Location: 4700 Chicago Avenue             Architecture: American Bungalow

Previous Owners: 1898 - 1945: Oliver and Rebecca Ruggles
1945 - 2007: Henry and Katherine Kroeger
2007 – current: John and Raquel Livoni

There are not many homes in Fair Oaks over one hundred years old that have had only three owners. This home on Chicago Avenue was built by Mr. Oliver W. Ruggles in 1898. He and his wife, Rebecca, were early settlers of Fair Oaks. He was a general passenger agent of the Michigan Central Railway. He joined with 12 other successful businessmen to form the Chicago Club. These were successful, well educated gentlemen who assumed leadership roles in the founding of Fair Oaks. Mrs. Ruggles had a large fruit orchard, which she maintained. They had one daughter, Roberta. It is possible that they left Fair Oaks following the freeze in the 1930s.

In 1945, Henry Kroeger and Katherine Van Maren Kroeger purchased the home from an estate sale and lived in it with their two sons, Timothy and John. At one time they owned over 45 acres of farmland surrounding their home. Their crops included olives, peaches and apricots. Mr. Kroeger’s parents, Louis and Pauline, lived next door and they worked the land together. This land was eventually sold for housing developments. They were also the owners of Fountain Square Garden and Retail Center on Greenback from 1977 - 2005. The current gardens on the over two acre property are a reflection of their work. After Katherine’s death in 2005, Henry established a rose garden with 500 plants and 83 varieties, which was designed by Vern Pershing.

The house originally included a kitchen, dining room, living room, parlor and bedroom downstairs and 3 bedrooms upstairs. When first built there was a dormer, which was removed by the Kroegers. During over sixty years the Kroegers lived in the home, they added a large family room, music room, atrium, library and master bedroom/bathroom. The original porch was enclosed by them and a large stained glass window was added at the front of the home. Their son, John said that his father was always adding to the house throughout his life.

Current owners, John and Rocky Livoni are both physicians who purchased the home December, 2007, following Henry Kroeger’s death in February of that year. The Livonis have remodeled the kitchen and will continue repairing and updating the home while maintaining the original quaintness and beauty. The original hardwood floors, built in shelves and fireplaces in the living room and dining room will remain as will the crown moldings, framing woodwork, heat registers, and leaded glass. They have removed wallpaper and acoustic ceilings in upstairs bedrooms. Future plans include reverting the front porch back to a more original design. The gardens, especially the roses, require extensive work. One year a group volunteered to prune the roses and Rocky is looking for other ways to keep the gardens groomed.

The Livonis had a small connection to this home in 1982, when their twelve year old son, Brian, was a paperboy for the Sacramento Union. At the time, they lived off of Sunset and this home was on his route. John and his son would deliver the paper to the Union box attached to the mailbox. After purchasing the home, the delivery box was found amongst some weeds and overgrown bushes.

The house is loved and will continue to be a showcase updated for the 21st century but with old fashioned charm.