Aptly, it is called the Hard House.

And there is certainly plenty of hard work ahead, but that doesn't worry the Friends of Roswell Butler Hard House.

For the past two years, the small committee has been working to bring this in-need-of-help home the attention it deserves.

Located on First Street, the house was built in the late 1800s.

Friends' president David Brink said it was during an Antioch Historical Society meeting that the plight of the now historical building was mentioned.

So began the legwork on this home that needs more than a little TLC.

Preservation is the key focus for the Hard House.

"Old Town Antioch has been an interest of mine," said Brink, who has lived in Antioch for 69 years.

After his contributions to the El Campanil Theatre renovation and the construction of the Sports Legends project, "the Hard House seemed like a perfect next project."

When it comes to the brick building, Brink is passionate about its meaning and significance to this Delta city.

"It is arguably the most historically significant home in Antioch," he said. "It was built by Antioch's first mayor, who was also the county sheriff and a county supervisor."

The two-story building is on the state and federal registers of historic homes.

Come Tuesday, Brink hopes to gather more support and attention during the City Council meeting.

"Hopefully, it will be another step in the revitalization of our downtown."


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In a recent Letter to the Editor, Brink shared some of the property's back story.

"It's probably safe to say if you asked a majority of Antioch residents who Roswell Butler Hard was, they would have no idea.

Mr. Hard was one of the most influential, and by some accounts, most powerful figures in Antioch's early history."

Hard built the home in 1869 for himself and his wife, and it "was described in the newspapers as one of the most beautiful and costly homes in the county."

The house is made entirely of brick manufactured in Antioch, and Brink said it served as the meeting place for the first city council in the then-newly incorporated city of Antioch.

Although in 1979 the property was purchased by the Antioch Redevelopment Agency, "over the years it has sat empty and "... deteriorated to its present dilapidated state." In that time, it has also been vandalized.

That's what the seven members of Friends of Roswell Butler Hard House aim to change.

They want the historic property renovated and given its due.

"Our mission is to work for the preservation and restoration of the Hard House.

The group includes a former city engineer, ex-city council member, in addition to those with project management and fundraising skills."

The group's restoration plan includes "converting the upper floor to offices to help defray upkeep costs, with the ground floor restored to its original appearance."

When completed, the Hard House would be open for tours and available for special events.

"The project would require no city funding," Brink pointed out.

Now, the group's plan hinges on approval of the City Council.

Brink is urging all to take a "few minutes and go look at the home. "... Then imagine it restored to its original grandeur."

The group's president is hopeful others will share his vision, and wants folks to "voice your support."

Contact Trine Gallegos at trineg@att.net, or East County Editor Craig Lazzeretti at clazzeretti@bayareanewsgroup.com.