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  • Camron-Stanford HouseCamron-Stanford House Oakland, California
    The Camron-Stanford House was constructed in 1876, the start of many elegant houses that would encircle the Lake, and while it was a residence, it was home to numerous of Oakland's finest families. The city tax records say that Dr. Samuel Merritt constructed the Italian Victorian house as part of his dream to develop the downtown area of Oakland and he transferred the title to Mrs. Alice Camron in 1877, who with her husband Will and two daughters became the first residents of the house. Alice had been the daughter of Abigail Tuck Marsh, a schoolteacher and Dr. John Marsh, who lived in Contra Costa County, and in 1837, the doctor bought the Los Meganos Rancho and lived in the small adobe house until he could construct the famous Stone House. Marsh was one of the early advocates of gaining statehood by peaceful methods and would send letters to important government leaders and newspapers in the east telling about the state's rich resources. The information in his letters would lead to the westward expansion of the railroads, while he continued his rounds of practicing medicine throughout the state. It was on one occasion that he had just left the home of the Martinez family on the night of September 24, 1856, when he was accosted by ruffians and murdered. Alice was just a young toddler at the time; but she was able to grow up educated and gaining a love for poetry. She would marry the county's deputy sheriff, William "Will" Camron and moved to Oakland. Will began to get involved in the politics of the city and bought some 3000 acres in what is today Orinda; planning to develop it, but before that could happen, his other investments went bad and he was forced to sell the tract. Things got worse and after losing a daughter to convulsion just four days after her second birthday, both parents became disheartened. They both felt living in the house only seem to bring the memories to bear, and soon left. But the incident was too much for both of them, causing Will to leave Alice and other daughter, and they would eventually divorce in 1895, and Alice changed her last name to Cameron and ran a boarding house in San Francisco.  David and Matilda Hewes started renting the house from the Camrons and stayed there three years before having to leave because of Matilda's bad health. Josiah Stanford came to California in 1849, and with his brothers, sold supplies to the gold miners. He and his second wife, Helen, bought the house in 1882, and lived there for the next 23 years, spending part of their time here and the family ranch located east of Fremont, by Warm Springs, which had been the rich resort of the 1850s for families from San Francisco. They would help to start a big and soon prosperous grape vineyard, and soon began making the state's first champagne. In later years, the winery would become the Weibel Winery. Over a dozen years after Josiah passed on, John Tennent Wright Jr. and his second wife, Terilla, bought the house from Helen Stanford. John was a sea captain that helped carry freight into and out of San Francisco Bay.  Around the turn of the 20th century, the city's mayor wanted to build new parks, new libraries and a new museum that would become known as the Oakland Public Museum. The city wanted to have the museum near the lake, but the only building that was available was the lake front property owned by Terrilla and John Wright, so in 1907, they purchased it from them and converted the house into a structure that would contain ornithological, ethnographic and anthropological collections. 

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  • Dunsmuir House Dunsmuir House Oakland, California
    The Dunsmuir House and Gardens is found in Oakland, California on 50 beautiful acres of landscaped grounds; with the house being a neoclassical-revival style of architecture and listed on the National Register of Historical Places, being built in 1899. Alexander Dunsmuir, the son of Robert Dunsmuir, was a rich coal baron from Victoria, BC, who came to the San Francisco area in 1878 to run the family business, and wanting the house to be his bride's wedding gift. Unfortunately, he became ill on his honeymoon in New York and passed on. His wife returned to live in the house until she passed on herself in 1901. I. W. Hellman Jr. bought the estate in 1906, wanting it to become the family's summer house and by 1913 the home was finished with the renovation that would house his larger family; plus the growing acquisitions from their European travels. Mrs. Hellman would keep the estate until the mid 1950s, after her husband passed on in 1920; and she continued to add to the estate including a swimming pool and dinkespiel house; as well as improving the landscaping in the north part of the estate. In the early 1960s, the estate was bought by the city in hopes of using it for a conference center, which didn't seem to materialize, so the a nonprofit was formed to preserve and renovate the estate for the public.

January 11, 2011