About the Meek Estate

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William Meek

The Meek Estate is located on Hampton Road between Boston and Harvard Road in the Cherryland area. The Estate consists of a 26-room mansion, carriage house and 9.75 acre public park. HAHS is currently restoring the mansion. The mansion is only open at this time for special programs. For information on the mansion and upcoming programs, please call HAHS at (510) 581-0223. For information regarding the park facilities, please contact HARD (Hayward Area Recreation and Park District) at (510) 881-6700.

History

William Meek was one of the first pioneers of commercial agriculture in Alameda County. From his arrival in 1859 to his death in 1880, Meek worked energetically to develop the fertile agricultural region lying in and around Eden Township.

Born in 1816, Meek grew up in Ohio and Iowa. Following the tragic death of his second wife in 1847, Meek left home and moved to Oregon. He established a nursery in the Willamette River Valley with Henderson Lewelling and began shipping trees and fruit to California. Meek received fabulous prices for his goods from the lucrative San Francisco Bay Area market. In 1859 Meek decided to sell his holdings in Oregon and relocate to Alameda County.

Meek Estate House

By 1869, when the Meek Mansion was built, Meek had acquired some 3000 acres, most of which lay in the Hayward area. Meek's estate included all of the land from what is now Mission Boulevard to about Meekland Avenue and from Lewelling Boulevard almost to Winton Avenue. He grew grain, raised sheep, planted some row crops, but became most well-known for his extensive orchards, primarily of cherry as well as apricot, plum, almond and some citrus.

In addition to his distinction as the "first farmer" of Alameda County, William Meek was known for his participation in all facets of life in the county. For example, he was elected County Supervisor for four terms, beginning in 1861. He organized Alameda County’s first Agricultural Society, which chose him as its president in 1867. The society worked to promote the agricultural bounty of the area. Meek was also heavily involved in education, serving as a member of the first School Board of the San Lorenzo Elementary School District in 1864 and a regent of the University of California from 1874-1878. He was also a member of the first board of trustees of Mills College (1877-1880), where his daughters and granddaughters would be educated.

After Meek's death in 1880, the estate was left to his children. His sons, Horry and William E., continued to manage the property for many years. Horry Meek was distinguished as the president of the Bank of Hayward, and led the movement to build the first electric car line from Oakland to Hayward in 1892.

Meek Estate House

The Meek Estate remained in the Meek family until 1940, although most of the 3000 acres were sold off gradually in small parcels prior to that time. Where the Meek orchards once stood, houses eventually took over and the area became known as Cherryland in honor of Meek’s bountiful trees.

In 1940 Dr. Milton P. Ream purchased the last 10 acres and the mansion. In 1964, the mansion was slated to be razed in preparation for a housing development. HARD, with citizen backing, bought the estate, saving it from demolition. In 1973 Meek Mansion was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Meek Estate House