California Nursery Historical Park

 The President's Cottage
 

The California Nursery Companyís structure known as the Presidentís Cottage in Niles of Fremont dates back to the early 1900s. The building has been home to families whose lineage and story have left a significant impact on agricultural and horticultural history. Over one hundred years later, the cottageís interior is now in great need of restoration for non-profit Math Science Nucleusí project of archiving the familiesí historical artifacts to continue.

 

John Rock, the original owner of the California Nursery Company, worked alongside San Franciscan insurance broker William J. Landers, who was the companyís primary investor at the time. After Rockís passing in 1904, the company and its property were transferred to Landers, who soon became the companyís president. Landers decided to begin new construction and wanted to have a cottage on the property. However soon after the 1906 earthquake, Landers passed away after an unfortunate electrocution accident. Thankfully Landersí son, William H. Landers, carried on his fatherís dream and ensured that the summer cottage was constructed.

 
 
1935  

The Presidentís Cottage was built in 1907 and designed by famous architect Bernard Maybeck, who created todayís Palace of the Fine Arts in San Francisco. Maybeck innovatively used Beaverboard, which quickened the building process and allowed for a much airier and open accommodation. Complete with a back porch, a few bedrooms, a kitchen, and a living area, the Landers family used the charming cottage as a summer home. William J. Landers then sold California Nursery Company to George Roeding in 1917. The Roeding family had moved to Niles from Fresno, where they gained success in the agricultural business. The companyís growth further expanded as it provided trees and exhibits worldwide, marking it as one of the West Coastís largest nurseries. The cottage area soon became a place for several of the Roedingsí family gatherings.

 

The landscape of the summer home was spacious and surrounded by various flowers and trees, some of which are still present on the property today. George Roeding Sr.ís family occasionally traveled from their Piedmont Home to the summer cottage home and went horseback riding. George Roeding Jr. took another home on the property, bringing the family even closer together in proximity. 91-year-old Bruce Roeding, son of George Roeding Jr. and the current owner of California Nursery Company, still lives on the property in his own home and fondly recalls younger relatives being able to run around, flitting between the homes on the property. The cottage was open to not only the inner circle of the Roeding family but the parents of Frances Roeding, Bruceís mother. During World War II, Frances let many of her relatives from Hawaii stay at the Presidentís Cottage when it was vacant. The Presidentís Cottage holds a legacy of memories from various family generations. Its current state, however, has declined and requires repair and attention.

 

After the nursery closed in 1972, the City of Fremont rented 20 acres of the remaining property to Naka Nursery in 1974. The Presidentís Cottage was converted into an office space and the property itself was beautifully maintained. After thirty years, Naka Nursery left the property in the early 2000s. The land, along with the Presidentís Cottage and other historical buildings, was deeply neglected despite several attempts to recondition the building. Though a new roof was installed in 2018 by the City of Fremont and additional support was given to the foundation, other exterior and interior conditions of the building are still in need of rehabilitation. Local non-profit Math Science Nucleus (MSN) has worked together to make gradual changes, beginning with organizing historical artifacts and using the cottage as an archiving unit.




 Contribution by: Joyce Blueford, Charlene Dixon (TriCity Voice)

 
 

managed by Math Science Nucleus
owned by
City of Fremont

36501 Niles Blvd, Fremont
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