This 1905 colonial revival style house at 519 Grand Avenue was originally at the northwest corner of Grand and Spruce Avenues. The house was built by Dr. Harry (aka Henry) Garriston Plymire, one of the City’s first physicians as well as the area’s coroner. Dr. Plymire and his brother, Dr. Brandley Plymire, opened a medical practice on the first floor while Dr. Harry and his family occupied the second floor as their residence. After several years it was converted to “The Plymire Hospital.” Being the only hospital between San Francisco and San Mateo they boasted: “sparing residents of San Bruno, Daly City and Colma the cost and inconvenience of having to go to San Francisco or San Mateo for treatment.”
The practice lasted until 1915 when Dr. Harry succumbed to pneumonia at the young age of 38. His practice and house were sold to Dr. Frank Dolley who had the house moved to its current location so the new “South San Francisco General Hospital” could be built in its place. This hospital was completed in 1918 and the home at 519 Grand Avenue eventually became The Industrial Club for Businesses and Professional Men. After that it was owned for a time by Savino and Gertrude Gianella and operated as a boarding house through the 1930’s. It became a private residence when it was purchased by Nathan and Jessie Adler in the late 1930’s.
Ernst Schwarz bought the house in 1958 and he wed Margarete Scholz in 1960. They built a life together in the historic home at 519 Grand Avenue. Ernst was a prolific amateur painter and the house was filled with his artwork. After his death in 1984, Margarete's desire was to preserve the house as well as Ernst's paintings. When Margarete died in 1994 she bequeathed the property to the Historical Society of South San Francisco. The house was designated a historical home and transformed into a museum.
Throughout the years, The Plymire-Schwarz House steering committee and volunteers have worked diligently restoring and furnishing the home with period-appropriate antiques. One item of particular pride is an authentic, fully restored 1910 Cribben-Sexton Company stove in the kitchen. Showcased in the dining room is a 1911 Victrola. A complete collection of the South San Francisco local newspaper “The Enterprise Journal” is housed in the upstairs library. There is a rotating exhibit of Ernst's art in an upstairs gallery as well as displayed throughout the home.
A lovely, sheltered garden is maintained by volunteers and featured along its pathways are memorial steppingstones, which were sponsored by Historical Society members and Plymire-Schwarz House supporters.
A traditional Victorian Tea, hosted by volunteers, is held annually. This popular event has become the major fundraiser for the home and is always booked to capacity.
Docents are available for tours Wednesday 2-4 pm or by appointment
*Admission is Free