Description - Eugene Gladstone O'Neill, the only Nobel Prize winning playwright from the United States and the architect of modern American theater, lived at Tao House in the hills above Danville from 1937 to 1944. It was at this site that he wrote his final and most successful plays; "The Iceman Cometh," "Long Days Journey Into Night," and "A Moon For the Misbegotten."
The park is currently closed due to seismic retrofitting on Tao House. It is expected to reopen in spring 2003. When it reopens, reservations are required to visit the park which includes a free guided tour of Tao House.
- In early 1937 O'Neill and Carlotta purchased a 158-acre ranch in the San Ramon Valley, near Danville and planned what they hoped would their final home. Similar furnishings he used to write some of his most widely aclaimed works are on display. O'Neill's interest in Eastern thought and Carlotta's passion for Oriental art and decor inspired the name Tao House. Taoism is one of the great religious traditions of China. "Tao," generally translated as "The Way," is the term given to the primal reality which gives birth to the visible world. O'Neill was aware of Taoist concepts, some of which paralleled his own dramatic ideas.
Since 1980, the National Park Service has been restoring Tao House, its' courtyard and orchards and telling the story of O'Neill, his work and his influence on American theater. The courtyard and first floor are wheelchair accessible. The second floor is accessed by stairs only.
Recreation - The primary activity at Eugene O'Neill is viewing this historic site. Bird watching and nature walks are also available. Transportation to the park is provided by a free shuttle. Private vehicles do not have access to the park due to its location. Tour pick-up times are Wednesday-Sundays at 10:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Visitors need to allow 2 1/2 hours to visit the park.
Camping is not available at Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site but may be available at nearby Mount Diablo State Park.
Climate - Climate in the San Francisco-Bay area varies greatly with elevation and the amount of coastal influence. Areas with more coastal influence experience moderate temperatures year round with fog likely from June through mid-August. Plan your coastal visit in the late summer or fall to ensure the best conditions for viewing the scenery. Also, occasional clear days between winter and spring storms are incomparable. Areas further inland experience greater temperature extremes, with relatively cooler winters and hot summers. Inland areas often receive frost on winter nights. As throughout most of California most of the precipitation comes in the winter months, with April through October normally very dry.
Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site is located in Danville, east of Oakland, in the San Francisco Bay Area. From San Francisco Oakland area take Interstate 80 to Highway 24, south on 680 to Danville. From San Jose take Interstate 680 north to Danville. From Sacramento take Interstate 80 West to Fairfield, go south on I-680 to Danville.
PLEASE NOTE: The National Park Service provides a shuttle van for transportation to the site. The van must be taken to see the historic site. Access via private vehicle is not available.