Assistant Superintendent's Residence

The Assistant Superintendent’s Residence is one of the four Nelles-era buildings remaining on the site. It was one of the several buildings added to the complex during Fred C. Nelles’ tenure as superintendent to improve the school, and to fulfill the State’s position requirement for the Assistant Superintendent to live on the school premises. Additionally, its modest vernacular-style cottage architecture and its location near the school’s rear entrance expressed the institutional hierarchy of the Assistant Superintendent’s Residence, in contrast to the architecturally distinguished Superintendent’s Residence situated near the front entrance of the school.

Architectural Character

The Assistant Superintendent’s Residence is a single-story residence with an L-shaped plan constructed of wood and sheathed with stucco. The vernacular-style cottage residence is covered by an asymmetrical cross-hip roof with shallow eaves covered in non-original asphalt shingles. At the roof peaks are triangular louvre screening roof vents. A small stucco-clad chimney rises from the primary ridgeline. In general, fenestration consists of wood-framed multi-pane casement windows that are either rectangular or square in shape.

The primary (west) elevation is dominated by a wide-hipped roof bay that extends outward from the primary hipped-roof. The southwest corner of the bay has an exterior wall that slants out to the south. This bay features an enclosed porch with large arched openings in-filled (alteration) with fixed wood-framed multi-pane windows and wood-framed multi-light French doors. The west and south elevations of this bay have wood-framed multi-light casement windows framed by tall wood lintels and narrow wood sills. A small room originally functioning as the servant’s quarters extends out from the south elevation.

The northern half of the west elevation features a wide arched-rustic wood door with decorative wrought-iron strap hinges, wrought-iron door handle, and a small four-light zinc-came window. The entry is sheltered slightly by an eyebrow-roof dormer and opens out onto a brick terrace. Windows on this portion of the exterior wall group three multi-light wood sash casement windows with narrow wood surroundings and narrow wood sills, the first northern groupings are square and the southern groupings are rectangular (however, the middle window was replaced with a single light).

The east (rear) elevation features four sets of paired multi-light wood sash casement windows with narrow wood sills, in addition to a rear entry with a wood door (alteration, replacement) opening onto a concrete patio. There are also two small wood sash casement windows. The north (side) elevation features three groupings of square wood-framed multi-light casement windows below the roofline. A window mount air-conditioning unit has been inserted into one of the windows in the western window grouping.

A single-bay detached garage building is located near the Assistant Superintendent’s Residence to the southeast. It has a square plan, a gabled roof with asphalt shingles, sheathed with board and batten wood siding, and a horizontal wood board garage door.

The entryway of the Assistant Superintendent’s Residence originally had a red tile floor, closet space and opened into the living room, the largest space in the residence.

The living room opened to the porch and dining room on the south, and into the hall to the north. The hall connected two bedrooms, a bathroom, and the kitchen. Beyond the two bedrooms was a sleeping porch. In the rear eastern corner of the house was the kitchen, small screened-in porch, broom closet and set of stairs leading to the half basement. An additional bedroom with bath and closet extended from the south elevation; based on the architect’s intention to use pine flooring, in contrast, the remainder of the house had oak flooring; and this space was likely intended for a live-in servant.

Floor Plans

The floor plan was an overall rectangular, but the servant’s quarters located on the south elevation modified the rectangular plan to an L-shape. The house plan was anchored by the living room from which all the other rooms were accessed from this central point. The other rooms in the residence included a dining room, a hall, two bedrooms, a bathroom, sleeping porch, kitchen, enclosed porch, and servant’s quarters with bathroom. The floor plan was not modified after its original construction.

Historical Landscape Design

Historically, the Assistant Superintendent’s residence was in the far northwest corner of the property, south of the football field. In front of the residence was a narrow roadway that led outside of the property to Sorensen Avenue. The roadway ran in front of the residence and curved around the side (south) elevation of the residence where it led into the main part of the facility. On the other side of the street, to the west of the residence, was undeveloped land. As indicated on the original plot plan, the Assistant Superintendent’s Residence was meant to eventually be surrounded by several other residences of the same shape, size, and layout; however, those structures were never built. This most likely explains the street layout and the undeveloped land west of the residence that was meant to be improved with similar style residences in the future. Historical aerials show the property had a green lawn with a central path leading to the primary entrance. To the direct south was a grove of trees.

The landscape around the Assistant Superintendent’s residence was not maintained; thus, the landscape was overgrown and many trees and plants were not healthy. A non-original pergola structure was located over a concrete patio along the north end of the west elevation, but only its metal posts and some wood framing remain. A concrete pathway led to the primary entrance of the residence and to the pergola area and another pathway consisting of irregular shaped pavers led to a concrete side patio in front of the south elevation. The side patio had remnants of two circular brick planters and an outdoor brick fireplace/outdoor cooking area. The rear yard also had another small rectangular-shaped concrete patio. The Assistant Superintendent’s Residence was surrounded by an expansive unbuilt area to its north and west with an open lawn and mature trees.

Additional Information

For more historical information, including more building specifics, floor plans, and photos, download the HABS Report and reference page 186.

Physical History

Date of Erection

Constructed in 1926.


George McDougall

Builder, Supplier, & Contractors

The Division of Architecture at the State of California Department of Public Works



The Assistant Superintendent’s Residence has overall dimensions of approximately 67’6” long x 33’10” wide.


The Assistant Superintendent’s Residence sits on a reinforced concrete foundation.


The exterior walls are wood-framed and covered with painted cement plaster.

Structural System & Framing

Wood-framed walls and reinforced concrete foundation.

Porches, Stoops, Balconies & Bulkheads

There are three concrete patios in front of the primary (west), side (south), and rear (east) elevation. The primary entrance opens onto a raised decorative brick terrace.





The original flooring materials have been replaced with carpet in the living room, dining room and bedrooms; vinyl flooring in the kitchen and enclosed sun porch; and tiled in the bathrooms. Originally, the floors throughout the residence were oak with wood baseboards throughout the residence, with the exception of the kitchen, one of the bedrooms, and two of the porches which were pine. The majority of the flooring in the interior of the residence has been replaced with the exception of the servant’s quarters and the covered sleeping porch which are both finished in pine. However, the rooms appear to retain the original tall, wood baseboards.

Walls & Ceiling Finish

The walls and ceilings throughout the residence are finished in plaster and painted. The south wall of the sleeping porch is covered with painted wood vertical boards. The bathroom walls are tiled. The dining room is wall-papered in a floral pattern with a burgundy background.

Decorative Features & Trim

The interior retains original tall, wood baseboards and wood door surrounds. Located on the east wall of the living room is a concrete fireplace with a concrete floor to ceiling chimney breast and brick hearth.


The majority of the interior hardware has been removed from doors and cabinets. The extant doors have brass and/or glass door knobs. The windows have metal casement latches with lever handles.