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Sacramento

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Morse Building, 1025-1031 Second Street, Sacramento, Sacramento County, CA



See 41 maps of this location


B&W Photos

HB94044
West Elevation, 2nd Street

HB94045
South Elevation, K Street

HB94046
Entrance Detail, West Elevation

HB94047
Window Detail, West Elevation


Data Pages


Photo Caption Pages


Supplemental Material
No images were found.

Item Title


Location
1025-1031 Second Street, Sacramento, CA

Find maps of Sacramento, CA


Created/Published
Documentation compiled after 1933.

Notes
Survey number HABS CA-1259
Building/structure dates: 1853 initial construction
Significance: Dr. John Frederick Morse, a New Yorker, was one of Sacramento's pioneer doctors, having arrived there in 1849 and remaining a leading citizen and businessman of that city until his establishing practice in San Francisco in the 1860's. His first connection with the so-called Morse Building is referenced on page 96 of the 1863-64 Sacramento Directory wherein both his office and residence are given as the "Northeast corner of "K" and Second Streets." Several earlier buildings occupied the site, the existing structure being a composite of a first-floor structure dating from 1853, after the fire of November 1852; and a second floor apparently added after the street was raised in 1863-64 due to the floods of 1861-62. Earlier structures included the Post Office and St. Charles Hotel which were destroyed in the fire of 1852. In 1849, Dr. Morse operated a hospital in association with Dr. J.O.B. Stillman at 3rd and "K" Streets and was one of the doctors working heroically during the cholera epidemic of 1850. He entered early in the business affairs of the town and is listed in the Sacramento Director for 1850 as a "real estate agent" at 35 "K" Street. From March of 1851 until May of 1852, Morse served as first Editor of the Sacramento Union. In 1853, he wrote the first detailed "History of Sacramento" which appeared in the Sacramento Directory of that year and has become a standard reference for those interested in researching the first years of the city's existence -- 1849-53. On October 8, 1852, Dr. Morse was the principal speaker on a program opening California's first State Fair held in Sacramento. The great fire of November 2, 1852, destroyed all of the property belonging to the realtor, Dr. W.M. Carpenter, between "K" Street and the alley on the east side of Second Street. His holdings had included the U.S. Post Office, St. Charles Hotel, restaurant, drug store, and various professional offices on the second floor as depicted in a wood-cut of the building's exterior appearing in the September 1, 1852, issue of the Sacramento Steamer Union. After the fire, Carpenter's property was bough by Dr. Morse, together with two partners, Thomspon & Dr. F.W. Hatch. From 1853 to 1855, Dr. Morse had his office on the second floor over the Stanford Brothers Store, 56 "K" Street. He maintained a life-long friendship with Leland Stanford and was one of the early supporters of the proposed Central Pacific Railroad, being one of the first stockholders and later a member of the Board of Directors. From 1855 to 1862, Morse maintained both offices and residence in the Clarendon House on the NW corner of Second and "L" Streets where he is listed in the Directory as being married with two children. Dr. Morse is last listed as a Sacramento resident in the Directory for 1863 wherein his office and residence are given for the first and only time "on the NE corner of "K" and Second Street;" the site of the existing so-called Morse Building. Morse's residency there must have been of short duration, as in that same year (1863) he left Sacramento for San Francisco to become associated with the medical department of the College of the Pacific. The building of our concern was never called the "Morse Building" until recent years. Just who built it, and when, remains to be documented. Morse and his partners (Thompson and Hatch) may have built the first floor portion in late 1853 or early 1854. The second floor was obviously not added until after the streets were raised - probably in 1865, two years after Morse had left Sacramento. In 1859, the property was assessed at $89,000 with an additional $600 for improvements which certainly would not have covered a two-story building.

Related Names
Morse, Dr. John Frederick


Collection
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)

Contents
Photograph caption(s): 
1. WEST ELEVATION, 2nd Street
2. SOUTH ELEVATION, K Street
3. ENTRANCE DETAIL, West Elevation
4. WINDOW DETAIL, West Elevation


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