Keep Oakland Beautiful Points of Interest remind us of how interesting and beautiful Oakland is and why we should care about protecting it.
The 145-year-old Pardee Home is a two-story Italianate mansion, topped with a cupola, located at the corner of Castro and 11th Sts. A carriage house and water tower are also on the property.
Built in 1869, the mansion was home to three generations of Pardees. The original resident, Enoch Pardee, arrived from the Midwest as a 49er, panning for gold. He was an eye doctor and served one term as mayor of Oakland. He later served in as a California state senator.
Upon his death, his son, George Pardee and George’s wife, Helen, took over the Oakland residence. Like his father before him, George entered the medical profession and also served a term as Mayor of Oakland. Subsequently, he was elected Governor of California.
As Governor, Pardee distinguished himself in areas such as public health, conservation, and education. When the Great Earthquake of 1906 struck, Governor Pardee temporarily relocated from the newly-built governor’s mansion in Sacramento to Oakland, where he led disaster relief efforts. Later in his career, Pardee became founder and president of the East Bay Municipal Water District (EBMUD).
While her husband pursued a career in politics, Helen Pardee built a significant collection of artifacts from all over the globe. Their private home was a veritable museum of fascinating cultural objects that Helen enjoyed showing to the home’s many visitors.
George and Helen Pardee had four daughters, two of whom died at an early age. The other two, Madeline and Helen, continued to live in the house for many years after their parents passed away. In 1981, after the death of the last surviving Pardee daughter, the Pardee Home Foundation was established to preserve the home and its furnishings as a public museum. Today, the home is available for tours and special events.
Interestingly, the Pardee Home recently hosted a medium channeling session, held by the Bay Area Ghost Hunters. The session took place in the cupola, where investigators searched for electronic voice phenomenon (EVPs). There have been numerous paranormal investigations in the Pardee Home over the years and they are said to have produced some successful results.
The Pardee Home is an important piece of Oakland’s history and the cultural gems inside the home are as beautiful as the Victorian-era architecture and landscaping.
Keeping Oakland Beautiful is everybody’s business.
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