Staffler, George

From Santa Cruz County history wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
1970s CntyBank-Staffler cropped.jpg

George Staffler (1838-1901) was a native of Alsace, a border region long disputed between France and Germany. He came to Santa Cruz in 1868, establishing furniture and undertaking businesses on Pacific Avenue. He took a young Louis Wessendorf as apprentice and later partner.

The 1920 photo (top) shows the 2-story former Staffler residence at the northeast corner (to the right) of Locust and Vine (now Cedar) - across Vine from the Santa Cruz Hotel building, which still stands. Staffler could look to the left from outside his Locust Street front door to see his business building on Pacific. His first building burned in the 1894 fire, but he quickly rebuilt. That building was eventually acquired by the neighboring County Bank, and in 1979 the bank facade was extended across the front. Following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, inspections revealed that the wall framing behind the facade was beyond repair and in danger of collapse. All of the original three buildings except the facades were demolished and replaced with today's structure, to which the preserved facades were attached.

The lower photo, of Pacific Avenue in the 1970s, shows the County Bank building and the Staffler building beyond, before extension of the County Bank facade. The blank ground-floor face of the Staffler building, altered from the original appearance in a remodel, became controversial later in the 1970s when Odyssey Records moved in and commissioned the painting of an "outer space" mural covering that entire blank wall area above the entrance doors. Building owner County Bank extended the bank building facade after Odyssey went bankrupt and moved out in 1979.