While the Victorian Style home is seen in Berkeley and Oakland, it's true location in the S.F. Bay Area is Alameda. Alameda has one of the largest collections of Victorians in California. The name itself is based on Queen Victoria of England. During her reign in the nineteenth century, various styles of home were developed, all bearing the that name. Titles like Victorian Gothic, Stick Style, Shingle and Queen Anne Victorians are just a few of the variations that arose in that period. The most popular, and frequently seen is the Queen Anne, which began to appear between 1880 and 1910. The development of power tools and mass production techniques lead to the development of the excesses in architecture that was to characterize all the homes in that period.
Common Style Characteristics of Victorian Homes Include:
a. Textured sheathing, using shingles, board-and-batten siding, or mixed siding materials.
b. Steep roof, often with handsomely carved support brackets.
c. Cupolas, bay windows, turrets and dormers.
d. Single story porches, often wrapping around the front of the home.
e. Highly decorative in design, and often multicolored.
f. Stained glass windows, carved fireplaces, and showplace woodworking inside.
With the rise of wealth in the bay area during that era, prosperous businessmen built elaborate homes on what was called "Alameda's Gold Coast". These homes still stand today, and are worth an afternoon tour to see the variety of style and construction that was developed as the 19th Century wound down, and the new 20th century came into being.