Lafayette’s first homes were primarily plain, unpretentious structures built by farmers who were more interested in shelter than in design and appearance. Few of these early homes remain today, but a number of photos of some of these structures have been discovered. By the late 1800’s the fancy gewgaws, curlicues and complicated designs of the Victorian period began to replace the simple designs.
Elam Brown’s permanent home, built after he’d lived in three locations in the Happy Valley area, was this frame house. Located at what is now 985 Hough Avenue on Lafayette Creek, it was erected possibly as early as 1849. After “Squire” Brown’s death in 1889 the home was occupied by Henry Toler Brown (adopted son of Elam’s son Warren) and his family. The structure was torn down in the late 1920’s.
Nathaniel Jones and his wife Elizabeth built this house in the 1850’s on their Locust Farm property approximately a mile up Happy Valley Road.
One of the loveliest homes in the Lafayette area was this two story estate built by Horace Carpentier about 1865. Just one of the promoter’s extensive holdings throughout California and the United States, the house was located near present Merriewood School. From 1886 to 1925 ranch foreman Arthur J. Burton and his family lived here, and the land was known as the Burton ranch.
When Samuel Hodges arrived in California he settled in the eastern portion of Lafayette on acreage at Reliez Creek and Old Tunnel Road. Here he raised his family and built this home on Reliez Station Road on the east side of the present freeway interchange.
This lovely Georgian-style home, known as Friendship Farm, was built in 1912 by Sally B. Hampton and Mary Dyer. A replica of Miss Dyer’s eastern house, the structure is now a private residence at the end of Woodland Way.