National Register of Historic Places in Merced County

National Register #83001207: Maj. George Beecher Cook House in Merced
25 June 2006
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National Register #83001207
Maj. George Beecher Cook House
356 West 21st Street
Built 1887

The Cook House is the largest and most impressive example of Queen Anne styling in the local community. It displays the distinguishing characteristics of the later phase of Queen Anne - a strongly asymmetrical composition dominated by complex roof forms, a prominent cylindrical corner tower, and a juxtaposition of different patterns and textures on the same wall surfaces.

The Cook House retains its overall integrity of design with few exterior modifications since its construction c1887. Sited on a prominent corner, it is a pivotal structure in the city's major historic neighborhood, and stands as one of Merced's few remaining great 19th century houses.

The house was the residence of Maj. George Beecher Cook, said to have been a relative of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Cook, a native of Connecticut, enlisted as a private in the Army of the Potomac when the Civil War broke out. He served through the war and left with the rank of major.

After the war he came to San Francisco then moved to Merced where he established a grocery firm. He was prominent in the Republican Party and eventually served as Mayor of the City of Merced. He died in 1898 at his home.

The house was purchased around 1900 from the Cook estate. It was rented out as a sanitarium for several years then converted into a boarding house.

In 1923 the house was purchased by Mrs. Lola Peterson and remodeled. In 1943, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Green bought the house, named it Greenbrier, and carried out further interior remodeling.

The building was used as a guest house until the early 1980s.

Adapted from the NRHP nomination.

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