According to A.E. Norman, "this hotel was first built in 1892 ... it was called Laundry Farm. The name was changed to Leona Heights in 1894. Many Sunday School picnics centered at this memorable inn with its park-like setting." 1
Not sure if this link is to the Laundry Farm Canyon, the area around the Laundry Farm Hotel, or part of the Laundry Farm Railroad ... Link to OMCA Collections "Survey map shows an outline of a portion of Laundry Farm for Mrs. S. Tompkins by T.W. Morgan, C.E. The area shown is 67 106/1000 acres. Also shown are 35 14/100 acres surveyed for J.H:. Dorety, Nov. 15th, 1883 which are contiguous to parts of the north and west boundaries of this portion of Laundry Farm. Attached to the larger survey is another survey called Saunders & Hempburn 200 Ac. Tract.."
Steven Mix prepared a map in 1999, updated by Lee Donehower in 2002, showing the location of numerous landmarks in and around Leona Heights, including the Laundry Farm Hotel --> LaundryFarm.pdf
In 1887, the Tomkins heirs sold over 650 acres of the Laundry Farm to one H.T. Smith for $70,000. Smith bonded the option to J. H. Woodward. At the time, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the area was being rumored to be part of a "summer resort and water right scheme." The property "has been for many years a popular picnic resort. It has a nice stream of water, fine view and some other natural attractions in the way of scenery. It could be easily made accessible by a short branch railroad tapping the Southern Pacific Seminary Park station, just beyond Melrose, and it is also said that the property bonded commands a fine water-right, where enough water could be stored behind a series of dams to successfuly supply the city of Alameda at least." 2
Links and References
- A Steeple Among the Oaks: A Centennial History of the First Methodist Church 1862-1962 By Albert E. Norman 1
- ACROSS THE BAY San Francisco Chronicle: Jul 19, 1887
- Alameda County, The Eden of the Pacific Oakland Tribune Publishing 1898