Cunningham home, about 1902

Same home, today

Location: 7789 Sunset Avenue; Architecture: Victorian

Previous Owners:

1897: J.H. and Emma Cunningham
1912: W.F. Wright
1920: S.W. and Alice Cartwright
1923: Dorothy Wilkes
1926: Willard and Flora Warner

1932: Clarence and Frances Shaw
1941: Morgan and Alma Keaton
1945: Carl and Leah Amundson
1947: Scott and Hazle Ross
1969: Robert and Mary Jakotich
1974: William and Wendy Wilson
1998: Diana Lennon

While this home has had multiple owners in it’s 110 year history, today it looks much as you would imagine it did in the early 1900s thanks to the efforts of current owner, Diana Lennon. Air conditioning, energy efficient windows, rewiring of electrical and plumbing work make this a comfortable home for the 21st century, but the charm and quality of the past remains.

In the living room, parlor and dining room original crown molding, door and window frames, ceiling beams and floors have been restored. Diana peeled through five layers of wallpaper to get to the original plaster but left behind little traces for future homeowners to discover. Today they are covered with beautiful Bradbury and Bradbury silk-screened Victorian wallpaper. Mid-century the porch area was enclosed to add a kitchen and family room. Upstairs can be reached from the entryway or the “servant’s stairs” in the kitchen, where there are three bedrooms, a sleeping porch and a bath. More steps lead to the third floor area, which is one large room with treetop views on all sides. After the starter home, a small farmhouse, burned in 1898, this home was built for the Cunninghams by an early settler, Joseph Broadley, a prominent Fair Oaks builder.

Many owners of the home have contributed to the growth and development of the area. J.H. Cunningham farmed oranges and almonds on his 15 acres and was the first president of the Fair Oaks Fruit Company. He is considered an original founder of Fair Oaks after moving from Minnesota. The Cunningham family included 10 children and they eventually moved to another home on Sierra Way.

W.F. Wright, an established realtor in the area purchased the home for his uncle to live in. Willard Warner was an executive for various laundry companies in Sacramento. Carl Amundson was a WWI veteran and his wife, Leah was a nurse during the war. He later was a farmer in Elk Grove and Fair Oaks. Dr. Robert Jakotich was a vet who owned Sunset Animal Medical Center, which is now separated from the house by the Serbian Orthodox Church built in 1978.

Diana Lennon, a member of the Fair Oaks Historical Society, is currently adding a bedroom and bath to the ground floor and will continue to keep the integrity and history alive. In the last 12 years, she has discovered bottles, broken china and cans as she works in the yard. Construction crews recently discovered an old clay sewer pipe. The basement and attics have stored memorabilia, some of which decorate the walls of the home. All of this adds to the story of the house and Diane will continue to gather information and items so future generations will know about the early days of Fair Oaks.