Let's Take a Closer Look at the Pardee Home Museum
Looking for a quick daytime getaway from the Aventine apartments? The Pardee Home Museum, just a short ride away in Oakland, might be just the sort of new experience for you. Now, to be fair, “home” and “museum” aren’t two words you’d usually associate with one another, but head inside this magnificently maintained family property and you’ll learn that a home can indeed be a museum (an exemplary one at that).
Once home to three generations of the Pardee family, it was converted into a museum in 1991, and has remained one ever since. From the outside, you’ll see an exemplar of the Italiante architectural style; inside, you’ll find heirlooms and treasures representing more than 100 years of history from a prominent California family. Intrigued? Read on, as we detail everything you’ll need to know before paying a visit.
*Who Were the Pardees? A Look at the Pardee Home’s *
Located on 672 Eleventh Street in Oakland California, the Pardee Home was in 1868 by California State Senator Enoch Homer Pardee. A medical doctor born in Greece, New York, Pardee moved out west to California during the Gold Rush of the 1840s.
Post-Gold Rush, Pardee entered politics, becoming a representative of the East Bay 9th District from 1871 to 1873. He was also elected the Mayor of Oakland 1876, serving for one term. His son, George Cooper Pardee, would inherit the home afterwards.
George was an accomplished man in his own right. Like his father, George Pardee engaged in both medicine and politics. After studying medicine at the Cooper Medical College in San Francisco, then abroad at the University of Leipzig in Germany, he joined his father’s medical practice, and was elected to the Oakland Board of Health and the Oakland City Council. His political ambitions didn’t end there, however.
Pardee was elected as the Mayor of Oakland in 1893, and became the 21st Governor of California in 1903. His career from there was long, and contained its ups and downs, but George Pardee had what most would call a fulfilling career, and the Pardee Home Museum’s official site credits him with a number of pivotal roles in California history:
He was the "Earthquake Governor", who received universal praise for his remarkable leadership during the 1906 tragedy.
He was one of the most important early conservationists in the United States.
He was the founding commissioner of the Port of Oakland.
He was founder and longtime president of the local water utility, EBMUD, which honored him with the naming of the Pardee Dam, still the dominant source of water for this region.
He was co-founder of the Progressive Party in California.
George Pardee eventually died at the age of 84 in 1941, in his hometown of Oakland, California. After his death, the Pardee home went to his two daughters — Madeline and Helen. They lived there until their passing in the early 1980s. At one point, the house was to be demolished, but conservationists were able to rally and have the Pardee Home declared a a city landmark, a California Historical Landmark, and a listed site on the National Register of Historic Places.
What You’ll Find at the Pardee Home Today
The Pardee Historic Home Museum now cares for the property, and they have a singular, unshakeable mission:
“To preserve and interpret the historic Pardee family residence, including its gardens and collections, for the education and enjoyment of the citizens of Oakland and the greater Bay Area, and for visitors from throughout the nation and world.”
As a part of that mission, they offer guided tours of the property, providing a glimpse at what their lives were like from those early days in the 1860s all the way up to the eventual death of the Pardee sisters in the 1980s. All the furnishings are original and authentic, and what you see today is what was in the home upon the Pardee sisters’ demise. Their mother, Helen Pardee (George Pardee’s wife) was an avid collector, and you can see all manner of antiques throughout the home.
Rare tobacco pipes from the Philippines, scrimshaw from Alaska, mounted animal heads and more decorate the curio room, and that’s just the interior. The well-maintained outdoor garden is also a sight to behold, as is the carriage house and stable (all made from old redwood). It’s a rare example of 1800s architecture, but you can gaze upon it in all its glory, complete with its “horse stalls, tack room, bins, and rickety stairway to the hayloft area.”
Those guided tours are offered year-round, with the exception of holidays like the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. You can usually catch those tours on Saturday at 10:30 am and on the Second Sunday of each month at 2:00 pm. You can take a look at the museum calendar for specifics on when certain tours are held.
While it isn’t absolutely necessary, you might want to consider making a reservation in advance of your visit. Also note that you’ll need cash at the door, and tours are priced at $5/person (though giving a donation of $10 is greatly appreciated). Children under 12 may enter for free, as can museum members. You can find further information on becoming a member on the official museum page, and you might also consider becoming a museum volunteer to assist the Pardee Home Museum in carrying on its mission for years to come.
Getaways From the Aventine Apartments Are Always a Blast
Being located in one of the most desirable portions of the East Bay, it’s easy to pick a direction and take an impromptu getaway that will satisfy your urge for adventure. There are plenty of reasons to want to lounge at home, however, especially when you’re living in fine residences like The Aventine. Amazing apartment spaces coupled with fabulous five-star amenities and a tight-knit community that makes you feel forever welcome — what more could you ask for? Check out all that The Aventine has to offer, and find out more about making this your new home today.