A Victorian Gothic revival style house in a garden awash with color, lawns edged with winding pathways, fruit trees, and a trellised gazebo; a description out of a romance novel, a place with a story of wealth, fame and a lady. A property that bears the name of two men, one who went to ridiculous lengths to keep all possible suitors away and unwittingly saved his daughter for the other who could not be kept away: her Soulmate.
Located at 1067 Montgomery Street, Oroville on an entire block in an old neighborhood full of period houses is Sank Park the two acre property on which the wealthy and influential gold rush pioneer, California state senator, attorney, and judge Charles Fayette Lott built his home in 1856. Known as C. F. Lott Home, his only daughter Cornelia inherited the house and the entirety of judge Lott’s fortune upon the death of her only brother. According to “Cornelia and Jess A Love Story” by Robert E. Colby, this house was both a prison and a fount of happiness to Cornelia. The miserly judge Lott, while he was alive, is supposed to have driven any admirers away, believing that no one could be interested in his daughter for anything other than her inheritance. He was so convinced of this fact that he threatened to cut his children off if they got married thereby forcing Cornelia into near spinsterhood and her brother Fay into bachelorhood. For Cornelia however, fate had another plan in the form of Jess Sank. Following the death of her brother Fay, who had donned the mantle of guardian after judge Lott’s death, Cornelia found the freedom most of us take for granted: to receive the love and affection of her suitor who had in her case appeared at the Lott home quite unexpectedly seven long years earlier.
After Cornelia’s marriage to Jess they spent many wonderful years at Lott home. Jess deeply in love with Cornelia expressed his love for his wife through projects involving remodeling the house and gardens. Upon his death he willed the property to the city of Oroville in memory of his wife with the simple request that picnic tables be provided on the grounds. Today, this symbol of beauty and love is enjoyed by the public. The house that C.F. Lott built and Jess Sank remodeled is a museum with a romantic garden for merriment and rest.
Visit C.F. Lott Home album on Magnets On The Fridge Facebook page for more pictures.