Weller House history
Mendocino coast history
Horace Alanson Weller came to Fort Bragg to manage the Company Store, and built a one and a half story Victorian in 1886. In 1897, he added bay windows, a full second floor, and a 900 square foot ballroom for a meeting hall and Sunday school until a Baptist church was built. When Mr. Weller died in 1929, the ballroom became a real party place. (We don't doubt the three long hidden storage areas under the roof around the ballroom would have been very useful during prohibition...)
In the mid 1900's the house was maintained as a residence and 'antique museum' by a colorful musical couple, the Schades. They kept a music room (now 'Iris' room) downstairs, and held musical events including opera in the ballroom. For a while, Mr. Schade was Mayor of Fort Bragg. In 1978 they successfully applied for registry of the Weller House on the National Register of Historic Places.
The main house was transformed into a bed and breakfast (first open for Thanksgiving 1999) by musical managers Eva and Ted Kidwell, who also ran a musical instrument repair shop in the back of the main house, and used the ballroom to host local concerts as well as practicing their instruments (both played in the local symphony orchestra). The east windows of the ballroom became French doors with a new exit balcony and exterior stairs to meet fire code, providing the best view of the historic Skunk train as it departs the Train depot a block away.
The water tower was built in the late 1800's, to provide domestic water to the whole 'Weller Addition', the oldest residential neighborhood in town. (The original well still provides water for irrigation and toilets.) All but the ground floor had come down by 1998, when it was rebuilt with new foundation and earthquake-shear walls, exterior stairs, extra windows, and a large observation deck where the water reservoir used to be, a few guest rooms. The top room had an 8 person hot tub, was transformed into an office in 2011 during a severe drought, and now is a bedroom - the highest in town, a spectacular place for storm watching!
The third-floor ballroom with 15 foot ceiling, all made of virgin redwood, has recording-studio quality acoustics. The fireplace mantle has the unique shimmer of rare curly redwood, and an art-nouveau style chandelier of hand-forged bronze was designed for the room by Coe Studios of Berkeley.
The 40 foot long entrance hall has a redwood gothic arch and two built-in seat benches by the staircase. The ground floor had ten rooms with several paneled eating rooms, a study, parlor, music room, kitchen, pantry room, game room and office. The library and two other ground floor rooms have distinctive fireplaces.
The second floor has four large bedrooms and a three room attic. The two front bedrooms were originally joined together by a wash room with a dual basin marble sink which is now the second floor powder room by the stairs to the ballroom. The original elephant-head toilet with pull-chain water closet is now in the public toilet behind the second floor powder room..
Mendocino High School graduation,
class of 1900 (Maude Weller at left)
Mr. Weller and family outside the house