Merriam House, built in 1889, was designed as a “Simple Folk Victorian Farmhouse”. Over time, several additions were made, hiding its original beauty. The house still stands on its original spot, now part of the TERI Campus of Life property, and will undergo a complete restoration faithful to its original design.
Not only does Merriam House’s architecture lend to its historical significance, but so does the man who built it. The first settler in the area, Major Gustavus French Merriam, accompanied by his family, arrived in California in 1875 and homesteaded 160 acres. He christened his property Twin Oaks Ranch, named after two towering oak trees, conjoined at their bases. Legend has it that the trees grew from a dual acorn.
When restoration is complete, Merriam House will become a museum featuring traditional and interactive displays depicting the rich history of Twin Oaks Valley. It will be open to the public and available for school field trips and provide an opportunity for TERI students to lead tours and engage with our local community.
Merriam House built by Major Gustavus Merriam, pictured (L), and in its current state (R).