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 remains on the original site of the Bray Estate -1862, it was called Oak Tree Farm.
The house is not a museum, it is too fragile for that much traffic. It is not supported by funds from a trust or City funding. The family 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. Since we have no paid staff, all the donations go directly into saving the house. We are a small group of volunteers and we consider it a privilege to care for this gift to everyone of us. Please join us, become a member.
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, 5 fireplaces, ornately carved redwood paneling, original furnishings stained glass, wallpapers, and carpeting.
The buildings in the back now offer us the opportunity to be used 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.
The property also includes a 138 yr old 1/2 acre garden complete with native trees, fruit trees, seasonal vegetables, hops, wildflowers, 2 bee-hives, rose bushes and other ornamentals originally planted in 1884. This property was originally the asparagus patch of Oak Tree Farm in 1865, before it was gifted to W.A. Brays oldest daughter, Emma. He built her the Cohen Bray house on it as a wedding present. A.A. Cohen, her father in law furnished it with the most modern high end furnishing that money could buy.
This house provides a rare and unique opportunity to
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 and all the collection including of items from their parents houses ( long gone) dismantled.
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.
Our few ( once a month) tours and programs showcase the home's original interiors, collections and period Victorian garden. Our garden programs connect students, teachers, neighbors and visitors to the land through the garden, through family stories told by descendants.
Joining us with your funds, time and talent will 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.
Our funding continues to be very limited because of Covid. Please consider becoming a member to support our cause. 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 and our menu for more information about what we can do.
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.
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.