Dunsmuir-Hellman Historic Estate
by Emerian Rich
“My favorite holiday tradition is visiting one of the last surviving Victorian estates in the Bay Area, all decked out for the holidays. The historic Dunsmuir-Hellman Estate in Oakland is a hidden gem most residents don’t know about. Built in 1899, the estate features a 37-room, Neoclassical Revival mansion set on fifty acres of beautifully landscapes grounds.
The Dunsmuir fortune was earned in coal from British Colombia, but the Dunsmuirs sent their son, Alexander, to represent their interests in Northern California. The mansion, which truly takes your breath away as you approach it, was built as a wedding gift for Alexander’s bride. He tragically died on their honeymoon, leaving her to reside alone in his fabulous gift until she joined him a few years later. In 1906, Wells Fargo Executive, Isaias Hellman purchased the estate, and the Hellman family owned it until the late 50’s.
Today, Dunsmuir is a piece of Oakland history, offering tours, hosting events, and being used as a movie location. For those movie buffs out there, you will recognize the mansion from the 1976 movie, Burnt Offerings, starring Karen Black, Oliver Reed, and Bette Davis. It also appeared in the movies Phantasm, A View to a Kill, and So I Married an Axe Murderer...” to read the full article, download the free eCopy of SEARCH Magazine‘s Winter Issue.