The George McCrea House and Indian Campground are located on the campus of Holy Names College (which today has been renamed Holy Names University) located at 3500 Mountain Boulevard, Oakland, California.
Originally settled by Native Americans who came to the area due to the abundant streams, there were trails leading to the fresh water springs, and at the camp site, fire pits and rock bowl which had been utilized by the Indians for grinding flour were discovered when George McCrea acquired the property.
Spanish missionary priests brought Christianity to the Native people in the area, constructing an adobe chapel for services.
George McCrea was a prominent architect who designed the home, which is also built around the "old adobe-walled chapel where priests from Mission San Jose came to conduct Mass for the vaqueros on the Rancho de San Antonio of the Peralta land grant." 1
In 1943, Robin McCrea, son of the late George McCrea, donated the McCrea family home and the surrounding 6.5 acres of land to the City of Oakland for the formation of a park in memory of his father. But WW II prevented development of any new parks, and following the war, it was determined that the costs of developing the property into a park were just too expensive, especially in light of the construction of the Warren Freeway, which separated the property from the adjacent neighborhood.
City of Oakland Park Superintendent William Penn Mott, Jr. and Robin McCrea agreed to have the gift of the house and land to McCrea so that he could give it to the College of Holy Names. The McCrea Park name was subsequently applied to the nearby former Leona Park Trout Pond, now known as McCrea Memorial Park.
On May 5, 1981 the house and site were designated an Oakland Landmark #51, under Zoning Case #LM 81-43, and is also on the National Register of Historic Places, #82002165.
Links and References
- The Holy Names hematite workings Oakland Geology
- Holy Names College Gets Wilderness Tract for Park Oakland Tribune, December 25, 1957 (pdf version)
- McCrea House National Register of Historic Places Inventory—Nomination Form
- Historic Site Now City Park - Ancient Indian Camp Given to Oakland By Robin McCrea Fastest Slow Guy March 27, 2020