Following Petaluma’s incorporation in 1858, the town transformed from what had been considered little more than a hunter’s campsite to the commercial hub of Sonoma County. Many new structures were constructed of stone and brick, such as 120 Petaluma Boulevard North, now occupied by Estuary, a home and garden store.
This building was erected by Andrew P. Mallory, a native of New York, in 1862 as a warehouse. A year later, Mallory also established the Central Flouring Mill at this location.
Mallory declared bankruptcy in 1865 and moved to San Francisco. The warehouse and mill were purchased by brothers Alexander and James McCune, also from New York, who made extensive improvements to the building. By 1876, the McCune Brothers’ Central Mills produced 70 barrels of flour daily.
Fred Hess, a German saloonkeeper, bought the property in 1878 and converted it for retail use. This may be Petaluma’s earliest example of adaptive reuse. An 1898 earthquake did some damage to the rear wall of Hess’ building which may explain the concrete patching that is visible today.
Many businesses occupied the building over the next 145 years, including Ellsworth & Wise, Hale Bros. & Co., H. Reynaud’s, Lieurance Department Store, Jack’s Radio, the National Dollar Store, Western Auto, Cap’n Sims, and Blue Stone Main.
The Gervasoni family owned the building when it was sold to the City of Petaluma for $140,000 in 1985. Before the City purchased the building, it had been home to Cap’n Sims, a thrift store. At the time, there was talk of razing the structure to make way for a parking lot. Fortunately, the City Council did not support that idea despite pressure from downtown merchants.
The City sold the property to Ghirardelli Square preservationists and developer William Matson Roth of San Francisco and his daughter Maggie Roth of Petaluma for $155,000 in 1986. Heritage Homes of Petaluma honored the Roths with a preservation award for their sensitive rehabilitation of the building in 1987.
In 1995, 120 Petaluma Boulevard North became one of 63 properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributor to Petaluma’s Historic Commercial District.