National Register of Historic Places in Placer County

National Register #78000733: Griffith Griffith House in Penryn 26 February 2008
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National Register #78000733
Griffith Griffith House
7325 English Colony Way
Built 1867

The Griffith Griffith home is significant for its historic associations with the founding of the first industry of the area and the subsequent settlement and development of Penryn.

The house is in the Greek Revival style as evidenced by the six-paned windows, the symmetrlcal placement of windows and doors, the wide corner boards, the wide molding below the roof, the cornice returns, the porch on three sides, the double post columns supporting the porch roof, and the shutters. These features combine to create a simple symmetrical style which typifies the Western trend in Greek Revival architecture in America.

Griffith Griffith located a granite outcropping near Stewarts Plat in August of 1864 and decided on that location for a quarry. By February 1865, the first pieces of granite from the new quarry were loaded for shipping by rail. In May of 1865 Griffith Griffith met with Judge Crocker and declared a township by the name of Penryn, with the chiaf interest being the granite quarry. In April, 1867 he started building his home and it was completed in September of that year. The home was located about one quarter of a mile west of the quarry.

A spur track was laid from the quarry to the main Central Pacific Railroad line in 1869-1870. This spur track ran in front of his residence and was about one half of a mile long. The loaded railroad cars traveled by gravity on this spur from the quarry to the main line and, when empty, were pulled back by oxen. The deed of transfer from Central Pacific to Griffith Griffith was recorded on May 15, 1875. This deed for four hundred and thirty five and one half acres included the quarry and Griffith's home.

The 1870's were a busy time for the quarry and as many as two hundred to two hundred and fifty men were employed at one time at the quarry to meet the increasing demand for the granite. Penryn granite was an important building material used in the construction of many buildings, including such public structures as the United States Mint in San Francisco, the State Capitol at Sacramento, and Fort Alcatrez.

In 1874 Griffith Griffith erected a polishing mill, the first and only one of its kind in the state. There were also two large lathes that turned granite columns. In June of 1881, Griffith Griffith received a commendation from the Department of the Interior on the quality and beauty of the specimens that had been evaluated.

Extracted from the NRHP nomination form.

The palms were planted by the Placer County Citrus Colony in the late 19th Century.

The nearby quarry site is California Historical Landmark 885 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Griffith

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