John C. Morrill House, at 897 Jackson

Briar Rose Inn

Located at 897 Jackson Street, the John C. Morrill House, formerly known as "The Briar Rose Inn" and until recently a bed-and-breakfast at the corner of North 19th and Jackson Streets, is designated San Jose City Landmark 151. The house was built in 1887 by John C. Morrill, for whom Morrill Ave is named, and designed by Joseph Olcott McKee, a prominent architect for whom McKee Road is named (McKee also built City Landmark 34, the McKee-Lundy House on North 17th Street in Northside). Information on J. O. McKee can be found on the McKee-Lundy page.

John C. Morrill was born in New Hampshire in 1820. He sailed around Cape Horn to San Francisco in 1852 and headed to gold country. He later retrieved his family back east and returned in 1855, setting up an orchard in Milpitas. He sold the property, purchased land in Northside, and in 1887 built this home. He also started the Garden City Lumber Company.

The San Jose Mercury reported on January 1, 1888, that Morrill had built "a handsome Eastlake house on Fifteenth [now 19th] Street. It has eight rooms, and a brick basement under the whole building. There are also a new barn, tank and mill on the premises and the improvements cost $5,000."

In the 1980s, Jim and Cheryl Fuhring restored the home and converted it into a bed-and-breakfast. The current owners, Eric Thacker and Philip Ho, have again made it a private home and are continuing its rehabilitation. The house is decorated with period Victorian antiques along with Bradbury and Bradbury period reproduction wallpaper. The 4-bedroom home also has a garden cottage, which was an antique pump house transported to the property and restored by the Furhings. EricÕs and PhilipÕs efforts are focused on shoring up the structure while maintaining the period-ness and historic accuracy of the home. They are members of the Victorian Preservation Association of Santa Clara Valley and Eric is on the San Jose Historic Landmarks Commission.

The John C. Morrill house will be a historic treasure of Northside for years to come.

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