California State Historical Resources Commission Deems Downtown Mountain View Buildings Eligible for Historic Register
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — July 23, 2019 — Livable Mountain View, a volunteer community group dedicated to the sustained livability of Mountain View, today announced the successful completion of its
campaign to assign historical designation to two historic buildings in the city’s downtown. The California State Historical Resources Commission (SHRC) determined the Weilheimer House (presently home to Chez TJ restaurant) and the former Air Base Laundry building (now the site of the Tied House Cafe and Brewery) are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, following Livable Mountain View’s formal nomination of each building for historic designation. By virtue of the SHRC determining the buildings’ eligibility, both the Weilheimer House and former Air Base Laundry building, located adjacent one another in Mountain View’s historic downtown business district, are now listed on the California Register of Historical Resources.
Appointed by the Governor of California, the SHRC is a nine-member state review board responsible for identifying, registering and preserving California’s cultural heritage. Its members include experts in history, prehistoric archaeology, architectural history, and restoration architecture. During its public hearing in Sacramento earlier this year, the SHRC reviewed Livable Mountain View’s nominations, which included extensive written documentation and visual materials supporting the historical and architectural significance of the Weilheimer House and former Air Base Laundry. The commission then voted 7-0 — two commissioners were absent — to support the buildings’ eligibility and later rendered formal decisions on both.
The SHRC hearing was video-recorded and is available to view online at:
(The Weilheimer House and Air Base Laundry segment begins at the 55-minute, 30-second point.)
“Working toward and achieving eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places like this serves as a powerful example of what a concerned, involved community can accomplish,” said Carole Whitacre of Livable Mountain View’s Steering Committee “It’s a wonderful outcome for the residents of Mountain View, its historic downtown and all those who value preserving the city’s rich heritage and historic treasures.”
The Weilheimer House was built in 1894 by Julius Weilheimer, son of Seligman Weilheimer, a German-Jewish immigrant who in 1853, along with his brother, settled in what then was known as Mountain View Station. The Weilheimers opened a general store, followed by many other family businesses that included a hotel, livery, and additional general stores. Julius Weilheimer was born in Mountain View in 1860 and eventually ran many of the family businesses, which by then were located on and around the city’s main downtown commercial street, Castro Street. He served as trustee, mayor – he held city council meetings in the Weilheimer House – and vice-president of the local bank, and led the effort to rebuild Mountain View’s downtown after much of it was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake.
The Weilheimer House’s next resident was five-term U.S. Congressman Arthur Free, who was responsible for Moffett Field (later Moffett Field/Ames Research) coming to Mountain View in 1930, when cities up and down California were competing for this project.
Built in 1931, the Air Base Laundry largely served the base and thus was designed to match the thirty Spanish Revival buildings still located at Moffett Field, all of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. Its façade remains unchanged as it retains its stucco finish, red roof, original upper story windows and corbels below the roofline. Although updated since 1931, the materials and scale of the doors and windows are consistent with that of the original building. By history, function and design, the Air Base Laundry building is Downtown Mountain View’s link to the first generation of air and space technology — events that helped to lay the foundation for today’s Silicon Valley.
About Livable Mountain View Livable Mountain View is an all-volunteer group of residents with the aim of making Mountain View the most livable city in California. The group supports smart growth throughout Mountain View and advocates for development that shows respect to the city’s rich heritage, irreplaceable historic structures and vibrant downtown. For more information, go to www.LivableMV.org or email to info@LivableMV.org.
Livable Mountain View media contact:
For additional information and a Q&A on the historic eligibility of these buildings see: Weilheimer / Chez TJ and Air Base Laundry / Tied House Preserved – Q&A and Castro Street: Where It Came From, Why It Should Be Preserved