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Rocks, Rails & Ranches

Barudoni Building’s granite walls came in handy during 1914 fire

GPS coordinates: (N 38° 47.457', W 121° 14.322')
By: Gary Day, special to the Placer Herald
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Rocklin History Tour

This is the ninth installment of a 19-part series in which Gary Day will take readers on a tour of Rocklin’s historic sites. You can find the sites yourself with a handy Rocklin History Tour booklet, available at the Rocklin History Museum, 3895 Rocklin Road. GPS coordinates were provided by Brian Ignaut. Short stories about Rocklin’s history are at www.rocklinhistory.org/history_series.asp.

The Barudoni Building is at 5250 Front St., across from the Old Saint Mary’s Chapel. Meat broker Joseph Barudoni built it in 1905 as a meat market, with an office for Dr. Woodbridge on the second floor. The building’s walls are blocks of Rocklin granite.

Front Street was a bustling commercial district in 1905. Wood-framed hotels, saloons and retails shops flanked the Barudoni Building to the north and south. Among these, to the north, was Porter’s Saloon, Rocklin’s most popular watering hole. On a windy day in May 1914, fire broke out at Porter’s and consumed all of the buildings to the north. These buildings were never rebuilt. The Barudoni Building’s granite walls saved the buildings to the south, but the fire ended Front Street’s time as a center of commercial activity.

Joseph Barudoni died six months after the fire, and his family eventually sold the building.

In 1954, a successor owner extracted granite blocks from the upper walls to construct a gas station in Ophir. The station is demolished now, but the granite blocks are strewn about the Ophir landscape nearby. Subsequent Barudoni owners filled the gaps with wooden framing.

In the mid-20th century the Barudoni building was a feed store, and later an antique shop and a recording studio. Two residential apartments are on the second floor.

The main floor of the building is now vacant and the Rocklin Historical Society is looking for ideas to propose to the owner for its use. Email garyday2@gmail.com.