Blue Ox Millworks, Historic Park, and School of Traditional Arts

Photo: Eagle House Inn - Eureka, CA
Blue Ox Provided: Wainscoting, Moldings, Rosettes

The Eagle House Inn - Eureka, CA

Governor's Mansion - Sacramento, California

Built in 1877 by a hardware merchant and purchased by the state of California in 1903 for the price for $32,000, this mansion has served as home to thirteen California governors and has hosted legions of foreign dignitaries. Its architecture is eclectic, reflecting the taste of its various tenants, but the primary style is Italianate.  Blue Ox provided many of the architectural details for its 1994 renovation, including custom gutter and the large finials that you can see located at intervals along the balustrade. For more information about the mansion, click here.

Wheeler Mansion - Chicago, IL

Wheeler Mansion - Chicago, Illinois

Built in the 1870s, and one of the few mansions to survive the Chicago fire of 1871, the Wheeler Mansion underwent heavy restoration in 1999. The only measurements that we had for this job were the dimensions of the central window, and the only model that we had to work off of was one old photograph.  We built custom balusters, gables, corbels, and dentals among other things.  This is now a fully functioning Victorian Hotel in Chicago.


Leland Stanford Mansion - Sacramento, CA

Leland Stanford Mansion - Sacramento, California

Built between 1856 and 1858, the Leland Stanford mansion has served as a home to three governors and was the site of California's first presidential visit (Rutherford B. Hayes, 1880).  Now the mansion serves as the state's official address for diplomatic and business receptions.  The restoration job was done by Reyman Brothers Construction. Blue Ox did extensive work on the mansion's recent renovation, including custom doors, trim, and curved molding. (Photo Courtesy of the State of California)


Saint Innocent Russian Orthodox Cathedral - Unalaska, AK

Russian Orthodox Cathedral - Unalaska, Alaska

St. Innocent Cathedral is the oldest Russian Orthodox church in the continental United States. At the edge of the bay in Dutch Harbor, the cathedral has been a revered spiritual beacon for the many fishing vessels that have used the harbor for over a hundred years. It was originally built in 1825 by Ivan Veniaminov, a Russian priest who spent ten years among the Aleutians. Blue Ox manufactured replacement windows for the entire building, including the arch topped windows you see on the two towers. The material had to be milled from salvaged timbers in order to achieve the full dimension required for authentic reproductions. The windows were adjusted slightly to accommodate double pane glass.


Green Street Home - San Francisco, CA

All Saints Episcopal Church, - Redding, California

Blue Ox was commissioned to build the narthex wall, the wall that creates a greeting area separate from the worship hall. The church was spared in the recent wildfires in Redding, California. We built the wall in four sections and installed it on site. Eric needed to work around the dimensions of the church's doors. Thankfully the four pieces fit perfectly, and the on-site installation only took two and a half hours from start to finish! It was an honor to work on such a beautiful and historic church.


Green Street Home - San Francisco, CA

Green Street Home - San Francisco, California

We helped with the renovation of this home in San Francisco and provided the rare curved gutter to go around the central turret.  Only after the restoration was complete did we find out that Viviana's grandmother had grown up in that very same house. Gladys Mattingly (Viviana's grandmother) was one of nine children.  Their father, Richard Mattingly, was a civil engineer who designed the wall around the Presidio and the bridge at Half-Moon Bay.  What a delightful surprise to work in partnership with a skilled ancestor from the distant past!


Bourso Home - Boston, MA

Bourso Home - Boston, Massachusetts

We at Blue Ox always say that the world is our catalogue, this is one case where the customer took us quite seriously.  Most of the design for this house came from an old photo of the customer's grandmother's house in Russia.  Blue Ox manufactured custom sawn balusters, gables, window casements and columns.  We knew that it looked like the photograph, but we didn't know how closely they matched until years later when a Russian cabdriver in Boston drove by the house.  He recognized the style of architecture and even named the area of Russia where the original house had been. (Photo Courtesy of Tamara Bourso)


Simpson Vance House - Eureka, CA

Simpson Vance House - Eureka, California

The Simpson-Vance house was built in 1892 by Mister James Simpson, a skilled carpenter who had 16 children.  No wonder his house was so large! It is one of the area's finest examples of Queen Anne architecture. One of our earlier jobs, Blue Ox provided the Simpson-Vance house with custom arrow smiths, carved appliqués, 4" by 6" custom redwood gutter, and one specialty carved column.


Portero Hill - San Francisco, CA

Portero Hill - San Francisco, California

Who do you call when you are having trouble finding historically accurate gingerbread?  Blue Ox, of course.  This home owner was in the middle of her renovation when she decided to come to us.  She flew into Eureka for three days and Eric took her on a tour of Humboldt's Victorians.  In the end, Eric designed and supplied doors and gingerbread that were the envy of the entire neighborhood. For more detailed photos, click here. To view the Victorian Homes Magazine article click here.


Waioli Huila Church - Kauai Island, HI

Waioli Huila Church - Kauai Island, Hawaii

Built on the site of a historic mission, the Waioli Huila church was completed in 1912 and restored in 1992 after Hurricane Iniki lifted the original church off its foundation with 220 mile an hour winds.  The restoration committee searched far and wide for craftsmen to help restore the various architectural elements. Eventually their search for custom millwork led them to Blue Ox. (Photo Courtesy of Kauai Visitors Bureau)


Carter House Inns - Eureka, CA

Carter House Inns - Eureka, California

The two homes shown here were renovated in the 1990s. The Bell House, on the left, was built in 1890. Extensive renovation occurred inside and outside the home. The Carter Cottage (right), renovated in 1998, may be the most romantic of the Carter Inns.  It features a marble spa, several fireplaces, and a private deck overlooking the bay. Among other things, Eric designed and built the corbels that you see under the eaves. For more information about the inns, click here.


Schramsberg Winery - Calistoga, CA

Schramsberg Winery - Calistoga, California

Established in 1862 by German immigrants, Schramsberg Winery is known as America's first sparkling wine vineyard. Its tunnels were channeled by Chinese immigrants nearly one hundred, fifty years ago and Robert Louis Stevenson was so taken with the winery that he dedicated an entire chapter to it in his book Silverado Squatters.  For this restoration, performed by Andrews and Thornley Construction, Blue Ox provided custom brackets, newels, balustrade, window inlets, and 12 hand turned columns.


<empty>Mascot Saloon - Skagway, AK

Mascot Saloon - Skagway, Alaska

Probably the only place in Alaska where a man can drink until he's wax in the face (the bar is populated by a collection of mannequins) the historic Mascot Saloon is one of the primary attractions in Alaska's Klondike Historic Park. Blue Ox made several columns for this restoration (though they may not be visible in this picture) as well as several other assorted pieces of millwork.  It is one of a dozen gold rush era buildings that form the heart of Skagway's historic district. (Photo Courtesy of National Park Service)


Yurok Tribal Office - Klamath, CA

Yurok Tribal Office - Klamath, California

The Yurok Tribal Office in Klamath was constructed in 1936. Working from original photographs, Blue Ox artisans tirelessly recreated the original siding and balustrade assemblies in a simple and cost effective manner, saving the tribe a substantial amount of money.


Noyes Mansion - Napa, CA

Noyes Mansion - Napa, California

Many owners of old homes claim that their dwelling is inhabited by spirits.  In the case of the Noyes mansion, those claims may soon be correct.  Slated to be the new office of the Wine Spectator Magazine, this vintage 1902 home restored by Andrews and Thornley Construction and Architectural Resources Group, required special curved gutter,custom moldings, and a couple of Blue Ox widows walks. The restoration project was featured in the August 2006 edition of Victorian Homes Magazine


Volcanoes National Park - Big Island, HA

Volcanoes National Park - Big Island, Hawaii

Blue Ox provided 200 feet of 4 x 6 gutter for the Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii.  Half of this gutter was used for the Visitors' Center (pictured at left.)  The other half was packed in 20 foot lengths to a cabin that can only be reached by foot, deep in the heart of the reserve.  Since it was impossible to drive the gutter to its destination, each of the 20 foot long pieces had to be taken to the cabin strapped to the back of pack mules.


Eagle House - Eureka, CA

Eagle House - Eureka, California

Built in 1888, the Eagle House was completely renovated in the mid 1980s. Blue Ox milled 250,000 board feet of reclaimed lumber for the 3 year renovation project. Wainscoting, door and window casing, doors, baseboard and over 2000 rosettes were milled from timbers salvaged from the 1800s Hammond Lumber Company mill that was demolished. The Eagle House is currently operated as an Inn and restaurant. The lavishly appointed rooms, full of antiques collected in Europe, also offer fabulous views of Humboldt Bay. For more photos, click here.


Carter Hotel - Eureka, CA

Carter Hotel - Eureka, California

With its twenty-three elegantly furnished rooms and a four star restaurant, the Carter Hotelbuilt in 1984 is an internationally recognized bastion of good taste and excellent service. Blue Ox manufactured various moldings including the window materials, and all the interior door and window casing, rosettes and chair rails.


Lou Rocca Home - Alameda, CA

Lou Rocca Home - Alameda, California

This home on Regent Street was the winner of the 2003 award for Alameda Architectural Preservation. The home was built in 1890, but covered in layers of modernization. Beneath asbestos shingles rested a treasure-trove of hidden gingerbread. The Ox restored the historic pieces and matched shadow patterns to complete the restoration of the original design.


Scheller House - SJSU

Scheller House - San Jose State University

The Scheller House was built in 1904 and is one of only half a dozen surviving houses designed by prolific Prussian architect Theodore Lenzen. Scheduled for demolition in 1972, the Scheller house was the beneficiary of a prolonged legal battle over state preservation.  The courts ruled in favor of the preservationists and by 2000 the home was fully restored.  For this job, Blue Ox made all the interior and exterior turnings, the porch assembly, handrails, custom moldings, and custom curved dentilated crown molding. In 2002, the house became headquarters for SJSU's Associated Students. (Photo courtesy of


Hopland Inn - Hopland, CA

Hopland Inn - Hopland, California

The Hopland Inn, established in 1890 by William Wallace Thatcher, began undergoing heavy restoration in 2001.  It has been an important stop over the years for travelers heading north from the Bay Area and is a pivotal part in the community of Hopland.  For this job Blue Ox provided fourteen hand-turned columns, each fourteen feet long, turned from 8 x 8 inch stock. 


Trinidad Head Lighthouse - Trinidad, CA

Trinidad Head Lighthouse - Trinidad, California

This lighthouse, built in 1949, is a replica of the original lighthouse at Trinidad Head.  It is a popular tourist attraction and photo stop for lighthouse enthusiasts around the world and contains the lens and bell from the original Trinidad Head lighthouse (modernized in 1947). Though Blue Ox is certainly not old enough to have been around for the original construction, we have helped out on restoration.  Notably, the finial on the top of the roof was another fine product from the Blue Ox Lathe room.


15th and G Street - Eureka, CA

15th and G Street - Eureka, California

This home was completely devastated by fire.  When we began our restoration, it was missing a quarter of the roof and much of the wall was severely charred.  Blue Ox provided shingles, siding, custom milling, and three windows.  Now the home is beautiful once more.


The Ship's Inn - Eureka, CA

The Ship's Inn - Eureka, California

Built in 1882 by a master ship builder for Captain Samuel Brandt, the Ship's Inn is one of the most unique Bed and Breakfasts in Eureka.  Blue Ox did extensive work on this renovation, including custom balusters, hand rails, porch assemblies, columns, windows, corbels, moldings, and gutters.  If it's Victorian and it's on the Inn, there's a good chance that the Blue Ox has worked on it at least once.


The Glass House - San Ramon, CA

The Glass House - San Ramon, California

The David Glass House was constructed in the 1860s and 1870s and was recently moved to the sixteen acre historic park at Forest Home Farms.  The house has seen extensive renovation in recent years and is the first of twenty-two buildings scheduled to be restored at the site.  Its tank house and an old windmill nearby are also scheduled for renovation.  Blue Ox provided prefabricated widow's walks for this job, including the one on top which was lifted onto the building in one piece with the use of a crane. (Photo Courtesy of San Ramon Rotary)


Bauriedel House - Cutten, CA

Bauriedel House - Cutten, California

The Bauriedels owned an authentic Victorian home in the heart of town but they decided that they needed a little more space.  They began work on this Victorian inspired home in the 1990's.  Blue Ox did extensive work on the project, including almost all of the custom millwork.  Eric designed all of the exterior decorative elements and balustrades, and provided the 4,000 feet of oak molding in the interior. The project was featured in the August 2005 edition of Victorian Homes Magazine


Plaza Commercial Building - Arcata, CA

Plaza Commercial Building - Arcata, California

For this project, Eric worked with Alex Stillman of Design Works to restore this old commercial building to its original splendor.  Working off of one old photograph, Eric designed and constructed the entire store front, including custom doors, windows, turnings, dentilated molding, and several corbels of varying sizes, including two corbels that were each three and a half feet long.  For an up-close view of building details, click here.


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