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Fremont historic home might be saved, as Newark school house might be demolished

A year after three historic Newark and Fremont homes were put on sale for a dollar, a buyer has stepped forward to save one, as the others seem headed for demolition.

The Brown House, a two-story, three-room farm house built circa 1850, might be spared by a Southern California event planner who restores aged homes as a hobby.

Tom Gandolfo said he plans to move and restore the historic building, and display it for educational and historical purposes.

“I’m interested in the pioneering spirit of Americans moving West, working their way through the wilderness,” Gandolfo said. “It’s a very romantic notion and I’m driven by that.”

The two structures running out of time are Mowry’s Landing School, a one-room school house built in 1884 and later converted to a residence, and the Bettencourt House, a 19th-century home built in what is now Fremont.

The three buildings were moved 30 years ago to the Ardenwood Historic Farm Regional Preserve, but rising renovation estimates doomed the park district’s plan to convert them into a history exhibit.

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Chris DeBenedetti