In 1868, Judge Edwin B. Crocker purchased the property and existing buildings on the corner of 3rd and O Streets. He then commissioned local architect Seth Babson (1830-1908) to renovate the home into a grander, Italianate mansion. In addition, Crocker asked Babson to design an elaborate gallery building adjacent to the mansion to display the family's growing art collection.
Babson envisioned the home and gallery as an integrated complex, unique in design and built from the finest materials. The gallery building included a bowling alley, skating rink, and billiards room on the ground floor; a natural history museum and a library on the first floor; and gallery space on the second floor. Completed in 1872, the Crocker family mansion and art gallery are considered the masterpieces of Babson's career. The family mansion went through several uses and reconstructions until a 1989 renovation restored the historic façade and created a modern gallery interior. The original buildings, now connected, as well as the since-demolished Herold Wing addition of 1969, were renamed the Crocker Art Museum in 1978. The gallery building is a California Historical Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.