Photos from the Vault

Historic Cass House in Cayucos is restored — yet again

The Cass house was in need of restoration in 1979.
The Cass house was in need of restoration in 1979.

Historic homes can’t save themselves.

Consider the Cass House in Cayucos, for instance. It’s been protected from the wrecking ball by different owners through the years.

It was built a block from the beach around 1875 by the town’s founder, former ship captain James Cass, who also built the Cayucos wharf for his shipping and warehouse business. He could see the wharf from the house’s second floor.

By 1944 the family no longer owned the house and it fell into disrepair. When a potential buyer in August 1981 wanted the dilapidated property and planned to bulldoze the house, then owner Harold Biaggini made his wishes for the house clear.

“We told him to go to hell,” Biaggini said, “That house is going to be preserved.”

The latest owners are Christa Hozie and Traci Nickson, who own Brown Butter Cookie Co. in Cayucos and Paso Robles. They recently renovated the property as a boutique hotel and restaurant. Once again, it’s a centerpiece of Cayucos.

The house was the second structure marked with a plaque by the San Luis Obispo Historical Society (now History Center of San Luis Obispo County.)

1979 07-12 cass fireplace
An ornate marble fireplace in the Cass House sitting room burned coal. The Cass house was in need of restoration in 1979. Wayne Nicholls

Sisters Christa and Traci Hozie talk about how a small deli in Cayucos transformed into the Brown Butter Cookie Company, a San Luis Obispo County business that produces about 5,000 shortbread cookies each day — and each treat is individually handr

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