Tuesday, February 5, 2013

D is for Dunsmuir House

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.

21 comments:

  1. Beautiful place, I could live there...

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  2. It is beautiful! But such a sad story to go with it.

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  3. A grand design and all those extensive verandahs and balconies! It seems built to see the view from every angle!

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  4. I 'd live there IF someone else did the hard work of housecleaning.
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

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  5. That´s such a beautiful house. Greetings.

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  6. Good one for 'D' -- very interesting. Can you imagine this place on 400+ acres back in the day? Wow. Nice to hear the city partnered with a nonprofit to restore and maintain it.

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  7. What a place! Amazing they died just 2 years into establishing themselves there and as a couple. How nice it's now publicly owned.

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  8. What a beautiful house, it's amazing how well preserved it is. ;-)

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  9. really grand house.. is this house related in anyway to the city of Dunsmuir further north of here in California..
    one more place to visit for me in Oakland..

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  10. Now, that was a lucky bride! :-) What a gorgeous house!

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  11. I'm thinking I'm glad no one's built me a house like that...seems when that happens the marriage either breaks up or they both die...
    I'll stick to what I've got thank you!!!

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  12. Has the look of a funeral home. Beauty!

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  13. Well, that'll show 'em how to spend their money.

    I would never have guessed this was in California. More like something Virginia would show us on an Alabama plantation.

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  14. What an interesting history and beautiful property, and how sad that the original owners were able to enjoy it for only 2 short years before their death!

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  15. What a shame the original owners didn't get to enjoy it for long before they died. It's a lovely mansion.

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  16. sort of Colonial-Victorian looking. Died within two years of their marriage? They hardly had time to use all the rooms.

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  17. It's exquisite! I'm glad it's being preserved!

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