Mountain View Voice

News - March 7, 2014

Google donates $50K to restore Immigrant House

Donations still needed for a complete restoration

by Daniel DeBolt

As Google looks to improve its image locally, the search giant's latest gift to the city will help with the restoration of Mountain View's tiniest historic home.

The Mountain View Kiwanis Club has received a donation of $50,000 to go entirely towards moving and restoring the 400-square-foot home built for immigrant laborers in the1880s. It was recently saved from demolition and moved from where it stood downtown at 160 Bryant Street.

It's still unclear how much the restoration will cost, but "Google's financial assistance and the support of the Mountain View Kiwanis Club in this arena is an incredible help to us," said Marina Marinovich, who has formed a group called Friends of the Immigrant House. Her grandparents and father lived in the home as immigrants from Croatia in the 1920s and 1930s.

With the Google money, the Immigrant House can be moved from a city storage yard to a new city park on the Stieper property at 771 Rengstorff Avenue, where it would be restored. City Council members have approved the new location but have yet to approve a design or funding for what will be the city's newest park, though there is lots of interest in surrounding the Immigrant House with community gardens.

Marinovich said Google's donation could be traced back to the May 25 meeting when the City Council approved a plan to save the house. "Not only did the firefighters and members of city's SEIU union-represented employees stand up and declare their support and their intention to donate time and talent toward its restoration — but it also led to Google's generous support and now the dream of seeing Immigrant House saved for future generations is on its way to fruition," Marinovich said.

As for the Immigrant House's former home at Bryant and Villa street, a four-story office building is under construction now and is expected to house a major tech company. A display is in the works for the front of the office building to illustrate the past, present and future of the area.

The Los Altos Community Foundation is taking donations toward completing the Immigrant House restoration, which may cost much more than $50,000. To make a donation online, visit losaltoscf.org and type "Immigrant House" into the search box.

Email Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

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