top of page

Victorian Preservation Center of Oakland

 Listed on the National Register of Historic places in 1973 as the  Alfred H. Cohen House  and  designated an Oakland Historic Landmark in 1978. The Cohen Bray House represents what remains of two prominent  Bay Area  families from the Gold Rush era. The house and property remain on what is left of the original 200 acres of the Bray Estate in the Fruitvale District. It was established in 1862 and was called Oak Tree Farm.

The house is complete, filled with the original contents and interiors. It is not a museum; it is too fragile.

We need your support to help preserve and maintain  its preservation. The funding that built and furnished the house ran out in 1925. The house is not supported monetarily by funds from a trust or city funding.

The family, understood that this house  and contents was an irreplaceable time capsule,  struggled to cover costs of maintenance. In 1994, they donated the house and created the Victorian Preservation Center of Oakland as a 501(c)3. Now, the house and the remaining 1/2 acre are tax exempt, more eligible for grants, bequeathments, and donations. This enables the V.P.C.O. and its members to restore and preserve the house so it can be used as a learning-study center for all.

We have no paid staff and all the donations go directly into maintaining the house and property. We consider it a privilege to care for this gift to everyone of us. Please join us and become a member of the Victorian Preservation Center of Oakland.



The three-story house is an example of Stick-Eastlake Victorian style architecture and  after the damage from the 1906 earthquake, part of the rooms were remodeled in Craftsmen Style; consisting of 17 rooms, five fireplaces, ornately carved redwood paneling, original furnishings stained glass, wallpapers, and carpeting.

The property also includes a 138 year- old 1/2 acre garden complete with  native trees, fruit trees, seasonal vegetables, hops, wildflowers, two beehives, rose bushes and other ornamentals originally planted in 1884. This property was originally the asparagus patch of Oak Tree Farm Estate in 1865, before it was gifted to W.A. Bray's oldest daughter, Emma. He built her the Cohen Bray house on it as a wedding present.

A.A. Cohen, her father-in-law who lived in Alameda at the Fernside Estate furnished it with the most modern high-end furnishing that money could buy.

This house provides a rare and unique opportunity to study and learn about this family's life from 1884-1940's when their fortunes changed and the family struggled to keep this house from being torn down. This house is full of all the original content of 138 years, including items from the estates of their parents' houses, long ago dismantled. 


NEW OPPORTUNITIES! The buildings in the back offer us an opportunity to become sustainable into the future. Now, we are using the space to repair the 85+ wooden windows and doors. We are  posting our progress on social media and as we perfect our technique we willuse the space to teach the crafts of preservation while we work on the house. We are looking for funding to upgrade the buildings to be usable. We plan to utilize the extra funding we generate from the workshops to provide craft training and scholarships for individuals from our neighborhood.

Join us with your funds, time and talent and help us keep such a rare piece of California history together and moving safely toward the future.

Friends, please  support us through your membership! Join or renew today! You are helping us survive.


We need help with collections, cleaning artifacts, decorating for events and gardening. If you have paint and prep skills. We need YOU!

We are a small group of volunteers and need to grow. 

We are in need of knowledgable board members NOW  for a secretary position and for positions in fundraising and project managing.


Tours, Programs and Events

showcase the home's original interiors, collections and period Victorian garden. 

Public tours are 2-3:30 p.m.


February 26th

March 26th

April 23

Private tours for 3+ can be scheduled for your convenience.


Mothers day Tea & Tour
is May 14th

seatings at 12:00 and 2:30:



School programs
connect students, teachers, to the house and land  through hands on experiences and family stories told by descendants. 

Meet our new caretakers, read their bio's on this link.

To visit us, please contact us in advance.

Quick links to


2021-2 completed projects!

Cleaned fireplace tile pictures

Kitchen restoration

Stove discoveries

Capital projects that need your help!

Our goal is to preserve and protect this amazing house. Help us toward that goal for future generations.

Fall in love and become a volunteer.

Come once or many times, there is always something you haven't seen yet. Once you've been here, you will never forget it.

Read and see this wonderful blog by a local artist .

bottom of page