George Cooper Pardee (July 25, 1857 - September 1, 1941) was a medical doctor and was known as the "Earthquake Governor of California," holding office from January 6, 1903 to January 8, 1907. He was born in 1857 in San Francisco, California, to Enoch and Mary Pardee. Prior to his stint as governor, Pardee served as Mayor of the City of Oakland, California.
George Pardee was an important Progressive Era voice in California Republican politics, but his efforts at reform during his governorship brought on the wrath of the railroads and lost him the nomination of his party for a second term. Pardee went on to work for conservationist causes and to help bring Mokelumne River water to Oakland. The Pardee Dam on that river is named after him.
When he was elected to office as Governor of California in 1903, he worked tirelessly to stomp out the bubonic plague which his predecessor Henry Gage refused to admit was present. Pardee, being a physician, and a learned man who wrote textbooks on vaccination was able to clean up the city and revive the state in a way Gage had not. He appointed John Morton Eshleman deputy labor commissioner.
Pardee was also a major donor to the University of California, Berkeley, and his daughters Florence and Helen enrolled there as well (only Helen graduated).
He died in 1941 at Oakland, California.The Pardee Home is in Oakland, California and was home to three generations of the Pardee family. It is now a non-profit museum, showing over 100 years of the life of a prominent California family. The house, a well-preserved example of Italianate architecture, is a city landmark, a California Historical Landmark (#1027), and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The house was constructed in 1869 by California State Senator Enoch H. Pardee. His son, George Pardee, a Governor of California, also inhabited the house, inheriting it after his father's death. After George's death in 1941, it passed on to his two daughters, Madeline and Helen (the same name as her mother), who lived in the house until their deaths in 1980 and 1981 respectively.
The interior of the house is the main attraction of the museum. George's wife Helen collected knick-knacks from all over the world, including scrimshaw from Alaska, tobacco pipes from the Philippines, and a giant elk head. She was fond of giving house tours to show off her collection. All of the furnishings are original and the house looks as it did in 1981.
The original carriage house and stable are still standing and the entire complex is part of Oakland's Preservation Park Historic District. The house was to be demolished for the construction of Interstate 980, but conservationists were able to save the building. It opened as a public museum in 1991.