The MacDermot family was a wealthy society family whose estate and mansion was at 1407 8th Street in Oakland. The estate was the block bordered by 7th, 8th, Center and Cypress (now Mandela Parkway) Streets. The house was built sometime before 1873. 3,5 For a time in the late 1920s, the City considered acquiring the MacDermot property for a City park, in part because the property "was once the show place of Oakland." 6 A number of oak trees allegedly imported by the MacDermot family from Paris were removed from the property and taken to Hillsborough in 1930, so that Louis MacDermot could construct a peewee golf course on the property. 6 The home itself was razed in 1942 in order to construct a housing project on the site for "newly arrived war-industries workers." 1 That housing project was originally called Peralta Village Annex.

c.1926. Note PPIE railroad car in lower right 4

MacDermot Family

Charles Francis MacDermot (1834-1898) immigrated to the United States from Ireland In the 1860s. He was married to Flora B. Main. They first lived in San Francisco before moving to Oakland. He was a merchant and later an insurance director at California Insurance Company, which was founded by his father-in-law, Charles Main. Charles Main was founder of the San Francisco pioneer saddlery and harness firm Main & Winchester; Main streets in San Francisco and Oakland are named after him.

Louis Main MacDermot (1877-1948) was a railroad enthusiast. He created the 19 gauge Overfair Railway for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. He was married to Hortense Josephine Paul (?-1946), of Boston, in 1907. He spent his life and inherited fortune designing and building steam locomotives and died in poverty. The inherited fortune was split in a messy court battle, and "Louis was left with the old house, 54 acres of Piedmont Park, a concession from his mother’s bad loan to real estate developer Frank C. Havens, and the section of Alameda Point bearing his grandfather’s name. The grand winner was Alameda County with the largest inheritance tax purse ever collected." 2

Flora B. MacDermot (1882-1972) was married to Frank Hunt Proctor.

Mary W. MacDermot (1883-1957) was married to Charles A. Crawford and later married W. Ruddle Browne. [ below refers to Mary as his older sister, and says she was a famous author 2.  She lived in Kent, England for many years and wrote books under the name M. Mac Dermot Crawford (currently on Amazon as Mary MacDermot Crawford): Madame de Lafayette and her Family, The sailor whom England feared, being the story of Paul Jones, Scotch naval adventurer and admiral in the American and Russian fleets, and Peeps into the psychic world; the occult influence of jewels and many other things. 

Alfred J. MacDermot (1887-1965)

Links and References

  1. Putting the "There" There: Historical Archaeologies of West Oakland; Chapter 2, A Brief History of West Oakland

  2. Overfair Railway Inventor on ppie100.org

  3. Eight Street Tract Splendid Lots - Olney & Co. March 18, 1876

  4. BANC PIC 1996.003:Volume 27:39b--fALB I0051715a.tif Courtesy UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library

  5. Ad offering Elegant Residence and Cultivated Grounds of C.F. MacDermot, Esq. in Oakland for lease Daily Alta California August 6, 1873

  6. Old Park Oaks Uprooted to Make Way for Peewee Golf Oakland Tribune August 24, 1930