Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dawn Redwood at Mountain View Cemetery

There isn't a more beautiful time of the year to take a walk at Mountain View Cemetery than in the Autumn. The trees are particularly stunning, with leaves ranging from yellows and oranges, to various shades of green and red. Perhaps the most unique specimen on the grounds is the rare Dawn Redwood, which is currently pumpkin orange and not to be believed.

Docent Chris Patillo has put together a wonderful book of the trees at Mountain View Cemetery, which you can download at her Historic American Landscapes Survey blog.

Here's what she has to say about the Dawn Redwood:

The Dawn Redwood is one of Mountain View Cemetery's most distinguished species, known to have existed in prehistoric times. It is one of the very few deciduous conifers, meaning that it loses its leaves in winter. In spring, the new growth is a soft yellow-green, much like the California Redwood in form. In fall, the needle-like leaves turn golden yellow. The trunk is deeply furrowed and twisted. The Dawn Redwood is native to China and can grow to 90 feet or more. The species was discovered in 1945 and imported to the United States in 1948 by the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard.

I will be co-leading a docent tour with Stafford Buckley on December 26, 2009 at 10 AM. Meet us near the main office as we explore the historic figures who founded Mountain View Cemetery, show off our beautiful angels and visit the graves of Bernard Maybeck and Julia Morgan.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

De Fremery Family - Financial Leaders; Home Now A Park

[Pictures of de Fremery plot by Michael Colbruno]


James de Fremery (1826-1899)
was born on February 17, 1826, on the estate of his family at Ouwendyck, near The Hague, Holland. Leaving home at an early age, he arrived in New York in 1848, where he engaged in commercial pursuits. He remained there three years and left for California by way of Panama, arriving here in 1849.

He was the founder of Gildemeester, de Fremery & Co. in San Francisco. James de Fremery also served as president of the Chamber of Commerce, was active in the management of the Savings and Loan Society, the Giant Powder Company, The American Sugar Refining Company, several Oakland Street railway companies and various other businesses. He was the Consul for the Netherlands for many years and was presented with the Order of Knight of the Netherlands Lion. He was also Consul for Mecklenberg Schwerin.

MVC docent discusses James De Fremery:

However, he was best known as co-founder of the San Francisco-based Savings Union in 1862, which he was president for about twenty-five years. He was also the author of many newspaper articles and published a few books.

De Fremery died in 1899 on a train in Colorado on his way back to San Francisco (some accounts claim he died in Coolidge, Kansas).

Paul W. De Fremery (1898-1933) was the grandson of James de Fremery and son of Wilhelmina Suermondt and James de Fremery, Jr. He was born in New York and moved to San Francisco when he was 6 years old. He graduated from the University of California with honors in 1918 and was a member of the San Francisco Bohemian Club.

He worked in both Oakland and San Francisco as an economist and financier, creating his own firm. During the depression he returned to New York where he died. His ashes were transported back to Mountain View Cemetery and placed in the family plot.

[de Fremery biographies by Michael Colbruno]

[Photo courtesy of Oakland Public Library]

The James De Fremery family home is located at 18th St. and Adeline in Oakland. The property was part of the Rancho San Antonio land grant. James De Fremery continuously landscaped the estate until his death in 1899. After De Fremery’s death, members of the family continued to live in the house until its sale to the City in 1910 when voters passed a bond issue to purchase the property. The Gothic Revival house currently serves as the De Fremery Recreation Center.

[Information on home excerpted from Oakland Tribune]


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Livermore Family - Business Leaders; Conservationists

[Photo of Livermore Plot by Michael Colbruno]

Horatio Gates Livermore (1805 – 1879) all Plot 14A, Lot 6 (None marked)
Horatio Putnam Livermore (1837 – 1916)
Caroline Sealy Livermore (1883 - 1968)

Horatio Gates Livermore was a Maine native who came to California in 1850 as a gold seeker. In 1854 he was elected to the State Senate from El Dorado County when the capitol was in Benicia. It was during this period that he became impressed by the possibilities of the American River for logging and development of water power to operate sawmills and other industrial plants. In 1856 his son, Boston-born Horatio Putnam Livermore, came to California across the Isthmus of Panama and joined his father in business.

The senior Livermore became interested in forming a company for the purpose of diverting American River water to placer workings in the foothills, and by 1862 he and both his sons, Horatio Putnam and Charles Edward, had taken control of the existing Natoma Water and Mining Company. In addition to the company, the Livermores acquired 9,000 acres of the Leidesdorff land grant in the Folsom area.

They began work on Folsom Dam in 1867 by spending $119,000 to construct a two-mile railroad from Folsom up to the damsite and to lay the foundation for the dam itself. In order to minimize the remaining construction costs, they entered into a contract in 1868 with the State Prison Board under which convict labor would be used to complete the dam. In exchange for the convicts’ services, valued at $15,000, the Livermores were to turn over 250 acres on the east side of the river adjacent to the dam for the proposed Folsom prison. Unfortunately, there would be no convict labor available until the prison was built, which meant that construction was delayed for several years.

Over a period of years, Horatio Putnam Livermore had gradually taken over the family business, and by 1868 he had settled in Oakland’s Rockridge area on large land holdings, much of which is today the Claremont Country Club. (The Livermore house was across Broadway Terrace from the current location of the clubhouse, and when Livermore, during a period of “financial reverses” in 1897, sold the house and grounds to the new club, they moved his house to the present clubhouse location and had Julia Morgan remodel it. That original clubhouse was destroyed by fire in 1927, and replaced by the current clubhouse). Horatio Putnam had varied business interests – wholesale drugs (initially his primary business when he arrived in California), quicksilver mining, hydraulic power generation, and major land holdings in Kern County. The senior Livermore (Horatio Gates) died in 1879.

In 1881, the stockholders of the Natoma Water and Mining Company formed the Folsom Water Power Company to take over from Natoma all its properties and rights related to water power. The new organization demanded prison labor due and insisted on a more generous agreement providing for double payment in convict labor. The state sued and lost in an attempt to force the company to abide by its old offer, and work on the dam was stopped for a time.

Under a new agreement reached in 1888, the prison acquired the use of the railroad and enough “fall” from the powerhouse canal to operate a prison power plant. In return, the prison was to provide 60,000 man-days of convict labor annually for five years, and the dam was at last completed in January of 1893. When the powerhouse became operative in 1895, it was the first in the United States to provide high-voltage alternating current over long-distance transmission lines for major municipal and industrial use. In September of 1895, a “Great Electric Carnival” drew thousands to Sacramento to celebrate the new power system. Decorative electric lights at the Capitol were seen for nearly fifty miles.

In 1903 the Livermores sold out to the California Gas and Electric Corporation, predecessor to PG&E. The powerhouse remained in operation until 1952 and was later donated to the State of California for development into a historic site.

When Horatio Putnam Livermore sold his Rockridge property in 1895, he moved to Russian Hill to a house on Florence Street he had purchased in 1889. After the purchase, he had engaged architect Willis Polk to remodel the interior in exchange for rent while Polk lived in the house. According to HP’s grandson, George, another tenant in the house was future famed Palm Beach architect Addison Mizener. When the Livermore family moved in, Polk built a house next door and was later hired by Livermore to help him upgrade the neighborhood by building many homes in the area. Most of these were destroyed in the 1906 fire and were later rebuilt. Horatio P. Livermore, however, managed to save his Russian Hill home from the fire by keeping the roof wet. Over the years the Livermore family was recognized as having had a profound effect on the Russian Hill neighborhood, and Horatio Putnam became known as the “Father of Russian Hill.”

During the 20th Century, while the Livermores maintained their presence on Russian Hill, much of the family lived in Marin County, primarily Ross. Horatio Putnam’s daughter-in-law, Galveston-born Caroline Sealy Livermore, wife of Norman Livermore, was a leader in the conservation movement. She was responsible for the creation of Samuel Taylor State Park in Marin, and is given much of the credit for the development of Angel Island as a state park. This latter effort led to her being honored by having the peak of Angel Island (originally Mt. Ida) renamed for her – Mt. Livermore.

Among the many family members buried here are Horatio Gates Livermore, his wife, Elizabeth, son Horatio Putnam Livermore and his wives Mattie Banks Livermore (who died in 1880 of tuberculosis) and Helen Eels Livermore (died 1941). Horatio Gates’ second son Charles Edward is there as well. In addition, Horatio Putnam’s son Norman Banks Livermore (1872 – 1953) and Norman’s wife Caroline Sealy Livermore (1883 - 1968) are in the family plot. Norman Banks Livermore had four sisters, a circumstance which may explain the many people in the plot with different surnames.

And, just for the record, the Livermores are not related to Robert Livermore, the English immigrant for whom the Alameda County town of Livermore was named.

[Biographies courtesy of Mountain View Docent Program; Sources: Brochure given to visitors at Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park, articles from the Sacramento Bee, and an oral history of George Livermore from the Marin County Free Library]

The Livermore house on the back of the lot at 1045 Vallejo in San Francisco dates from 1865. Architect Willis Polk remodeled it c. 1891, and Robert A. M. Stern designed significant additions and alterations in 1990—the entrance is now at 40 Florence St.


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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Requa & Long - Mining Magnate; Political Insider; Military Hero; Businesswoman

[Requa family portrait - the family is sitting on the front porch steps. In the center are Mrs. and Mrs. Isaac Requa; to the left are Col. and Mrs. Oscar Long and their two children Amy and Sally; on the right are Senator and Mrs. Mark Requa with their two children; Photo from City of Piedmont website]

[Photo of Requa family plot by Michael Colbruno]

Isaac Requa (1828-1905) Plot 9

Isaac Requa, descendant of a family that arrived in the New World in the 17th Century, was born in Tarrytown, New York. Like so many others, he came to California in 1850 on a clipper ship, looking for gold. Unsuccessful at placer mining, he finally succeeded in a fluming operation at Big Bar on the American River in 1856.

Two years after the 1859 discovery of the Comstock Lode in Nevada, Requa moved to Virginia City where for a number of years he was superintendent of several successful silver mines.

In 1863 he married Sarah J. Mower with whom he lived quietly in Virginia City. As their fortunes improved, they bought property in Piedmont for their future home which they built and occupied around 1880. Their home, The Highlands, became a social center and boasted one of the first demonstration telephones in the area.

Requa was for fourteen years president of the Central Pacific Railroad, and also headed the Oakland Bank of Savings.

His wife, Sarah Requa, counted among her community efforts a part in founding the Old Ladies’ Home and Fabiola Hospital.

[Biography courtesy of Mountain View Cemetery docent program]

[Hoover and Requa during the 1932 presidential campaign]

Mark Requa (1866-1937) - Mining Magnate; Confidant to President Hoover

Mark Requa was a leader of the Republican Party and one of President Herbert Hoover’s most trusted advisors. He directed Hoover’s presidential campaign in California in 1928 and for the entire West in 1932. At the Republican Convention in 1928, it was Requa who placed the name of his fellow engineer into nomination for President. The two men became close friends while attending engineering classes at Stanford University.

In his professional life, Requa was a successful mining magnate, founding the Nevada Consolidated Copper Company, owning gold and silver mines, and serving as vice president of the American Institute of Mining and Metalurgical Engineers. He also played a major role in building the Nevada Northern Railway, which transported his metals to the Pacific coast for shipping.

Requa was born on Christmas Day in 1866 and was educated in private schools. In 1895 he married the former Florence Herrick of Oakland, with whom he had three children.

Requa died from complications following an operation. Upon his death, Herbert Hoover proclaimed:

“Mark Requa was one of the most honest, the most loyal, the most idealistic men that California has produced.”
[Biography by Michael Colbruno]

Oscar Fitzalan Long (1851-1928) - Military Hero


Oscar Long born in Utica, N.Y. on June 16, 1852 and was the great-great-grandson of Cornelius Mabie, an officer in the Revolutionary War.

Long graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point in 1876.

Shortly after graduation he became a hero in the Indian Wars. During the summer and early fall of 1877 the U.S. Cavalry was in pursuit of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce Indian tribe as they attempted to cross through Montana and reach Canada.

After numerous battles, including the battle of the Little Big Hole in early August, the Cavalry found it difficult to follow and locate Chief Joseph and his traveling tribe. After a forced march of several days, the Indian camp was located near Bear Paw Mountain, where the final battle that lead to the surrender of the Nez Perce nation occurred on September 30. When a troop of cavalry was ordered to advance into a heavy enemy fire and both officers were killed, Second Lieutenant Long voluntarily assumed command and led the charge, earning the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic leadership in the face of intense enemy fire. He was one of nine men awarded the Medal of Honor in the battle of Bear Paw Mountain.

Oscar Long married the former Amy Requa, daughter of Isaac and Sarah Requa. She was almost a quarter-century his junior when they married. They are all buried at the same family plot.

He was commissioned Captain and Assistant Quartermaster in 1892. In 1896, Captain Long was assigned to San Francisco with the Quartermaster Corps and served in that post during the Spanish-American War. Here he equipped the army sailing to the Philippines, and organized overseas transport service between San Francisco and the Philippines. His work was highly praised, as American troops in the Philippines were never without their needed provisions. He retired as a Brigadier General in July 1904.

He made his home in Piedmont, California, after his retirement, and became president of the California Wire Cloth Company of Oakland.

He died on Dec. 28, 1928.
[Biography by Michael Colbruno]

Amy Long (1876-1960), a.k.a. Mrs. Oscar Fitzalan Long, was one of the East Bay’s most prominent socialites who later became a successful businesswoman in her own right.

The year her husband died she made headlines by purchasing two banks in Willits, this coming on the heals of a number of successful real estate deals. Amy Long got involved in real estate when she led the effort to subdivide the Requa estate on Highland Avenue in Piedmont near their home at 65 Hazel Lane. The Requa house was known as “The Highlands” and could be seen from San Francisco. It contained 40-acres of gardens, but was razed in 1923.

After Long’s death, she remarried Homer Mitten of Willits.

She was also the President of the Women’s Athletic Club of Alameda County and served on their board of directors for many years.

She was a regular fixture in the local society pages.
[Biography by Michael Colbruno]


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Joseph "J.W." Josselyn (1837-1868) - Only East Bay Fatality in 1868 Quake

[J.W. Josselyn is second from the right]

The Courthouse the killed Josselyn before and after]

[Josselyn gravesite photo by Michael Colbruno]

On the morning of October 21, 1868, Joseph “J.W.” Josselyn showed up early for his job as deputy city clerk at the Courthouse in San Leandro. At 7:53 A.M. the ground began to shake and the young city employee panicked and ran for the door with his co-worker Charles Palmer. As Josselyn headed out the door, a giant cornice and two column crashed to the ground and crushed him to death. He became the only East Bay fatality of the giant earthquake; thirty others died in San Francisco.

As you can see from the photo above, the Courthouse was completely destroyed and a number of people sustained injuries. Five prisoners and four others in the building managed to escape more rattled than injured.

In 1868, only about 265,000 people lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, so the loss of life was far less than during the more famous earthquakes of 1906 and 1989.

The October 22, 1868 issue of the San Francisco Morning Call described the earthquake:

Yesterday morning San Francisco was visited by the most severe earthquake the city ever experienced. The great shock commenced at 7:53 A.M. and continued nearly one minute, being the longest ever known in this region. The oscillations were from east to west, and were very violent. Men, women, and children rushed into the streets—some in a state of semi-nudity—and all in the wildest state of excitement. Many acted as if they though the Day of Judgment had come. for a time the excitement was intense, and the panic was general.


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Knowland Family - Publishers; GOP Politicians

[Photos of Knowland burial sites by Michael Colbruno; Images of Joseph & Emelyn from the Oakland Tribune; William F. Knowland from Time magazine]

William F. Knowland (1908 – 1974) Main Mausoleum M8J N2 T1

Born in 1908 in Alameda, California, Bill Knowland grew up in a household devoted to two entities: the Republican party and the Oakland Tribune, the newspaper owned and operated by his family. As a young child, he witnessed the workings of Congress firsthand. From 1903 to 1914, his father, Joseph R. Knowland, served in the House of Representatives. After graduating from U.C. Berkeley in 1929, Bill Knowland co-published the Tribune as he pursued his own career in politics. In 1932, at the age of twenty four, he won election to the California state assembly. Three years later, Knowland entered the state senate. At the same time, he became an active member of the Republican National Committee and assumed a top leadership position in 1941.

World War II briefly interrupted Knowland's political career. Drafted into the army, he attained the rank of major after officer training at Fort Benning, GA. In 1945, Knowland was serving in France as a military writer when Senator Hiram Johnson died, leaving California a vacancy in the U.S. Senate. Joe Knowland, a major campaign contributor, had the Republican Governor Earl Warren appoint his son to the remainder of Johnson's term. Bill Knowland took an honorable discharge and rushed to Washington to be sworn in. He assumed his seat on August 26 and, the next year, won the election for a full six-year term. In 1952, Knowland ran on both the Republican and the Democratic ticket to easily win his reelection to the Senate. The same election brought Republican Dwight Eisenhower to the White House and gave the Republicans control of the Senate,

In 1953, the convergence of unusual circumstances gave the Democrats the plurality of the Senate's membership while the Senate Republicans maintained their majority party status. The situation made it impossible for the new Republican leader to control the legislative agenda. Indeed, Senator William Knowland lamented his ineffectiveness on the Senate floor, "Mr. President, . . . I have the responsibilities of being the majority leader in this body without having a majority." The minority leader, Lyndon Johnson, shot back, "If anyone has more problems than a majority leader with a minority, it is a minority leader with a majority." Though witty, the retort was hardly accurate. Johnson had few difficulties handling the Senate or trumping the nominal majority leader.

When the Democrats took back the chamber in 1955, Knowland became the Senate minority leader. He had one notable success in this position: he was the floor manager for the bill that became the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the first major legislation to address voter intimidation in the South. Johnson, however, took both the credit and the criticism for the Senate amendments that significantly curtailed the bill's intent.

A half century later, few people outside of Northern California recall his name, let alone know that William Knowland led the Senate for less than one term between the more impressive reigns of Robert Taft and Johnson. Political historians rarely acknowledge the former senator except to point out the obvious: Knowland was no Taft. He was no Johnson. He was no Everett Dirksen, his successor to the position of Republican leader. Still, Knowland made his mark on the Senate, standing firm on Cold War foreign policy even in opposition to his party. In an attempt to fulfill his presidential aspirations, however, he left the institution prematurely. Later termed a "political suicide," the act foreshadowed a more tragic display of self destruction.

Humorless and "bullheaded," Knowland built his reputation on his role in post-war foreign policy. Following a trip to the Far East, he focused his attention on China, defending its nationalist government against the communist regime. An adamant member of the "China lobby," he opposed the country's entrance into the United Nations after the fall of Chiang Kai-shek.

Knowland decided not to campaign for reelection in 1958, as he hoped to eventually run for the presidency and believed that he had a better chance at the White House if he first served as California's governor. After a rough primary, Knowland lost the gubernatorial election by more than a million votes. His political career essentially dead, the former Senate leader resumed his publishing duties at the Oakland Tribune. In later years, he worked for the economic development of the Bay Area while his personal life dismantled around him. Heavily in debt and facing a second divorce, Knowland died in 1974, the apparent victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
[Bio excerpted from the United States Senate website]

Joseph Russell Knowland (1873 – 1966) Plot 13, Lot 62

A native of Alameda, Joseph R. Knowland was educated in Alameda schools, the John Hopkins School in Oakland, and the University of the Pacific, at the time located in San Jose.

After graduation, he entered his father’s business, wholesale lumber and shipping, and in 1898 when he was 25, he was elected to the California State Assembly where he served for two sessions. Next, he was elected to the State Senate and became chairman of its Banking Committee, followed by service in the U. S. Congress from 1904 to 1915, where he secured significant funds to improve Oakland’s harbor and the Tidal Canal.

On his retirement from public office in 1915 he became publisher of the Oakland Tribune where he used his voice for the next fifty years to push for good government. He conducted a study of the administration of justice in California that led to the enactment of four initiatives creating the State Department of Justice. Over a period of some sixty years as chairman of the Historic Landmarks Committee of the Native Sons of the Golden West, he visited virtually every spot of historical interest in the state, dedicating plaques and monuments to designate them for posterity. He played a leading role in the effort to preserve and restore California’s missions, and was Chairman of the State Park Commission from 1937 until he retired in 1960.

He served on the boards of several companies including the Associated Press, where he was a director for 28 years. At one time or another he was President of the California Historical Society and was the long-time chairman of the State Board of Beaches and Parks. He was an inductee into the California Newspaper Hall of Fame.

(Information courtesy of the California Newspaper Hall of Fame)

Emelyn Knowland (1884-1950) – Wife of Congressman; Mother of U.S. Senator

Emelyn West Knowland was born Craddockville, Virginia to a family that dates back to Colonial America and included governors of the state.

In 1908 she married then Congressman Joseph R. Knowland. Until 1915, the Knowland had homes in both Washington D.C. and Alameda, California. They later moved to their permanent resident at 25 Sea View Avenue in Piedmont.

She was a board member of the Women’s Athletic Club and the Ladies Relief Society of Oakland.

Her sons were United States William F. Knowland and Joseph R. Knowland, Jr., the assistant publisher of the Oakland Tribune.

[Bio by Michael Colbruno]

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Jane Waer (c.1822-1865) - First Burial at Mountain View Cemetery

[Photo of Waer gravestone by Michael Colbruno]

Jane Waer (c.1822-1865) Plot 1, Lot 293

Jane Waer was not a famous person in life, but hers is the first burial entered in Mountain View Cemetery’s records.

She was born in New Jersey, and died in Oakland on July 26, 1863, two months after the cemetery had held its dedication ceremonies. Her husband, Philip H. Waer, who died in 1903, is also buried in this plot, as is George A. Waer, presumably their son, although their burials are not listed on the marker. The cause of her death was listed in cemetery records as “a bilious fever.”

The gravestone itself is a modest obelisk which has been broken and badly mended. A form letter from the cemetery dated August 31, 1949, states, “During the night of August 30, 1949 vandals knocked over the monument on (this lot) and some thirty others. Although the Cemetery Association is not obligated, the Trustees have ordered these replaced, where not broken, at the expense of the Cemetery Association.” Jane’s monument may have been broken when it was restored to its upright position. Certainly, the mending was done by an amateur repairman.

In September 2003, thanks to the generosity of the Raffo Bronze Company, a plaque was designed and placed at the base of the Waer obelisk indicating that Jane’s was the first burial at Mountain View.

(Biography courtesy of Mountain View Docent Gaye Lenahan)

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Alexander Dunsmuir - Businessman & Edna Hopper - Floradora Girl

[Photo of Dunsmuir House by Michael Colbruno]

[Photo of Hopper gravestone by Michael Colbruno]

Alexander White Dunsmuir (1854 – 1900) Plot 27, Lot 25
Josephine Wallace Dunsmuir (1853 – 1901) Plot 27, Lot 25
Edna Wallace Hopper (1874-1959) Plot 27, Lot 25

Alexander Dunsmuir was the son of a wealthy Scots coal baron in Victoria, B.C., who was sent to run the family’s business office in San Francisco. There in about 1879 he met a bartender, one Waller Wallace. Alexander had a taste for whiskey and he and Mr. Wallace became fast friends….in fact, Alexander moved in with Wallace, his wife Josephine, and her small children, Willie and Edna. This arrangement led to an affair between Alexander and Josephine, and resulted in the Wallaces’ divorce.

There would be no quick marriage, however, as Alexander’s mother held the purse strings and was determined not to accept “that woman” as a daughter-in-law, threatening to disinherit her son. The lovers secretly set up housekeeping together, a practice frowned upon even during the “Gay Nineties.”

In 1898, Alexander and his brother James gained control of the family business, enabling Alexander to build the spectacular Greek Revival mansion for Josephine in the hills above San Leandro. The house was completed just days before they were married in late 1899, and they left immediately on a honeymoon trip to New York. But years of heavy drinking took its toll on Alexander and he died on their honeymoon in New York, January 31, 1900.

Josephine, long sick with lung cancer, returned to spend the last eighteen months of her life in the place now known as “Dunsmuir House,” where she died of lung cancer in 1901.

Josephine’s daughter, Edna, inherited the house, but not the fortune. By this time she was a successful showgirl, a “Floradora Girl”, and rented the house out to I. W. Hellman, Jr, son of the founding president of the Wells Fargo Nevada National Bank (which broke away from Wells Fargo Express Company in 1905, with headquarters in San Francisco). In 1906, the Hellmans bought the property, and retained it until it was sold to the City of Oakland in 1959. It is now owned and operated by its own non-profit corporation.

The northern California town of Dunsmuir along Interstate 5 in Siskiyou County was named for Alexander when he promised the town fathers a fountain in exchange for the honor of having his name on the map.

The Dunsmuirs have no markers on their graves. Edna’s grave is marked, however, but without a birthdate – she was always coy about revealing her age. She was married for a time to DeWolf Hopper. In 1913 Hedda Hopper became the 5th of his six wives.

[Bio courtesy of Barbara Smith]

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Chris Pattillo's Overview of Mountain View Cemetery

This article and the photos appeared on the Historic American Landscapes Survey blog run by Mountain View Cemetery docent Chris Pattillo:

Four years after the California Cemetery Act was passed in 1859, the original trustees of Mountain View Cemetery met and organized a non-profit association. The trustees sought out Frederic Law Olmsted who was known for his work in New York’s Central Park and who was in California at the time. Olmsted came to California to manage the 44,000 acre Mariposa Gold Mine.

The cemetery was consecrated May 25, 1865 and quickly became the premier place to be buried attracting the elite of California, including such notables as: Charles Crocker one of the Big 4 who built the transcontinental railroad and later founded Crocker Bank; Henry Durant, founder of what became the University of California; Ina Coolbrith, California’s first poet laureate; James Folger who created Folgers Coffee Company; Domingo Ghirardelli, the chocolate king; three generations of the Pardee family that included two Mayors of Oakland and one California Governor; famed architects Bernard Maybeck and Julia Morgan, the first woman to graduate from the Ecole de Beaux Arts; Col. John Coffee “Jack” Hays, the most famous Texas Ranger landscape painter, Thomas Hill; author Frank Norris; sculptor, Douglas Tilden; industrialist, Henry J. Kaiser whose shipyards played a key role in the Allied forces victory in WWII and whose medical foundation provides quality health care to this day; Warren and Steven Bechtel, who founded and built the largest engineering firm in the world; Elizabeth Short aka “The Black Dahlia”; and numerous other state governors and legislators.

Mountain View cemetery occupies 226 acres of land in the Oakland hills. Olmsted planned curving paths and roads that climb up the slopes at either side of a formal, allee. The main allee starts at the level entry and extends one half mile up along a gentle slope. As described in a narrative Olmsted envisioned a place for all persons to be buried, he wrote, "a place of our common grief, our common hopes and our common faith; a place wherein we may see and feel our sympathy one with another ... where all elements of society would be provided for ... so that the community of the dead would be an object lesson for the community of the living".

Olmsted intended native grasses, lots of shrubs and five species of trees - Italian Cypress, Cedar of Lebanon, Stone Pine, Monterey Cypress, and Evergreen Oak (Quercus agrifolia. Today 80+ species of trees are found throughout the cemetery. The upper terraces offer spectacular views of the bay and the City of San Francisco. It is here that the elite of California chose as their final resting place, which became known as Millionaire's Row.

See the sidebar on this blog for information about free, docent-led walking tours.

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