History of the Kohl Mansion
In 1912 Bessie and Frederick Kohl began to plan, with the architects Howard and White, for the building of a Tudor Mansion on 40 acres of land in Burlingame near Adeline Drive. The 63 room rose brick mansion was to be the central building in a grand estate which would include tennis courts, green houses, a rose garden, a large carriage house, and a 150,000 gallon reservoir.
Since its completion in 1914,The Oaks has opened its doors to countless famous people. The Kohl Family, during their two year residency, lavishly entertained dignitaries and the Peninsula elite.
After Frederick and Bessie Kohl separated in 1916, Frederick moved to the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco and Bessie traveled to Europe to sing for the troops. The mansion stood unused, although it was maintained by a staff of servants, until Frederick's death in 1921. In 1921 Frederick escaped to Monterey with his mistress Mrs. Marion Louderback Lord. Despair overtook him, and over a solitary breakfast, he shot himself in the head.
Frederick willed the mansion to Mrs. Lord. In July of 1921, Mrs. Lord rented the mansion to United Artists for the filming of "Little Lord Fauntleroy," starring Mary Pickford and her husband Douglas Fairbanks. Hollywood once again chose to use the estate when Disney filmed the movie "Flubber" in 1996, starring Robin Williams.
In 1924 Mrs. Lord sold the mansion to the Sisters of Mercy for $230,000. It has since been a convent, from 1924-31, and has been the home of Mercy High School, since 1931.
On October 17, 1989 the 7.1 Loma Prieta earthquake affected the entire San Francisco Bay and Santa Cruz areas. While no one at the Kohl Mansion was injured, the Mansion sustained $2 million in damages. Because of the historical status of the Mansion, FEMA was able to provide substantial funding for the restoration project. The rest of the funds were raised through the efforts of the Mercy High School Development Department.
The Kohl Mansion Rentals
The Kohl Mansion is constantly buzzing with activities. The historic Tudor Mansion still houses some of Mercy High School's classrooms. On any given evening or weekend, the Mansion is the site of many special events, corporate events and weddings.
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