Roseville’s grand Goodpastor home a vault of community memories

George Goodpastor had a wry prediction about his first trip in an automobile
By: J’aime Rubio for the Press Tribune
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Visitors driving through the Downtown Roseville often gaze at the picturesque sight the historic Tower Theatre. Built in 1940, just a few years before the onset of WWII, the theater’s grand Art Deco design is considered a classic piece of Roseville history.

The Tower Theatre will be celebrating its 75th Anniversary this November, and while the looming structure captures the imagination its location has an even older history.

The property originally had a grove of oak trees spread across it. Although information surrounding this particular area is almost non-existent, some historical references speak of it briefly as the “Gypsy Campground.” As the story goes, the large grove of oak trees became a popular campsite for hobos, vagabonds and gypsies prior to the Civil War, gaining a notorious name and reputation. Shortly after the Civil War, the “Gypsy Campground” became ancient history, and literally forgotten in time, once a beautiful new home was built on that very site.

It was the home of George and Josephine Goodpastor. 

George Goodpastor was born March 4, 1838, in Rochester, Ohio. By the early 1860s, George had made his way to Marysville, driving a band of horses. Around 1864, he found himself in Virginia City during the great silver mining explosion known as the Comstock Lode. Around that time he enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the Nevada Cavalry and entered the Civil War.  When Goodpastor returned he headed back to California, working as a carpenter and millwright during the construction of the first State Capital building in Sacramento.  

By 1872 Goodpastor had married Josephine Harris of Greenwood, El Dorado County, an area where the couple lived for the next 15 years.  

The Goodpastors came to Roseville in 18878, purchasing “the Gypsy Campground” for the site of their new home. Construction started around 1890, but happened in stages over several years. The first level of the home was completed for the family to live in, although the home would continue to have additions made right up until 1918.  Many agree that the long process paid off in the creation of one of Roseville’s finest homes. It was later noted in Goodpastor’s obituary that he believed “whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well.”

George and Josephine raised their children in the old Goodpastor home. Some historical books and newspapers claim that the Goodpastor’s only had one child, Edwin, thought Census records for 1900 prove had three children, Edwin, George and Mary. It is uncertain what became of George and Mary. What is known is that Edwin went on to marry and have two sons, Herbert and Clayton.

George Goodpastor remained active for the remainder of his life and continued to work well into his golden years. He passed away on Jan. 23, 1931. Archives from the Roseville Tribune newspaper mention that George Goodpastor’s first ride in an automobile happened the day his body was transferred from Broyer & Magner Chapel to the Roseville Cemetery. During his later years George often joked about refusing invitations to ride in automobiles, saying that he would “defer the ride until the hearse came.”

The joke proved prophetic on the day of his funeral.

Josephine Goodpastor followed her husband in death four years later in 1935. 

The grand Goodpastor home remained within the family for two more generations, with George and Josephine’s grandson Clayton Goodpastor operating as Roseville’s Justice of the Peace there up until the 1930s.

The Goodpastor home escaped demolition when the Tower Theatre was constructed. The lauded piece of local history was picked up and moved to nearby 212 Judah Street, where it still stands today. Many residents feel the old house is as beautiful as ever and a testament to preserving magnificent pieces of the Roseville’s past.