McRae block at Main and Lincoln Streets circa 1910
the Mcrae block, built 1908
In the early days of the 20th century if a town did not have an Opera House it was not considered a proper town. In keeping with that sentiment, Alexander Bell McRae decided to move his house three blocks from where it stood, at the corner of Lincoln and Main Streets, to build a first-class building in the center of town that would be deemed Roseville’s Opera House. The building was completed in 1908, and many events have taken place in the upstairs portion of the building, including live theatre, a roller-skating rink, semi pro boxing matches, and even the local newspaper operated out of the upstairs, but there has never been an opera. The downstairs housed Mr. McRae’s real estate office, and later many businesses. The McRae building still stands as a grand reminder of Roseville’s past.
Then and Now
The Odd Fellows Building, built 1878
In 1872 the Roseville Odd Fellows #203 was instituted. At the time of their institution they were meeting upstairs in the Shellhous building, located at the corner of Pacific and Lincoln Streets. Charter member, Mr. J.D. Pratt, owned a brick making business on Dry Creek, where the fire station on Oak Street is currently located. Since fire had destroyed a great many of the town’s buildings, J. D. decided to build a brick building on Pacific Street to safely contain his business. He built a one-story brick structure with 14 inch walls, and once complete, he sold the air space above his building to the Odd Fellows. The Odd Fellows then built their structure on top of the Pratt building with their walls being 12 inches thick. Several fires in the area again destroyed all of the buildings including the Shellhous building, but was never able to penetrate the Odd Fellow Building. If you look at the front of the structure today, you will see where the Pratt building stopped and the Odd Fellow building starts. The ingenious placement of iron doors for the top floor windows prevented fire from ever entering the building. The Odd Fellow building is the oldest commercial structure in the city of Roseville still standing.
Then and Now
the corner of Pacific and Lincoln Streets
Roseville's second, general mercantile store, a two-story frame building was established by J.D. Pratt at the corner of Pacific and Lincoln Streets, circa 1869. The upper floor was known as Pratt Hall and served as temporary space for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) until they established their own brick building next door in 1879. William Sawtell acquired the Pratt Building, which he operated in partnership with others under the name Sawtell & Co. When the City of Roseville incorporated in 1909, officials rented the upstairs until 1911 when they moved to their new home on Vernon Street. The wood-framed building was destroyed by fire in 1914 and rebuilt with masonry construction. The site was later used as the Rex Hotel, and today the Pacific Street Cafe occupies the corner space, facing Lincoln Street. This corner of old Roseville may look very different from its by-gone days, but the whistle of the nearby locomotives are a gentle reminder that this spot was once a hub of activity in the growing town.
Then and Now
The Forlow Building
Fred Forlow who was born in Nebraska in 1872, came to Roseville in 1905. He was one of the early businessmen in the area, opening the Mint Saloon in 1906. He was married to May Ross in 1914, and in 1918 he purchased the Barker Hotel and continued to operate the hotel for several years. When he could see that Vernon Street was starting to become the center of town, he purchased the Keehner home at the corner of Vernon and Lincoln Streets.
This property consisted of five lots, and he started building a double store building facing Lincoln Street in early 1922. While still building the store, he decided to also build another large building facing Vernon Street. This building was to become a two story building with modern office rooms and eleven apartment rooms.
When the Citizens Bank purchased the building in 1930, a provision was made that Fred and his second wife Mary would have a life-time use of their finely appointed apartment on the second floor. Even though the Citizens Bank (now First Bank) owned the building everyone continues to call it the “Forlow Block.”
Then AND NOW
THE WEST HOUSE
The West House was built by F. B. Rossi, for a gentleman named George West in 1907. It was a two story building with it being a restaurant, bar, boardinghouse and rooms, by the day, week or month. When George was elected treasurer of Placer County in 1911, F.B. Rossi and his wife took over the management of the building. In 1917 the building was leased to a Mr. Galli. He ran the business until December 1918, when Avano Frediani rented the building. On October 30, 1946, Avano purchased the building from F.B. Rossi and the Frediani family has continued to run the business since that time.