Danville in Contra Costa County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
Eugene O'Neill: O'Neill in Danville
We really have an ideal home with one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen - pure country with no taint of suburbia.
Eugene O'Neill, to a friend, 1937
With the reception of the Nobel Prize in 1936, Eugene O'Neill was at the peak of his career. Longing for solitude, he and his wife Carlotta built a home in Las Trampas hills west of Danville. They named it Tao House, using the word which means "the right way of life” in Chinese. He called it his final harbor.
The O'Neills lived for six years at Tao House. The playwright worked by day, isolated in his study, evenings, the taking time out in the afternoons for gardening and swimming in the pool. In the O'Neills were entertained by his vast record collection and a player piano nicknamed "Rosie,” which was given its own room.
With America's involvement in World War II, it became increasingly difficult for the couple to maintain their large home and property. Their driver, bodyguard, and man of all work, Herbert Freeman, joined the Marines. Servants were scarce. Both of the O'Neills were in poor health and access
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Arts, Letters, Music. A significant historical year for this entry is 1937.
Location. 37° 49.258′ N, 121° 59.793′ W. Marker is in Danville, California, in Contra Costa County. Marker is on Front Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Danville CA 94526, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Eugene O'Neill: The Nobel Prize (here, next to this marker); Eugene O'Neill: Carlotta and Gene (here, next to this marker); Eugene O'Neill (here, next to this marker); Eugene O'Neill: A Moon for the Misbegotten (within shouting distance of this marker); Danville Grammar School (within shouting distance of this marker); Tatcan Bay Miwok Indians (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Grange and Fraternal Hall (1874) (about 300 feet away); First Presbyterian Church of Danville, 1875 (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Danville.
More about this marker. This marker is one of eight O'Neill-related markers in the Eugene O'Neill Commemorative Park, opposite the Danville Public Library.
Also see . . .
1. Eugene O'Neill House, Kuss Road, Danville...(Historic American Buildings Survey). "Significance: House of playwright Eugene O'Neill until 1944. O'Neill played a central role in elevating the importance of theater as an artistic expression. Some of O'Neill's best work was written at this house. The Chinese motifs of the house were designed to convey O'Neill's concept of a serene Oriental existence. / Eugene O'Neill is held by many critics to be the central figure in the coming of age of American drama. O'Neill alone, among that generation of writers which included Hemingway and Lewis, succeeded in making of the American stage a vehicle of mature artistic expression. His was the achievement which ultimately proved the outstanding contribution toward a new dimension of realism and the attainment of great tragedy within the American theater, As one writer has observed: 'Before O'Neill, the U.S. had theater; after O'Neill it had drama.'" (Submitted on July 29, 2020.)
2. History of Tao House (EugeneONeill.org). (Submitted on July 29, 2020.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 22, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 29, 2020, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 98 times since then and 34 times this year. Last updated on June 17, 2022, by Joseph Alvarado of Livermore, California. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 29, 2020, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.