Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site


Tao House, Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site

To date, Eugene O'Neill has been the only American playwright to win a Nobel Prize. Toward the end of his life he chose to live in a retreat in northern California where he wrote his final, most memorable plays: Long Day's Journey into Night, A Moon for the Misbegotten and The Iceman Cometh. The Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site is the home he lived in in those days. Due to the location of the site, visitors are not allowed to drive their personal/private vehicles there but must take the free National Park Service shuttle to and from downtown Danville.

Eugene and Carlotta O'Neill lived in Tao House from 1937 to 1944. After he died, the house slowly fell into disrepair and was slated for demolition in 1970. Then the Eugene O'Neill Foundation raised the funds necessary to save the house. Tao House was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1971 and became a National Historic Site in 1976.

To go there and visit this site you'll need to call and see about reservations in advance. Guided tours of Tao House are offered at 10 am and 2 pm on Fridays. Tours are free and include transportation to and from the park. Allow 21/2 hours for a visit. Self-guided tours are allowed on Saturdays. Buses leave downtown Danville at 10 am, 12 pm, and 2 pm. Space is first come, first served. Allow 13/4 hours for a visit. There are no fees involved.

Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. The park is also closed from Sunday through Thursday, every week of the year.

Photo courtesy of the National Park Service