August 28, 1939 – January 15, 2021
The Camron-Stanford House weeps from its very timbers and soul. Frankie’s love and passion for this historic house imbued every aspect of its preservation and restoration over these many decades. She clasped this house to her bosom and never let go. As I once said, she is ‘the Lady of the House.’-Tom Frye (Chief Curator Emeritus of History, Oakland Museum of California)
The Camron-Stanford House was saddened to learn about the recent passing of our longtime friend and associate, Frances “Frankie” Hayden Rhodes. Over the years, many of our members, visitors, and volunteers have had the pleasure of knowing Frankie and her passion for the Camron-Stanford House.
Frankie’s death is a marker of a major chapter in the history of the Camron-Stanford House. She was one of the original group of inspired individuals who joined together to save the former Oakland Public Museum building from demolition in the early 1970s. The group started the non-profit association that remains the supportive core of the Camron-Stanford House today.
She participated in the initial planning for restoration of the house, and led the Junior League’s remarkable efforts at discovering and documenting the history of the House and its residents, and the restoration work work that would need to take place. She worked with the many local crafts people, artists, historians, carpenters, contractors, and City of Oakland officials to help restore the house to its present state, always understanding that the history of the house was of great importance.
Frankie served on the Board of Trustees of the Camron-Stanford House Preservation Association from day one, focusing on its historic collections. Over the years, she served in every officer position on the Board while acting as a hard working volunteer and docent. Frankie was fully committed to the continuing restoration, upkeep and maintenance of the House for nearly 50 years. She assisted with the educational efforts, and constantly promoted the house as a prime example of Victorian architecture and restoration, housing its fine museum of period and local history. Her dedication helped lead the Camron-Stanford House to be presented with local and national prestigious awards for historical and architectural restoration and continuing education.
In 2017 The Camron-Stanford House hosted a garden party to honor Frankie. Friends and colleagues, including many from the early days of Camron-Stanford House’s restoration period, gathered to celebrate her many achievements and contributions to the Camron-Stanford House and to the restoration and preservation fields. The Frances Hayden Rhodes Decorative Arts Fund, which supports the continued development and care of the museum collection, was established in her honor on that same day.
We at the Camron-Stanford House owe Frances Hayden Rhodes a great debt. She was an continuous example of volunteerism, and her work helped to make the Camron-Stanford House what it is today. Thank you Frankie. Rest in peace.