Volcano Schoolhouse

Project Number:
December 14, 1964
Beverly Willis, Joey Griffith
Volcano, California
Project Name:
Volcano Schoolhouse

A “ghost town” three hours from San Francisco, Volcano, California, was once home to 10,000 miners that worked the original mother lode of the gold rush. When Willis first saw the deteriorating buildings in the early sixties, the town’s one hundred residents survived on weekend tourist trade.

Built in 1855, a one-room schoolhouse with boarded up bell tower and crumbling foundations was redesigned by Willis as her personal weekend retreat. Gutting the interior, Willis created a two story living area in one half of the space, and stacked a master bedroom suite over a small kitchen and two bedrooms in the other half. The boys and girls restrooms were converted to half baths, and the original wood flooring sanded and stained.

The exterior was fully restored, including bell tower and stone foundations. A deck and swimming pool were added to the outdoor “playground,” a modern contrast to the original merry-go-round and chin-up bars.

  • Dunne, Mike. “Abandoned Old Schools Shelter Only Ghosts Now.” The Sacramento Bee 22 June 1975.
  • Dunne, Mike. “A Schoolhouse Home.” The Sacramento Bee 30 September 1972.
  • Anderson, Judith. “Gold Rush Country Hideaways.” San Francisco Chronicle 25 June 1971.
  • “Everyone’s Bent on Fun and Games.” [No Paper Name], n.d.
  • “Grandest State of All.” San Francisco Chronicle n.d.
  • Ritchie & Ritchie Corp. “Historic Gold Rush Home.” [Advertisement] n.d.
  • Robbins, Millie. “Volcano Hits the News Again.” San Francisco Chronicle n.d.
  • “Magic Volcano Attracts the Energetic.” [No Paper Name], n.d.