"Emily's House" or "The Lamberson House"
- Description: One-story "shotgun" house; hipped roof; small stoop with turned posts and cutout brackets; door with center glass pane; shed attachment at rear; picket fence.
- Construction Date: 1908
- Original Owner: Daniel P. Lamberson
- Builder: M.B. Fowler
- Interim Owners: Lamberson heirs (1924); Willian J. and Jennie Quear (1924); Eva Hunt, daughter & V. Everett Hunt, grandson (1939).
- Current owner: Howard Hunt (great-grandson)
Arcata's only "shotgun" house was built along the Arcata-Eureka road (now Old Arcata Road, which was used to travel between the two cities prior to the construction of Highway 101) in 1908. Contractor M.B. Fowler built the little house for an eccentric old gentleman named Daniel Lamberson, a native of Michigan, who listed his occupation as "prospector" in the 1921 Polk Directory.
A "shotgun" house is only one room wide, and takes its name from the fact that a person could stand in the front door and shoot their gun, and the bullet would exit from the back door. A common house type in the South in cities such as New Orleans, the shotgun house has the typical "southern pyramidal" roof, perhaps the most distinctive element of southern domestic architecture. The structure is otherwise without ornamentation, except for the lovely cutout brackets on the entrance stoop.
The Lamberson House has been in the Quear-Hunt family for almost one hundred years. Eva Hunt bought the Lindsey property for her parents Mary and William Quear of Bayside. They were living on Bayide Road where they had raised their family. The house was too difficult for them to take care of, so Eva bought the property adjacent to Emily's House (the Lindsey property). At some point, Mr. Lamberson’s family decided to sell his “shotgun house” which was between the Lindsey house and the Hunt house, and Eva Hunt and her husband Joe decided to buy that property and combine the Lindsey and Lamberson parcels.
The Lamberson House is also called "Emily's House", after Emily Rogers, who was housekeeper and companion to Eva after her husband died. Her husband Joe was an immigrant from the Azores. He married Emily and they raised their 2 sons in the house, Clarence and Henry. They rented the house for over 50 years.
Howard Hunt, Eva's grandson and the current owner, recounts:
"Emily was considered part of our family. When my grandmother died, my father Everett inherited the Lindsey and Lamberson houses. Upon Everett’s death, my mother and I each inherited undivided, joint ownership of the property. Emily’s rent was never increased. When Emily died in the early 90s, she was still paying $15/month rent."
In 2019, Howard Hunt decided to undertake an addition to the rear of the property and perform repair and rehabilitation to the structure. The rehabilitation project includes: repair and repainting of the existing redwood siding and trim; new authentic redwood framed windows; new interior and exterior lighting; the removal of an exterior door, and interior reconfigurations to improve the functionality and flow of the floorplan. The owners also plan to construct a small rear addition to house a larger bathroom and closet area.
The project was reviewed by the Arcata Planning Commission and was found to conform to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties based on the following findings:
- The remodel, addition, and rehabilitation will match and preserve the distinctive materials, features, finishes, and construction techniques that characterize a property.
- Historic features that are deteriorated, matching the dimensions, color, and texture of the existing feature will be repaired.
- The existing hip roofline will be matched on the proposed addition.
- The addition has been designed to be “subordinate” to the main existing structure by stepping down the hip roofline from the existing ridge and stepping in the exterior walls on each side.
- The addition is proposed at the rear of the existing home.
- If the addition where to ever be removed, the integrity of the existing structure would be maintained.
In celebration of National Historic Preservation Month, this structure and its story showcase one of the many stories of the region's past and its inhabitants. The City of Arcata staff and the City's Historic Landmarks Committee acknowledge there are many facets of our shared history and honors the fact that this land was historically in the stewardship of the Wiyot people, who celebrate and share their own stories and histories. You can learn more about Tribal Historic Preservation by visiting Wiyot webpages on tribal history and community cultural activities.
Information provided courtesy of Howard Hunt, Suzie Van Kirk's "Arcata's History: 80 Years of Architecture", with information compiled from the Arcata Union, Deed Records, and the 1921 Polk's Directory.