GRASS VALLEY, Calif. December 16, 2016 – In this “Season of Giving” two non-profit organizations and two generous donors have partnered together in an effort to further restore the historic North Star House. Western Sierra Youth Build, Hills Flat Lumber, the North Star Historic Conservancy and an anonymous donor have begun a project to rehabilitate and re-shingle the west side of The North Star House at 12075 Auburn Road in Grass Valley.
Western Sierra YouthBuild (WSYB) is a California public charter school providing academic and vocational training to young people, ages 18 to 25 in need of a high school diploma. Students participate in academics, vocational training, life skills and career development classes, as well as leadership development and community service activities. As part of its construction training program, Western Sierra YouthBuild seeks out building and maintenance projects to teach students skills in such fields as carpentry, electrical, plumbing, brick masonry, landscape, painting, facilities maintenance and weatherization. The training the students receive from hands-on work enables them to receive industry certifications and provides the skills necessary to obtain jobs in the construction field. WSYB also offers OSHA 10, Forklift, First Aid/CPR/AED, ServeSafe, and Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications.
The North Star House had sat vacant and was to the point of collapse, when the North Star Historic Conservancy was established in 2006 to restore and manage the house and grounds. Each year the Conservancy identifies a series of restoration projects which have to be prioritized in light of available donations and volunteer labor. With the first floor interior nearly completed, it was time to focus on the deteriorated state of the shingles on the exterior facade of the house. However, due to the complexity of removing the shingles from the upper story, the Conservancy lacked the volunteer labor and sufficient funds to undertake this project without help.
“Teaming the eager-to-learn students at Western Sierra YouthBuild with the need for participants to assist in the restoration of The North Star House is a perfect fit,” commented Conservancy board member and building supervisor, Larry Dulmage. “These young people needed to have a project that will help them learn real life construction skills and we have a historic building that will continue to deteriorate without renovation. Without the additional assistance of Hills Flat Lumber and our anonymous donor, this project would have had to wait until we had sufficient funds and volunteer labor.”
According to Joe Heckel, Conservancy board president, “What has occurred over the last ten years is one of the more remarkable stories of perseverance and dedication for our County. After years of volunteer labor and an infusion of donated funds and materials, the House and grounds have been preserved and now are being converted into a cultural event center for all to enjoy.” The North Star House and its grounds are currently available to organizations, clubs, businesses and individuals for cultural and educational events.
The North Star House, designed in 1905 by the renowned California Arts and Crafts architect, Julia Morgan, is listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places. The house is located on a portion of the former North Stare mine, a 14-acre site one mile from downtown Grass Valley. It was built as the residence of North Star Mine Superintendent Arthur De Wint Foote and his wife, author and illustrator. Mary Hallock Foote. After the closure of the mine, The North Star House served as a Christian School for At-Risk Youth and was later abandoned. In 2002, the house and grounds were donated, by land owner Sandy Sanderson, to the Nevada County Land Trust.
For the past ten years the North Star Historic Conservancy has used volunteer labor and donated funds and materials to restore and preserve the house and property for public use. If you wish further information, to donate funds, or to volunteer, please contact www.thenorthstarhouse.org or telephone (530) 477-7126