Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hollister, CA History: The Porter House

How did you do with this week's Tuesday in Hollister? Did you figure correctly as two commenters did?

"Monterey and 6th. Grace Bible Church seen kitty-corner where Wells Fargo used to be," wrote Cindy at Facebook.

"Hint: sounds like the name of a large type of steak," stated Anonymous at the original post.

I was standing at the Porter House on the northwest corner of Monterey and Sixth Streets. This Queen Ann style house was built around 1880. It is no longer a residence. It has been divided into office suites and today rents out to several local business people and to the Redevelopment Agency. My favorite aspects about the house is its wrap-around front porch and the cute tower where I wouldn't mind having my office.

The "Porter" in Porter House refers to one of the first, if not original, residents of the house, Dr. George and Olive Pond Porter. Dr. Porter immigrated from England in 1873, eventually settling in Hollister in the 1880s.  A druggist, Dr. Porter and brother-in-law Hiram Pond were co-owners of a drugstore in town. Porter went back to school to earn his medical degree and obtained his medical license in 1890. He returned to Hollister and more than likely practiced medicine. Dr. Porter died in 1905. Here's a link to his obituary. Mrs. Porter continued to reside at Monterey & 6th until her death in 1938.

Here are some interesting notes about Mrs. Porter's life, which I found at the San Benito County Historical Museum.  She was born Olive Pond in April 1860 in Placer County.  She was well-educated, having attended the Napa Collegiate Institute, the College of Pharmacy in San Francisco, and the Women's College of Medicine in Philadelphia. The notes did not mention if she graduated from the last two schools. She and Dr. Porter married in 1881.

How the Porters came to settle in Hollister is unknown. Did they come first or Olive's brother Hiram? While her husband was at medical school, Mrs. Porter took care of the business. According to the family notes, Olive was the owner of a 500 acre ranch on Cienega Road. She was also a past Noble Grand Matron of the Rebeka Lodge in Hollister.

There you go. Now you know a bit of who the Porters were at Sixth and Monterey a long time ago.

1 comment:

  1. Great little history on the Porter House. Olive was QUITE a woman!


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