BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — In 1875 the neighborhood around 20th Street downtown looked markedly different. No Fox Theater, no Happy Jack’s Pie ‘n Burger, virtually nothing in fact we would recognize as Bakersfield today.
It was on this landscape that 27-year-old German immigrant Henry Alexander Jastrowitz literally laid the foundation for a lifetime of service to his adopted city.
Amazingly, through flood, fire and earthquake, his home survives 145 years later.
And its future is still promising.
A team of investors has purchased the building at 1811 20th St. – price not disclosed – with plans to turn it into an events center.
Brie Pair-Lancaster and business partners Jacob and Gabby Frost plan to turn the two-story Gothic-Victorian cottage-style home into a venue for weddings, birthdays, baby showers, you name it.
Seems like a big historical responsibility. Why take it on?
“Community,” said Pair-Lancaster. “Bakersfield. Just to preserve an iconic home, to open it up for Bakersfield residents.”
Gabby Frost agrees.
“As we’ve gotten more and more involved, it’s snowballed into how much the community really cares about this place,” she said. “But it’s really cool and we’re happy to have that responsibility.”
The previous owners, Neil and Jill Galyan, purchased the house in 2015 and completed some substantial and appropriate renovations. The new owners need to do some work in the backyard, but the Jastro House is pretty much ready to go now.
Jacob Frost is confident the community will embrace this new use.
“Seems like the property is just gonna do its own thing and we’re gonna follow along and try to hold onto that,” he said.
Jastro, a prominent businessman, philanthropist and one time nominee for governor, originally built the home on 19th Street, facing south. In 1917 Jastro had the house rotated to face north, placing it on 20th Street.
Mary Jastro, Henry’s wife and the daughter of the city’s namesake Col. Thomas Baker, died in 1894. Henry moved out of the house the following year and died in 1925.
Now, thanks to these new partners, a little bit of his legacy lives on.