Pardee Home Museum  in the News
Fourth of July
Historic Pardee house
 will host Victorian-style
 4th of July fete 
 July 02, 2000
THE LANDMARK Pardee House -- built in 1868 on eleventh Street between Castro and Martin Luther King Jr. Way -- is one of the oldest homes in Oakland. On Tuesday, the graceful Italianate villa, set amid its original 19th century-era grounds, will host a Victorian-style Fourth of July picnic. 

Guided tours of the home -- filled with original furnishings, rare early California paintings and objects dating from the Gold Rush to mid-20th century -- will be offered. 

Turn-of-the-century picnic fare and games of the period, including badminton and croquet, are planned and costumed volunteers will recite stirring patriotic odes to the day. Three generations of Pardee family members have lived in the home, including George C. Pardee, governor of California from  1903-07. Following the death of his daughter Helen in 1981, a foundation was created to maintain the property and make it available for visitors. Recently foundation trustees announced receipt of a $12,000 grant from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust to undertake a phased restoration of the gardens. 

Originally, George's father, Enoch, purchased the half-block lot in 1868 in what was then the outskirts of town. Like hundreds of other San Franciscans, he was searching for level lots and a sunny climate -- on the other side of the Bay. The Pardees would see Oakland grow from a fledging village at the foot of Broadway to a major metropolis within a few short years. The landscape architectural firm of Pattillo and Garrett Associates, working with museum staff, studied archival photos and examined written records to develop an approximate version of the grounds as they must have looked 100 ago when George, wife Helen and their four daughters lived there. 

Helpful to the research was the discovery of nursery purchase orders for plants from 1872. Museum Director David Nicolai said the Pardees rarely threw out anything, and correspondence, bills, invoices and family journals provide a fascinating glimpse into their everyday lives. In addition to serving a term as governor, George was a practicing physician (like his father) and mayor of Oakland from 1893-95. Twenty years earlier Enoch was elected mayor. Both father and son shared deep concern for public health, particularly with respect to safe drinking water. Both served on the public health commission and George proved instrumental in the establishment of the East Bay Municipal Utility District in 1924. 

At age 66 and continuing until his death 14 years later, George served as EBMUD president. Pardee Dam in the Sierra foothills is named for him. An aqueduct stretching more than 80 miles across the Central Valley transports snow melt from the Mokelumne River watershed to East Bay residents. Given the long association of George Pardee with EBMUD, it seemed appropriate for museum trustees to approach the district for funds to complete the irrigation portion of the garden restoration. In their letter to the board, trustees noted that thousands of commuters pass the Pardee House every day, exiting Interstate 980 at 11th Street. A portion of the garden is planned as a demonstration area to show how drought-tolerant irrigation systems can enhance a landscape plan. 

The EBMUD directors have committed to funding a water-efficient system for phase one of the project. Also under discussion are interpretive displays and informational materials to be located in the former water tank structure behind the house. 

For more information on the Pardee Home Museum, check the website www.pardeehome.org. Call (510) 444-2187 to make a reservation for the 4th of July Picnic. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for children under 12. 


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Date Last Modified: 09/24/10