Romain Home (1905)
2055 San Joaquin Street (view map)
Craftsman/Classical Revival hybrid
The Romain Home has been closely associated for some seventy-five years with individuals who have made significant contributions to the City of Fresno, the San Joaquin Valley, and the State of California. It was constructed in 1905 for Frank Romain, one of the pioneering agricultural developers in the central San Joaquin Valley. The erection of his fine residence in 1905 is an indication of Romain's early success and of his position of responsibility in the development of the local economy.
Following Romain's death in 1928, the residence functioned as the Sullivan, Burns, and Blair Funeral Home from 1929 to 1959. All three partners were involved in local community affairs, and Hugh Burns was also a prominent member of the California legislature from 1936 to 1970. When Burns retired in 1970, he was credited with having held the second-longest record of continuous service in the State Legislature in the history of California. The Romain Home's association with prominent members of the community continued after William Whitehurst leased it in 1959 for use as a funeral home (he purchased it in 1970). In addition to his activities in the local community, William Whitehurst served for seven years on the State Highway Commission. His son, Daniel Whitehurst, become in 1976 the youngest person ever elected to the Fresno City Council. In the following year he became the youngest person ever elected Mayor of Fresno and also the youngest elected mayor of a large American city.
The Romain Home also possesses architectural significance through its representation of a typical house form and style of architecture that once was very prominent but has all but disappeared in Fresno. Its honest, non-eclectic approach to housing for upper-middle-class society is representative in form and material of much of early Fresno.