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LaQuita DeMarco of Century 21 Tri-Dam Realty in front of her recently remodeled office 6 California St. during Friday’s celebration. The building, which dates back to 1896, was shifted away from the downtown intersection to make way for an expanded right turn lane scheduled to be installed this summer.

Historic downtown building re-opens
- March 4, 2015

By Nick Baptista

   The historic Century 21 Tri-Dam Realty Inc. building on the southeast corner of State Routes 12 and 26 in downtown Valley Springs re-opened Friday after nearly a nine-month remodeling effort.

   The building, dating back to at least 1896, was moved deeper into the corner lot last June to accommodate the upcoming intersection improvement project.

   LaQuita DeMarco of Century 21 Tri-Dam Realty expects the road construction to get under way this June or July. Plans call for an extended right turn lane from State Route 26 to eastbound SR12 and a left turn lane from westbound SR12 to westbound SR26.

   Once that work is completed, the corner Century 21 Tri-Dam Realty building will receive some finishing touches, DeMarco said, such as a paved parking lot and a white fence around the building.

   “It’s been a long gestation period,” she said, as it has been nearly five years since the county decided it wanted to improve the intersection and the historic building was in the path.

   Century 21 Tri-Dam Realty hosted an open house Friday to mark re-opening of the office, which has been totally remodeled inside.

   Initial plans called for the Century 21 office to be demolished, but Calaveras County and DeMarco reached an agreement to move the building instead of tearing it down.

   Moving the building was more costly than demolition and Century 21 paid a portion of the additional expense.

   The turn-lane solution at the intersection was reached after several public meetings discussing whether to put traffic lights or a roundabout at the downtown Valley Springs bottleneck. Then-District 1 Supervisor Gary Tofanelli, in discussion with engineers, brought forth the extended right-turn lane suggestion, which the county Board of Supervisors agreed to pursue. 

   The turn-lane was determined to be the least costly and least intrusive on downtown buildings and parking spaces of all three alternatives.

   Once completed, a study says the intersection improvement project is expected to alleviate much of the morning and evening rush-hour back up for about an eight-year period.

   The Century 21 building at the intersection of Highway 12 and Highway 26 in Valley Springs has stood there at least since 1896, when it was a saloon - a business not surprising given the central location across from what was at the time the Southern Pacific train depot and near the Valley Springs Hotel, according to Sal Manna, founder and president of the Society for the Preservation of West Calaveras History Inc.

   The land upon which it was situated was patented in 1881 by George Late, who built the nearby two-story Late House around 1862. Two decades later, Late sold a portion of his property to Frederick Birdsall, financier of the San Joaquin & Sierra Nevada Railroad (which the Southern Pacific would purchase). Birdsall then created the Valley Springs townsite. The saloon was situated just outside the border of the townsite.

   Originally called the Hub Saloon, by 1920 the business and property were owned by Mrs. Conrad F. Kaiser.  By 1930, the business had added a pair of gasoline pumps. In the mid-’30s, the saloon was purchased by twentysomething Missouri native Russell James Herbert Sr. aka Herb. Renamed Herb’s Corner, the business soon expanded its wares to include fishing equipment and bait, and then added a café operated by Herb’s wife Bernice.  Herb ran the business for more than 30 years, until his retirement in the 1970s.


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Post office grapples with recycling issue
Larger space for VS business
Obituary - Barry Charles Trigger
Community Calendar
Fourth round of controversial fire fee bills going into the mail
CalFire: Time to make sure carbon monoxide alarm is working
Accolades for Youth Mentoring program
Medical Aid, Fire Calls
Sheriff's Log
Church Directory
Golf Roundup
Champion cheer squad

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