Dunsmuir House was built in 1899 on 415 acres in a small valley in the Oakland hills. Alexander Dunsmuir, heir to a Canadian fortune in coal and lumber holdings, built the home for his bride. The mansion, designed by San Francisco architect, J. Eugene Freeman, is an example of Neoclassical-Revival architecture popular in the late 1800s. The 37-room mansion features a Tiffany-style dome, woodpaneled public rooms, 10 fireplaces and inlaid parquet floors within its 16,224 square feet. Servants quarters in the house are designed to accommodate 12 live-in staff.
Within two years of their marriage they both had died. A daughter by an earlier marriage sold the estate to the Hellman family which used it as a summer residence for 50 years. The estate (now only 40 acres) is now owned by the city of Oakland and managed by its Parks and Recreation Department. A nonprofit group is dedicated to the restoration and maintenance of the house and grounds. The Dunsmuir mansion has been designated a National Historic
Site by the United States Department of the Interior and both the
mansion and the Carriage House have been designated Historic Landmarks
by the City of Oakland. Linked to ABC Wednesday.
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