The Roger L. Lathe papers includes the professional documentation of a “housewright,” working throughout the Sacramento area
and Northern California cities. Lathe spent his professional career as an architectural historian, preservation and restoration
contractor and licensed home inspector. He wrote numerous articles in the Sacramento Bee entitled, “The Housewright,” addressing
issues pertaining to restoration, preservation, architecture, and other home improvements. The bulk of the collection contains
reports of home inspections, an inspection checklist for private residences, including Lathe’s comments and repair recommendations.
Roger Lee Lathe was born on October 27, 1933 in Delaware. Lathe was a professional preservation and restoration contractor,
a licensed home inspector, and called himself a “housewright,” meaning a person who works on houses. In 1976, Lathe and his
wife Louise “Liza” Mehler settled in Alkali Flat, an older Sacramento residential neighborhood that was undergoing a thirty-year
plan for redevelopment and preservation. He worked for three decades, as well, to restore his 1894 home on F Street. He had
an affinity for Victorian homes and championed the cultural heritage present in midtown Sacramento.
He composed thorough house inspection reports for the Sacramento area that reflected a high level of inspection and evaluation
of older homes for prospective buyers and homeowners alike. He was an active freelance writer for multiple publications, such
as the Sacramento Bee, and the Old City Guardian, and his article series, “The Housewright,” appeared in both. Lathe contributed
to the Sacramento Old City Association’s “Structural Rehabilitation and Restoration Resources List” and assembled their first
“Fainted Ladies Resource List.”
He was a long-time member of the Sacramento Old City Association, Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, and Sacramento
County Historical Society.
Lathe’s house inspection career ended in 2001 due to macular degeneration; he passed away on February 11, 2009 in Sacramento
at age 76.
8 boxes (9.25 linear feet) of archival material
All requests to publish or quote from private manuscripts held by the Center for Sacramento History (CSH) must be submitted
in writing to the archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of CSH as the owner of the physical items and is
not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the patron. No permission
is necessary to publish or quote from public records.
The collection is open for research use.