05 May 2007

The fascinating history of Thousand Oaks

The Newell house, 1890 Yosemite Road at Indian Trail (courtesy of the Berkeley Historical Society)

A failed ballot measure to make Berkeley the state capital. A restless millionaire with a passion for mansions and rambling parks. A clutch of sons-in-law in the real estate business. Several elopements. Notable society figures. A headline-making divorce. Beautiful architecture among the rocks.

All the above and more are covered in three articles about the beginnings of Thousand Oaks, where BAHA’s Spring House & Garden Tour will take place tomorrow.

Read about Stephen and Victorine Sills, owners of Berkeley’s most fashionable grocery & hardware store, and their citadel-like home, Villa della Rocca. Mark Daniels, the flamboyant landscape engineer who laid out the tract before designing Seacliff, Forest Hill, the 17-Mile Drive at Pebble Beach, and Bel-Air in Los Angeles. And Thousand Oaks developer John Hopkins Spring, his two wives, eight children, and three spectacular estates.


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