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For more information on
the Garden Restorations or
to send a donation, please
call (510) 444-2187
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.