SAN FRANCISCO PLANTATION HOUSE
Edmond Bozonier Marmillion started building this unique example of an antebellum plantation house in 1853. Completed in 1855, Marmillion commissioned artists to decorate the ceilings, walls and doors with elaborate paintings. He died less than a year later, leaving the house, and a large debt, to his son, Valsin. The name, San Francisco, is thought to be based on Valsin's self described state of being "sans fruscins" or without a penny in my pocket, due to the inherited debt. That name evolved into St. Frusquin and in 1879 was changed to San Francisco. The house went through several owners, all of whom made very few alterations, until it was acquired as part of the tract of land on which the present Marathon Oil refinery now stands.
Koch and Wilson Architects carefully measured and recorded the building and all of its intricate details and worked with building archaeologists to identify the original fabric and form of the building. The firm then planned a detailed restoration of the house as a period/lifestyle house museum. The original 1857 color schemes, and highly stylized interior decorative painting, were restored, working closely with Samuel Dornsife, the historian of vintage interior design. It took a special group of contractors, suppliers, and craftsmen to execute this award-winning and widely publicized restoration. Recently, the firm was engaged to administer structural repairs to the masonry walls and gallery framing above due to differential settlement that has been occurring for over a decade, and subsequent restoration of the ornamental balcony and bracketed cornice.