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The Glass House is one of the best kept secret gems of the Bay Area!   This impressive two story, nine room historic home deserves to be shown off and needs dedicated individuals to help lead tours for the public.

If you have an interest in history, we will provide the training and scripts necessary for tours.  Please call 925-973-3284 or email [email protected] for more information.


Saturdays (when volunteer docents are available) Tours at 12:00pm and 1:00pm

Take a tour with one of our trained docents and explore our Italianate Victorian House built in 1877.  You will glean insight into the Victorian era in the San Ramon Valley and prominent families that lived here. 

Tours are free to the public. If you would like to make a donation to the San Ramon Historic Foundation you may do so by following this link. Please indicate "Glass House Tour" in the memo line.

Call (925) 973-3284 to find out if docents will be leading tours on the Saturday you plan to visit. 



Who Was David Glass?

In 1877, David Glass, who was prosperous but never wealthy, opted to build a home with an imposing exterior design. The style of architecture was Italianate, a sophisticated new fashion that had been introduced in the Bay Area during the mid-1860's by architects who migrated to San Francisco from the East Coast. An impressive two story, nine room structure, prominently situated in San Ramon between Dublin and Walnut Creek, the Glass house would have stood in proud contrast with the modest homes of most of its neighbors in the small, rural community that existed in the San Ramon of the 1870's.

The Glass House is an important part of the San Ramon community. As such, contribution from active community members play a large role in the restoration project. Please take the time to discover the remarkable story of San Ramon's history, deeply embedded in one of its earliest and most prominent families, and the house in which they resided.

The Glass House accommodated a household of up to seven children and, until his death in 1876, Eliza Glass' elderly father. At the time of the 1880 Census, two local schoolteachers were boarding with the Glass family. By today's standards, the house is not large - 1,892 square feet including hallways and stairs. With the exception of the 19' x 14.5' kitchen, the largest of the nine rooms in the Glass House, none of the other rooms are more than 13' wide.

Although David Glass built a home that marked him as a man of means, most of his capital was invested in his land, livestock, and farming equipment - in truth he may have had very little cash on hand. If the following story is correct, it may reflect an effort at practical economy by Mr. Glass during construction of his home.

As a small boy in the 1930's, Clem Elissondo recalls being told by longtime Glass caretaker, John Amarant, that the kitchen wing was the oldest part of the Glass House. Mr. Elissondo states that, following a fire; the remaining portion of the original small Glass family residence was moved and incorporated into the new house construction to provide a kitchen wing. Construction in the kitchen of the Glass House revealed scorch marks on some of the original framing timbers, lending credence to this scenario; however, no documentation of the fire has yet surfaced. Although the Glass House underwent modifications over the last century, the balanced, characteristically Victorian, floor plan of the house remains essentially intact.

General Information

  • Floors: Area rugs were used throughout the home over the wooden floors. No examples of rugs have been located
  • Walls : With the exception of the kitchen, which was painted, most sources have indicated that the house was wallpapered throughout in small patterns. It is likely that any wall treatments viewed in the 1920's and 30's, date from the Glass family's 1908 redecorating and were not original to the home.
  • Window Treatments : Pre-1908, louvered shutters. After 1908, louvered shutters and/or lace curtains. Some of the louvered shutters remained with the house and are in the FHF Collection.
  • Lighting : Since the Glass House was located in a rural area, the use of kerosene lamps would have continued until the advent of reliable electric power sometime after 1910.

The History of the Glass Family Video


Download Video Script