By David Crompton

DANVILLE -- The James Root House has been a fixture in downtown Danville for 100 years

Located at 90 Railroad Ave., the James Root House was built by Joel Haden Boone, a direct descendant of American frontier legend Daniel Boone, sometime in the late 1800s. It was later occupied by prominent early Danville residents.

In 1901, Joel's daughter, Ina, and her husband, James Root, moved into the structure. It was moved from North Hartz Avenue to Railroad Avenue in 1950, when a gas station owner purchased the property. In the early 1950s, the house was used as a gift shop and has been used for business ever since, typical of many houses in the downtown area.

Next door, on the corner at 120 Linda Mesa, is the Austin Root House, built James Root's son, Austin. Originally located next to the James Root House on North Hartz Avenue, it too was relocated in 1950 to accommodate the gas station.

The Roots were an important family in Danville's history. They owned local businesses downtown, worked in agriculture, and were active as firemen and American Legion members.

James and Austin started the Mt. Diablo Dairy in 1931, which is believed to have been located nearby. James Root's wife was the local telephone operator from 1917 to 1952.

The James Root House was constructed in a Queen Anne Cottage style. This style was a more affordable version of the Queen Anne style and developed in response to growing populations throughout America and California at the time. In Danville, this style was quite popular at the turn of the century.

In 2010, the James Root House was approved to be moved forward on the lot, placed on a new foundation, and restored to its original appearance. A new 3,150-square-foot commercial building is under construction to the rear of the lot. The project is expected to be completed in 2013.

Upon completion of the restoration, the structure will be eligible to be designated a Danville Heritage Resource. The designation would provide for placement of a Heritage Resource plaque to recognize its importance to the community.

David Crompton is the principal planner for the Town of Danville. For more information on Heritage Resources, contact Danville associate planner Crystal De Castro at cdecastro@danville.ca.gov or 925-314-3314. For more information on the town of Danville, visit http://1.usa.gov/QAZ9Sw.