RWI’s involvement with Cohen Bray House began in the summer of 2019 when two sisters, Patty and Nancy Donald, the grand-nieces and descendants of the Cohan Bray family and driving forces behind preservation and restoration efforts, invited RWI to bring volunteers to the site.
Patty and Nancy founded the Victorian Preservation Center of Oakland nonprofit organization in 1993 as a means to maintain and preserve the Cohen Bray House. Built in 1884, the Oakland Historic Landmark Cohen Bray House is associated with two prominent East Bay families from the Gold Rush era. The three-story house is an example of Stick-Eastlake Victorian style architecture and has 17 rooms, five fireplaces, ornately carved redwood paneling, and original stained glass, wallpapers, carpeting, and furnishings. The property also includes a 136-year-old half-acre garden, complete with fruit trees, seasonal vegetables, hops, wildflowers, beehives, rose bushes and other ornamentals originally planted in 1884.
The center offers tours and programs showcasing the home’s original interiors and period Victorian garden. Cohen-Bray’s school and garden programs connect students, neighbors, and visitors to the land. To learn more about the Cohen Bray House, visit their website.