The Altenheim consists of a complex of buildings surrounded by a landscaped garden setting within a six-acre lot. There are three contributing buildings: the main Altenheim building (1908-09, 1914-15), the Excelsior building (1926), and the Boiler House (1914). The one and two-story buildings rest on brick foundations, have wood clapboard or brick walls, are topped by flat, built-up roofs with parapets; a gabled roof covers the Dining Hall wing. Entrance porches supported by Doric columns, pilasters with engaged capitals, and corbelled cornices under extended roof eaves are distinguishing features on most facades. The property also includes three contributing objects: two pedestrian entrance gates and one vehicular entrance gate; three noncontributing structures: a modern bus shelter, a concrete retaining wall and fence, and a modern cell tower. It was listed at the local level of significance under Criterion A n the area of social history during the years 1908-1956 for the property’s association with institutions providing important social services for the elderly, ill, and underprivileged members of the community prior to the establishment of government programs. The original Altenheim building was constructed on the site in 1893 under the auspices of the Altenheim Society, a group of Germanic immigrants dedicated to building an altenheim (old people’s home) for their aging community members. The current complex, built to replace the original destroyed by fire, is a significant example of a turn-of-the-century retirement home for people of European descent. The Altenheim was the only elderly care institution in Oakland that catered to ageing German-Americans.
Registration Date: 1/10/2007
1720 MacArthur Blvd.
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