Two potential city landmark properties are a step closer to official designation with a unanimous recommendation last week from a City Council committee.

A 1930s Tudor Revival house in the Claremont Pines district in North Oakland, known as the Morse House, and a recently restored 1870s Italianate-style house in West Oakland, once the home to a black whaling ship captain and his family, qualify for city landmark status, according to a presentation to the Community and Economic Development Committee by Joann Pavlinec, of the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board.

The current owners of the two properties submitted their houses for consideration and helped prepare the submittals for review at the Landmarks Board level and subsequently the Planning Commission level. The City Council will vote on the designations in two weeks.

The 4,620-square-foot Morse House was constructed in 1936 on the east side of Margarido Drive, overlooking the Claremont Country Club golf course. The home offers sweeping views of the bay and the Bay and Golden Gate bridges. The designer of the house was Geoffrey Bangs, a locally prominent architect of that era and a graduate of UC Berkeley who had studied under John Galen Howard before opening his own office.

The Morse House, Pavlinec said, includes most of the character-defining features of the English Tudor Revival style, including decorative half-timbering, tall narrow windows with multiple pane glazing, chimneys incorporating decorative brick work and an arched entry doorway with detailed wood-carved front door.


Advertisement

The Claremont Pines section of Upper Rockridge was subdivided in the early 1930s from what had once been a 58-acre grand estate belonging to a Philip E. Bowles, who called his estate The Pines. In addition to his villa, which is no longer standing, there were stables where thoroughbred horses were kept and gardens landscaped with trees, lawns and exotic plant specimens, all meticulously maintained.

Developers of the former estate followed guidelines from what has come to be known as the Garden City Movement. These consist of curvilinear streets, rolled curbs, undergrounded utilities and elegant cast-iron street lamps.

The 1991 Oakland hills fire destroyed 75 of the 200 homes in Claremont Pines; fortunately, the Morse House survived.

On April 20, the Oakland Heritage Alliance is sponsoring a home tour of the Claremont Pines and Upper Rockridge neighborhoods. Volunteers are needed to staff the houses featured on the tour, which includes the Morse House. Contact the alliance at www.oaklandheritage.org to find out the details.

Next week: the story of William T. Shorey, California's first black whaling captain, and his landmark home.

For information on learning the history of your home or how landmarks are designated, email Joann Pavlinec at jpavlinec@oaklandnet.com. View thumbnail photos of the local landmarks on the Historic Preservation tab of the city's website, www.oaklandnet.com.

Contact Annalee Allen at ldmksldy@aol.com.