Danville, 201 Front St., on June 6. The church is currently home to the Town Meeting Hall.

Established in 1863 by the Rev. H.R. Avery, First Presbyterian is one of the oldest churches in the San Ramon Valley. First Presbyterian is described as an example of Spanish revival architecture, one of the few in the Tri-Valley. According to the town's online profiles of these historic sites, it burned down in 1932 and was rebuilt a year later.

Prior to this issuance ceremony, on April 27, community members attended the joint plaquing ceremony for the Cabral and Foster houses, at 551 and 402 Hartz avenues, respectively.

Local historians aren't certain exactly when the Cabral House was built, but place that date somewhere in the 1930s. According to its online profile, the house is a simple, Depression-style bungalow with architecture characteristic of the time period. It is currently being used as office space and "an upscale spa business."

The Foster House was built in 1926 to replace the original, which was destroyed by a fire. The town describes it as having a "craftsman style of architecture that was characteristic of the time period in which it was built."

And earlier this year, the James Root and Austin Root houses were honored by the community on March 16.

The James Root House, 90 Railroad Ave., was built in the late 1800s by Joel Haden Boone, a descendant of the famous American pioneer Daniel Boone. The Queen Anne-style cottage was later owned by James Root who lived there when he started Mount Diablo Dairy, which processed, bottled and delivered milk locally until 1945.

The Austin Root House, 120 W. Linda Mesa Ave., was built in 1919 near the northwest corner of Linda Mesa and Hartz Avenue. It was moved to its current location in 1950 after Shell Oil bought the original property.

Danville has 21 town-designated heritage resources, including 20 structures and one tree on its historical sites list. An additional 21 properties have been identified as potential heritage resource locations pending additional review. The 21 heritage resources can be identified by an oval brass plaque mounted at each respective site.

"We are very pleased to continue this new program," Crompton said.

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