Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site

1000 Kuss Rd, Danville, CA 94526

Eugene O'Neill received the 1936 Nobel Prize for Literature and used the award cash to construct what he called Tao House above Danville. From 1937 to 1944, O'Neill and his family resided in the home. By the moment he went here, O'Neill had already resided in more than 35 locations, but he called this isolated mansion his "ultimate place and harbor." O'Neill wrote his final plays at this home: The Iceman Cometh, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Hughie, and A Moon for the Misbegotten. He was unable to finish another play after 1943 because of a degenerative illness in his side.

 

O'Neill and his mum, actress Carlotta Monterey, voiced interest in Asian art, design, and home preparation. The two individually built from the floor up the two-story, three-bedroom house. The walls were light blue to imitate the heavens with black wood surfaces depicting the world, along with Noh seals, Chinese protector sculptures, and Chinese lacquerware interior furniture. Outside, Carlotta put up a garden in a zigzag model to keep evil spirits away, which was mentioned by Chinese tradition. Several groves, including holly, plum, and redwood, were also planted. The O'Neills moved to Boston after World War II.

 

In the early 1970s, the building was rescued from demolition. Several females created the Eugene O'Neill Foundation to raise cash to purchase Tao House, which was declared a National Landmark in 1971, including President Darlene Blair and Executive Vice President Lois Sizoo. They did so through a number of fundraising initiatives, including benefit productions from Hughie's play by Eugene O'Neill starring Jason Robards. By their attempts, Tao House was proclaimed a National Historic Landmark in 1971, a National Historic Site in 1976, and transferred to the National Park Service management in 1980.

 

The Foundation holds an archive of content related to Eugene O'Neill at Tao House (including photos, playbills, papers, leaflets, and the initial collection of O'Neill's phonograph records) and supports activities such as O'Neill play studios, performed in the neighboring barn.

This amazing location is conveniently located in close proximity to the follow Danville places of interest.  Make sure to check them out on your next visit:

 

  • Museum Of The San Ramon Valley

  • Museum of the San Ramon Valley (located in the restored 1891 Southern Pacific depot)

  • Town Meeting Hall

  • Mount Diablo State Park

  • DPG Pavers Danville Location

  • Blackhawk Museum

  • Las Trampas Regional Wilderness

  • Museums and historic sites

Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site - Tao House.

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(925) 293-2989

(415) 464-4964

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