607 Johnson Street
Nestled among centuries-old gardens, the Mortensen Home, located on Johnson Street, and once referred to Healdsburg's Nob Hill by residents at the turn of the Twentieth Century, quietly withstood the 1906 earthquake, prohibition...however, bottles of wine were found hidden in the basement in the 1960s... welcomed paved roadways and electric lights at the behest of the mayor who lived in the residence, and witnessed the births and marriages of not only Paul and Nellafay' s children but of the Byingtons, who lived in the Italianate Victorian from the 1890s until the 1960s.
The dwelling has played host to Healdsburg's Halloween celebration for over four decades, has charmed the neighborhood children as they played hide and seek in the adjoining forest with its brick and stone paths leading to a secret garden next to a pond and to various forts constructed by groups of adventurous young men; the homestead even stood as a fortress for various classes from the high school who needed a safe haven for floats awaiting the parade prior to the football game.
In 2007, an Award of Merit, presented each year by the Healdsburg Museum and Historical Society, was awarded to Paul and Nellafay for their distinguished contribution in preserving the home's character even through a modern renovation.
Dozens of hydrangeas joyfully dance throughout the summer months along with almost a hundred roses planted by Paul for his wife, Nellafay, to commemorate special occasions, but are guarded by flowering plum and dogwood trees with vines of jasmine that softly scent the air on warm summer afternoons. Various fruit trees provide apples, pears, peaches, and apricots, which if left on the trees to ripen, and picked towards dusk, taste like a bite of Grandma Jenny's fresh preserves. A stately Madrone, the last of a grove that populated Healdsburg prior to the town's dedication, cools the cottage, along with a heritage English walnut.
The charming Victorian cottage directly behind the main house has served as a residence and a guest house for brides, newlyweds, and visitors enjoying our hamlet and all it has to offer, is kept company by the carriage house, built originally a block from the home next to the railroad tracks but moved "up the hill" to serve as a garage for the automobile when it was introduced into the mainstream of America. It now houses two cars and in the back room, an art studio... in the seventies it served as a home for sheep for a son who was involved with Ff A, while the upstairs, a fortress for the Mortensen children playing games among old, weathered crates and boxes, has been turned into living quarters for family members and friends.
Privacy, a sense of wonderment, and timeless traditions are all available for those who reside at the corner of Johnson and Grant.