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Landmark Escalon Home Revisited
Gretchen Sipma-Landon always wondered about the others.

Living and growing up in an Escalon landmark led her to wonder about the children who used to live in the old ranch house where she currently lived.

Did they have some of the same hiding places? Did they have the same experiences? Play some of the same games?

The ranch house, built in the early 1930s, stands on McHenry Avenue. It was known for many years as the Von Hungen House, named after a longtime Escalon physician who also built a small hospital in town.

And on this particular day, Sipma-Landon was going to have some of her questions answered.


Walking up to the door, Kern Von Hungen realized he had not set foot in the old house since the mid 1950s.

He had driven to Escalon from Southern California, provided with an opportunity to revisit a part of his childhood that he thought was gone a long time ago.

Camille Green, Von Hungen's sister, was also present. It had also been about 45 years since she last saw the house. Arriving about an hour before Von Hungen, she refused to go in until he was there.

"I want us to go in together," she said.

Von Hungen and Green had been invited by Sipma-Landon to visit the old ranch house on McHenry Avenue. Also present were Joan and Arthur Simpa, Sipma-Landon's parents, who had moved into the residence in 1973. In 1998 they moved back into town, selling the house to their daughter, Gretchen and her husband.

Tony Victorino, who had also grown up in the house in the late 1960s, was also there.

Sipma-Landon had grown up in the house, and had fond memories of her childhood years spent there.

Now, her own children, twins Grant and Molly Landon, are also spending their childhood growing up in the old house located on a few acres on the edge of Escalon.

Sipma-Landon was going to discover if her experiences growing up there, along with her children's, were similar to all the others who had grown up in the historic farmhouse.

"As a child growing up here, I wanted to know what we had in common growing up as children," Sipma-Landon explained.

Joan Sipma said she and her husband, Arthur, moved to the Von Hungen House in 1973 from a house in Escalon. She said the home had been vacant for a few months, and the front yard was overgrown.

"When we moved in we cut all the bushes back and discovered three beautiful windows in the front of the house," she said.

She said they added new appliances and cabinets, and added a shower to the upstairs bathroom, but tried to limit the changes they made to the house.

"We were trying to stay close to the way it was," she noted.

Daughter Gretchen has also kept the house close to its original condition.

Camille Green spoke about growing up in the house as she looked around the backyard.