A Collection of Memories and All Things Beautiful
April marks the 52nd anniversary for Dot Lefebvre’s Eighteen-Ninety House, a framing shop that has a rich history of its own. Her stately home on Paso’s Westside at 626 16th Street was built in 1890. Through a visit by the county assessor and Dot’s inquisitive nature, she learned that her home was built in 1890 and served as the Paso Robles Community Hospital, only to be turned around to face 16th Street in 1938. Dot says, “After that, I always called it my Eighteen-Ninety House.” She was in the antique business for many years, specializing in paper. As her business turned more to custom framing, she bought framing equipment from Fulton’s Frames in Cambria. Money was tight, and she needed $1,000. Her mom and dad gave her the money and she paid it back. She adds, “The rest is history.”
The Eighteen-Ninety House is one of the longest-running businesses in Paso Robles. Dot worked from her home for many years before moving to a studio on Railroad Avenue for the past 4 years. Now Dot’s daughter Sharon and her husband Dennis Ross are helping Dot renovate her home to accommodate the inventory of treasured collectibles that are for sale and allow Dot to continue the framing side of her business. Many of Dot’s customers have been with her for 40 to 50 years. Over the years, she’s worked closely with John and Dee Spears, owners of The Art Works; and thankful for their friendship and sharing of supplies and equipment. Shari Ziegenbein has assisted Dot for 34 years.
Dot studied advertising art at Boston’s New England School of Art from 1948 to 1951. She loved the ballet, theater, art museums and outdoor summer concerts. The Eighteen-Ninety House symbolizes a lifetime of collecting precious images and words on paper. Dot is a collector of memories depicted in precious images and words on paper. Dot adds, “My mom was a proofreader. Dad was a printer, so paper is in my blood.” The more unusual treasures tucked away in the Eighteen-Ninety House will delight the serious collector and spark the novice’s curiosity.
Pieces perfect for home or business decorating include winery prints, lithographs, postcards, vintage maps, Old West prints and paintings, and 18th century botanicals of ferns, flowers, insects, shells and animals.
Among the works with historical meaning, choose from Civil War and Frederic Remington wood engravings, a Sarah Bernhardt autographed photo from 1913, World War I posters, 15th century sheet music and sacred music pages dated 1537. Of international interest, you’ll find Balinese paintings, miniature Egyptian paintings on papyrus, and English tomb brass rubbings.
Vintage memorabilia from the publishing world include newspaper articles (George Dewey from 1899 San Francisco Examiner), New Yorker magazine covers and 29 issues of the San Francisco “Argonaut” from the late 1800’s. Many of the newspaper clippings are political cartoons. Dot adds, “I just love political cartoons! I have some from the 1800s and if I could change the faces, they’d be today’s politicians!”
While 52 years have passed, and many things have changed through the smiles and the tears, Dot always has a story to share about her love for her community. Thank you, Dot, for sharing your stories and honoring our memories.