The Tim Abney Estate currently owns the house, but the beneficiaries have no plans to reside in or use it in the future, so they have agreed to sell it. Alexander Taylor, who came to Byron from Canada in 1866, built a house on the 42-acre property in 1868, but the house burned down. The 3,000 square-foot house that now stands at Taylor Ranch was built in 1905.
A prominent figure in East County history, Taylor was known as the Canadian Farmer. A dry-crop farmer like others in the area, he decided to utilize Kellogg Creek, which cut through his property, to irrigate his land. While he was a notable wheat farmer, Taylor installed an irrigation system and began growing alfalfa, a crop he harvested several times a season. His son, Voleny, became the first president of the Byron-Bethany Irrigation Company in 1914 and helped revolutionize farming in East County.
“There were six prominent farming families in Byron, and the Taylors were one of them,” said local historian Kathy Leighton. “Alex Taylor was one of the key players in anything that happened in East County. He was on the school board, he served on the first cemetery board and he was also a church deacon. His son, Volney, was one of the founders of the Byron Methodist Church. The Taylors were very important to the community.”
The Taylor House was passed on to Volney, who left it to his daughter Beatrice (Leonard) Cross, who passed it on to her son Richard. This is the first time the property has been up for sale in four generations. The house features a porch and balcony, large rooms and indoor plumbing on both floors, a unique quality for a house of its age. Large oak trees surrounding the home provide shade and protection from the elements. A swimming pool, backyard decks for entertaining, a croquet court, a horse stable, and a small walnut grove also grace the property.
“The house is spectacular,” said RidgeWater Real Estate representative Emil Geddes. “It has a lot of amenities and ambiance.”
Leighton hopes whoever buys the property will preserve the building and maintain its beauty. “It’s an awesome house,” said Leighton. “It was grandiose for its time – a two-story, southern antebellum-style house. The landscaping is remarkable. Richard took very good care of the property. There are ponds and arbors. It’s pretty amazing.”
Those interested in the property should call RidgeWater Real Estate representatives David Bristow at 925-813-4007 or Geddes at 925-207-3061. Showings of the property are by appointment only.