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July 2, 2020
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An antediluvian house on the hill

  • A historical stone house in Cotati

By: Irene Hilsendager
June 21, 2019

The age-old stone building stands on top of the hill west of Old Redwood Highway and Valparaiso. The hoary structure looks quite spooky especially at night with just a small street lamp nearby. 

The property was once owned by Fred and Kate Savage after it was subdivided by the Cotati Land Company from the original Thomas S. Page holdings in 1893. The Savages operated it as a chicken ranch with a feed mill. While Fred Savage sold it to Kate Savage in 1910 who then sold it to John Edward Kessing in 1916. Clarence Eales bought the property around 1930 and stayed with the poultry operation, during which time Eales became the general manager of the Poultry Producers of Central Ca. Later Irvin and Dessie Sloat became owners later and established a worm and mushroom farm. When Dr. and Mrs. Hans Albertson bought the property they operated their Alpine Pet Hospital and they lived there for many years. The building was converted around 1962 into the small veterinary clinic that Dr. Hans Albertson operated for around 20 years.

The age-old house was considered to be the oldest in Cotati but burned down under suspicious circumstance around June 8, 2009. At that time arson investigators were trying to determine what caused the fire in Cotati that destroyed much of the historic stone building. The June 7 fire destroyed a two-story shingled house believed to date back to 1893 and was eligible for the California Register of Historical Resources. 

The old house was both historic and architectural because of unique stonework on the building and its historic use for cutting kale, grinding grains and cooking horse met to combine for chicken feed before the advent of commercial feeds.

The property is now called Kessing Ranch and will be developed for single family homes. The new expansion will include 40 new market rate homes as well as seven for-sale affordable homes. Thirty-five percent of the units will be sold with photovoltaic panels installed and all homes will be pre-wired for solar. The storm water treatment and protected wetland areas will include interpretive signage to educate the public on low impact development technique and the importance of naturally functioning systems and a new public park will be created around the historically significant stone structure. The Kessing Ranch developers have already broken ground as of the month of June.