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The Roswell Butler Hard House is a House located in Antioch, California owned by the City of Antioch, California. Roswell Butler Hard was elected as Contra Costa County Supervisor 1866-1868 and Sheriff from 1867 and 1869. He built his large two story brick house on Front (First) Street in 1869 from brick from Antioch’s first brick factory. It was considered the nicest and most costly home in the area. It served as the meeting place for the first board of trustees for the newly incorporated City of Antioch. He was elected mayor at this meeting. After he died, the house was sold, upgraded and converted into three smaller units. But by 1979, when the City of Antioch purchased the property the house had fallen into disrepair. It is the only surviving structure built in the Italianate style of architecture during the late Victorian period. It was the first building in Antioch to be recorded on the National Register of Historic Places. The House is currently closed to the public, however there is a group that formed to help restore and preserve the house. The house still stands at 815 West First Street, across from the Antioch–Pittsburg (Amtrak station).
Hard was the first president of the Antioch City Council, which had initially met in his house; he also served as county sheriff and supervisor. The two-story Italianate house was constructed entirely of brick manufactured in the area. After Hart ‘s death, it was divided into smaller housing units; in 1979, the city of Antioch took over the building and has since fallen into disuse.
Roswell Butler Hard built this house in Italianate fashion on the banks of the San Joaquin River. The BNSF railroad, which once served the canning and fishing industries along the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers, passes between the house and the river. Next to the track is a nine-foot bronze statue, The Cannery Lady, by the sculptor Elizabeth MacQueen.
The new complication in the ongoing campaign to rebuild the 144-year-old dilapidated downtown structure is that of the State Department of Finance, which challenges Antioch ‘s argument that the building would be for government use.
It was more than a year ago that a group of local conservationists and the City Council signed a Brick Fixing Purchase Agreement so that the group could clean and renovate it as a public museum. Since then, the agreement has been stalled in its tracks because it needs the consent of the state.
Two assessors and the city said the building had a negligible worth. Antioch purchased the Hard House, listed by the state and federal registries of historic buildings, in 1979, but did nothing to restore it to its 19th-century condition. It was the birthplace of Antioch’s first mayor, Roswell Butler Hard, and served as the official meeting place when Antioch became the first incorporated city of Contra Costa County.
The Friends’ Renovation Plan calls for the building to be fully renovated in five years to become a museum and a public meeting spot. Brink said that the organization already had enough donation money set aside and volunteer labor for the first phase of its plans, which included the demolition of the back portion of the house made in 1923.
This amazing landmark in Antioch, California is located near some other must-see places of interest:
- Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve
- Shannon-Williamson Ranch
- El Campanil Theatre
- Arts and Cultural Foundation of Antioch
- Antioch Historical Society Museum
- Lynn House Gallery
- Rivertown Art Center
- Contra Costa County Fairgrounds
All of these wonderful landmarks are located just a short distance from our location at 1091 Shary Circle in Concord, California! Stop by for a visit anytime!