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Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site, located in Danville, California, preserves Tao House, the Monterey Colonial hillside home of America’s only Nobel Prize winning playwright, Eugene O’Neill.

Eugene O’Neill’s National Historic Site is dedicated to America’s only Nobel Prize-winning playwright, Eugene O’Neill, and the place where he wrote his final and most memorable plays.

This unique national park consists of a 158-acre ranch in the San Ramon Valley and a house where O’Neill spent his last years with his wife, known as the Tao House. Visitors can explore the park and the Tao House on self-guided or ranger-guided tours, as well as some other features on the site, such as a beautifully landscaped courtyard, planted gardens and significant pathways, historic walking trails, and black walnut and almond orchards.

The grounds boast beautiful views of the San Ramon Valley, which can be enjoyed on one of the many hiking and mountain bike trails in the region. The park is also a great place for wildlife and bird watching.


Eugene O’Neill won the 1936 Nobel Prize in Literature and used the prize money to build what he named Tao House above Danville. O’Neill and his wife were living at home from 1937 to 1944. By the time he moved here, O’Neill had already lived in more than 35 places, but he called this isolated house his “final home and harbor.” At this home, O’Neill wrote his final plays: Iceman Cometh, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Hughie, and A Moon for the Misbegotten. He was unable to complete another play after 1943 due to a degenerative condition in his hand.

O’Neill and his wife, actress Carlotta Monterey, showed their interest in Asian art, decoration, and homework. The two designed a two-story, three-bedroom home from the ground up. The ceilings were dark blue to imitate the sky with dark wooden floors depicting the earth, as well as Noh masks, Chinese guardian statues, and Chinese lacquer furnishings all over the interior. Outside, Carlotta set up a garden in a zigzag pattern that Chinese tradition has shown would keep evil spirits away. Several trees have also been planted, including pine, almond and redwood. After World War II, the O’Neills moved to Boston.

The house was saved from demolition in the early 1970’s. Several women formed the Eugene O’Neill Foundation, including President Darlene Blair and Executive Vice President Lois Sizoo, to raise money to buy Tao House, which was named National Landmark in 1971. They did so through a number of fundraising projects, including Eugene O’Neill’s play Hughie featuring Jason Robards. Through their efforts, Tao House was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1971, a National Historic Site in 1976, and was transferred to the National Park Service in 1980. Since 1999, the Foundation has produced an annual O’Neill Works Festival, including on-site performances.

The National Park Service does not publish the address of the property, but it is widely known to be located near Kuss Road in Danville. A locked gate prevents unauthorized vehicles from arriving at the site. The site occupies 13 acres (5.3 ha) accessible by car only by private road, so it is necessary to make advance reservations. Private vehicles are not permitted. Transportation to the site is provided by a two-day free shuttle service from Danville at 10 a.m. and noon on Wednesdays to Sundays and also at 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Bookings are required except on Saturdays when tours are self-guided. The trails of Las Trampas Regional Wilderness also lead to the site. Reservations are also recommended for those arriving on a horseback or walking tour.

This amazing landmark in Danville, California is located near some other must-see places of interest:

  • Blackhawk Museum
  • AuburnJames Winery 
  • Blackhawk Plaza 
  • Museum of the San Ramon Valley
  • San Damiano Retreat
  • St. Isidore Catholic Church 
  • Iron Horse Regional Trail
  • Century Blackhawk Plaza

All of these wonderful landmarks are located just a short distance from our location at 1091 Shary Circle in Concord, California! Stop by for a visit anytime!

By Geraoma - Own work, Public Domain,