The home belongs to Ray and Donna Krause, and was built around 1867.
Although referred to as the U.W. Brown house, the prominent Colusa attorney never actually owned the home, said Andy Olsten, president of E Clampus Vitus No. 1004.
The house was initially the home of Colusa’s first mayor, Stewart Harris, when the city incorporated in June of 1868. Harris’ adopted daughter, Emma, inherited the house from her parents. She married Brown, in 1889. Brown lived in the home for more than 60 years, and died in 1952 at the age of 92. Emma Brown died in 1929.
“The property upon which the house sits has been owned by several different notable California pioneers, including John Bidwell and Charles D. Semple,” Olsten said. “It is unknown who built this house and exactly when. It is known, however, that the first resident of the house was Stewart Harris.”
Much of the house’s original architecture still exists, including the original and very rare interior crown molding, which was popularized by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
“I’ve been in construction for 40 years, and you rarely see anything like this,” said Dan Pace, one of several dozen Clampus members who attended Saturday’s event.
Donna Krause, who previously wrote a history of the home, said she learned even more about the actual structure from the dozens of people who toured the interior of the house on Saturday.
I’m so glad I had the open house,” she said. “This has been quite an honor.”
E Clampus Vitus is a fraternal organization dedicated to the study and preservation of the heritage of the American West. While the organization has 45 chapters in eight Western states and thousands of members, the group is most well known for preserving Gold Rush communities, which include Colusa.
Coincidentally, Brown was a member of E Clampus Vitus, which was first organized in Colusa in 1916.
“This is their fourth dedication,” said Colusa County historical researcher John Morton.
While the house could also be considered for status as a historical landmark, the Colusa Historical Preservation Commission declined to authorize the status so as not to hamstring the home’s future owners from remodeling.
The Krause’s purchased, restored, and lived in the home since 1979, and have sold it to a family with young children.
“Not much is known about the children who have grown up in this house, but I think this house was built with children in mind,” Donna Krause said. ■