The wildfires raging through northern California this week have destroyed the home of legendary Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, the cartoonist's son said Thursday.
Monte Schulz confirmed to the Associated Press that his late father's home in Santa Rosa, which was built in the 1970s, was burned to the ground by the devastating fires, which have claimed at least 31 lives and thousands of homes since they began last Sunday. Jean Schulz, Charles' 78-year-old widow and Monte's stepmother, was able to evacuate before the fire reached her, but it's believed that all of the belongings in the home are lost.
“It’s the house he died in. All of their memorabilia and everything is all gone,” Monte Schulz said.
Schulz debuted Peanuts in newspapers in the fall of 1950, as the story of a boy called Charlie Brown, his dog Snoopy, and their friends. It soon grew into arguably the most popular comic strip in history, running in more than 2,500 newspapers and reaching millions of readers worldwide. The strip grew so popular that it ultimately inspired TV specials (it's almost Great Pumpkin season, kids), an animated series, a stage musical, countless items of merchandise, and even theatrical films (the most recent of which arrived in 2015). Schulz passed away in 2000, just one day before his final Peanuts strip ran in newspapers, but his legacy as possibly the most popular and influential newspaper cartoonist of all time continues.
Thankfully for Peanuts fans, much of the cartoonist's original artwork and other memorabilia survived because it was preserved in the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, which is also located in Santa Rosa but escaped the fire. For the Schulz family, though, the personal loss is still heavy.
“I had memories of being in that house. I never lived there, but I visited all the time,” Monte Schulz said. “That time of our lives is now completely erased.”