The Wright-Patrick House has a history longer than that of the Town of Chico. Its builder, Thomas Shelton Wright, came to seek gold in 1849, but found prosperity instead in the fertile valley of the Sacramento River. He constructed the house on the banks of Little Butte Creek in 1852, envisioning it as headquarters for his 1100 acre ranch. It soon became many things to the sparse inhabitants of the area, serving as way station, watering hole, courthouse, jail, mercantile, and political meeting house. Wright himself served as justice of the peace, road overseer, gentleman rancher, innkeeper, political gadfly, and even ran for state assembly.
In 1858 Wright made a trip back to his native Missouri. When he returned to California he had persuaded his sister, Melissa Virginia Wright Patrick and her husband, William Garrison Patrick and their three young daughters to come back with him. After Wright's death in 1863, Melissa Virginia became the owner of the house. It was the home of a succession of members of the Patrick family until purchased by the present owners in 1987.
Members of the Chico Heritage Association have been working since 2006 to stabilize the house so that it can be preserved for future generations. It is at present, the oldest surviving wood-frame house in Northern California.
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