The Merced County Courthouse Museum has reopened with its normal operating hours: Wednesday through Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Currently on display is the “Homes of Old Merced: Town and Country” exhibit, featuring 50 beautiful drawings and paintings of historic homes in town and the stories behind them.
The exhibit is based on a book of the same name which was written and illustrated by Henry DuPertuis, a retired local architect and artist.
“This all started about 1980 when the museum director suggested to my wife that I write a history of Merced,” DuPertuis recalls. “I decided to use architecture as a theme. My son Jeff and I worked together on the project. He did the research and some of the writing. I did the illustrations. That first book was all done by hand, no commercial printing, in a calligraphy style.
“Twenty years later, Museum Director Sara Lim and I decided to write an upgraded issue.This included some homes we had missed before, and ranches started by 49ers who left the gold fields and found their fortunes in the valley growing food for the miners and had an impact on the development of Merced.”
DuPertuis hopes visitors to the museum will learn from the exhibit about the people who built the city.
“For example,” he says, “one home was built by a Union veteran, one by a Confederate veteran and one by the son of a Mexican war veteran. The Union and Confederate veterans became good friends.”
He adds, “I was surprised how many of those old homes still exist.”
DuPertuis says he has never been honored with an exhibit of this kind in his long career as an artist and an architect.
Amazingly, DuPertuis is 99 years old, and Lord willing, he will reach 100 on Dec. 10 of this year.
He has lived in Merced since 1949 — some 72 years — and he practiced architecture for 48 of those years.
The book is available for sale in the museum gift shop for $14.95. For more information, please contact the museum office at (209) 723-2401 or visit our website at www.mercedmuseum.org.
The Courthouse Museum is located at 21st and N Streets in Old Merced.