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
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
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.