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Belden House - Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit and National Register Nomination

Project Type

Evaluation, Documentation, Historic Tax Credit




Guerneville, California


Belden Properties, LLC

Groundwork Planning & Preservation was hired by Belden Properties LLC to prepare a Federal Historic Preservation Rehabilitation Tax Credit for the historic Belden/Birkhofer House in Guerneville, California. The property is being renovated by new owners into The Stavrand Bed & Breakfast, having been first converted into a commercial property by previous owners in the 1980s. The historic estate was constructed by Ralph Belden, a prominent banker and recreational and commercial property developer in the Russian River areas near Guerneville in the early 20th century.

In order to complete the Part 1 application, Groundwork completed research at the Sonoma County Library Warnecke Family Archives, and online archives; conducted oral history interviews with members of the Birkhofer family who lived at the property in the mid- to late-20th century; and compiled historical photographs from the current and former owners. Research topics included: property history from its development in the 1920s to conversion into a B&B in the 1980s, to today; context on the history of private recreation and tourism in early Sonoma County; early Russian River resorts; master architects Chester Miller and Carl Ingomar Warnecke; and the lives and contributions of the Belden and Birkhofer families to early banking and commerce in Guerneville.

Groundwork successfully completed the Part 1 tax credit application in 2021 finding the property eligible for listing in the National Register under Criterion C as an early career example of the work of master architecture firm Miller & Warnecke. As a testament to the high quality of the evaluation and technical writing, the Part 1 passed through California SHPO and National Park Service review without any comments or request for revisions. Groundwork completed the Part 2 application to assess to project’s compliance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and the Part 3 to certify the completion of compliant work in 2022. The tax credit application was followed by a successful nomination of the property to the National Register of Historic Places in 2023-2024.

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