Over 100 years ago, travelers on their way from Stockton to Sacramento often stopped at the corner of Turner and Lower Sacramento roads for a picnic, thinking they were in a public park. Nestled between almond orchards and vineyards were 2½ acres of extensive lawns, tall oaks, redwoods, weeping willows, a gazebo, a duck pond, convenient benches, a tennis court, graceful arbors and a garden ablaze with 400 rose bushes. In the center of this Eden was a gabled two story home – the original Towne house.
Burton A. Towne, a native of Minnesota with a degree in engineering, came to Sacramento in 1898 to work for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Within four years he bought his first parcel of land in Woodbridge that included a small four room cottage, and he became a farmer, growing grapes and almonds. In the 1902 he married Alice Weinstock, whose father owned a large department store in Sacramento. Burt and Alice soon built their original house and there they raised their two sons. Their home and grounds became known as Towne Corner.
In 1908 Burton’s sister, Marion Towne Woodworth and her husband C.C. (Curt) Woodworth bought farm land north of Woodbridge and moved from Buffalo, New York to Lodi. By 1910 the Woodworths and their two year old son moved into the empty four room cottage. During the next ten years Marion added a screened porch and a second story to the building. In the 1922 Marion passed away.
Sometime between 1924 and 1926 a devastating fire destroyed Burt and Alice’s home. The basement survived the smoldering wreckage and eventually was converted to a swimming pool. Burt and Alice moved into “the cottage” and began renovations. By the late 1930’s the house had grown into 13 rooms, which included a connected annex or “apartments.” From then on the house was always called the Towne House. In 1984 the Towne House was designated as an historical site in San Joaquin County.
Prominent members of the community, the Townes were noted for their innovations in agriculture and dedication to public service. For three generations their home was a center of hospitality and gracious living – whether it was a garden party or a simple family gathering.
Today the historic Towne House continues its legacy. Its warm and welcoming atmosphere reminds you of the ambience of a by-gone era.