The only old photo we have of the house (the corner on the right of the photo), and the John Cunningham family taken in 1920 and generously supplied to us by the Heidt family.


Location: 8012 Sierra St., Fair Oaks
Date of Picture: June 20, 2007
Date of Construction: Begun in 1907, the family moved into it in 1911.

Architecture: American Bungalow

Previous Owners: John & Emma Cunningham; Clarence and Mabel (Cunningham) Collins; Bert Cunningham (John's grandson) and two sons of Clarence Collins by a first wife; Jack and Wendy Turner; three unknown owners; Wendy & Jack Duncan.

Present Owners: Merl & Laurie Susmilch

With great pleasure and curiosity on June 20, eight folks sat around the dining room table to discuss this home's history. The party included the owners, the newsletter staff, Gordon and JoAn Heidt and Lou Crowe, a neighbor for 40 years. Gordon's grandfather was the first owner, after which his Aunt Mabel inherited the home. Mable even took in boarders during the WWII years. Gordon and JoAn both remember visiting the home on many occasions. Gordon's mother, Ruth was one of the 2 daughters and 2 sons raised in this home. In all, John and Emma had ten children.

Since 2000, when Merl and Laurie purchased the home, they have maintained the authentic structure much as it was in 1911. In the 1960ís, part of the wraparound porch was converted into a sunroom with Pella wood, double-paned windows. In addition to the living and formal dining rooms, the kitchen has been upgraded but still has that arts and crafts quality. The stove is a reproduction of a wood burning appliance that came with the house. Granite counters, built-in stained glass windows and a china cabinet have enhanced the room.

The home has 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and a spacious basement area used as a recreation room. The master bedroom suite upstairs encompasses the entire floor with an open-tiled shower and sitting area. Gorden remembers that when he was a child, the attic was a storage area. Paneling in the hallway and two stairwells is the original redwood.

As you can see, this home is well loved and cared for including the surrounding gardens. The Susmilch 's were so gracious to invite us for this exchange of history. May they continue to enjoy many years of happiness with their family on Sierra Street.