History – Foulks House: The Story and Restoration

The original Foulks house, the oldest remaining original residence in the Elk Grove area was moved to its present site, the Elk Grove Stage Stop and House Heritage Park. This home was constructed in 1853 on a ranch located at Elk Grove Boulevard and Bruceville Road. Slated for demolition in 2004 it was donated to the Elk Grove Historical Society by Frank Stathos, moved there on December 4, 2005, and restoration was completed in 2020.

Over all these 160+ years there have been many attachments and remodels to the old house. Even an old chicken coop was added as an extra bedroom at one time. It is the oldest remaining original residence in our area. The unique single wall construction that was common during the Gold Rush is the only one of that kind still standing in the surrounding area. The inside wall is nailed against the outside wall without any insulation or space in between. It is a remarkable building, a tribute to an incredible family, and ultimately a museum of their history. 

When the house was placed on its new foundation in 2006, only the original structure was brought without all the added and broken down additions. It was placed on a foundation and then it took almost 15 years to raise money, establish it as a historic building, get bids and commission contractors, and then gather volunteers to help do the restoration work.

In 2019 most of the restoration was finished and in 2020 the inside was finally completed and furniture returned.

If you are interested in the history of the Foulks Family, return to the Menu and under “HISTORY TOPICS” you can read about their most interesting journey.

We are very proud of the results of our restoration. We did have to compromise on some of the historic aspects of the construction for legal and insurance purposes because we couldn’t have the building falling on our guests. Obstacles like wood we wanted to save, but was rotted and needed to be replaced and it is difficult to purchase square nails. We believe we are close and truly hope we captured the essence of the building.

We hope you enjoy a tour and can appreciate the lives of the family whom lived their.

Again, if you are interested in the history of the Foulks Family, return to the Menu and under “HISTORY TOPICS” you can read about their most interesting journey.

History of the House

Euphemia’s Foulks husband passed away in Ohio and her brother thought she and her five children would have better opportunities in California. She and the kids traveled down the Ohio River and then Mississippi, where she boarded a California bound wagon train led by her brother, wagon master Dr. Jonathan Pugh. They traveled established routes across the prairies and mountains and arrived in Carson City. There she met her fifth son who had come out earlier. They moved on to Sacramento in 1851. The journey lasted six months.

In her book “History Happened Here, Book-2,” local historian Elizabeth Pinkerton writes from the memories of  Ephermia’s Great-great-granddaughter Jacklyn Elizabeth Mauger Linn:

“Upon their arrival at Oakwood ranch in 1853, the Foulks family continued to live out of the covered wagon until they erected a house in 1954. Located out back and away from the main road, the interior contained flooring of horn wood, a narrow tongue and grooved wood. The original exterior siding was Redwood Barn Wood, shiplap was added later. The house had two stories and was built with wide plank wood floors upstairs held together with square nails. The downstairs consisted of two rooms, a sitting parlor-dining room and kitchen. Up a very narrow, steep staircase that you had to go outside to enter, were two small bedrooms. The house had a covered front porch and two front doors, one leading into the kitchen and the other into the parlor-dining room. Water came from a well that was dug close to the house.”

Later she add’s:

“With the help of our family and my parents’ friends, we renovated the original 90+ year (circa 1945) old farmhouse which by that time had been moved from the far back of the ranch to a spot about 200 yards from the newer Big House. A living room was added to the back of the house, complete with an oil furnace for heat. The house had a concrete floor bathroom and septic tank. The kitchen was updated to include a new sink and drain boards, a low counter for eating, a more modern stove, a refrigerator, and storage closet under the staircase. The entire interior was repainted and wallpapered, which took some doing, because the old parts if the house did not have plumb walls (straight and level).”

“Then two upstairs bedrooms were divided by a storage closet. My sister and I shared a room and my parents, of course, had the other bedroom. The peak of the roof sloped down so that you had to be very careful when you got out of bed and stood up or you would bump your head. My father, at 6’2”, bumped his head many times on that ceiling. The gray with white trim exterior paint job completed the work and we moved in to our cozy little house.”

“In subsequent years, my parents renovated the house once again, updating the living room, adding a huge master bedroom with a big walk-in closet, a modern bedroom, service porch, electric heat, and best of all, a downstairs bedroom for my sister. That room, at one time, had been a chicken coop. but it was moved to the house, connected by a tiny hallway. It was paneled with a knotty pine wood interior, and had a large picture window. The reason it was such a great addition was that, for the first time in our lives, my sister and I did not have to share a bedroom! The upstairs bedrooms were made in to one single room, which was all mine. I could keep my horse and dog books, my cowboy boots, hat and jeans, my horse drawings, and other art work, and all my other stuff up there in my room.”

On Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 3:00 pm, the Native Sons of the Golden West Parlor #41 in conjunction with the Elk Grove Historical Society, re-dedicated the Foulks House on its final completion. A beautiful historical marker was placed on the front wall of the house that says, ” In 1853, after the death of her husband Alfred, Euphemia Foulks traveled via train, steamer, and covered wagon from Mansfield, Ohio to Elk Grove with four of five children. Arriving in Elk Grove, she built “Foulks House”, one of the last existing examples of early California “Single Framed” House construction in this area. Built like a barn with no studs or sheer wall to keep it square. The house has a sitting parlor-dining room and kitchen downstairs. One went outside to go up a very narrow, steep staircase, which led to a one-room bedroom that sleeps one adult and five children. The house provided shelter for 32 years until 1885 when a beautiful two-story Italiante Victorian was built. The ranch was located near the present day intersection of Elk Grove Boulevard and Bruceville Road, adjacent to Foulks Ranch Drive. It was moved to Heritage park in 2005.” (GPY 144 01)

Dedication of the Foulks House

“Saturday afternoon, December 5, 2020 the oldest surviving single wall house in the Sacramento area, the Foulks House was dedicated at Heritage Park. After 167 years and six generations of family use, it was moved to the park in 2005. It took us 15 years to raise funds and complete the restoration and we couldn’t be more proud. Thank you Elk Grove! It is now a museum and a testament to one lady who moved her and her five kids from Missouri to Elk Grove in a wagon train and created her own 320 acre ranch.”

“The event was attended by about 85 interested guests, including 15 Foulks family descendants and our own Board of Supervisor representative Don Nottoli. Local historian Dennis Buscher gave a 10 minute narrative of the families history that had us all in awe of this family and incredible woman and what she was able to accomplish. The Native Sons Of the Golden West installed a bronze historical marker with a ceremony that was lead by several officers from all over the state. Tours followed and it turned out to be a truly wonderful event.”

“Please come tour the house on a First Saturday of the month free tour as soon as we can get through these current closures.

Look for information on our elkgrovehistoricalsociety.com website. Pictures are presently posted in the Photo Gallery under “Foulks House Dedication.”