Woodside: Flood estate sold; buyer pays $50 million

The 92-acre estate had been in the Flood family hands since 1941

The 92-acre Flood estate, located on secluded Greer Road and along Huddart Park in Woodside, has been sold for $50 million, Brad Miller of the Woodside office of Alain Pinel Realtors has confirmed.

The buyer, who purchased the estate in late 2016, lives in the United States but not in the Bay Area, said Mr. Miller, who represented the buyer. A confidentiality agreement restricts further discussion of the transaction, he said.

The property, which has been on the market for about four years, had been in the Flood family hands since 1941, when James Flood, grandson of silver-mining magnate James Clair Flood, built the main residence, according to a historical report prepared for the town of Woodside.

Elizabeth Flood, who bought the property with her husband James, died in 2011.

In 2012, the asking price was $85 million, according to an Almanac story at the time. The story noted that whatever the estate sells for, San Mateo County will reap a windfall in tax revenues when the property is reappraised. The valuation in 2011 was $7,944, according to the real estate website of Mary & Brent Gullixson.

The estate consists of three parcels, with a main house of 9,000-square-feet, nine bedrooms and eight and a half baths. The property includes a lake, a reservoir, a vineyard and a creek as well as a two-bedroom gate house, a three-bedroom caretaker's house, a pool, a tennis court and a three-stall barn.


According to the history report prepared by Bonnie Bamburg of Urban Programmers in San Jose, James Flood and Elizabeth Dresser, who were married in 1938, raised four children at the estate: James Clair, Judy, Elizabeth and John Dresser.

Mr. Flood's day job, according to the report, was managing the Flood Building, built by his father James Leary Flood, in San Francisco.

"Like many of the Woodside residents, the family maintained their primary associations in San Francisco," the report says. Unlike many wealthy San Franciscans, the Floods did not make Woodside a summer home. Those who did included coffee and spice merchant August Schilling; copper magnate Daniel C. Jackling; coffee tycoon James Folger; shipping empire heir William Roth; fresh-water industrialist William Bourn (who built the Filoli estate) and oilman Ralph K. Davies, the report says.

Ms. Flood, an equestrian, belonged to the Woodside Trails Club. She drove a red sports car in the annual Woodside May Day parade, was an accomplished watercolorist, and volunteered for St. Anthony's Padua Dining Room, the Salvation Army, and, during World War II, for the Red Cross in San Francisco, the report says.

Mr. Flood was a blue-water sailor in his yacht Dorade. In 1936, his was the fastest single-hull boat in the TransPac, a San Francisco-to-Hawaii race, making the trip in 13 days, 7 hours and 20 minutes. (The same yacht, under its owner Matt Brooks, won the race again in 2013 in five days, 12 hours and 21 minutes, according to race records.)

Mr. Flood also raised money for Woodside area organizations, including the Boy Scouts. He died in 1990.

JFK visited

The Flood mansion, the report says, is New England colonial-style house and "not significant" to the history of Woodside. Nor did it prove significant when measured against criteria for the National Register of Historic Places and the California Register of Historical Resources, the report says.

"The architecture of the main house retains a high degree of integrity, exhibiting a regional and vernacular of the Colonial Revival style," which became more popular in the first third of the 20th century, the report says.

The Floods did entertain at home, and were host to some significant guests, including Anthony Eden, an English diplomat and prime minister; John F. Kennedy before he became president; and Charles Bohlen, a U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union and to the Philippines.

Thomas D. Church, an influential landscape architect in California, designed the vegetation for the front of the house, including raised planters with rock retaining walls. But all the landscape plans were "heavily influenced" by Ms. Flood, the report says.

"It appears the plants that would have been recommended by Church are mostly gone, replaced by volunteer or different plants," the report says. Mr. Church's remaining touches may be bushes along the side of the house and trees in raised beds that matured without pruning, the report says.


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