Fausel House and Brewery


Home of El Dorado Arts Council

The Fausel House was built in 1861 by German pioneer Frederick Giebenhain, next to his Giebenhain and Sons Brewery. In 1902, his daughter Mary married Emil Fausel. The Fausel family ran the brewery until Prohibition shut down operations in 1920; however, they continued to own and occupy the house.

Before its 2007 renovation, the Fausel House was Placerville’s oldest residential building, built by Frederick Giebenhain, a German emigrant who, riding the flood wave of gold euphoria, came to California in 1853. In 1857, Giebenhain purchased the nearby Mountain Brewery. An astute businessman, he recognized that a fortune could be made catering to the citizens of the newly minted city of Placerville, a boomtown that was not only the county seat but also home to some 200 businesses—boarding houses, liveries, saloons, and stores.

Fausel House - Exterior
Fausel House, 2017

The Mountain Brewery thrived and in just three years, Frederick had become one of Placerville’s most prosperous businessmen, a status that afforded him the luxury of building a two-and-a-half story brick house next door to the brewery. Daughter Mary wed Emil Fausel, who joined the family as a business partner in the brewing business. In 1913, Emil and Mary Fausel moved into the original family home, thus establishing both the Fausel House name and Placerville’s Fausel dynasty. Members of the Fausel family still live in Placerville and own Placerville Hardware, the oldest hardware store west of the Mississippi.

For 62 years, the Mountain Brewery sold and delivered steam beer throughout California and Nevada, going on to capture medals at two world’s fairs. However, the National Prohibition Act signaled the Mountain Brewery’s end, forcing it to close its doors in 1918. The Fausel House survived, providing a home for three generations of Fausels. Now listed on the California Register of Historic Places, the Fausel House has undergone an extensive renovation. ANOVA Architects in collaboration with Carter-Kelley brought the structure up to current building code with structural and seismic upgrades, rebuilding porches, replacing limestone mortar, preserving woodwork, and shoring up the walls with an internal skeleton. The entire house was also moved and rotated 24 feet so that its front door now faces directly onto Pacific Street, a process that took three days. Flanked on either side by LEED certified professional buildings, the Fausel House’s historical, elegant lines serve as a classic counterpoint to the ultra-modern architecture flanking it.

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