Posted in Buildings, East Oakland, Fruitvale, Homes, Lake Merritt

More Mansions

More on the mansions that once graced the streets of Oakland

Koa Hall – Bailey Mansion

W. H. Bailey, who owned plantations in Hawaii, hired W.J. Mathews to designed his home and cost $70,000 to build circa 1889.

Bailey Mansion on Jackson Street – 1898 Oliver Family Photograph Collections Bancroft Library http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt0n39q1p1

The woodwork of the main hall was the beautiful koa from the Hawaiian Islands. By the main staircase, there were carvings of koa. The woodwork in the reception-room on one side of the hall was bird’s- eye maple. Antique oak was used in the library and the dining room.

Oakland Tribune May 31, 1891
Oakland Tribune May 31, 1891

It was converted into a rooming or boarding house’

Oakland Tribune March 11, 1916

Sometime in the late 1920s the old mansion was razed and the Hotel Lakehurst was built.

Oakland Tribune Feb 02, 1930

It is now called Lakehurst Hall.

Location: 1369 Jackson St now 1569 Jackson Street at the corner of 17th Street.

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The Old Brown Home

The three-story, five-bedroom home was built in 1872 by Dr. Samuel Merritt.

In 1874 Roland Geir Brown purchased the home.

Mr. Brown sold sewing machines for Grover and Baker. The Oakland Tribune reports that Brown was one of the wealthiest men in 19th Century Oakland.

 Roland G. Brown, with two other adults, in carriage. – Courtesy of UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library – http://www.oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt409nc89b/?order=1

The Brown home was less than a block from Lake Merritt. This was before the lake shore was filled in.

Brown House

When President William McKinley was in the Bay Area for a week in May 1901, he visited the Brown home.

Oakland Tribune July 25, 1956

The old Brown home at 1889 Jackson Street was demolished in 1956 to make room for a parking lot.

Location: 1889 Jackson – between 17th and 19th Streets

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The Other Brown Mansion

Albert Brown came to Oakland in 1887 from New Jersey. He was an undertaker and a prominent lodge man.

Albert Brown Home on Alice Street

Boarding Home

Sometime after Brown’s’ death, the mansion was converted into a boarding house. The Alice-Lake Apartments are now located in the spot.

Location: 1387 Alice Street

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Alexander Mansion

“Aloha, nui,” or “Love be unto you.”  Is carved above one of the entrances

Samuel T. Alexander came to Oakland from Hawaii in the early 1880s. He was one of the founders of Alexander & Baldwin, an American company that cultivated sugar cane. 

Oakland Tribune

In 1882 Alexander purchased a lot on the northwest corner of Sixteenth and Filbert for $6,000.

Artistic Homes of California
Artistic Homes of California

The three-story Queen Anne style home was designed by Clinton Day was completed in 1883 at the cost of $20.000

Move to Piedmont 

The family lived there until 1912 when Mrs. Alexander moved to Piedmont to be closer to her son, Wallace Alexander. 

Rooming House

Sometime after 1912, the mansion was converted to a rooming house renting out rooms until the mid -1960s.

Oakland Tribune 1919
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Oakland, Alameda County, CaliforniaVol 1 1903

New Life for Old Mansion

In 1967 the once venerable mansion stood deserted and in despair, its windows boarded or broken was scheduled to be demolished.

Members of the Oak Center Neighborhood Association decided the old mansion could receive a face lift and become a community “Neighborhood House.” The demolition was halted.

Oakland Tribune 1967

The visualized the rehabilted building comprising of office space for the Oak Center Association, a children’s library and study hall, an adult library and reading room, a large all-purpose room for meetings and socials and room for individual and group counseling.

Vandals Strike

The group succeeded in saving the old mansion from the wreckers only to have it nearly demolished anyway –by vandals. The house was broken into and ruined beyond repair and was finally demolished in 1968.

Quinn Home

To make room for Highway 980 the William H. Quinn Home at 1425 Castro Street was moved to 1004-06 16th Street.

William H. Quinn House, 1425 Castro Street, Oakland, Alameda County, CA – Library of Congress – https://www.loc.gov/item/ca0017/

Location: 1006 – 16th Street

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Hush Mansion – Etnemere

It was built in 1865, the 14-room house of rococo architecture. The barn had room for ten horses and room for 20 tons of hay.

Oakland Tribune

The house had 14 rooms made of redwood. The barn had room for 10 horses

Oakland Tribune

The mansion had a wood and coal furnace, and the radiators are believed to have been the earliest models of that kind in the country. The rooms were paneled with massives doors 9 feet high. Beautiful mirrors adorned the wall.

Oakland Tribune

It was reported that Susan B. Anthony once slept there.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Oakland, Alameda County, CaliforniaVol 2 1903

The house and barn property was purchase by Marston Campbell, Jr, as an investment. It was torn down in 1948.

The Hush Mansion Today – google maps

Location: 1401 28th Avenue on East 14th.

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Once owned by Merritt

In 1877 Dr. Samuel Merritt built a three-story home on Jackson Street. The house had bay windows, a front porch, and cone-shaped peaked.

The lot is part of the 45-acre parcel, which Merritt paid $4,000 in 1852.

Oakland Tribune 1963

The house was purchased from Dr. Merritt in 1880 for $12,050 by John A. Stanley as a wedding gift for his daughter and her husband, Thomas Coghill.

The Coghill family lived there until 1920 when they sold it to John C. Money. After Mr. Money died in 1944, it served as a rooming house.

By 1963 it was the last of the old mansions on the block and was demolished to make room for a 32-unit apartment building.

Oakland Tribune Jan 05, 1964

Location: 1514 Jackson Street

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Orange Street Mansion

Edward P. Flint, a land developer, and San Francisco businessman, moved to Oakland in 1860. He lived at 13th and Clay before moving to this house.

Oakland Tribune 1964

The site where he built the house at 447 Orange Street was a part of a larger parcel he subdivided in Adams Point.

After Flint died, Admiral Thomas S. Phelps purchased the property. Phelps was a veteran of the Spanish American War.   In 1939 the property was purchased by M.A. Marquard, and lived in the house until 1964.

The house was demolished in 1964 and replaced with a “modern 28-unit apartment building.

The new structure has 15 two-bedroom and 12 one-bedroom apartments, plus a penthouse. The building was designed by Al Colossi. and is located at 447 Orange Street.

 Mr. and Mrs. Marquard lived in the penthouse of the new apartment.

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The End

Posted in Homes, Lake Merritt, People

Reign of Terror

Bomb Explodes

On March 18, 1919, Mrs.George D. Greenwood was killed instantly when a bomb exploded in the family home garden overlooking Lake Merritt. Her husband was the Vice-President of the Savings Union Bank of San Francisco.

Killed Instantly

It is believed that Mrs. Greenwood found the bomb and picked it up, causing it to explode.

Mrs. Greenwood’s body was torn apart and hurled ten-feet across the garden by the force of the explosion. Her clothing was stripped from her body and hung from the trees or was scattered on the lawn.

All windows on two sides of the Greenwood home were shattered.

Threats Sent to Other Families

The Greenwood family wasn’t the only Eastbay family to have received letters threatening death unless specific amounts of money were handed over.

Other families included:

  • Kenneth E. Lowden – 274 19th Street
  • Mrs. E.A. Julian – Piedmont

According to the police, a letter demanding $5,000 and threatening to destroy his home with dynamite was sent to Greenwood in January of 1918. The “C.C. of C” signed the letter, which stands for the Cat’s Claw of California.

Oakland Tribune March 21, 1919

The Greenwood explosion was the third in a series attributed to a gang supposed to have dynamited Governor William D. Stephens home and one other.

An unexploded bomb was found in the yard of N. Campagna of Berkeley the week before.

Society Leader

SF Examiner June 12, 1893

Mrs. George D. Greenwood was considered “society royal” in Oakland and San Francisco, where her parents and husbands were pioneers.

Tubbs Hotel

She was one of the Tubbs girls, the daughters of the late Hiram Tubbs, early capitalist, and owner of the famous old Tubbs Hotel.   

Oakland Tribune 1891

The daughters were Mrs. Greenwood, formerly Miss May Tubbs, Mrs. William G. Henshaw, Mrs. Grace Tubbs Henshaw, and Mrs. Edward M. Hall.

No Results

Oakland Tribune March 1919

Police investigations, which continued for more than a year after the tragedy, resulted in the clearing of the mystery surrounding the bomb.

Hanford Kings County Sentinel May 08, 1919

The police arrested many suspects, none were charged.  

New Wife

Oakland Tribune Sept 1922

Mr. Greenwood married Gertrude Vincent in late 1922.

Greenwood Home

The Greenwood home was located at the corner of 19th Street and Jackson at 1399 Jackson Street (later changed to 1899 Jackson). The Greenwoods lived there from about 1896 to 1920.

The Greenwood Home at the corner of Jackson and 19th Streets. Photo by Frank Rodolph
Oakland Tribune May 12, 1936

In 1936 the house was remodeled and became the new home of the Oakland University Club.

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The End

Posted in Buildings, Lake Merritt, Parks, People

Edson Plaza and Conservatory

From 1911

The glass palace was once a part of the estate of A.K.P. Harmon in Oakland.

A.K.P. Harmon

Albion Keith Paris Harmon settled in Oakland in 1872 after making a fortune in the Comstock mines. He settled on 6.2 acres of land on the shores of Lake Merritt next to Sacred Heart College.

From the Map of the City of Oakland and Surroundings. Compiled from Official and Private Surveys. by J.C. Henkenius. 1888. Britton & Rey Lith., S.F. Cal. Entered…1887.

He soon after he built his house, conservatory, and magisterial carriage house.

In an 1882 biographical sketch on Mr. Harmon, the writer alluded that

“…greenhouse, which contains one of the most extensive collections of rare plants on the Pacific Coast.”

Harmon House and Conservatory from Webster Street, Oakland. ca. 1870
Gift of Miss Marietta Edwards
H68.10.6B
Harmons Greenhouse
Sf Examiner May 1, 1896

Mr. Harmon died in 1896, and his estate was subdivided and sold.

Sf Examine May 03, 1896

Edson Plaza

Mr. Edson F. Adams, son of one of the city founders, purchased the conservatory and had it moved to a two-acre park he had created at the head of Lake Merritt, known as Edson Plaza. The new park was called Edson Plaza and Conservatory or Adams Park.

The Adams heirs spent a large sum of money creating the park. The site was once a foul and unsightly marsh. It took about 18 months to complete the project.

The conservatory had to be moved intact, as it was constructed in a way it could not be disassembled. It was reported to have cost several thousand dollars to build in the 1880s. Walter J. Mathews, an architect, supervised the move.

The entire plaza was perfectly kept lawn with maple, poplar, birch, willow, and eucalyptus trees along the border. In the center was the conservatory in the shape of a cross 72 by 60 feet in size containing several thousand potted plants. John McLaren (Golden Gate Park) prepared plans for the conservatory and park’s upkeep and care.

New or greatly enlarged industrial establishments of Oakland and East Bay cities / by Oakland (Calif.) Chamber of Commerce. Cheney Photo Advertising Co. ; Wickham Havens, Inc.
circa 1917 Courtesy of Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Center
http://www.oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt7199q9d0/?order=87

The Oakland Hearld proudly announced, “Conservatory and Park Are Gift to Oakland’s People.”

In 1903 the Edson Heirs Donated the park to the city of Oakland.  

…gift is that the city shall forever maintain the plaza as a public park and keep up the handsome conservatory which stands in it.”

Oakland Tribune July 11, 1903
Oakland Tribune Aug 4, 1903

Relic of the Past

 “So, another landmark is destroyed.”

In September 1918, an official notice came from the park commissioners to sell the conservatory and its contents. It has was too costly for the city to keep up.

“Now its life is ended. There no further use for it.”

Auction Sale – September 10, 1918

Oakland Tribune Sept 8, 1918

The “Forever Park” is Gone

In 1926, Oakland’s city council opted to lease land that Edson Plaza (then called Adams Park) to the country for a new Veterans’ Memorial Building. Which meant the conservatory would have to be razed.

Gee, did the city forget they agreed to keep it a park with the conservatory FOREVER?

Deed Doesn’t Restrict

“The deed to the property, which became known as Adams Park in 1902 after Edson Adams had erected a conservatory on the site, places no restrictions on the use and its only dedication as a park is through the city’s naming it.”

Oakland Tribune Jan 27, 1927
Oakland Tribune July 19, 1927

Veterans’ Memorial Building

Veterans’ Memorial Building 200 Grand Ave – Oakland Local Wiki

More Info:

The End