Ginochio-DeRosa house part of Concord’s rich history

Ginochio-DeRosa house part of Concord’s rich history
Antonio and Marcella ­Ginochio built this house in 1887 and farmed the surrounding acreage. Joe DeRosa Jr. added the palm trees leading up to the historic home off Cowell Road in Concord.

Driving down Cowell Road near Concord Community Park, you may have noticed the big house set back off the road with palm trees lining the driveway.

The Ginochio family built the house in 1887. Antonio and Marcella Ginochio came to Concord in 1867 and farmed the large acreage with mostly vegetables and vineyards.

Joe DeRosa Jr. and his wife Isabelle bought the Ginochio house in the early 1940s. Isabelle had to quit teaching when she got married, as was the practice at the time. Meanwhile, Joe had to resign his City Council seat in 1942, because the Cowell Road home was then outside the city limits. In 1944, he was appointed postmaster for the Concord area. Ultimately, he had a lot to do with expanding the city limits.

Palm trees

The 10-room house had plenty of room for their three daughters, Carol, Margaret and Isabelle, and son, Joe the third. The house had a magnificent front yard. Joe planted the palm trees lining the driveway, along with a wisteria grove.

As you walked through the front door, to the left were the dining room and screened porch where the family ate meals during the summer. To the right was a living room with a huge fireplace, where the ivy began to grow through. Joe liked it, so the ivy remained through the years.

The big kitchen was beyond the staircase. In the olden days, farmhands would come in the back door and use the bathroom that had two showerheads. The kitchen also had a huge table where the farmhands were fed. The DeRosa family filled the table fairly well.

The upstairs had a long hallway leading to the big bedroom, where they added a screened porch as a sleeping area for the younger Joe. The sisters used the other bedrooms off the hallway. However, there was only one bathroom with a shower/tub on the second floor. You can imagine how busy that was as the children grew.

They had horses and chickens and an old tank house on the four acres. The kids would swing on a large oak tree or play on rafts in the creek, which would flood sometimes.

As the kids slowly moved on, Joe and Isabelle sold a lot of the property that became the St. Francis Drive homes. When that development was complete, they moved into one of the houses there and sold the Ginochio-DeRosa house in 1980.

Next time you drive by the historic house, imagine what it was like when it was mostly open land. You can almost hear the chickens clucking and the horses neighing.

[Editor’s Notes: This story has been edited to include the names of the DeRosa daughters.]

Carol Longshore has been a Concord resident since 1950. She is a community leader and past president of the Concord Historical Society. Send comments and suggestions for future topics to