Saturday, August 7, 2010

#692 - Hood House

Visit Date: July 12, 2010

We had not planned on visiting Hood House, but driving south from the Petrified Forest we saw a landmark road sign for Hood House and took the next left as directed. Hood House is on the grounds of the Los Guilucos Youth Services Center -- a juvenile correctional facility. It's was initially difficult to find the actual house as most of the signage is designed to help visitors find jury parking, the police entrance, etc. If you visit Hood House, take the fork to the right when you first enter the property and you can't miss the house.

The House and Grounds

Hood House is beautiful and stately with a whitewashed exterior and a porch spanning the width of the building. It is currently undergoing seismic retrofit, which is really important for an all brick building in a seismically active area. Looking through the windows, the interior looks very impressive and we hope to return after the repairs are completed if the house is opened to the public.
Hood House
There was once a fantastic tree-lined manor drive leading from the road to a circular drive immediately in front of the house. The manor drive no longer connects the house to the road as various buildings of the youth facility have been built in the way. The remnants of the drive, and its bordering trees, did help us figure out where the house was. Alisa noticed the typical manor drive layout dead-ending into the correctional complex. We proceeded to circumnavigate the fence until we got to the opposite side where we found Hood House.

View of the correctional facility from
the Hood House porch.
Purchased in 1924 by the Knights of Pythias, a number of nearby red-brick buildings bear the crest of the knights or their female auxiliary, the Pythian Sisters. We are not sure, however, what the Knights of Pythias used the site for. We'll post an update if we learn anything more.

Hood House is a quirky historical landmark. Unlike other landmarks, like Jack London's house (our next post), which is nestled in a gorgeous state park, Hood House is inside a correctional facility. It is a fabulous mansion and we hope that it will be opened to the public following its restoration.

The Marker
This was the site of Rancho los Guilucos (18,833 acres), which Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado granted to John Wilson and his wife, Ramona Carrillo, sister-in-law of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, in 1839. The house, constructed in 1858 by William Hood for his bride, Elsia Shaw of Sonoma, incorporates the original bricks fired on the property. The property was purchased in 1943 by the California Department of the Youth Authority for Los Guilucos School for Girls.
California Registered Historical Landmark No. 692
Plaque placed by the California State Park Commission in cooperation with Los Guilucos Citizens Advisory Committee and the Sonoma Valley Historical Society. May 28, 1960.

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