This fine Italianate house is the only remaining private home of many that once dotted the shores of Lake Merritt. The lake is behind the house. It was built in 1876 by Samuel Merritt and was subsequently owned by a number of other families. In the early 20th century it became a museum, the first such public museum west of the Mississippi. By the 1970s it was falling into disrepair and in danger of demolition until a citizens group rallied to save it. It is now a museum of the victorian home. It is also available to rent for weddings and other events.