In April 1974, Ecumene Associates produced a Historical Preservation Survey for the City of San Leandro. The report recommended protection for a list of historically significant sites under the City's Historical Preservation Ordinance. Below is the text of the report without any of the illustrations.
Prepared for the
City of San Leandro
April 25, 1974
This report is intended to provide information to the citizens of San Leandro, the Historical Cultural Advisory Commission, and the City Council regarding the historical-architectural-educational resources available in the City of San Leandro. Specifically, the report presents a list of sites that Ecumene Associates recommend for protection under the newly enacted Historical Preservation Ordinance and an enumeration of additional sites that might be considered for preservation by other parties or agencies. In addition, the report includes a short account of the growth of San Leandro, illustrated with historical maps, a list of sites that might be marked with informative signs, and some recommendations for future attention to the historical geography of the area.
METHODOLOGY OF THE SURVEY
Files of historical houses prepared by the Oakland chapter of the Junior League were used by Ecumene Associates as a starting point in this investigation. The files were found to be incomplete or inaccurate in many cases and were therefore used only to prepare a tentative master list of sites to be surveyed. Other sites were added to the master list at the suggestions of interested San Leandro citizens and in the course of historical research. A survey form was then completed and photograph taken of each of the one hundred and twenty sites on the list. Special attention was given to the unique architectural characteristics of the structure, if any, and to whatever historical-educational value it may possess.
Ecumene Associates based its review of the historic architecture of structures on three principles: (1) good architectural design; (2) suitability of architectural style; and (3) compatibility with surrounding structures. Of particular interest were sites that reflected feelings for the indigenous and the traditional and that extended and complemented the existing remnants of local heritage.
It is noted here that a complete sample of styles appropriate for architectural education should include the following: (1) California Mission (pre 1830); (2) Spanish adobe (1830-1870); (3) ready-cut "salt box" houses (1870-1890); (4) "Monterey" adobe (1860's); (5) Gold Rush commercial (1850-1890); (6) Victorian (1880-1900); (7) California bungalow (1900-1920); (8) Mexican adobe (l920-l940); (9) Old English revival (1920-1940); (10) concrete modern (1920-1940); and modern California ranch style (1940-present). However, no adequate examples of the mission, Monterey, or California adobe styles could be found, and examples of the bungalow, Mexican, English, concrete modern, and ranch styles were far too plentiful throughout the city to be considered for legal preservation protection at this time. Therefore, the lists assembled for this report include predominately Victorian and other turn of the century housing styles that are irreplaceable and becoming scarcer as the city continues to develop.
Using the methods and criteria stated above, fourteen sites were selected from the master list, designated as first priority, and recommended for inclusion under the Historical Preservation Ordinance. The second priority list includes sites that might be considered for inclusion under the ordinance at a future time or that might be considered for preservation and/or renovation by interested private parties. The third priority list includes the remaining old structures that were considered for but rejected from the first two lists. Research undertaken for this report also permitted identification of the following: (1) three unique water tank houses;
(2) three trees of special interest; (3) six sites of historical but not architectural importance; and (4) a group of sites that could be designated as an historical neighborhood.
Indian sites were purposely left off these lists until such time as local Native American organizations may discuss with city officials the posting and preservation of these sites. The Department of Archaeology at San Francisco State University has records of all known Indian sites in San Leandro and will make this information available to city personnel upon request.
On April 25, 1974, Ecumene Associates submitted to the City of San Leandro a report entitled "Historical Preservation Survey." The following is a supplement to that report. The supplement is intended to provide information to the citizens of San Leandro, the Historical-Cultural Advisory Commission and the City Council regarding implementation of the newly enacted Historical Preservation Ordinance No. 74-12. Specifically, this report presents the background information and rationale used in identifying the historically or architecturally significant structures suggested by the Historical-Cultural Advisory Commission for inclusion within the compass of the ordinance.
A review of most older structures in the City was undertaken by Ecumene Associates in April. Three priority lists of potentially significant sites were presented to the Historical-Cultural Advisory Commission for its consideration. The initial review was based on the following criteria: suitability of architectural style, good architectural design, compatibility with surrounding environments and historical significance. Of particular interest were sites that reflected feelings for the indigenous and the traditional and that extended and complemented the existing remnants of local heritage.
It is noted here that a complete sample of styles appropriate for architectural education should include the following: (1) California Mission (pre-1830); (2) Spanish adobe (1830-1870); (3) ready-cut "salt box" houses (1870-1890); (4) ''Monterey'' adobe (1860's); (5) Gold Rush commercial (1850-1890); (6) Victorian (1880-1900); (7) California bungalow (1900-1920); (8) Mexican adobe (1920-1940); (9) Old English revival (1920-1940); (10) concrete modern (1930-1940); and (11) modern California ranch style (1940-present). However, no adequate examples of the mission, Monterey, or California adobe styles could be found and examples of the bungalow, Mexican, English, concrete modern, and ranch styles were far too plentiful throughout the city to be considered for legal preservation protection at this time. Therefore, the lists assembled for the first report include predominantly Victorian and other turn-of-the-century housing styles that are irreplaceable and becoming scarcer as the city continues to develop.
It is emphasized that the first survey and the list of sites presented here deal with examples representative of the common, ordinary aspects of life in early San Leandro rather than the unusual or exceptional. The intent is that students and other citizens will be afforded glimpses into the city's heritage by supplementing their reading and viewing of old photographs with examination of these real artifacts.
Historical preservation of individual buildings and groups of structures has proven valuable to property owners and citizens of the following California communities:
In each of these communities, citizen interest in local heritage has been expressed through the adoption of ordinances that encourage organized methods of preservation or restoration. In like manner, the Historical Preservation Ordinance of San Leandro is a means of reviewing the potential removal of historically or architecturally important buildings and of considering alternative uses of them before demolition is permitted.
It is recommended that the sites here listed as being of architectural or historical interest be preserved through implementation of the Historical Preservation Ordinance and that the approved list be reviewed periodically and modified as deemed appropriate. Later review of the list might consider in more detail the possibility of including selected examples of mid-20th century architectural styles, such as the California bungalow and concrete modern styles of the 1930's and 1940's.
DESCRIPTION OF RECOMMENDED PRESERVATION SITES
CITY OF SAN LEANDRO
1. Alta Mira Clubhouse
This brick structure was built by W. P. Toler for Ygnacio Peralta in 1860. It was sold in 1875 to A.C. Peachy, who added a wooden wing to the rear and a front porch. It was covered with stucco in 1909 and was owned by C. L. Best before the Alta Mira Club acquired it in 1926. The building is California Registered Landmark No. 285. For further information, see Andrew Eggum, "Peralta Home (New Alta Mira Club)," unpublished paper, San Leandro City Library.
2. 384 W. Estudillo - Casa Peralta
This structure, built in 1901 by a daughter of Ygnacio Peralta, is presently owned by the city and houses the Cultural-Historical center. It was remodeled from its original Victorian design into a Spanish style villa in 1925-26. Current status and plans for the building may be found in the Masterplan Report, Casa Peralta, City of San Leandro, 1974.
3. 400 block of Estudillo Avenue - Little Brown Church
This building, now boarded up and obscured by vegetation, is a classroom wing of the First Presbyterian Church of San Leandro. Rev. James McKinney Alexander dedicated the church in 1869. It was the third church building constructed in San Leandro and is the oldest such structure remaining. At present, there is community concern about the future of this building because it may be moved or demolished to make room for projected expansion of the Clarke Convalescent Hospital. For more information, see the Morning News, February 9, 1966, Page 4, and Harry Schaffer, "Saga of San Leandro," Studies in Local History, Vol. 13, 1973, page 71.
4. 1315 Clarke St. - Daniel Best Home
The popularly referred to "Best Home" was built in the early 1870's by Joseph Demont (it is noted that the assessor's office gave a probable 1900 construction date). The second owner of the building, in 1886, was Daniel Best, a San Leandro entrepreneur. Further information about Daniel Best may be found in Schaffer: see also Viola Webster, ''Days of Daniel Best," in William Halley, ed. Centennial Yearbook of Alameda County, 1876.
5. 1106 Hyde St. - Manuel Garcia Home
(corner of Hyde and Chumalia)
This home of the first prominent Portuguese settler in San Leandro was built in 1875. Garcia was the town's first dentist and one of the earliest businessmen including barber, ganker and fanner. The home was used as both a residence and business establishment. The original structure has been altered considerably as a result of various renovation projects, including the removal of a front porch and the addition of a side door. Information about Garcia's arrival in San Leandro (1864) is in Schaffer, Page 45 and San Leandro Recollections, March, 1972, Page 15.
6. 526 Lewelling - Capt. Roberts Home
This building, as is the case of the Garcia home, is of notable historic significance as well as architectural value. There is no record of its construction date, but the house is noted on a 1878 map of early San Leandro. The style is in the second French empire tradition of Victorian period construction, but the addition of stucco over the original siding lessens its architectural value. In 1850, Capt. Roberts lived at what is now known as Robert's Landing. He, was one of many squatters in that era who later became prominent community citizens. Further information about Roberts is in R.R. Stuart, San Leandro, A History, 1951.
7. 801 Davis - Southern Pacific Railroad Station
This railroad station, built in 1898, is now used as a freight office by the Southern Pacific Transportation Company. It is reminiscent of the single most important factor in the growth and development of San Leandro, the coming of the railroads in the late 19th century. The station is one of the last such buildings that served farmers and commuters in California before the arrival of autos and electric railways. For information, contact the State Board of Equalization and refer to S.P. Public Utility No. 872-1-90A, Parcel 2.
8. 642 Dolores (rear) - Little "Shul"
This is the first synagogue in San Leandro and possibly in the East Bay area: The building has been removed from its original location at 59 Chumalia Street to its present site behind the Beth Sholom Synagogue. It is the fourth house of worship built in San Leandro and is in excellent condition. Further information is in Schaffer, Pages 56 and 68 and Saga, Page 53.
9. 790 Antonio - IDES Hall. and Holy. Ghost Chapel
(Corner of Alvarado Street)
This site has been a Portuguese community center since 1882 and has been used annually ever since for the Holy Ghost celebration on Pentecost Sunday. The Holy Ghost Association moved into the IDES Hall (originally an old barn) in 1882. The chapel was built in the same year. Official records are kept at the U.P.E.C. offices.
10. Tree at Corner of Juana and Bancroft Avenues
This unusually shaped tree marks the site of the Gooch Estate and is considered to be of historical interest to many San Leandro citizens.
11. 1300 East 14th Street - Best Building
This white terracota-faced building with elegant classic revival ornamentation on the upper floor is typical of business buildings constructed at the turn of the century. It was built in 1910 by Daniel Best. It housed a bank and a theater and is presently the home of a savings and loan company.
12. 308 W. Joaquin Avenue
The house on this site, built in 1896, is typical of California homes built in the 1890's. Its architecture is commonly referred to as the San Francisco style, which combines a variety of Victorian characteristics. Often, only the "freaks" and/or magnificent mansions of a given period are preserved, rather than the common homes that more accurately reflect an architectural and historical period. This "stick style" example of San Francisco architecture combines the scollops, stained glass, bay window and porch ornamentation into a conservative version of the Queen Anne design built during the Victorian period.
13. 1363 Hayes Street
The blacksmith shop fronting on Hays Street and located at the rear of 308 West Joaquin Avenue, has educational value as an illustration of one of the many home craft endeavors common to the turn of the century and since given way to mass production.
14. 857 Estudillo
This structure, recently featured in Brightside (a Daily Review Saturday Supplement), is under restoration. Built circa 1890, the house reflects elements of Italianate design with its bracketed or rusticated corner quoins and pedimented window hoods. Except for the carport addition, it presents an accurate picture of a typical family home at the turn of the century.
15. 678 Juana
This well-cared for example of Victorian architecture with its boxed eaves and channel rustic siding is representative of the "Eastlake" style combined with the Queen Anne tradition, a melding that was popular from 1870-1890.
16. 397 Maud
The comparatively plain house on this site is one of many built in the 1880's. Its features include a partial Mansard roof, a bay window, and channel siding but not the fancy ornamentation of the later Queen Anne style. The Mansard roof represents the second empire styling of the 1860 to 1880 period.
17. 310-312 Warren
The style of this structure, Queen Anne Revival, is the most frequently encountered form of Victorian architecture. The house was built circa 1900 and is not pure in design as it exhibits details of other styles such as Eastlake and Romanesque.
18. 241 Joaquin
This modest home is a sample of the Salt Box style popular from 1880 to 1890. The house was built in 1885.
19. 659 Estudillo
This home is an example of the Modern Colonial Revival style (1915). Notice the boxed eaves, oval window, mitered corners and porch columns.
20. 525 Estudillo
Here is a sample of early 20th century combination of styles. The building has elements of the modem colonial style with porch pillars and gabled dormers along with elements of Queen Anne style represented by keyhole windows.
21. Orchard Street Neighborhood (Kanaka Lane)
The historical-architectural value of these properties lies in their combination as a "period neighborhood." The area was settled and built by immigrants from Portugal and Hawaii, many of whose descendants still reside in the neighborhood.
22. 444 Harlan Street
23. 383 Freda Street
24. 254 Callan Avenue
These structures represent part of Northern California's unique vernacular architecture. Unlike most rural water tanks, these are enclosed by a "house", often quite detailed in structure and style. Such water tank houses are rapidly disappearing from East Bay urban areas and should be preserved for their educational value, as well as for architectural attention.
25. 1931 Pacific Avenue - Monkey Puzzle Tree
This ornamental tree from South America (Araucaria imbricata) is becoming rare in its mature form. Like house styles, tastes in ornamental vegetation change. This species, planted in front of many homes at the turn of the century, has since been replaced by other types of ornamental vegetation. This is the best example of this species in San Leandro.
26. 647 Juana Avenue
27. 651 Juana Avenue
The redwood trees (Sequoia sempervirens) on these sites and on the grounds of Bancroft Junior High School are over a century old and represent the last sizable redwoods that once covered much of the East Bay hills. Many early San Leandro buildings were constructed from local redwood.
28. Old Lamplighters Home (28 Dabner Street)
This home is 108 years old and was the first house built in the new incorporated City of San Leandro. The original owners were Mr. and Mrs. P. Mattos. Mr. Mattos was the new town's first official "lamplighter" for that neighborhood. It's original location was the northeastern corner of Davis and Dabner Streets. In 1921 the home was moved back 75 feet to its present location at 28 Dabner St. The house is a two story wood frame structure. It's foundation is constructed of handmade brick and the house itself lies on 6 x 6 timbers on the brick foundation. Dabner Street was named for John Pimentel Dabner who came from the Azores to San Leandro in the 1860's.
Bourna, J.N. "The Peraltas and their Houses," California Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 3, 1951.
Eggum, Andrew. "Peralta Home (New Alta Mira Club)," unpublished paper, San Leandro City Library.
Gebhard, David, et al. A Guide to Architecture in San Francisco and Northern California. Santa Barbara: Peregrine Smith, 1973.
Kirker, Harold. California' s Architectural Frontier: Style and Tradition in the 19th Century, San Marino: Huntington Library, 1960.
Shaffer ,Harry E. A Garden Grows in Eden. San Leandro Centennial Committee, 1972.
--------. "Saga of San Leandro," Studies in Local History, Vol. 13, 1973.
Stuart, R.R. San Leandro...A History. San Leandro: First Methodist Church, 1951.
Webster, Viola. "Days of Daniel Best," in William Halley, ed. Centennial Yearbook of Alameda County. Oakland, 1876.