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The Camron-Stanford House Preservation Association was formed specifically to preserve, restore, maintain, and utilize the property for the public as an historical and educational example of the architecture and lifestyle of the Victorian era of California, and to engage in activities related thereto.
The graceful Italianate Victorian structure is located in Lakeside Park at 1418 Lakeside Drive in downtown Oakland. The House is situated on the shore of picturesque Lake Merritt--California's first game reserve and America's oldest wildlife sanctuary.The Victorian structure was built in 1876 and was the first of many stately homes that once encircled the Lake. During its 27 years as a private residence, it was home to some of Oakland's most notable families.During the first decade of the 20th Century, the City of Oakland created Lakeside Park to provide public access to Lake Merritt. The City condemned the private residences then bordering the lake with the exception of this house. Transformed into the Oakland Public Museum, it became the first teaching museum west of the Mississippi River and served the community in this capacity for 56 years. In 1965, artifacts from the Oakland Public Museum were transferred to the newly constructed Oakland Museum just two blocks away. The fate of the old, deteriorating Victorian soon came into question. A small group of individuals concerned about Oakland's architectural heritage came together in a successful effort to save the building from demolition. The group began to restore the building for the City of Oakland. After seven years of fundraising, research, and hard work, the group reopened the stately Victorian to the public in May of 1978 as a house museum. The Association works diligently, just as it has for over twenty-five years, appealing to individuals, foundations, corporations, and the government to partner its restoration of the site and the development of its educational programs.Today, it is more important than ever to protect the history and beauty of the past for the enjoyment of future generations. There is no special requirement for volunteering other than an interest in the House and its programs. C-SHPA draws its volunteers from a richly diverse community throughout the Bay Area. Please join us in our efforts.
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