The building located at 2261 Center Street between the Cambria Historical Museum and the “Bucket of Blood Saloon” building is known by locals as “The Blue House”. In the past it has also been called ”The Mushroom House” or “The Maggetti House”. This house has a rather interesting history.
A man by the name of James Erdman bought this property from George Proctor and George Davis in 1871 and built the house on it sometime before 1876 when a series of sales occurred in rapid succession ending with the purchase by Louis Maggetti in 1894. Maggetti, a pioneer resident of Cambria, was born in Switzerland in 1864. In 1887 he married Lala (Lyla) Galbraith and they had seven children. One of these children, Cecelia, died of pneumonia contracted after spending the night outside during the great Cambria fire of 1889.
The Maggettis moved into the blue house in 1894 and the upper story was added in 1900 to house the six remaining children. Since only the children lived upstairs, the stairway was made less than two feet wide! Lala Maggetti died of tuberculosis in 1901 and Agnes Irene, the oldest of the children at age 13, took over the job of raising her younger siblings with the help of her maternal grandmother, Maria Galbraith.
In 1910 Agnes Irene married Joaquin (Jack) Modesto Soto and they had four children: Margaret, Joaquin Yrculano (Pico), Lila (named for her grandmother Lala), and Betty. Joaquin was a butcher and owned the market today called “Soto’s”.
Louis Maggetti died in 1935 and his daughter, Phoebe Maggetti Storni, inherited the house. Sometime in the late 1930s, she rented the house to Rocco Rava and his wife Elvira Bianchini. Rava. Rocco lived in the house for nearly forty years.
Rocco came to Cambria in the early 1900s and worked as a dairyman and mushroom expert and exporter. He was well known for his method of drying and preserving pine mushrooms which he exported to restaurants in San Francisco. He would gather King Boletus mushrooms in the local forest, slice them, place them on screens, and line them up on the fence to dry. This explains why the “Blue House” was previously know as “The Mushroom House”. Elvira passed away in 1956 and Rocco passed away in 1975. Both are buried in the Old Santa Rosa Cemetery.
After Rocco’s death some people in Cambria wanted to tear the house down to build a parking lot. However, Phoebe Maggetti Storni sold the house to Marjorie Delyser who was born in Cambria. Marjorie’s family had once lived on Burton Drive in downtown Cambria and she was very anxious own a house in East Village. She paid around $7000 for the house but it was in such poor condition that it took another $7000 to restore it. When the renovation was complete in 1976, Marjorie began renting the house. Her renters have included Rick McWilliams who ran an answering service and local telephone service company called The Cambria Communications Center, Sharon Lovejoy and Jeff Prostovich (past owners of Heart’s Ease), Keith and Carol Stuart (local real estate agents), Dennis Sumrow owner of Art Expressions Gallery & Studio and Linda Findlay, owner of ECR Gallery, who rented the house through the end of 2010.