Return to

Luster Restored to Morgan Gem

The five-year effort stands as a testament to the dedication of donors, more than 100 students and alumni, and a determined group of campus employees.

Photo of the front view of the Julia Morgan HouseFor Sac State design professor Lee Anderson, it was a startling discovery: The University owned a home designed by celebrated architect Julia Morgan. In fact, various Sac State programs had been housed in the 6,000 square-foot home since 1966, when Sacramento philanthropist Charles M. Goethe donated it to the University.

Anderson, and a group of people including Sac State Vice President Elizabeth Moulds and Nancy Pennebaker, assistant to the director of the CSUS Foundation, began meeting in the mid-1990s to develop ways the home could be restored.

Five years later, the Julia Morgan House and Gardens on Sacramento’s T Street stands as a testament to the dedication of donors, more than 100 students and alumni, and a determined group of campus employees. Its $1.7 million renovation, paid for through private contributions, was completed last summer. Since then, the main home and gardens have become a prized location for University and public special events. The west wing of the mansion houses the Life Center, a program dedicated to senior wellness.

Photo of Julia Morgan House  back entrance to the house, patio and gardens.“We could not ask for a more outstanding architectural resource for our design students,” Anderson says. “The house is also a wonderful resource for the University and the Sacramento community.”

Architect Julia Morgan was the first woman to graduate from the famous Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the first female architect licensed in California. She is perhaps best known for designing the sprawling Hearst Castle at San Simeon for William Randolph Hearst.

Student interest in the project to restore the Morgan home has been intense from the beginning. Students have developed a variety of proposals for its use and furnishing. When the full renovation project began, the pace of student research and design projects quickened. Even now, students are working on research and planning projects, which will continue for many years to come. Student Melody Bynon, for instance, is writing a history of the home that can be used by docents giving tours.

Photo of Julia Morgan House  FountainAlumni have been involved as well. The Sac State interior design alumni chapter helped with research and design projects for the house, and is now planning public guided tours. “This project has really brought us together for something we could dedicate our talents to,” says Nancy Wigley, vice president of the chapter.

The chapter and others are also raising funds and gifts to furnish the home. The furnishings “wish list” includes antique furniture, art and accessories that would be appropriate for the style and period of the house.

Details: Morgan House and Gardens at (916) 227-5527.

Return to