704 O St

August Heilbron came to America from Germany to make his fortune as a grocer and cattleman. In 1881 at a cost of $10,000, he built this grand Italianante house at the corner of 7th and O Streets in a wealthy neighborhood near the Leland Standford Mansion and the State Capitol. The architect was Nathaniel Goodell who also designed the Governor's Mansion (California Landmark 823).

After World War II, most of the magnificent homes in this neighborhood were razed and replaced with banal government office buildings. The Heilbron House was one of the few to escape the bulldozers. Today, surrounded by parking lots, it contains a few offices for employees of the California Parks and Recreation Department.

The neighborhood is being redeveloped as the West End Office Complex, and the Heilbron House will likely be spared once again. The California Department of General Services is evaluating alternative proposals to renovate the house where it stands or to move it to a more sympathetic location.