Ruth Ganong designed this house for her family in the early 1960's. She and her husband Fran built it here because they wanted to stay in Albany, and loved the bay. When the lots next door were put on the market, they purchased them to preserve open space around the house. She lived in this home from when it was built in 1965 until she passed away in 2015.
Ruth decided she wanted to be an architect when she was five years old. She was the first woman to graduate from the Boston Architectural College, in 1954. When she was in her eighties, the college awarded her with an honorary doctorate, in honor of her community service and for being their first woman graduate.
Ruth designed an open kitchen so she could interact with family and guests while she cooked. She originally planned to have the living room on the bay side, but decided instead that she should enjoy the view while she prepared meals. Fran was a professor of physiology at UCSF, and Ruth hosted innumerable dinner parties for his colleagues in her dining room. She decorated her home with Danish Modern furniture, family antiques, and her own oil paintings.
Ruth planned the atrium as a sheltered space away from the bay winds. She made bedrooms downstairs for her four children, to create their own separate spaces. She and Fran always enjoyed the sweeping bay view from their master bedroom.
Ruth was very involved in local activities and politics. She was a founding member of the Albany Bay Committee, which successfully stopped landfill from being dumped into the Albany Bay. She served on the Albany School Board, Albany City Council, and AC Transit Board. She was also Mayor of Albany.
Ruth & Fran's house was the location of many community meetings, parties, and events. It was always the center of special family occasions and holidays, and easily accommodated her four children, their spouses, and twelve grandchildren.