Posted in Black History, Business, Homes, People, West Oakland

Fanny Wall Children’s Home

Fannie Wall Children’s Home and Day Nursery, an orphanage and daycare center, established in 1918 by African-American clubwomen in West Oakland. Sometimes it is called the Fanny Wall Home.

Charity is the Golden Chain that reaches from heaven to earth.”

from the letterhead

The Beginning

Care for the Orphans

Shelters the Half Orphans

Keeps the Children of Day Workers.”

Oakland Tribune April 1920

In 1914 the Northern Federation of California Colored Women’s Clubs President Fanny Wall and Financial Secretary Hettie Tilghman began working on a children’s home and day nursery to support black working mothers and care for orphaned black children. After years of planning and fundraising, the home opened in 1918 on Peralta Street in West Oakland.

Initially, the home was called the“Northern Federation Home and Day Nursery.” It was subsequently renamed to honor Fannie Wall who was the first woman to run the charity on a daily basis.

The Fannie Wall Children’s Home and Day Nursery was open to children of all races, ethnicities, and religions, it was the first facility in Northern California to provide various services including housing, boarding and daycare for black orphans.

It was located at 1215 Peralta Street in West Oakland from 1918-1928.

Fannie Wall Children’s Home and Day Nursery 1215 Peralta Street – the first site – Courtesy The African American Museum and Library Oakland
Oakland Tribune April 27, 1920

Who was Fannie Wall?

Fannie Wall ( 1860-1944) came to Oakland with her family in the early 1900s.  She was born in Gallatin Tennessee in 1860.  She was married to Archey(Archy) H. Wall (18??-1931), a staff sergeant in the US Army.  They had two daughters, Lillian (Williams) and Florence (Murray) and one son Clifton. Archey was transferred to the Presidio in San Francisco and they ultimately ended up in Oakland.

Wall was an early community activist who participated several organizations that promoted African American economic empowerment.  

Fanny Wall undated- Source: Beasley The Negro Trail Blazers

She served several terms as the president of the California Federation of Colored Women’s Club’s.

She co-founded the Art and Industrial Club of Oakland in 1906.  Under her presidency the club joined the Child Welfare League. Wall also help establish the “Colored Y” of Oakland.

In 1936 Archie Williams her grandson (Lillian)won a gold medal in the 400-meter run in Berlin.

Oakland Tribune Aug 8, 1936

Fannie Wall died on April 14, 1944 in her home on Telegraph Avenue.  She is buried in the same plot as her husband in the San Francisco National Cemetery.

Oakland Tribune Apr 20, 1944

Linden Street Site

In 1928, having outgrown its original location they moved to a new one on Linden Street.

Fannie Wall Children’s Home, 815 Linden – 2nd site -Courtesy The African American Museum and Library Oakland

The handsome house at 815 Linden Street was purchased $5000. The upper middle-class house was designed by Charle Man in the 1880s.  It was one of five buildings built by Frances Reichling a surveyor, who subdivided his property at the corner of Linden Street and Eighth Street.  The largest of the buildings became the family home and the others were rentals.

Linden Street 1948 -African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)

The home could accommodate up to 20 resident children and 8-15 children for day care services and was operated by a professional staff of over ten employees that included social workers and a volunteer psychiatrist. 

The house was considered step up from the one on Peralta Street and was across the street from the “Colored Y.”

Women and children seated around the piano at the Fannie Wall Children’s Home and Day Nursery- undated -African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)

New Look

The Linden Street site was given a face-lift in 1953. The “new look,” a two room addition to be used as the administrative offices, releasing the old offices and reception room for nursery classes and a future library.  The provided room for 47 children.  

In 1962 the Oakland Redevelopment Agency purchased the property at 815 Linden St. in order to demolish the building for the Acorn Project.

Management

Fannie Wall is Calling”

From the annual report

The Northern Federation of Colored Women Clubs operated the Fannie Wall Home until 1941. The home was then incorporated as an independent organization. At that time it was the only home in California that primarily cared for African-American children.

The home was admitted as an agency of the Community Chest-United crusade in 1923

Fannie Wall was elected as the first president and served more than 20 years as the head of the 21 board of directors. She was succeeded by Mrs. Lydia Smith Ward who in turn was followed by Mrs. Chlora Hayes Sledge in the 1940s.

The home was managed by a Board of Directors, which largely consisted of members of the Northern Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs, a community advisory committee, and an executive director who oversaw the home’s day-to-day operations.

The Board of Directors of the Fanny Wall Home – Chlora Hays Sledge, President, center-left.Courtesy The African American Museum and Library Oakland

The home was the first Community Chest Children’s Agency in the East Bay to employ a trained social worker.

Girls with fans at the Fannie Wall Home, in the 1940s.Courtesy The African American Museum and Library Oakland

Fundraising

 The home received funding from a variety of sources including rent from an apartment in Berkeley donated by Josephine Sutton, Community Chest, the Dreiser Trust, and through fundraising events coordinated by the home.

Ticket to chicken dinner for Fannie Wall Home Benefit-1944 -African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
Fannie Wall Children’s Home and Day Nursery, Inc. charity ball program – 1946 – African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)- Identifier
MS162_B1_F6_0
01
Oakland Tribune 1958

The third charity ball was held on January 19, 1948 at the Oakland Auditorium.

In 1959 a fashion show was held at Slim Jenkins to raise money for the building fund.  Models showed the latest styles.

A Haven For Children

Rodeo artists Schwartz and Grodin entertain children with finger paints at the Fannie Wall Children’s Home and Day Nursery – circa 1947 -African American Museum & Library at Oakland Photograph Collection
Oakland Tribune 1949

In 1949  the Fannie Wall home had 30 children who received day care while parents worked.  Ranging in age from 3 to 14 years.During the summer months the children took swimming lessons at the de Fremery Park pool: the enjoyed story hours at the West Oakland Branch Library, and they had special excursions to other city parks and playgrounds.

Birthday Party 1946

Monthly parties were held to honor the children whose birthday occurred during the month. They would dress up for special dinner or an afternoon party.

Oakland Tribune Aug 8, 1948
Integrated Playground at the Fanny Wall Home, the 1950s. Courtesy The African American Museum and Library Oakland

The Final Location

In 1964 they purchased a house at 647 55th Street for $19,000. They initially struggled to obtain a license from the Social Welfare Department, and the home was not re-opened until 1967 as part of a placement program for the Alameda County Welfare Department.

Fannie Wall Children’s Home 55th Street – 3rd site Courtesy The African American Museum and Library Oakland

The home was forced to close again in 1970 for remodeling and reopened in 1978 as a child daycare facility and Head Start Center. It is now called Fannie Wall Head Start.

Group photograph of attendees at Fannie Wall Children’s Home and Day Nursery mortgage burning ceremony (first row, left-right): Annie Mae Smith, Albertine Radford, Silvia Parker, Mildred McNeal, Marge Gibson (second row, left-right): Bessie Watson, Euna Tucker, N. Adams, Lela Posey (third row, left-right): Eugene P. Lasartemay, Roy Blackburn, Kermit Scott, Harold Adams – 1981 -African American Museum & Library at Oakland Photograph Collection
Fannie Wall Pre-K Program – 647 55th Street Oakland CA

More Info:

The End

Posted in Black History, People, Uncategorized

First African American Miss Oakland

Miss Oakland 1968

In 1968, Tanya Dennis was crowned Miss Oakland, becoming the first African-American to wear the crown. She then became one of the early African-American to compete for the title of Miss California.

Oakland Tribune 1968

Miss Dennis was the first of three (in a row) African-American Miss Oakland’s.

Oakland Tribune June 1968

In June of 1969, Miss Dennis competed with 36 other girls from throughout the state for Miss California.

Miss Dennis won the talent division with an exotic African ballet.

Santa Cruz Sentinel June 1968

Miss Dennis was the third runner-up in the Miss California pageant.

 Miss Oakland 1969

In 1969, Laomia McCoy was crowned Miss Oakland, becoming the second African – American to wear the crown and compete for Miss California’s title.

Miss McCoy sang a selection from “Porgy and Bess” to win the talent category in preliminary judging and Miss Redlands, Susan Anton took the swimsuit honor.

The Californian June 20, 1969

Susan Anton won the title of Miss California and Miss McCoy was one of the runner-ups.

Miss McCoy was 19 at the time of the competition and student at Merritt College.

Oakland Tribune May 1969

Miss Oakland 1970

In 1970 Theresa Smith was crowned Miss Oakland becoming the third African-American to wear the crown and compete for Miss California’s title.

Santa Cruz Sentinel June 4, 1970

Smith competed alongside 35 contestants for the title of Miss California.

SF Examiner June 17, 1970

The Miss Congeniality, an award voted by the contestants was awarded to Miss Oakland, Theresa Smith, she was also honored for being the most talented non-finalist dancer in the competition.

Oakland Tribune Nov 12, 1970

Miss Smith was 20 years old at the time of the competition and a student at the University of California.

The officials at the Miss California State pageant refused to allow Miss Smith to perform unless she dropped the “offensive” word, “Black,” from her recitation. It hadn’t been offensive in Oakland.

Oakland Tribune Oct 8, 1970

Black Beauty Queens Denied Rewards

Laomia McCoy and Theresa Smith, Miss Oakland of 1969 and 1970, held a press conference to discuss that they were treated unfairly and racially discriminated against by the Miss Oakland beauty pageant’s sponsors.

“if they had it to do all over again they wouldn’t have competed in the annual pageant.”

Theresa Smith and Laoma McCoy Sept 19, 1970

Negligent

The Oakland Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) was the pageant’s sponsor for the previous 24 years before 1970.

“I feel that they (the Jaycees) have been negligent in communicating with me and supporting me and have failed to bestow upon me the full benefits of my title said, Miss Smith.

Miss Smith charged that she was promised a $1000.00 scholarship but only received $100, was invited to appear at hardly any civic events, and was denied pay for personal appearances.

SF Examiner 1970

The Jaycees president said her complaints were just a misunderstanding about what the title involves and that she received the same as previous winners.

Theresa ended up getting only a $100 scholarship which was promised before the start of school. The money arrived after final registration at UC, forcing her “to be faced with an additional fee for be late” in registering.

The Jaycees decided to drop their sponsorship of the pageant after 24 years in 1970, they said they were over budget by $1500.

More Info:

The End

Posted in Black History, People, West Oakland

Delilah Beasley

Delilah Beasley – undated

Delilah Beasley was a columnist for the Oakland Tribune and was the first African American woman to be published regularly in a major U.S. newspaper. 

She is most known for her book “The Negro Trail-Blazers of California,” published in 1919 and reprinted in 1968. 

Early Life

Delilah Leontium Beasley was born Cincinnati, Ohio, just after the Civil War on September 9, 1871 (some report 1867) to Daniel Beasley, an engineer, and Margaret Harris.

Beasley began her newspaper career in 1887, writing for the black newspaper, the Cleveland Gazette on church and social activities.

After her parents’ death, she went to Chicago and took a position to learn massage: she desired to become a nurse, which she became a few years later.

She traveled to California to nurse a former patient and stayed.

After moving to Oakland in 1910 at the age of 39, she wrote for the Oakland Sunshine and the Western Outlook.

In 1910 3,055 African Americans were living in Oakland.

Trail-Blazers

To help her race; to open doors into the arts and sciences for the negro boys and girls, has been the impelling force for Delilah Beasley”

Los Angeles Times Jul 13, 1919

Oakland Tribune April 16, 1915

Beasley spent the first nine years in Oakland researching Black Americans’ history in the west at the University of California at Berkeley. She also would give presentations at local churches.

An early cover of the book

In 1919 she self-published a book called The Negro Trail Blazers of California. The book chronicled African American “firsts” and notable achievements in early California. The book includes diaries, biographical sketches, poetry, photographs, old papers, conversations with old pioneers, and a comprehensive history of early legislation and court cases.

California Eagle Dec 7, 1918
California Eagle March 15, 1919

Activities Among Negroes

Her book paved the way for Beasley to become the first African American women in California to write regularly for a major metropolitan newspaper. She worked for the Oakland Tribune from 1923 to 1934 and wrote a weekly column entitled “Activities Among Negroes.”  The column carried civic and religious news of the black community

Civic Organizations

Beasley was determined to advance the rights of African Americans and women; she joined many civic clubs. These included the NAACP, the Alameda County League of Women Voters, the National Association of Colored Women, the Oakland Council of Church Women, and the Linden Center Young Women’s Christian Association.

She was an honorary member of the League of Nations Association of Northern California.

Oakland Tribune March 3, 1928

Delilah died at the age of 62 on August 18, 1934.  Beasley is buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery.

Oakland Tribune Aug 19, 1934

She live for many years at 705- 34th Street.

Exterior of Delilah Beasley’s house, 705 34th Oakland, CaliforniaAfrican American Museum & Library at Oakland 

More Info:

The End

Posted in Oakland, People, Transportation

Santa Claus Rides the Bus

On Facebook, I have been sharing photos of holiday-themed AC Transit Coaches (Bus). In researching the tradition, I learned that Nickolas P. Alevizos played Santa Claus for more than 40 years. A bit of history here.

Nick P. Alevizos -In front of a 10 seater Model-A Motor Bus one of the original West Oakland Motor Buses – Undated AC Transit Photo

Santa Claus – St Nick

In December of 1960, AC Transit’s new streamlined “Transit Liners” went into service on Christmas Day.

AC Transit Photoflickr

A colorful parade called the “Travelcade of Progress” was held on the streets of downtown Oakland to introduce the new buses. The parade included all forms of East Bay public transportation since the horse and cable cars. 

AC Transit Times December of 1960

Alevizos led the parade as Santa Claus .

Alevizos became a legend by dressing as Santa Claus at wheeling through the East Bay in an AC-Transit holiday-themed decorated bus.  

Oakland Tribune 1964

He started playing Santa Claus in 1933 for the Shrine, Richmond Kiwanis Club, and at the Division 3 Christmas parties.

Oakland Tribune 1975

He also played the roles of Abraham Lincoln, Christopher Columbus, and Uncle Sam on the year’s appropriate dates. But Santa Claus remained his most extended running role, beginning in 1933.

Oakland’s Early ‘Jitney King’

Oakland Tribune May 23, 1971

A transportation pioneer in the East Bay, Nichols P. Alevizos, in 1921 started a jitney bus service. The major Oakland Jitney route was 7th Street from Pine Street to Clay Street. There were 16 jitneys and 16 drivers on the run, with 15 in use each day and the 16th taking the day off.

West Oakland Motor Bus Lines 1928 – AC Transit flickr

Alevizos organized a jitney association in 1924 and became its first and only president. In 1928 the association bought 8 Model A Ford buses. The association was named West Oakland Motor Bus Lines.

Oakland Tribune 1929

In 1935 Alevizos sold the company to the Key System.  Part of the deal made by Alfred J. Lundberg, Key System president, was for Alevizos to have a lifetime supervisor job with the company.

Oakland Tribune 1934

He served as superintendent of the Key System and later AC Transits Richmond Division. His career spanned 56 years.

AC Transit Times December 1962

Retirement

Alevizos retired at the end of 1977, his career spanned over 56 years. He continued as Santa for 2 more years . He passed away in April of 2000.

History of the Holiday Bus

In 1963, AC Transit launched its first holiday-themed bus.  The “Candy Cane Express” was painted white and tied with big red bows.

AC Transit Times

In the years that followed, the Holiday Bus became more elaborate, with the vehicles being custom-painted and decorated with handmade wooden ornaments. By the mid-1960s, a full-size sleigh was installed on the roof, in which “Santa” would ride.

The 1966 “Santa Claus Express”AC Transit Flickr.AC Transit Times December 1966

There have been many versions of the Holiday Bus throughout the years. Decals and full custom vinyl wrap have replaced the custom paint jobs and bolted on decorations.

Santa’s Toyland – 1969 – AC Transit Times
Santa’s Workshop 1970 – AC Transit Times
Santa’s Express – AC Transit –
Winter Wonderland – 1979 – AC Transit Times
Santa’s Toyland – 1973 – AC Transit Times

This year’s (2020) theme is “Holidays Always Keep Their Sparkle.”

2015 Holiday Bus – ACTransit
2020 Holiday Bus – AC Transit

More Info:

Themes

  • Seasons Greetings – 1965
  • Santa Claus Express – 1966
  • Candy Cane – 1967
  • Happy Holidays – 1968
  • Santa’s Toyland – 1969
  • Santa’s Workshop – 1970
  • Santa’s Toyland – 1971
  • Santa’s Toyland – 1973
  • Happy Holidays – 1974-1975
  • Santa’s Toyland – 1976
  • Santa’s Express – 1977
  • Candy Cane Coach – 1978
  • Winter Wonderland – 1979

The End

Posted in Homes, Lake Merritt, People

Reign of Terror

Bomb Explodes

On March 18, 1919, Mrs.George D. Greenwood was killed instantly when a bomb exploded in the family home garden overlooking Lake Merritt. Her husband was the Vice-President of the Savings Union Bank of San Francisco.

Killed Instantly

It is believed that Mrs. Greenwood found the bomb and picked it up, causing it to explode.

Mrs. Greenwood’s body was torn apart and hurled ten-feet across the garden by the force of the explosion. Her clothing was stripped from her body and hung from the trees or was scattered on the lawn.

All windows on two sides of the Greenwood home were shattered.

Threats Sent to Other Families

The Greenwood family wasn’t the only Eastbay family to have received letters threatening death unless specific amounts of money were handed over.

Other families included:

  • Kenneth E. Lowden – 274 19th Street
  • Mrs. E.A. Julian – Piedmont

According to the police, a letter demanding $5,000 and threatening to destroy his home with dynamite was sent to Greenwood in January of 1918. The “C.C. of C” signed the letter, which stands for the Cat’s Claw of California.

Oakland Tribune March 21, 1919

The Greenwood explosion was the third in a series attributed to a gang supposed to have dynamited Governor William D. Stephens home and one other.

An unexploded bomb was found in the yard of N. Campagna of Berkeley the week before.

Society Leader

SF Examiner June 12, 1893

Mrs. George D. Greenwood was considered “society royal” in Oakland and San Francisco, where her parents and husbands were pioneers.

Tubbs Hotel

She was one of the Tubbs girls, the daughters of the late Hiram Tubbs, early capitalist, and owner of the famous old Tubbs Hotel.   

Oakland Tribune 1891

The daughters were Mrs. Greenwood, formerly Miss May Tubbs, Mrs. William G. Henshaw, Mrs. Grace Tubbs Henshaw, and Mrs. Edward M. Hall.

No Results

Oakland Tribune March 1919

Police investigations, which continued for more than a year after the tragedy, resulted in the clearing of the mystery surrounding the bomb.

Hanford Kings County Sentinel May 08, 1919

The police arrested many suspects, none were charged.  

New Wife

Oakland Tribune Sept 1922

Mr. Greenwood married Gertrude Vincent in late 1922.

Greenwood Home

The Greenwood home was located at the corner of 19th Street and Jackson at 1399 Jackson Street (later changed to 1899 Jackson). The Greenwoods lived there from about 1896 to 1920.

The Greenwood Home at the corner of Jackson and 19th Streets. Photo by Frank Rodolph
Oakland Tribune May 12, 1936

In 1936 the house was remodeled and became the new home of the Oakland University Club.

More Info:

The End

Posted in Buildings, Lake Merritt, Parks, People

Edson Plaza and Conservatory

From 1911

The glass palace was once a part of the estate of A.K.P. Harmon in Oakland.

A.K.P. Harmon

Albion Keith Paris Harmon settled in Oakland in 1872 after making a fortune in the Comstock mines. He settled on 6.2 acres of land on the shores of Lake Merritt next to Sacred Heart College.

From the Map of the City of Oakland and Surroundings. Compiled from Official and Private Surveys. by J.C. Henkenius. 1888. Britton & Rey Lith., S.F. Cal. Entered…1887.

He soon after he built his house, conservatory, and magisterial carriage house.

In an 1882 biographical sketch on Mr. Harmon, the writer alluded that

“…greenhouse, which contains one of the most extensive collections of rare plants on the Pacific Coast.”

Harmon House and Conservatory from Webster Street, Oakland. ca. 1870
Gift of Miss Marietta Edwards
H68.10.6B
Harmons Greenhouse
Sf Examiner May 1, 1896

Mr. Harmon died in 1896, and his estate was subdivided and sold.

Sf Examine May 03, 1896

Edson Plaza

Mr. Edson F. Adams, son of one of the city founders, purchased the conservatory and had it moved to a two-acre park he had created at the head of Lake Merritt, known as Edson Plaza. The new park was called Edson Plaza and Conservatory or Adams Park.

The Adams heirs spent a large sum of money creating the park. The site was once a foul and unsightly marsh. It took about 18 months to complete the project.

The conservatory had to be moved intact, as it was constructed in a way it could not be disassembled. It was reported to have cost several thousand dollars to build in the 1880s. Walter J. Mathews, an architect, supervised the move.

The entire plaza was perfectly kept lawn with maple, poplar, birch, willow, and eucalyptus trees along the border. In the center was the conservatory in the shape of a cross 72 by 60 feet in size containing several thousand potted plants. John McLaren (Golden Gate Park) prepared plans for the conservatory and park’s upkeep and care.

New or greatly enlarged industrial establishments of Oakland and East Bay cities / by Oakland (Calif.) Chamber of Commerce. Cheney Photo Advertising Co. ; Wickham Havens, Inc.
circa 1917 Courtesy of Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Center
http://www.oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt7199q9d0/?order=87

The Oakland Hearld proudly announced, “Conservatory and Park Are Gift to Oakland’s People.”

In 1903 the Edson Heirs Donated the park to the city of Oakland.  

…gift is that the city shall forever maintain the plaza as a public park and keep up the handsome conservatory which stands in it.”

Oakland Tribune July 11, 1903
Oakland Tribune Aug 4, 1903

Relic of the Past

 “So, another landmark is destroyed.”

In September 1918, an official notice came from the park commissioners to sell the conservatory and its contents. It has was too costly for the city to keep up.

“Now its life is ended. There no further use for it.”

Auction Sale – September 10, 1918

Oakland Tribune Sept 8, 1918

The “Forever Park” is Gone

In 1926, Oakland’s city council opted to lease land that Edson Plaza (then called Adams Park) to the country for a new Veterans’ Memorial Building. Which meant the conservatory would have to be razed.

Gee, did the city forget they agreed to keep it a park with the conservatory FOREVER?

Deed Doesn’t Restrict

“The deed to the property, which became known as Adams Park in 1902 after Edson Adams had erected a conservatory on the site, places no restrictions on the use and its only dedication as a park is through the city’s naming it.”

Oakland Tribune Jan 27, 1927
Oakland Tribune July 19, 1927

Veterans’ Memorial Building

Veterans’ Memorial Building 200 Grand Ave – Oakland Local Wiki

More Info:

The End

Posted in Black History, People, Schools, West Oakland

Oakland: The Mellow City

I love Oakland with much of my heart. I look forward to Oakland’s change, growth, virtue, and beauty in the years of the future, glorifying past and forgone years.

My dream is that people who read this book of our city will also strive for a more wonderful Oakland.

By: Jacqueline Taylor

Oakland Tribune 1969

Oakland, The Mellow City Week

By official proclamation of Mayor John Reading Sunday, October 12, 1969, was the first day of:

“Oakland, The Mellow City Week.”

Oakland Tribune Oct 1969

The observation honored more than 200 eighth-grade authors and artists who produced a book about their home city.

“The Mellow City” was researched and illustrated in the spring of 1968 under the guidance of teachers from Hoover Junior High.

Oakland Tribune Oct 1969

Students were asked to base their work on the response to one question:  

“If you were to develop a book to help other students learn about Oakland, what would you include”?

Oakland Tribune

After six weeks of intensive work, they had 76 pages of essays, poems, and more than 50 original watercolors and pen and ink illustrations.

Oakland Tribune Feb 1969

Financing

Money for the project which required field trips, camera equipment, and teacher time was available through Elementary Secondary Education Act funding.

The Oakland Junior League voted to underwrite the expense of printing 2,500 copies.

Sample Page

The students also worked with printers in selecting the paper, typeface and cover design, including

The Cover
  • Jacqueline Taylor
  • Wanda White
  • Valerie Hickman
  • Marvin Miles
  • LaTanya Johnson
  • Glenda Walker
  • Coynell Smith
Oakland Tribune Oct 1969
Sample Page

More Info:

The book is still available (July 2020) to purchase at:

  • Oakland: The Mellow City – Amazon
  • Oakland: The Mellow City – ebay
  • Oakland: The Mellow City – biblio
  • Oakland: The Mellow City – abebooks

The End

Posted in Buildings, People, Then and Now, Uncategorized, West Oakland

Walsh’s Flatiron

Walsh & O’Brien’s Store, junction 18th, Peralta & Center Sts., Oakland, CA, ca. 1898″
OMCA – Gift of Mrs. Brent Howard
H26.1429
Oakland Tribune Dec 21, 1901

Oakland’s oldest flatiron building resides at the juncture of Peralta, Center, and 17th Streets in West Oakland. Built in 1879 for William Walsh, the two-story redwood structure initially housed the Center Junction Exchange Saloon with apartments above.

Oakland Tribune Feb 11, 1884

A native of Ireland, Mr. Walsh purchased the Peralta Street lot in 1877. Peralta Street was one of the main avenues to Berkeley. 

Oakland Tribune Dec 21, 1901

By 1877 the saloon had evolved into the Junction Cash Grocery and Liquor Store.  In 1894 Mr. Walsh partnered with Austin O’Brien.  The  firm of Walsh & O’Brien was described as:

importers selling direct to families, groceries, wines, cigars, home furnishing goods, hay, feed, and grain.” 

Mr. Walsh bought out O’Brien’s share of the company in 1901 and changed the name to Walsh & Co.

Oakland Tribune Apr 18, 1901
Plate 100

From Oakland 1902 Vol 1, California
Published by Sanborn Map Company in 1902

The Flatiron Today

1615 CENTER ST OAKLAND 94607

Google Maps – 1615 Center
Google Maps – 1615 Center
Google Maps

More Info:

Oakland Heritage Alliance News, Winter 1996-97, by William W. Sturm

Posted in Black History, East Oakland, People, West Oakland

African American Women’s Clubs

During the later part of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th black women in Oakland established clubs and institutions to address the growing demands of the black community.

I will highlight some of them here.

Fanny Jackson Coppin Club

The Fanny Jackson Coppin Club was founded in 1899 by members of the Beth Eden Baptist Church

Colored Directory 1917

Not failure, but low aim is the crime.

Motto

The club was named in honor of Fannie Jackson Coppin (1837-1913) who was born a slave in Washington, D.C. and became a renowned educator 

Fannie Jackson Coppin

The Fannie Jackson Coppin Club is known as the “mother club” of the African American women’s club movement in California. 

At first, the club’s priority was to provide African American travelers who could not stay at segregated hotels welcoming places to spend a night.

The club was involved with the creation of the Home for the Aged and Infirm Colored People in Oakland, to provide care for elderly African Americans in the state of California.

Oakland Tribune June 26, 1959
California Club Journal 1973

Art and Industrial Club

In 1906, a branch of the Art and Industrial Club was formed and devoted itself to the arts and to “uplift of the race.”

Deeds Not Words”

Motto
Colored Directory 1917

Mother’s Charity Club

Founded in 1907

Lift as We Climb”

Motto

The Mother’s Charity Club was founded in 1907. They were dedicated to philanthropic endeavors. During its earliest years of activity, the Mother’s Charity Club fed and cared for many children and sick and needy persons.

Colored Directory 1917
1959-60

Elmhurst Progressive Club

The Elmhurst Progressive Club was founded in 1912.

Progressive

Motto
Colored Directory 1917
Oakland Tribune 1914

Imperial Art and Literary Club

The Imperial Art and Literary of Oakland was founded in 1912. They provided charity and promoted art and literary work.

Love and Truth

Motto
Colored Directory 1917
Oakland Tribune 1931
California Club Journal 1973

Self Improvement Club

Self Improvement Club of Oakland was founded in 1916. Their goal was to improve humanity and the surrounding communities.

He who is true to God, is true to Man”

Colored Directory 1917

Rhododendron Self Cultured Club of Oakland

The Rhododendron Club was formed in the early 1950s

Like Ivy we Climb–Lifting as we Climb

Four women holding presents at the Rhododendron Club fashion show at Slim Jenkins

Rhododendron Club fashion show contestants posing at Slim Jenkins

Fidelis Art and Culture Business Women’s Club of Oakland

California Club Journal 1973

The Art Social Club of Oakland

California Club Journal 1973

Royal 10 Society Club of Oakland

I only found this photo. I will update if I find more.

Members of the Royal 10 Social Club attending Hawaiian-themed luau party
Undated
African American Museum

Linden Street YWCA

In 1920, a group of African American clubwomen formed The Linden Street branch of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). 

They provided religious training, counseling services, vocational training, art classes, adult education classes, and all types of cultural events. 

 Located at 828 Linden Street, the branch was housed in a two-story building with four club rooms.

By 1938, the Linden Street “Y” had a membership of over 750.

In 1944 following a new national policy, the board of directors of the central Oakland YWCA integrated the Linden Street YWCA.

“to make its program available to all women and girls irrespective of race, creed, or color.

It was renamed the West Oakland Center of the YWCA. The two-story building was razed in the early 1960s

Group portrait of Les Elites Industrial Club Linden Branch Y.W.C.A

More Info:

I will add to this if I find more.

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Posted in Black History, People, Transportation, West Oakland

Oakland’s First African American Cab Driver

Phillip Richard Springer (1874-1952) was the first black man in Oakland to own a taxicab. He was born in Barbados, in the British West Indies and left home at age 16. At first he operated under a jitney permit in Oakland, but he later had the license changed to a taxicab permit. By 1915, Springer’s Cab Company was well established.

The Pullman Porters and West Oakland

The 1916 Directory listed Springer at 1926 Chestnut Street with chauffeur as his occupation

1916

1926 Chestnut – Google Maps

In the 1917 directory, he is listed at 835 Union Street with chauffeur as his occupation.

1917

In the 1925 directory, he is listed along with his wife Edna at 879 Campbell Street with taxi cab driver as his occupation.

1925

From 1927 until his death in 1952, he lived at 957-35th Street with his family. The 1930 census reports that he owns his home, and he was a taxi cab driver at his own stand.

1935

The Springer Home from 1927-at least 1952
957- 35th Street – Google Maps

Exhibit at the African American History Library Oakland

Oakland Tribune Nov 1952

Taxicab Driver Robbed

Oakland Tribune 1942

SF Examiner Jan 1947

Accident

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