Garcia House


Garcia House at Airline Highway 3570.

Story of the Garcia House by Janet Brians

Joseph Rodrigues Garcia was part of the stream of Portuguese who contributed to the history of San Benito County. Born in the Azores Islands in 1856, at 18 he came to the county 1874. He lived and worked in Emmet (east of Paicines off the road to Panoche). He became a naturalized citizen in 1888. He was a stockman with cattle and sheep. From 1896 to 1900 he gradually bought the Mellon Ranch in Emmet with over 800 acres.

In about 1904 he married his wife Maria. She was born in 1883 in the Azores and came to the county in 1903. They had two sons, and with a growing family they felt they needed to live closer to Hollister and the schools.

In 1907 he bought the 51 acres between Tres Pinos and Hollister from another Portuguese, Christiano Soza. Here the future Garcia house would be located at 3570 Airline Highway. In 1908 their daughter Mary was born. Their last son was born in 1914. In the 1920 census it was noted that neither of the Garcias were able to read or write English but spoke the language as well as their native Portuguese.

In 1929 the Garcias sold about half on an acre to San Benito County for a public highway (Airline Highway). The house had a cellar and it was used to store the wine that Mr. Garcia made. Mr. Garcia was a respected member of the community. He died in 1942 at age 86 and his wife died in 1960 at age 77. Both are buried in Calvary Cemetery in Hollister.

Eventually the property at 3570 Airline was bought by Sunnyslope Water District. When they needed to build a new office structure at the site, they contacted the County Historical Society about donating this historic house to the Society's Historical Village. In Oct. 2000 the Society had ABCO Moving lift up the 35ft by 60ft house (38 x 66 with eaves) and haul it down Airline Hwy to the park. Community Support for the project was amazing. Funds for the $25,000 move came from the Community Foundation, Graniterock, two local Portuguese societies (IDES an SPRSI), two Garcia grandsons (Bill and Tony Garcia), Rotary, The Vault, the Realtors Association, Anritsu of Morgan Hill, Milgard Manufacturing, Enterprise Electric, Fulton Picetti, Lynn Franklin, Hollister Fire Fighters Local Union #3395, as well as a large contribution from Sunnyslope Water District and the County Historical Society. Much volunteer labor was also expended by Society members and friends to prepare the house to move and then to prepare it to survive the winter.

Click thumbnails below to watch the building's relocation to the Historical Park...