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The Rengstorff House

Mountain View, California

Renstorff House Photo

Renstorff House-Photo

About the House

The Rengstorff House, built in 1867, is the oldest house Mountain in View California and is a fine example of the Victorian Italianate architecture. The Italianate design is evident in a hip roof with a central gable crowned by a window's walk, the front portico and a symmetrical room layout. The five paneled front door with headed detailing and pairs of high, double hung windows with arched tops are typical of the Victorian era. Each half of the front of the house is a mirror image of the other. Matching bay windows flank the front door with identical arched windows above them. A pair of square columns supporting the front portico, two matching brick chimneys complete the balanced look of the house. The house was constructed of douglas fir with redwood rustic siding, wainscoting and gutters. The 12-room, 3,955 square house has 10-foot ceilings on the second story and 11-foot on the first floor. Four marble fireplaces adorn the four main rooms on the first floor. These include the formal parlor, the library parlor, the family parlor and the men's smoking parlor which has the only black fireplace in the house. A large dining room , kitchen and wrap around porch complete the downstairs. (See photos below). The second story had four bedrooms, a sewing room and servants quarters, used today for staff offices. The dining room and parlors are decorated with period decor wallpapers similar to those available in the 1860's-1890's. These rooms are framed with cove moldings, picture rails and chair rails. The stately Newell post at the bottom of the staircase, characteristic of the Italianate style, was recreated especially for the house. The Newell post and handrail are crafted from solid mahogany. The staircase, with its hand-turned balusters, is a good example of the high quality of craftsmanship is a fine Victorian home. Oak hardwood floors throughout the downstairs add to the grandeur. Many ornate brass chandeliers, once lit by gas, descend from Victorian plaster rosettes on the ceiling. A modern kitchen for catering and restrooms have been added to bring the Rengstorff House up to date.

Rengstorff-a Pioneer Family

Henry Rengstorff was a native of Germany, and at age 21, like so many others, he was lured to California by the gold rush, arriving in 1850. Too late to join the gold rush, he worked on a bay steamer between San Francisco and Alviso. Later, Rengstorff worked as a laborer in the Santa Clara Valley, saving money and ultimately becoming very wealthy by purchasing land for farming and raising cattle. In 1864, Rengstorff bought 164 acres of land which is now part of the Shoreline Business Park where he built the house in 1867. He met and married Christine Hassler, a native of Germany. They had seven children. Near where the house stands today Rengstorff built a ship landing which played a significant role in the development of Mountain View. When Rengstorff died in 1906 at age of 77, his daughter Elsie Rengstorff Haag and her husband moved into the family home with Perry Askam, the orphaned son of Elsie's sister, Helena Rengstorff Askam. Perry inherited the house after his aunt died. In 1959, Askam sold the house and property to a land development company. A succession of owners held the property over the next 20 years. In 1979, the house was purchased by the city of Mountain View, eventually moved to its present location and restored. In March 1991, the house was dedicated as a public facility by the City council.

Inside House Photo
Formal Parlor

Inside House Photo
Rose-wood Piano In Family Parlor

Inside House Photo
Family Parlor

Inside House Photo
Family Parlor

Inside House Photo
Mens Smoking Parlor-Black Fireplace

Inside House Photo
Mens Smoking Parlor-Another Display

Inside House Photo
Dining Room Fireplace

Inside House Photo
Dining Room-Another View

Inside House Photo
Upstairs To Bedrooms

Inside House Photo
Downstairs To Hall And Parlors

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