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Historic home prepped for Centennial year
Whitmore Mansion painted
Painters were masking windows to place a new coat of white trim on the Clinton Whitmore Mansion, built in 1903 and now owned by the city of Ceres. The Whitmore Mansion Foundation is managing the upkeep and rental of the facility. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

Thanks to the contributions of two area businesses, the Clinton Whitmore Mansion is receiving a new coat of paint in preparation for a series of Ceres Centennial celebrations.

The 8,000-square-foot mansion was built in 1903 by Clinton Whitmore, son of town founder Daniel Whitmore. The city purchased the mansion in 2013 but a foundation oversees the rental and maintenance of the facility as to not financially burden the city.

"We're pretty excited about it," said Lisa Mantarro Moore, chair of the Whitmore Mansion Foundation. "We knew the city did not have the funds to expend to give the TLC that the mansion needed, and facelift to be able to protect itself against the weather, and also as an incentive for people to want to come to our downtown and see that we're caring for our historical monuments." She said her group worked hard to secure financial support to "give the old girl a facelift as we come upon the centennial of the city."

Moore said her group is very appreciative that Aman Tamana of Mike Tamana Freight Lines and Suki Sanghera of Try Us Transportation, both Ceres businesses, made the "sizeable donations" to make the paint job happen.

"We don't stockpile any money at the Whitmore Mansion Foundation. We pay the city quarterly for the rentals we do there. I would say that approximately 85 percent of the rental fees go back to the city."

Last week's warmer weather opened a window for the house to be painted. The paint crew on scene estimated the job would take 80 to 100 gallons of paint.

Moore speculates that the home was last painted in 2007 when the Community Hospice held its Interior Designer Showcase at the mansion.

The mansion will not change colors, said Moore, out of a desire to keep with its historical flavor.

The rear stairs to the kitchen were also repaired before the painting occurred.

"We put in a lot of work on this thing and come down every chance we get," said Rocky Fisher, a member of the Foundation board and retired construction contractor. "It looks real well."

Moore wants to plan a Centennial event at the mansion sometime this summer.

"Specifically what kind, we're not sure yet. We didn't want to step on the toes of all the other things going on."

The city of Ceres will begin celebrating its 100-year anniversary at Monday's Ceres City Council meeting on Monday. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. but there will be a 5:30 p.m. kickoff on the second floor of the Community Center, 2701 Fourth Street. Some of the members of the City Council will be in period dress, said Shelia Brandt of the Centennial Committee. The first will include past city officials and dignitaries as well as refreshments and displays.

In order for the Centennial Committee to reach its goal of installing a Centennial Plaza and conducting yearlong community events, memorial bricks will be sold and sponsors sought.

The Ceres Centennial Celebration will continue on March 23 when the committee will host a celebration to recognize the community and its history. The celebration will include a step back in Ceres history with displays as well as video produced by Ceres High School honoring Ceres' history and residents. Community members are encouraged to submit photos and other family history to the committee for inclusion in this activity. The "Taste of Ceres Gala" dinner will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Ceres Community Center.

"We are inviting members of the community to participate as event sponsors or to purchase individual tickets," said Moore, also a member of the Centennial Committee.

Tickets and sponsorships will only be sold in advance. Proceeds will be used towards the creation of the Ceres Centennial monument to be located on the corner of Magnolia and Fourth streets. The committee is attempting to raise approximately $15,000 to build a Centennial Plaza feature on Fourth Street near the Community Center.

For more information call 409-2676 or email

The committee also has a Facebook page at