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Thomas Bard, Father of Port Hueneme

Submitted by John on Thu, 12/06/2007 - 22:38.
Thomas R. Bard

Thomas R. Bard is knows as Father of Port Hueneme. He was a California Senator. He was a wealthy businessman. There was a rumor about him having psychic experiences. His house is located in Naval base in Port Hueneme. His house is now a officers' club house and a popular wedding spot. Bard Mansion is also known to have ghost activities.


Thomas Bard's ancestors emigrated from Ireland's in 1741 and settled in Pennsylvania. He was born on December 8, 1841 in Chambersburg, Franklin County, Pennsylvania. He studied law then worked for Pennsylvania Railroad Company under Thomas Scott. Thomas Scott was one of the first Americans to own a big portion of Ventura County. It is my guess that Thomas Scott and Tomas Bard got along very well. One reason is that they had a same name. I can only guess how they might have joked about their name.

During the Civil War, he was a volunteer Union scout for the Confederates. He transported supplies to Union troops. After the Civil War, people from East started come to California. In 1865 Thomas Bard was sent to Ventura to take care of Thomas Scott's property.

He was a member of the board of supervisors of Santa Barbara county between 1868-1872. He got married on April 23, 1876 to Mary 'Mollie' Beatrice Gerberding at San Francisco. He had total eight children. Thomas Bard was a California Senator (Republican) from Feb 7, 1900 to March 3, 1905. To put this in perspective, Senator Dianne Feinstein (Democrat) comes in as his 12th successor. He was a successful businessman. Thomas Bard was one of the creators of the Union Oil company and was a president.

Thomas R. Bard
A July 4, 1874 celebration in Ventura, California.
Marshall of the parade was Thomas R. Bard.

Thomas Bard was a key figure during the reformation of California in the early 1900s. Since the Civil War, Southern Pacific Railroad became so big, they were running the entire state of California. Bard was the key figure to revolt against Southern Pacific. At that time Southern Pacific was pushing Colonel Daniel M. Burns to become a Senator. Thomas Bard, with enough support, took the seat at Unite States Senate.

He campaigned to expend the city of Port Hueneme. Afterwards, Bard's children would put his plan to work. Because of Thomas Bard, Port Hueneme has the only deep water port in this area. He died on March 5, 1915. He died in his home in Berylwood, Hueneme.

His son Archibald Philip Bard was a physiologist, a part of the team who came up with "Cannon-Bard theory" ("people feel emotions first, and then act upon them")

Bard Mansion - Ghost Story

Constructed in 1912, the mansion is known as "Berylwood" to the family. The house is located inside the Naval Base. The house has the area of 4,717 square feet. It has 7 bedrooms and 4 1/2 baths. Bard Mansion officially became a historic place by National Register on September 17, 1977.

I went to Bard Mansion twice to photograph weddings. You must show your ID to armed guards in order to enter the base. They randomly search your car for security. The house was beautiful. There were a lot of photographs and memorabilia on the wall. The second story had a Sun-room where you can sip coffee and read books. There was a big ballroom in the first floor where they can hold parties. On the side of Bard Mansion, there was a big grassy area with gazebo in the far side. This was a main area for weddings.

There is a ghost story related to this house. Even a daytime TV talk show Maury Povich covered Bard Mansion. They showed a ghostly image of the Senator's wife. They said the house was build on the site where a clinic used be be. There are reported ghost encounters of Senator Bard, his wife, servants, and soldiers. And there are stories about persisting whispering sounds.

Bard Mansion
Thomas R. Bard's House - AKA Bard Mansion

Personal research by John Park,
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