Restoration of iconic 1890’s “Hook House” & future Perris museum continuing

PERRIS — Albert and Joseph Hook moved to Perris from San Francisco in 1887 and became prominent business owners, first building an impressive two-story general store stocked the with farm implements, mining tools, and household goods, on the southwest corner of D and Seventh streets.

SEE RELATED: Perris Valley History Museum’s Nov 10 “Bazaar @ the Perris Depot” to raise funds for ongoing education, historic 1890’s home restoration

In 1891, Albert Hook built a home to share with his wife. Last year, heir to the property, Christine “Christy” Hook Tostenson, donated the home to the Perris Valley Historical Museum and Association.

The brothers later built a mill so local farmers didn’t have to travel out of town with their crops, as well as a dry goods store on the corner of D and Fifth streets, just two blocks from the general store.

As their prosperity grew, the brothers built a trio of elegant Victorian-era homes along Seventh St.

According to City of Perris, Albert Hook built one house for his mother-in-law and her sister and the other he built next door, to live in with his wife. His brother Joseph built the third home to the west of the others, at the intersection of Seventh St. and Park Ave.

Amazingly, all three homes are still standing and one, the home Albert Hook once shared with his wife, is now undergoing extensive renovation and restoration after being donated to the Perris Valley Historical Museum and Association in late 2017. The historic residence was donated by Christine “Christy” Hook Tostenson, the great-granddaughter of Albert Hook and heir to the property.

Tostenson, who has described growing up in the home at a time when Perris was mostly home to farming families and pioneer clans and how she enjoyed her early years playing in the home’s downstairs parlor as a child while passing “idyllic” leisure hours in the playroom, recently said she donated the home to the historical association because she wanted to preserve both the home as well as her family’s legacy. She also said she was thrilled the residence is now in the hands of history-lovers who are committed to restoring the home to its former grandeur and showcasing it as a museum.

Built in 1891, the now blue, two-story home that features white trim, is located at 223 W. Seventh St, between B and C streets, and is one of Perris’ oldest and most iconic homes. It is also one of just a small handful of Victorian-era homes that remain in the city. Although the home needs some renovation to the foundation and other upgrades, it is still habitable.

Local historians Katie Keyes and Midgie Parker recently said the historical association was delighted to add the Hook House to Perris’ other historical buildings, which include the 1892 Santa Fe Train Depot, where the Perris Valley Museum is now housed; the 1918 Bank of Perris, which serves as the repository of the City’s historical documents; the 1886 Southern Hotel, which was restored by private owners; and the 1910 Perris City Council Chambers.

Once restorations are complete, PVHM plans on turning the historic “Hook House” into a museum that will showcase the Hook family and their many contributions to early Perris.

Since acquiring the two-story home, the historical association has entered the first phase of an extensive restoration project, aimed at returning the residence to its former glory.

Contractors are now working to shore up the home’s foundation while starting on plumbing and electrical upgrades that will be necessary to eventually turn the home into a public museum.

“The Hook family added to the history of Perris and we want to be known as a city that keeps its history alive,” said Keyes, explaining that the Hook House is important because it was occupied by generations of the pioneer family spanning more than a century.

“Our ultimate goal is to turn this into a showpiece that explains the legacy of the Hook family and their impact on the city,” said Keyes.

The museum association is now seeking grants and donations, as well as holding fundraisers such as this Saturday’s “Bazaar @ the Perris Depot.” The annual event was created in 2014 to help raise money for ongoing education about Perris’ storied past as well as necessary funds to pay for ongoing projects, such as the Hook House restoration.

For more information about the Perris Valley Historical Museum or how you can help preserve Perris’ history by donating to the museum or ongoing Hook House restoration, visit PVHM online or contact Katie Keyes at (951) 956-9081 or by email.


Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 14 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.


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