National Register of Historic Places in Calaveras County
The Thorn House is a California version of New England Gothic and the most imposing Carpenter Gothic house in Calaveras County.
Bricks were hauled from Stockton, fifty miles distant, by ox teams. Parts of lower section are constructed of native stone and adobe. Walls at base are thirty inches thick. Roof is steep pitched. Ornamental barge boards, porch, and second story veranda on three sides. Full length French doors, nine in number, open to porch and second floor veranda. Spiral wood staircase connects ground floor, middle floor and third floor. There is a trap door to high ceilinged attic which covers entire area of the house. This house had the first plastered interior in Calaveras County.
The house was built for Sheriff Ben Thorn, famous for his activities during the Gold Rush era. To quote Richard Coke Wood in Tales of Old Calaveras: 0ne of the greatest men in the history of Calaveras County was Benjamin K. Thorn, who served as sheriff and deputy sheriff for a period of forty-seven years. He was the fearless officer who arrested and brought to justice many of the worst criminals who had flocked to California in search of easy money. Among the many notorious bandits that he captured were Sam (Long-haired) Brown and the PO 8, and Black Bart.
Excerpted from the NRHP nomination.