Pacific Avenue Home Reflects Victorian Era
The staircase on the high-basement cottage at 2019 Pacific Avenue in Alameda draws the eye upward to the home’s full porch. A row of spindles complements the porch that sweeps across this Queen Anne-style home. Fish-scale shingles — like the spindles, signature Queen Anne elements — decorate the second-story dormer, which is built in the form of a pediment. A pair of windows on each side of the entry door adds symmetry to this home. The window in the dormer echoes the design of the windows below.
According to Alameda Museum Curator George Gunn, William J. Hamilton built this home in 1889. Hamilton also built homes at 2009 and 2015 Pacific Ave. that same year. He charged $3,500 for each of the three homes, expensive in a day when Queen Anne cottages in Alameda sold for almost half that amount, as little at $1,800.
Gunn says that the hefty price tags reflected quality construction. According to Gunn, Hamilton kept the home at 2009 Pacific in his own name, likely to sell as a spec house. He sold the home at 2015 Pacific to Thomas J. Hierlihy, who owned the Pacific Planing Mills in Oakland.
Gunn says that Hamilton sold the home at 2019 Pacific to Frank P. Copp. When he purchased the home, Copp was working as a salesman for C. H. Whitney, a Petaluma-based dairy business. Copp lived here with his wife, Rose, and his sons, Gardner and Fleet.
Frank met and married Rose Gardner in Eureka, Nev., where his father, Nathaniel Copp, was working as a mining supervisor. Rose’s father owned a hotel in Eureka. The families lived in Eureka during its boom times. Judith K. Winzler and Nancy Peppin tell us that Eureka was the second-most important 19th-century city in Nevada after Virginia City. They write that Eureka’s “mines and smelters produced $44 million worth of silver, lead and gold by 1885.” By then Frank and Rose had moved on.
Frank passed away in 1898. After his death, the family posed for a picture in front of the house at 2019 Pacific Ave. Rose stood in the yard while her mother, Hannah Gardner Beardsley, sat on the porch. Gunn points out that Rose was still in mourning for Frank, as she was wearing black when she posed for the photograph. Gardner and Fleet positioned themselves just outside the fence for the photographer with Gardner sitting astride a horse.
Today, the 126-year-old home looks nearly the same as it does in the photograph.
Sources: Ancestry.com, George Gunn’s Documentation of Victorian and Post-Victorian Residential and Commercial Buildings: City of Alameda 1854 to 1904, Judith K. Winzler and Nancy Peppin’s Eureka Nevada: A History of the Town.