This colonial revival style house at 519 Grand Avenue was originally at the northwest corner of Grand and Spruce Avenues. It was built in 1905 by Doctor Harry Garritson Plymire. While he saw patients in the Martin Brick Block (corners of Grand and Maple Avenues) this proud building served as his private residence as well as his offices. In 1913, Dr. Plymire converted this house to “South San Francisco General Hospital” - the first hospital between San Francisco and San Mateo.
The practice lasted until 1915 when Dr. Plymire succumbed to pneumonia at the young age of 38. His practice and house were sold to Dr. Frank Dolley who, in 1917, had the house moved to its current location so the new “South San Francisco General Hospital” could be built in its place. This new hospital was completed in 1918 and the home at 519 Grand Avenue eventually became The Industrial Club for Businesses and Professional Men. After that, it operated as a boarding house through the next two decades. It became a private residence in the late 1930s.
Ernst Schwarz bought the house in 1958. Ernst was a prolific amateur painter and the house was filled with his artwork. After his death in 1984, his wife, Margarete, wished to preserve the house as well as Ernst's paintings. When she died in 1994 the property was bequeathed to the Historical Society of South San Francisco. The house was designated a historical home and transformed into a museum.
Throughout the years, The Plymire-Schwarz House steering committee and volunteers worked diligently to restore and furnish the home with period-appropriate antiques. One item of particular pride is an authentic, fully restored 1910 Cribben-Sexton Company stove in the kitchen. Showcased in the dining room is a 1911 Victrola.
A complete collection of the South San Francisco local newspaper “The Enterprise Journal” is housed in the upstairs library. There is a rotating exhibit of Ernst's art throughout the house in an upstairs gallery as well as displayed throughout the home.
A lovely, sheltered garden is maintained by volunteers and featured along its pathways are commemorative stepping stones, which were sponsored by Historical Society members and Plymire-Schwarz House supporters.
A traditional Victorian Tea, hosted by volunteers, is held annually. This popular event has become the major fundraiser for the home and is always booked to capacity.
The House is also opened to schools, businesses, and the general public as an example of an early 20th century home.
Admission is free.
Check out this great video and learn even more!
519 Grand Avenue, South San Francisco, California, United States
Monday - By Appointment
Tuesday - By Appointment
Wednesday - By Appointment
Thursday - By Appointment
Friday - By Appointment
Saturday - 1:00pm-4:00pm
Sunday - By Appointment
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