“The Pines “ was the beautiful home and the surrounding gardens of Mr. & Mrs. Philip E. Bowles. The home was built in 1910 and it stood at what is now No. 2 Bowling Drive.
Mr. and Mrs P.E. Bowles on a garden path at The Pines
In 1909, Philip E. Bowles purchased 51 (58 acres in some publications) acres of land in “Claremont hills” adjoining the Horatio P Livermore Homestead. Bowles was the president of the First National Bank of Oakland and a Regent of the University of California from 1911-22.
The house and grounds had an entrancing view of the bay and all of the surrounding country.
The view from “The Pines”
The Bowles Home
He signed a contract for the erection of a residence to cost $31,000. The Architect was L.B. Dutton. He engaged an expert landscaper. who designed the grounds of the estate in accordance with Bowles own plans.
The home was built in the Italian Villa style with twenty-two rooms and a full basement. It had six master bedrooms, dressing rooms, five bathrooms, three sleeping porches, a library, a drawing room and a conservatory .
Inside the home
The home was surrounded a veritable forest filed with quail and dotted with miniature lakes stocked with large rainbow trout and a well stocked bass pond. There was a Japanese Tea garden, with pools containing rare goldfish, golden carp and unusual aquatic plants. There was also a tennis court, a swimming pool, large garage, and a horse stable with a trotting park.
Mr. Bowles purchased from all of the world, he bought the best. The Rhododendrons were especially lovely.
The swimming pool and bathhouse.
A garden path
Architecture & Engineer
In 1911 the home was featured in January issue of Architecture & Engineer of California Magazine. It states the architect was L.B. Dutton. Architecture & Engineer of California Jan 1911 pg. 204 –
High Society at The Pines
Many dances and social events were held at The Pines.
In 1912 the Bowles daughter Amy married Hiram Johnson Jr. the son of Governor Hiram W. Johnson. The wedding was held at The Pines
The extension grounds surrounding the Bowles mansion were transformed into a fairylandOakland Tribune May 30, 1912
Death of P.E. Bowles
On January 20,1926 Philip Bowles died at the age of 67.
The city of Oakland Park board was urged by Mayor Davie to purchase land and home for $700,000, for a public playground or park. That fell through.
In May of 1927, a year after Philip Bowles died, Mrs. Bowles sold the entire estate to a group of men from southern California and they hired the York Company, Inc. of Oakland to handle to development and the sales.
The York company subdivided the land and called it Claremont Pines. The name Claremont Pines came from the nearby district called Claremont and the name of the Bowles Estate .
Claremont Pines Placed on the Market
In about 1927 or 1928 Andrew Williams of the Andrew Williams Store, local grocery chain purchase the home which was located at No. 2 Bowling Drive.
After spending two years remodeling and adding new furniture including expensive Persian rugs, Williams put the home up for sale in 1932
Bowles Hall – UC Berkeley
In 1928 in memory of her husband Mrs Bowles donated $250,000 to the University of California to be used to build a dormitory for men, appropriately and completely furnished, on or near the University campus, in Berkeley. The dormitory is known as Bowles Hall.
- Announcement of Mary Bowles’ Gift: March 19, 1927
The Wrecking Ball
In 1938 the main house was destroyed by the wrecking and sold off piece by piece. A sad ending to a home that was just 28 years old.
The was a caretaker house located at front gates of estate. It stood at the portal through the high metal-spiked fence around the estate. The five room bungalow which formally served as the guardian of the estate was used as the tract office from 1928- 1948.
It was at this little cottage where the street car once stopped.
In 1948 the cottage was sold to Charles Ray Jr. of 1028 85th Avenue and he will be placing it on lot next to his.
More on The Pines:
- Horse Show – Oakland Tribune July 27,1924
- The Pines sold – Oakland Tribune May 03, 1927
- Claremont Pines Opens – SF Examiner Oct 08, 1927
- Work on Claremont Pines Tract – Oakland Tribune Oct 30, 1927
- Claremont Pines: an estate transformed – OHA Spring 2013
- Views of “The Pines” Estate – by Gabriel Moulin, ca. 1927
- Claremont Pines – By Cheney Photo Advertising