From 1979 to 1982, Placerville conducted historic home tours to include the Nick Fox House and several other historic homes of Placerville. Below are the Nick Fox House write-ups for those tours:
Nick Fox was a local saloon keeper. Note the charming wine cellar across the courtyard, which was built into the hillside.
The dining room wall paper was a hand-made French import. The floors in he dining room are made of 3/4 inch maple. When the front entry room and porch were later added, oak was used and it isn’t as thick as the maple. The chandeliers, early 1900’s, had originally come painted over the brass. Mr. Smith removed the paint to show off the lovely brass underneath.
The square piano in the living room was built in the 1870’s. The brand name inside is steck.
In the master bedroom the pillow sham was hand crocheted in the 1890’s. The bedstead and dresser belonged to Florence Blair, and was acquired by Don Smith upon her death.
In the kitchen, note the sample of muslin sheeting that was applied to the wood walls before the wallpaper.
The stone fireplace was hand built by Nick Fox and a friend. It was all of native stone, but if you look closely some of the stone was rather unusual. There are gigantic quartz crystals, some fossils, and even a garnet. If you are interested in minerals you will recognize many of the other varieties throughout the structure. Due to the nature of the materials used, the ivy was able to creep in between the cracks and during the residency of previous owners the entire fireplace was covered with ivy. Even now you can see the thick stumps in a couple of places.
This impressive turn of the century Victorian was the home of Nicholas and Anna Fox. Mr. Fox, who was born in Wisconsin, cam to California in 1888 and spent three years in Dunsmuir before coming to Placerville in 1891. He and his partner, Frank Gongwer purchased the Pacific Saloon on Main Street in December of 1891. Blessed with a “good business head” Mr. Fox was successful in all his business ventures and contributed greatly to the prosperity and development of the city and county. He served as Vice President of the El Dorado County Bank, predecessor of the Bank of America, and was a director of the El Dorado Irrigation District.
While in Dunsmuir Mr Fox met and married Anna George of Jacksonville, Oregon. Mrs. Fox was renowned for her ability as a horsewomen. She and her famous horse “Pilot” graced many a holiday parade.
The house is spacious, yet contains little corners for reading and it reflects the leisurely style of the life which the Foxes and others of that generation enjoyed. The interior, with its inlaid hardwood floors, handmade French wallpaper, and unusual rock fireplace featuring mineral specimens collected by the Foxes from various mining properties in the county, combine to give the impression of comfort and good cheer.
After the turn of the century, the house was expanded by the addition of the curved roof section with its stone fireplace in place of the original open porch, and the long front porch supported by massive columns of stone similar to those used in the fireplace.
The original owner of the property was James Ardery of Boone County, Illinois. The Foxes purchased the property from Sarah Lowry, wife of postmaster A.J. Lowry. This area was once called the “City Gardens” because of the large amount of fruits and vegetables grown here. The front sidewalk leads to what was once the carriage house and barn, now a separate property.
Mr. and Mrs. Don Smith have not only restored this charming home but have added a lovely old-fashioned garden with many fine heritage rose species. Mrs. Smith’s scholarly interest in old roses has provided the Heritage Association with a great deal of research material for its old rose project instituted in 1980.
The house was built by Nick and Anna Fox who purchased the property in 1895 from Sarah, wife of postmaster A.J. Lowry. Nicholas Fox came to California in 1888, spending three years at Dunsmuir where he met and married Anna George of Jacksonville, Oregon. He and partner Frank Gongwer bought the Pacific Saloon on Main Street in 1891. Fox later served as vice president of the El Dorado Bank and director of the E.D. Irrigation District.
The house was enlarged in 1911 when veranda, rock work, by, etc. were added. The front sidewalk leads to the former carriage house and barn. Visitors especially notice the handmade french wallpaper in the dining room, lovely hardwood floors and unusual fireplace.