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Our Old Santa Cruz With Ernest Otto 

Drennans, Whose Home Is Now Being Razed, Were Community Leaders 

With the sale of the Drennan property on Church street and the razing of the dwelling, a landmark of the city is being removed. It was sold to Lester Wessendorf and will be used as a parking place in connection with the Wessendorf mortuary. Although the house and many of the trees are to go, numbers  of choice trees which have been there for many years will remain. 

The dismantling, when finished will have removed one of the very early residences of the city. One older residence on Church street will remain, the W. E. Miller home, known as the Boston place. 

The Drennan was like many of the older residences of the city, like a bit of New England, transplanted. One reason for the many home of that type was that many came from that section of the country and settled here. The clapboard redwood lumber finish indicates it was constructed in the late 50's or 60's. 

Drennan A Realtor 

Known as the Drennan home, it was occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Drennan and here they raised their family. Mrs. Drennan as Louisa Ferriald, one of the early public school teachers here, teaching at Mission, was a relative of the old New England Pray family on Union street and the well-known Fernald family of Santa Barbara. In Santa Cruz she married Samuel Drennan, who was for many years a leading realtor, insurance dealer, and a leading citizen of the community. 

His office was for many years on Pacific avenue opposite the Pacific Ocean House. He also was the owner of the building where now is located the McPherson building and property adjoining, now the Drennan block occupied by the Byrne hardware store. In the old days this was the leading livery stable of the city, the San Lorenzo stables.

Loved Trees, Flowers 

Mrs. Drennan loved trees and flowers and when a large section of Church street was lined with the wonderful black walnut trees and an attempt was made to remove the two in front of the Congregational church, now the First Methodist church property, it was Mrs. Drennan who stopped the woodsman after he started. The trees were never allowed to be removed from in front of her property and the two standing, the only shade trees of the scores at one time along that street, are a monument to her.

Trees planted under her supervision in the yard remain, including one of the finest magnolias in the city. The magnolias at one time helped to beautify the entire city but now one by one they are disappearing, with no trees as beautiful to take their place.

Near it is a huge English laurel. In this yard was planted one of the first flowering peaches in the city. Three English walnuts remain, one in the central section and two in the rear. One of the walnuts was close to what was an unsightly shed, but by planting wisteria, the yellow Banksia rose and the Cloth of Gold rose, it became a spot of beauty with its masses of lavender and yellow colors. The flowering bushes also climbed throughout the walnut tree. It was one of the loveliest spots in the city.

First Orange Tree

On the other side of the residence was one of the first orange trees planted in the city. It grew to a great height and today it Stands with the golden fruit hanging from its branches. In the rear of the home was one of the graceful pepper trees with its graceful hanging foliage and the deep pink berries, this a part of California.  They had many of them in the early days.

To the west alongside the fence adjoining the Charles Bern place was a row of cherry trees and one never forgets the wonderful black Tartarian variety. In place of one of the trees latier was planted a St John the Baptist bread tree.  This tree was a native of the Holy Land with long pods as the fruit, sweetish to the taste, and said to be the food upon which John the Baptist subsisted.

Variety Of Fruits 

In the orchard in the rear was another cherry tree and varieties of fruits not often seen today. That early striped red apple, the color of which seemed to penetrate the very white meat and change it to a light pink, also was found there. Of course there were the Rhode Island greenings, the bellefleurs, egg plums, pears, apricots, quinces, peach, figs, etc. 

Mrs. Drennan loved flowers. None will forget the ragged robin rose, deep red against the side "of the house, and it litis not been taken down yet; the large cloth of gold the tea rose, the old-fashioned moss rose, even the green rose, not much for beauty but lots for Border beds were for cowslips, violets, the heliotropef, the mignonette and what not of the favorite flowers. 

In later years a redwood tree was planted and is now one of the largest cultivated ones in the city.

Furnishings Fitted 

The writer even remembers the inside furnishings, some in the homes of members of the family today. These were not then antiques as now, but fitted so well in the type of home. 

Mrs. Drennan was prominent in club and church life. She was a leader in the Congregational church. Every minister appreciated her loyalty. She was always active in the Ladies' Aid society and above all in the missionary work. 

She was a charter member in the Women's Improvement society and in this Church street home women of progressive mind and spirit planned for the improvement and welfare of the community. It was this society which planned the small parks here and there throughout the city and much of it was done in the home, and with the assistance of Louis Doeltz were responsible for the mesembryanthemum, the bright pink border plants around the Cliff drive. Here these same and other women gathered in connection with the Women's Aid society, an undenominational charitable organization which for years dispensed charity, regardless of race or creed. 

In Demand As Secretary 

In nearly every society Mrs. Drennan served as secretary, and marvelous minutes were written at the desk in this home telling of plans and accomplishments by them. Here was talked over the wonderful rose fairs given at the Fair Pavilion.

In this home was prepared the best and most complete and historical scrap book ever collected in this city, dating back to early days. Possibly more coffee was brewed in this home than any other in the city. After the church socials ceased to be held at DeLamater'i hall owing to an addition to the church for such purposes but no provision made for a kitchen, the Drennan kitchen was always open to the Congregational affairs and the large coffee pot was placed on the stove there and sometimes a couple of hundred were served as church socials were community affairs. Many notable persons enjoyed the hospitality and the guest room in this home, college presidents, professors, clergymen, missionaries and others who came here to lecture. 

The children born in this home were Mrs. Mabel Byrne, Mrs. R. B. H. Collier of Berkeley, the late Mrs. Hazzard Gragg of San Luis Obispo and the late Captain Ryland Drennan, whose wife resides on Union street.

Samuel & Louisa Drennan home, 45 Church Street, Santa Cruz.

Home of Sam & Louisa Drennan. Torn down May 31, 1941 to make way for parking lot next to Wessendorf mortuary.

Owner of originalUniversity of California, Santa Cruz. McHenry Library, Special Collections.
File nameDrennan Home 45 Church Street Santa Cruz.jpg
File Size112.19k
Dimensions999 x 785
Linked tor. 45 Church street, Santa Cruz, CA; Family: DRENNAN/FERNALD (F50); DRENNAN, Dora Agnes (1915643); DRENNAN, Edith Anderson (1915647); DRENNAN, Mabel Louise (1915668); DRENNAN, Ryland (1915656); DRENNAN, Samuel (1915632); FERNALD, Olive Louisa (1915623)

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