Architectural gems remain in Fresno's aging, historic John Euless home

Posted by Helen Tracey-Noren on July 2, 2014 

Real Estate Log columnist BoNhia Lee will return. While she is off, Bee business intern Helen Tracey-Noren looks at the John Euless home as part of an occasional series examining distinctive Fresno-area homes on the market.

On first blush, the house at 373 S. Peach Ave. in Fresno looks run down. Doors are boarded up, there's overgrown brush that died years ago, paint is peeling off the sides. Despite the rough exterior, hidden gems like the ornate stained-glass windows can be found inside.

Built in 1918 for John Euless, a local businessman who led the charge to build a baseball stadium in Fresno that now bears his name, the 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom house is zoned as a historic site with the city and county. The 2,878 square foot house sits on a 1.36 acre lot between East Tulare Avenue and East Kings Canyon Road.

The house has been on the market for six months, and has a potential buyer, with a back-up offer in the wings. Despite its architectural flourishes, the home requires much repair work before it's move-in ready.

Garry Woodward, the Century 21 real estate agent for the property, said that the house has been vacant for about five years and has seen a lot of vandalism.

"At first, they were breaking in the regular windows, but have started damaging the stained glass ones now," said Woodward. The leaded stained glass windows were added around 1976, but can be repaired if the buyer so chooses.

Vandals have taken chandeliers, brass fixtures and plates, and even smashed holes in the wall.

Woodward said that the family looking to buy the house is interested in keeping its historic legacy. However, he estimated it would cost $50,000 to get the house in livable conditions.

In addition to the house, the property includes a detached two-story, in-law suite, and a three-car garage. There is a large side yard partitioned off by a waist-high, chain-link fence that once separated the garden from where chickens roamed. The driveway is wide and formed into a loop by a small island.

Despite the damage, there are hidden gems in the home. The fireplace in the living room has marble framing. The woodwork on the coffered ceilings is still immaculate.

The asking price for the Euless House was $195,000 as a probate sale, or as is. Woodward couldn't reveal what the buyers offered, but implied it was less than the asking price. He said, however, the lender had conditions about the house's state and repairs might need to be made before the deal is finalized.

Originally, the house was on six acres including a barn, 32 types of trees, berry vines, chickens and a cow, according to the state Office of Historic Preservation. Over the years, pieces of the land have been sold off.

The most recent change to the property was in 2011 when Peach Avenue was widened and part of the front yard was taken in eminent domain, reducing it from 1.5 acres to 1.36 acres.

Euless came to Fresno in 1906 from Tennessee and was very involved in the city. He worked for real estate and insurance companies, helped start an oil enterprise in the Coalinga district, and advocated for local grape growers in Washington, D.C.

Known as Mr. Baseball, Euless also led the charge to construct the baseball park in 1958 now known as the John Euless Baseball Park, home of the minor league Fresno Giants from 1958 to 1987. The park is now part of Fresno City College.

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