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 because 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, struggling to cover costs of maintenance, donated the house and created the Victorian Preservation Center of Oakland as a 501(c)3, so the house would be able to receive grants, and donations to enable preservation as a study-learning center. We have no paid staff and all the donations go directly into saving the house. 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. 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.
HOUSE AND PROPERTY
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.
Although amazing people continue to together to support this special house to try to save the unique collections that support academic study of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Oakland, we still need your help.
Meet our new caretakers, read their bio's on this link.
NEW OPPORTUNITIES! The buildings in the back are now vacant and offer us an opportunity to become sustainable. We plan eventually to use the space as classrooms 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 funding we generate from the workshops to provide craft training scholarships for the neighborhood.
Our once-a-month tours and programs showcase the home's original interiors, collections and period Victorian garden. Public tours-link for reservations
Our Private tours allow us to cater to your specific interests and can happen on other days or evenings.
Our garden programs connect students, teachers, neighbors and visitors to the house and land through family stories told by descendants.
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.
To visit us, please contact us in advance.
When you come you must show your vaccination booster and wear a mask.
Friends, please support us through your membership! Join or renew today! You are helping us survive.
Please follow the links below and on our menu for more information about what we can do.
sign up for tickets
program description links below
We need help in the garden and cleaning.
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 .
Help make sure the future doesn't lose the past.