Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Preservation Park walking tour

Park House

Saturday morning I went on the Preservation Park Oakland walking tour. It was the only one of the eight I hadn't been on yet. As with last week's OHA tour of the Dimond, it was led by Oakland historian and author Dennis Evanosky. Even though it was cut a bit short because of private event at Preservation Park, it was another great tour. We had a large group for our short walk around the park.

While writing this post, I discovered a nice series of short videos about the different structures at Preservation Park by Annalee Allen, columnist, author and director of the walking tours program. I'll link to those where appropriate.

There are 16 historic buildings (15 of them houses) at Preservation Park, but only 5 of them are original to the location. The others were all moved there from other locations around Oakland, some as close as across the street and some as far as from the Dimond. The people who lived in them were a who's who of well-to-do Oaklanders from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. The ones in their original locations are all north of 13th Street. (video)

ornate details

The first house we saw was the Remillard House. Pierre Remillard was a French Canadian who came west originally for mining. He eventually settled in Oakland, and through hard work began a brick-making business that became very successful -- the Palace Hotel in San Francisco was built with Remillard bricks. A young Jack London took French lessons at the Remillard House from his daughter, Lillian (later Countess Lillian Remillard Dandini). (video)

Next door is the Ginn House, of Ginn & Co. Publishing fame. The company still exists, though as part of the larger Penguin Group of publishers. Frederick Burrell Ginn and wife Mary Crocker lived there. The house was later used by a men's social club, the Nile Club. The Ginn House is Arts and Crafts style, one of the only non-Victorians in Preservation Park. Next door to it is a social hall, which is still used for events and meetings. (video)

At the heart of Preservation Park is the Latham-Ducel fountain, or as it's more popularly known, the Diana fountain. It was originally on the Latham estate near Lakeside Park, but was salvaged from there. After a number of moves in the 60s and 70s, it was rediscovered and brought to the middle of Preservation Park. (video). The Lathams also erected the fountain at the intersection of Broadway and Telegraph.

Nearby is the Queen Anne-style Thornton House. Thornton is listed as a "capitalist". The home was built when the Sather House and Garden occupied the lot across the street. Jane Sather donated UC Berkeley's Sather Gate and Sather Tower in memory of her late husband, Peder Sather.

Higgins House

In the northwest corner of the park is a beautiful Italianate Victorian. It was built by lumber baron Elisha Higgins, and has amazing details. Apparently he put his employees to work on carving all the fine woodwork. It shows a number of features common to classic Victorians, including brackets under the eaves, posts and other details carved to look like stone, and fine carvings all over the place.

On the other side of the bandstand is the White House, which currently houses the Preservation Park office. It was owned by Ellen Gould White and James White, who founded the Seventh Day Adventist church. The White House was one of the houses moved for the building of the I-980 freeway. (video)

There's lots more history about the houses and the people who lived in them than I have time to write about, so here's a brief summary:
  • Remillard House - Pierre Remillard (brick baron)
  • Ginn House - Frederick Burrell Ginn (publisher) and wife Mary Crocker
  • Nile Club - members-only group of Oakland's male elite
  • Thornton House - Thornton ("capitalist")
  • Higgins House - Elisha Higgins (lumber baron)
  • White House - Ellen Gould White and James White (founded 7th Day Adventists)
  • Knox-Buckley House - Henry Knox (dentist), later John and Catherine Buckley.
  • Bartling House - William Bartling (bookbinding)
  • Park House - Charles O. Park (painted train cars for Central Pacific)
  • Robinson House - Gertrude and W.H. Robinson. (fruit wholesaler; house moved from the Dimond, then called Fruit Vale)
  • Standeford House - Miss Stella Standeford, later married John F. Conners (Oakland Enquirer)
  • Bauske House - Reinhold Bauske (dentist)
  • Trowbridge House - Lillie Delger and new husband Henry Trowbridge; father Frederick Wiliam Delger (Oakland's first millionaire)
  • Jacobs House - Jacobs (tailor); house was built as two apartments
  • Raymond House - William J. Raymond (UC physics professor)
  • Hunt House - George C. Hunt (co-owned the City Hall Livery Stables)

more reading:
all 13 videos
Pardee Home Museum website

lots more pictures:

No comments: