In 1904, Fred Stolte (b. 1875) rented a room in Lillian Ferguson’s San Francisco home. They both worked for the San Francisco Examiner. She also owned a home on a three-acre estate in Homestead Valley. Fred visited her there and observed that the area was a lot like where he grew up in Oregon. In 1905, he bought a lot across the street and built a cabin.
The 1906 earthquake in San Francisco made Lillian Ferguson’s house uninhabitable. They both moved to Homestead, she to her home, Three Groves, and he to his cabin. They commuted to the city by train and ferry. In 1913, Fred married, moved to San Francisco and started a family. In 1915, his bachelor cabin was made ready for family living with the addition of a new wing and other improvements. In 1916, he moved in with his wife Ann and their daughter Virginia. A son was born in 1919. Over the next several years, Fred acquired other property in the neighborhood including Stolte Grove across the street. Fred Stolte and their daughter, Virginia Spalding in adulthood, were active in community affairs.
This photo, taken about 1923, shows Ann Stolte on the porch with her son Frank. The woman in the foreground is probably an aunt whose planned one-month visit lasted 15 years. She stayed in the building in back on the left, a wood shed that Fred converted to a guest cottage. Castle Rock and power poles on Sequoia Valley Road are in the background.
If you have comments or questions about this article or other topics
pertaining to the history of Homestead Valley,
please feel free to e-mail Chuck Oldenburg.