California Nursery Historical Park

 The California Nursery Office
under construction


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The historical artifacts of the California Nursery Company widely vary, from photos and letters to physical belongings. The living legacy of the company can be found in the California Nursery Office Museum, a building dating back to over a hundred years ago.  

The early 1900s was the California Nursery’s height of expansion as it began to garner recognition. This recognition caused William J. Landers, who served as the company’s president for ten years, to update the infrastructure of the nursery. The upgrade included the construction of an office and a cottage to be used as a summer home. Unfortunately, the 1906 earthquake negatively impacted the plans for this upgrade but also led to the death of Landers. Thankfully, the infrastructure plans were continued and completed by Landers’ son, William H. Landers.   The California Nursery Office was built in 1907. It is rumored to have been designed by the famed San Franciscan architect Bernard Maybeck, according to Maybeck’s daughter. Maybeck also built the nursery’s Presidential Cottage.

The office was used for administrative, export, import, and domestic sales purposes. The construction was considered modern at the time, with areas such as a telephone switching room, a men’s bathroom, an outdoor patio, and amenities including gas heat and electric lighting. A women’s bathroom was also incorporated outside of the Nursery Office and is now known as the Woman’s Changing Room. An office was created for the company’s president and manager. The patio was replaced with windows to propel the progression of sales activity by noted architect Edward T. Foulkes in 1939.  

After the California Nursery was taken over by the City of Fremont in 1972, the Nursery Office was used for various local groups such as the Fremont Animal Control from 1972 to 1983 and the Fremont Police Department as a Security and Communication Network Training Area (SACNET) from 1983 to 1998. Between 1998 to 2011, the office remained vacant. This unfortunately caused many infrastructural problems including a leak in the roof, which led to the volunteer work of non-profit Math Science Nucleus (MSN). The City of Fremont requested Math Science Nucleus to save historical documents about the nursery’s history from Bruce Roeding, the last owner of the California Nursery Company. Roeding had kept California Nursery Historical Company files on his property in two large containers since 1972.

Due to the substantial amount of documentation, the vacant California Nursery Office was an ideal space to organize and archive. However, to begin using the space, Math Science Nucleus first spent time cleaning up the building. Board President of Math Science Nucleus Dr. Joyce Blueford explains, “The inside was very musky and so intense that workers could only stay inside for about twenty minutes.” The City of Fremont also contributed to fixing up the paint and other remaining concerns. Math Science Nucleus then used the 2,000 square feet space to assemble the many historical documents.   The archiving project was a significant contribution towards Fremont’s agricultural and horticultural history as well as the entire county and state. After consulting with historians and school districts, it was decided that the archived material should be seen by all residents. The office was marked as a field trip destination for schools. Today, the building holds displays of a wide assortment of historical artifacts that center around the John Rock and Roeding family contribution to the birth and growth of the California Nursery. The California State University of East Bay has also contributed towards the archive exhibit by making visual displays and signage.

 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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