Tall and stately, the Italianate house is easily distinguished by its well-balanced, pronounced vertical lines. The Italianate architectural style (mid-1860s to 1880s) is a California adaptation of stone structures built in 17th century Italy, with certain architectural elements translated into native redwood and Douglas fir.
This 11-room Italianate home is significant primarily as the last remaining large farmhouse in Santa Clara. Narrow ship lap siding sheathes the structure with a truncated low hipped roof punctuated by 4 pedimental-shaped gablets. The deeply projecting eaves are ornamented by a row of dentils and corner brackets. The east facade has a squared portico, supported by twin square columns and a balustrade crowns the portico which covers a handsome round-arched entry door with a fan light.
Constructed prior to the continuation of Market St., the earliest reference to this site is found in the J.J. Bowen 1866 Survey of Santa Clara, with a house, barn, and orchard noted as improvements to the property. The house was built by Henry and Mary Harris.
Their son Albert, a vice-president of the Santa Clara Valley Bank, resided here with his wife, Ada (Jordan) Harris, until 1906. At that time Captain Frederick Lass purchased the property. The Lass family would live there for over 80 years until his daughter, Johanna Haynes, sold the property to the City. The interior has been restored to represent the period of Captain Lass’ occupancy and features a striking double parlor. Albert Harris safe may be seen in the basement of the house.
Today, this house, one of four historic houses owned by the City of Santa Clara, is part of the Harris-Lass Historic Preserve, which was opened to the public in February 1991. The site is managed by The Historic Preservation Society of Santa Clara.