Driver arrested after smashing into fence at historic Chico home

An iconic Chico Victorian was saved from damage Saturday by a perimeter fence. Dr. Oscar Stansbury built the home in 1883 and was an infectious disease pioneer in California.

Posted: May 23, 2021 5:22 PM
Updated: May 24, 2021 12:25 PM

CHICO, Calif. – A man drove his car onto the grounds of Chico’s historic Stansbury Home early Saturday morning.

Groundskeepers told Action News Now that the fence stopped the driver from hitting the porch of the 10-room home that was built in 1883.

When Chico police officers arrived they arrested the driver. Police said the man had a warrant out for arrest.

The Italianate Victorian was designed by Sacramento architect A.A. Cook. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and belongs to the City of Chico.

The owner was Dr. Oscar Stansbury who was born in 1852 and died in 1925. He had moved to Chico to start a practice just three years after the township was formed. He had worked at his family’s lumber mill in the foothills in Mississippi before his cousin, Dr. George Griffiths, invited him to come to Northern California. Griffiths managed George Parrott’s Mexican land grant, the Llano Seco Rancho near Chico.

Historians working with the Stansbury Home Preservation Association say that Dr. Stansbury was a pioneer in public health in California. Dr. Stansbury opened the first temporary hospital in Chico and made house calls in his carriage throughout the rural countryside for his practice.

His work was said to be vital for control of infectious diseases. He helped in the efforts to convince the public to get vaccinations against smallpox, according to historians. He even studied malaria and yellow fever prevention in the Panama Canal Zone.

From 1903 to 1915 Dr. Stansbury was a member of the California State Board of Health, the organization responsible for creating and enforcing regulations for sanitation, hygiene, and epidemic control.

The Southern Pacific Railroad hired Dr. Stansbury to serve as their district surgeon. He set up a traveling railroad car exhibit that used displays to teach people how to maintain better hygiene.

In addition to the ornate Victorian home that is located at 307 W. 5th Street in Chico, Dr. Stansbury also had a 240-acre farm plot east of Chico that he owned along with William Earll. It was called the Warfield Ranch.

Tours of the historic home have been on hiatus during the pandemic. It is a popular venue for indoor and outdoor events and weddings in Butte County. CLICK HERE to visit the website for the Stansbury Home.

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