434 Brazil Street, Sonoma

The owners of the house hired Alice to assess the potential historic character of the property in anticipation of redeveloping the site.

The eclectic house located on the northern edge of the town of Sonoma sits on a rocky outcropping that for decades in the 19th century was wedged between the Vallejo family’s holdings on the west, the Buena Vista property on the east and the Schocken Hill quarry on the north. Throughout the mid-19th c. the parcel was part of a larger tract and was used for surface mining after 1884. The parcel was whittled down in size at the turn of the century, with Giovanni DeBernardi, a Swiss stone cutter, purchasing one-quarter of the parcel--including the project area--in 1892. DeBernardi built a mining shack on the property and surface mined the site to supply his commercial stone masonry business with raw material. Between 1932-1938 the Cogo family constructed the barrel-roof porch and repositioned the front door; they continued to surface mine the site for their concrete business until 1946. The next owners enclosed and expanded the porch on the east and added the gabled wing on the west to make the mining shack more amenable as a residence. Alice determined that, despite its age, the building does not qualify as an historic resource because it no longer retains enough physical integrity to convey its 19th c origins as a mining shack and because changes made to it were not architecturally distinctive or representative of a master builder or architect.