The slave William Sugg came to California with his master around 1850. In 1854, for one dollar, he purchased his freedom. Although Mr. Sugg was never wealthy, he worked repairing and refurbishing leather harnesses to provide for himself. He managed to purchase a piece of property and in 1857 starting building his house, now known as The Sugg House.
Mary Snelling Sugg traveled to California with her family in
1851. Mrs. Sugg was light skinned and
the Indians they encountered on their trip often mistook her for an Indian girl
who had been kidnapped and continually tried to rescue her. She spent a lot of the trip hiding.
Mary eventually had 11 children. William
started building his house in 1857 with mud, straw and water. The walls were 18
inches thick with a wood frame kitchen. The roof was made from cut-up 5-gallon
tin cans nailed to the rafters. The original house was three rooms. As his
family continued to grow Mr. Sugg added additional rooms using wood. A kitchen
and a second floor as well as an attic were added. The additions were completed
in 1880. The Sugg family lived in the house for over 125 years. The last family
member to occupy the house was William Sugg's grandson, Vernon Sugg McDonald.
were rented out as overflow from the city hotel. In 1921 laws changed requiring
publicly rented rooms had hot and cold running water. The house was placed on
the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.