Plan Your Visit: McConaghy House
Downtown Museum | McConaghy House
About the House
The McConaghy family built their 12-room farmhouse, tank house and carriage house in 1886. Tours of the house offer visitors a fun and informative environment to learn more about what life was like for farming families during the Victorian period. It offers adults and children alike a visual opportunity to see how much everyday things and activities have changed over the last 120 years. The McConaghy House Boutique features Victorian gifts and books for purchase to commemorate your visit.
Kids can now explore the history of Hayward's Victorian era in their very own room at the McConaghy House. Located on the second floor of the house museum, "Archie's Playroom" features a variety of games, activities, and programs for children ages 2 to 10. The room is named after Archie McConaghy, the oldest of the McConaghy children.
Christmas at McConaghy
The house is decorated for Christmas beginning the Saturday after Thanksgiving and running through the last Sunday before Christmas. Holiday hours are Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Sundays, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
The estate is located at 18701 Hesperian Boulevard, Hayward, CA 94545 (next to Kennedy Park).
- Third Sunday of each month, 1 – 4 pm
McConaghy House is closed in the month of January and on all holidays.
$5.00 adults, $3.00 Students/ Seniors (over 65), FREE for HAHS members and children under 10
Group and School Tours available Tuesday through Friday by appointment. Please contact the Education Department to schedule your tour.
From 880 N: Take the Hesperian Boulevard exit and turn left at the end of the ramp. Follow Hesperian Boulevard South. Just after Bockman Road, turn right into parking lot.
From 880 S: Take the Lewelling Boulevard exit. At the end of the ramp, cross over Lewelling to Hesperian and take Frontage Road. At the next light turn right on Hesperian Boulevard. Just past Bockman Road turn right into the parking lot.
From 580 E: Take the Route 238/Hayward exit. Then immediately take the San Mateo Bridge/San Jose exit. Follow the Route 238 North and take the Hesperian Boulevard/ San Lorenzo exit. At the end of the ramp turn right on Hesperian. Just past Bockman Road turn right into the parking lot.
From 580 W: Take route 238 to the Hesperian Boulevard/ San Lorenzo exit. At the end of the ramp, turn right on Hesperian Boulevard. Just after Bockman turn right into the parking lot.
Two Public AC Transit lines service Hesperian Boulevard they are #s 81, 85, 93 and 97. Call (510) 817-1717 to speak with an AC Transit official about route information including schedules or trip planning.
The McConaghy Family
Neal McConaghy was born in 1828 in Antrim County, Ireland to Scottish parents. Neal arrived in America from Scotland in 1848, first settling in the Philadelphia area for several years. Stories of a rush for gold in California lured Neal west in 1853 to seek his fortune. Upon arriving in San Francisco, Neal spent a brief time in San Lorenzo before heading to gold country.
In 1858 Neal McConaghy returned to San Lorenzo. He first worked as a ranch hand and then as a farmer. Neal saved enough money to rent some land of his own, upon which he constructed a gristmill. Both the land and mill were profitable.
Using the profits from his land and mill, Neal purchased 197 acres of San Lorenzo land and built his first house at the foot of Grant Avenue in 1865. During that same year, Neal married Sara McCaw, who was also from Antrim County, Ireland. The McConaghys lived in the home on Grant Avenue for two decades. At that home a daughter and four sons were born.
In 1886, Neal purchased a parcel of land along Hesperian Boulevard (formerly known as Telegraph Road), near Bockman Road. When the McConaghy family moved into the new house, John, the youngest son, was 15 years old. John, who lived to be 100, remained in the house for the rest of his life. One of the most remarkable things about the McConaghy House is that it was owned and occupied by the same family from 1886 to 1972, or over 85 years!
The McConaghy House
The McConaghy House is a Stick-Eastlake style farmhouse. John Haar, Sr., who later became mayor of Hayward, designed and constructed the McConaghy House in 1886.
When John McConaghy died on July 6, 1972 he willed the house to Shrines’ Hospital. The following February a hearing notice was posted, alerting the community of plans to rezone the 2.47 acre residential property for retail business, meaning the 90 year old house would be torn down. Area residents Esther Jorgensen, Lucille Lorge, and Lois Over did not want to see this happen and quickly formed a committee of concerned San Lorenzo residents. The committee contacted several service organizations to adopt a resolution to save the McConaghy House.
The Hayward Area Recreation Department (HARD), who was also opposed to commercial development, purchased the McConaghy House from the Shrines’ on July 30, 1973. The Hayward Area Historical Society (HAHS) was given the responsibility of restoring the McConaghy House into the house museum we know today. In September 1976 the McConaghy House was finally ready to open its doors for docent tours, thanks to the help of many individuals and community organizations.