The Bayley House
The Bayley House, also known as “Bayley’s Folly,” was built by Alcander A. Bayley in 1862.
Bayley, a native of Vermont, arrived in California in 1849 on the Edward Everett and came to
Centreville shortly thereafter. From 1851 to 1861, he owned and operated the Oak Valley House, a
combination restaurant, saloon, and traveler’s hotel. Fire claimed the structure in 1861, at
which time he began construction of the grand, three-story red brick mansion which stands today.
When it was completed, at a cost of $20,000, it was perhaps the grandest building in the state.
Six squared pillars graced its front, providing support for the second story veranda. The
interior was finished with exquisite furnishings, no expense was spared. Travelers today no doubt
wonder, “Why would anyone build such a large (twenty-two rooms), beautiful building out in the
middle of nowhere?” Well, Bayley believed that the Central Pacific Railroad would pass close by
his hotel, making it a logical stop on the route. The building’s grand opening took place on May
15 of 1862, but unfortunately, the dreams of Alcander Bayley were never realized as the railroad
changed its route and bypassed the area completely. Bayley continued to operate his hotel for
some time, but never enjoyed the success he had hoped for.