House preserves a piece of past

Built in 1900, home surrounded by construction site

OLD AMONG THE NEW This home on the northwest side of the intersection of West Dunne Avenue and Monterey Road, pictured during a recent rain storm, is considered a “historic resource” by the City of Morgan Hill. Credit: Scott Forstner

You may have wondered about the little brown house on West Dunne Avenue and Monterey Road. It sits in the middle of a major development construction site, alone and untouched.

The house at 45 W. Dunne Ave. is a stark contrast to the development going on around it. The house, which was built around 1900, will soon be surrounded by 17 residential lots with 11 rowhouse units, one duet unit and three new single-family residences. The brown home itself will be remodeled and upgraded to preserve its importance to the city.

While not on the National Registry of Historic Places, the little brown home is considered a “historic resource” by the City of Morgan Hill. A study conducted by Carey and Company Architecture, who was contracted by the city, identified the house as an important piece of the city’s history that should be preserved.

Morgan Hill-based DZ Designs is overseeing the design and construction of the new units on the property, but Diana Gutierrez, who works for DZ Design and has worked on the project said the company has not been contracted to complete any updates on the brown home. However, Gutierrez believed when refurbishments on the home are contracted, DZ Design will be the one to complete them.

Communications and Engagement Manager for Morgan Hill, Maureen Tobin said the other construction is being completed first. Tobin told the Times in an email that the integrity of the house will stay the same, but the developer may change the paint color.

Morgan Hill Senior Planner Terry Linder told the Times that she believed the project, known as the Gera Residential Development, planned to sell the brown house as a refurbished version of itself, maintaining its historical integrity. Because the property is listed as a city resource, it means its history has a significance to the city, but not the state.

Carey and Company conducted a site visit to the 45 W. Dunne Ave. property in 2015 to determine the importance of the home and other structures that existed on the property before it was developed. Behind the home was a small barn, which Linder said is planned to be converted into a garage for the home after it is refurbished.

According to the Carey and Company document the State Historic Resource Commission does not advocate for non-historic groupings, but moving a home is not typically viable. So the little brown house will remain on its original lot.

“The house at 45 West Dunne Avenue was determined to be significant on a local level and listed on the Morgan Hill Historic Resources Inventory. The barn at 45 West Dunne Avenue appears eligible for listing in the City of Morgan Hill register as a part of the residential property,” said the report from Carey and Company.

“The barn, which is over 89 years old, complements the traditional rural atmosphere of Morgan Hill and the early residential development context that the main house was associated with. The structure maintains its integrity.”

Gutierrez told the Times that she believes the Gera project’s developer is still deciding whether or not to rent or sell the renovated home. According to Gutierrez, the Gera Residential Development is anticipated to be completed some time in 2019, with the bulk of construction completed this summer.

Tobin said the developer is currently taking offers on the historic Morgan Hill home.

Leave your comments