The Department of General Services’ Direct Construction Unit (DCU) has begun work to restore one of the most important and ignored historic sites in California. The John Marsh House will be the centerpiece of a new state park in eastern Contra Costa County.
“Our new concrete foundation will be supporting the old existing foundation,” said George Soffos, Building Trades Supervisor for DCU.
The John Marsh House was built in 1856. It was designed by San Francisco architect Thomas Boyd. The 7,000-square-foot Gothic Revival home featured a 65-foot tower and exterior porch supported by octagonal pillars.
“The work that DCU is currently doing on this project is to stabilize the rock foundation of this structure for seismic retrofit,” Soffos said. “One of the challenges of a project of this type is maintaining the historic fabric of this building. This building has a rock perimeter foundation and rock walls that extend three stories.”
Marsh House was a hard-luck house. The home was built for Marsh’s wife, Abigail, who died two years before completion. Three weeks after John Marsh moved in, the pioneering doctor, cattleman and gold miner was murdered. Marsh’s son and daughter inherited the stone house, but let the property fall into disrepair and decay.
“This project for DCU is very interesting because we have the ability to work on a structure that’s over 160 years old,” Soffos said.
DCU also works on new and contemporary buildings doing tenant improvements and renovations.
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