I just read the article in yesterday’s Petaluma Argus-Courier “Petaluma Approves Controversial Apartments” that describes a proposed three-story apartment complex planned for 109 Ellis Street in Petaluma. I was disappointed that the article did not refer to the existing structures, which include a Spanish Revival Bungalow, tank house, and other outbuildings, that are to be demolished to make way for the new construction.
Lester Grover Cramer (1893-1988), a foreman at the Poultry Producers of Central California at the time, hired local contractor A.V. Armstrong to erect “a modern five-room house” on his property in 1936. Armstrong built many of the homes in the Raymond Heights neighborhood as well as the Sartori house at 1416 Casa Grande Road.
The City of Petaluma required that the buildings be evaluated for their potential significance. That report, titled 109 Ellis Street Historic Resource Evaluation, is on file with the Community Development Department and is accessible through the City’s website. The author of the report found that “none of the structures are significant historical resource(s) as they fail to meet one or more of the criterion for listing on the California Register of Historical Resources.”
Despite this finding, I can’t help but think that a bungalow court that incorporated the existing residence and tank house would have been a better fit for this neighborhood. And I really wish I hadn’t missed the July 17th Know Before You Grow forum where Stefan Pellegrini, an architect and urban planner of Opticos Design, the planning firm that coined the phrase “missing middle housing”, explored how duplexes, rowhouses, bungalow courts, and more can serve as models for new housing.
For more on this concept, check out Missing Middle Housing Close Up: Bungalow Courts and Building on a Town’s Historic Fabric.