September 8, 2014
We recently had an exciting visit from John Rocha Jr. who had worked on the Castro Adobe in 1938-39!
John, now 96, worked on the roof of the Castro Adobe when he was 20 years old. At that time the property was owned by Frank Mello, a local farmer who also operated a small dairy on the surrounding acreage. Frank Mello was one of the early stewards of the historic adobe building and continued to work on restoring the building into the early 1940s. John Jr. and his father John, both local dairymen, were asked by Mello to help install a metal roof on the adobe.
During his visit to the Castro Adobe on July 31, John shared many recollections about the poor condition of the building back in the 1930s, including a very muddy floor due to water leaking from the damaged roof. He said they installed a corrugated metal roof directly over the deteriorated shingle roof. He recalled that Mello owned an apple orchard across from the Castro Adobe and workers in the orchard would sleep under the balcony of the adobe. He also remembered eating his lunch in the nearby Hansen house, which was built after the 1906 earthquake.
John found his name etched into the wall of the second floor along with some other familiar names including Joe Simas, who also helped repair the roof in 1938-39, and Alice Rocha, John’s sister. We’re thrilled John Rocha Jr. came out to share his memories with us, and we are always looking for more information and recollections of the Castro Adobe.
If you know anyone who worked at, lived in or has historic photographs of the building or site, please contact us.