Saturday, April 1, 2017

Memories of Oakland, The Old Stephenson Home (with pic and links)

Click image to enlarge.

Personally, I’ve never been in the place, but my wife has. Her maternal aunt used to clean the place when the last older member of the family lived there. He was an old bachelor, even though he loved a woman in his youth. She was a Protestant, though, and he was from a Catholic family, and the two just didn’t mix back then. He never found another woman that he cared for in that way. He used to sit and tell my wife’s aunt all about “the old days” on the place. I wish she would have written those stories down. He had lived there by himself for many years when two or more men broke in, beat him up, tied him to a chair and proceeded to steal anything they could carry off.

The old man was gone by the time my wife agreed to help her aging aunt with the job on occasion. I didn’t know her then, but she told me a few things after we met and married. The first thing that she mentioned was the mural on the wall of the front hall which showed a 360 degree view of the plantation in the old days. Naturally, it showed the slaves working in the fields. I thought she told me that there was a stained glass window on the landing of the grand staircase, but she doesn’t remember now. Maybe that was the house next door.

I seem to remember hearing that the bricks for the home were fired on the property, but I can’t remember now for sure. I do know that the old man told my wife’s aunt that all the wood for the house came from the property, and that the furniture was built from wood cut there also. My wife said the huge four-poster beds were beautiful, as was ALL the furniture. Instead of having separate bedrooms for each child, as is common today, there was a large room toward the rear of the house where a row of beds were arranged dormitory style. There may have been two such rooms, but I’m not sure. Those beds, too, were made from wood from the plantation.

My wife is a Christian, and technically doesn’t believe in ghosts, but she said that when she went upstairs to the belvedere, she got a creepy feeling and was glad to go back downstairs when her work was done.

I assume the old place got too expensive for the heirs to maintain, for they gave it to the local public college a couple years ago. I sincerely hope they preserve the old mural and don’t paint over it because it’s not politically correct, in this overly sensitive and unappreciative era. I think the old home should have been given to the state and preserved as a historical site that the public could have toured, but you know how that goes, no-one ever asks the opinion of the people who pay the taxes. © 2017




Janet said...

Beautiful old structure! I cannot imagine what it took to keep it clean or maintain it.

Gorges Smythe said...

I figure that's why the heirs gave it away, Janet.