Shaw House

The Shaw House, also known as the Shaw House Inn, is an historic Carpenter Gothic Victorian style house located at 703 Main Street in Ferndale, Humboldt County, California. It served historically as a courthouse, as a post office, and as a single family dwelling.


The Shaw House was built in 1854 by Seth Shaw, who with his brother Stephen W. Shaw had arrived by canoe in 1852 to build a cabin, clear some land, claim it and found the town of Ferndale. Despite long-standing local legend, the house was not inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of the Seven Gables, but rather by the home of Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo in Sonoma, California which had been drawn and painted by Stephen W. Shaw. In the early days, the Shaw House served as the area's first courthouse as well as post office.

The building was owned by the family, vacant for several years at the end, until sold in 1967. Fully restored by two owners, the Shaw House was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 13, 1984.

It remains the oldest house in Ferndale and functions as a bed and breakfast under the Shaw House Inn name. It still features the marble fireplace that Isabella Shaw, Seth's bride, picked out at Gump's in San Francisco.

  • "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  • "The Victorian Village: History and Heritage of Ferndale". Ferndale Chamber of Commerce. 
  • Tapper, Joan (2007). The Most Beautiful Villages and Towns of California, with photographs by Nik Wheeler. New York: Thames & Hudson. pp. 22–23. ISBN 978-0-500-51368-2. 
  • Genzoli, Marilyn (1994). The Victorian Homes of Ferndale: A Pictorial Guide and History. Ferndale, CA: The Ferndale Museum. pp. 24. 

Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via Annotator
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    OpenBuildings updated a digital reference and added a digital reference
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