Posted in Buildings, Business, Downtown

Money-Back Smith

Originally called “The Famous Clothing Company.” Later it was renamed “Smith’s Money-Back Store and Money-Back Smith.”  You probably knew it as Smith’s Department Store.

William Smith founded the first store in Oakland in 1885 (according to the Oakland Tribune)

Unique Nickname

“Money Refunded If Goods Are Not Satisfactory.”

Oakland Tribune

Willam “Money-Back” Smith

His friends, relatives, neighbors, and patrons were so used to the policy of ‘money-back” being associated with William Smith that became his nickname.

First Store

The first store was on Broadway, between 7th and 8th Street, later moving one block to 9th Street.

Brilliant Opening 

Oakland Tribune

The Famous Clothing Company proprietors held a grand opening reception on March 16, 1892, at 909 and 911 Broadway.

The Berkeley Gazette March 18, 1904

In 1896, Smith chose a new location at 10th and Washington, where the firm remained until 1912.

They then moved to 12th and Washington, which was enlarged and modernized several times.

1935-Blake Estate Co. building (the Blake Block) W. F. Woolworth, Money Back Smith inM.L. Cohen Co., photographers, for Downtown Property Owners Association, Inc. :Permission to use this image must be obtained from the Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

Another New Location

Circa 1933 – M. K. Blake building (the Blake Block), southwest corner of 12th Street and Washington Money Back Smith in view. M.L. Cohen Co., photographers, for Downtown Property Owners Association, Inc. Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

By 1912 the store was located at 12th and Washington Streets, and it was called “Money-Back Smith.”

Circa 1935 -M. K. Blake building (the Blake Block),.12th and Washington Money Back Smith in view. Downtown Property Owner’s Association. Volume 4. . M.L. Cohen Co., photographers, for Downtown Property Owners Association, Inc.

“Charge It” Plan

Oakland Tribune 1940

Breaking all precedents, Money-Back Smiths had for 54 years had a “cash only” policy offered a liberal 90-day charge plan. The plan had no downpayment, no interest, and no carrying charge.

More than 10,000 Eastbay residents opened accounts in the first six months. 

Charge it!”

They made the term “Charge it” a common word in the vocabulary. Smith declared September 27, 1940

55th Anniversary 

“Founded back in 1886 – literally the horse and buggy days of the city, the store has grown with Oakland.”

Oakland Tribune September 27, 1940

“We Couldn’t possibly cut a birthday cake large enough for all the of our customers, and so were cutting prices instead.”

Expansion

Blake Block [ SW corner of 12th and Washington.
Creator/Contributor:Cohen, Moses L., 1884-1975.
Downtown Property Owners Association (Oakland, Calif.).
Date:1944

In 1941 the store embarked on a program of remodeling and expansion that doubled its size. Two additional floors were added, which gave them three floors for selling merchandise.

Oakland Tribune Dec 1951

In 1945, the store acquired 30,000 Sq.Ft. of additional space in the Blake Building on Washington Street.

M. K. Blake Estate Co. building (the Blake Block), southwest corner of 12th and Washington Streets. Smith’s in view. – 1949, Jun. 27 . Camera Corner, photographers, for Downtown Property Owners Association, Inc. RIGHTS:Permission to use this image must be obtained from the Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

First Western Bank Building

Oakland Tribune 1955

In 1955 the old Henshaw Building at 14th and Broadway, built-in 1891, was demolished. The Henshaw building housed the MacDonough Theatre, one of Oakland’s first legitimate showhouses.

The First Western Bank Building was completed in 1958.

Image
Smith’s Downtown Oakland 1965 -https://twitter.com/christreadway

Location : 1330 Broadway Oakland CA

Smith’s Clothiers

Smith’s opened 24 stores throughout Northern California and Nevada.  

In 1988 after 102 years in business, closed its doors.

Press Democrat 1988

More Info:

There is some confusion as to when the store was located where. I tried my best.

The End

Posted in Advertisment, Oakland

“Boost” Oakland With Postcards

Updated with Postcards from 1910 – Aug 2020

Postcards been an important tool in advertising the city of Oakland for a long time. I have collected postcards of Oakland for years. I recently came across a small ad published in the Oakland Tribune reminding people that “Postcard Day” was coming up. This piqued my interest.

Reminder AD Oakland Tribune 1910

I tried to find the exact postcards but I didn’t have a whole lot luck, except for one or two. I have shared what I think might be them. If I get lucky and find them I will update this.

Here is what I found.

OAKLAND IN PICTURES

First off I found this about postcard advertising.

In 1905 W.J. Laymance of the Laymance Real Estate Company suggested a unique way of advertising Oakland in which every citizen, even the humblest, could take part. They could send illuminated postal cards of this city to friends in other sections of the county, and thus calling attention to the beauty and resources of Oakland.

The subjects of some of the cards were as follows: “Oakland Water Front.” “Residence District,” “Lake Merritt,” “Court House,” “Club House,” “Piedmont Springs,” “Among the Flowers, Piedmont Park,” “East from Fourteenth and Franklin Streets,” “North from San Pablo and Fourteenth Streets” ” University of California,” “Injured Football Player,” and “Greek Theater.”

There were about 20 illuminated postal cards illustrating beauties of the city. They sold the cards at the rate of two for five cents, ten for twenty-five cents. The postal cards were sold at drug and stationery stores. They hoped 10,000 people of Oakland would participate.

Oakland’s PostCard Day 1910

Oakland Tribune 1910

February 12, 1910, was designated “Oakland’s Post Card Day.”

The chamber of commerce undertook the extensive campaign of publicity. Every man and woman in Oakland and most of the children were expected to send one or more cards advertising the city.

The card was a double booster card with the decorative scheme of dark green and orange on both cards, but the views of Oakland will be different.

Postcard Day 1910

The first half of the double card was to be retained by the recipient. The second half was detachable and was to be sent to the Chamber of Commerce requesting a brochure.

Postcard Day – 1910

Picturesque residences on the shore of Lake Merritt, seen through the overhanging branches of beautiful old oak, the orange in the glowing sunset was a striking contrast to the deep green of the tree.

Postcard Day 1910
Postcard Day 1910
Postcard Day 1910
Oakland Tribune Feb 13, 1910

Postcard Day 1912

1912

Views of Oakland and other cities to be furnished by Southern Pacific.

Piedmont Park – A Beauty Spot
On line of Southern Pacific
back side Piedmont Park – A Beauty Spot
On line of Southern Pacific

Postcard Day 1913

Southern Pacific plans to help advertise Oakland with postcards to be mailed by the citizens of Oakland.

My City – Oakland

More Info:

Boost Oakland – https://archive.org/details/2349A_Gould_can_5122_4

The End

Posted in Buildings, Schools

Oakland Schools – Tech High

In researching the schools in Oakland, I found out that there are a lot of them and a few schools more than their fair share of photos or history.

Technical High and Oakland High are two of those schools.

Tech High School also has a great website celebrating its Centennial in 2012.

Oakland High School has a great history with photos on their Oakland High School Memorial site.

So, with that in mind, I wasn’t going to spend much time on either of these schools, but I found these of Technical High, and I couldn’t resist sharing.

The following are from the book by one of the architects of Tech.

School Architecture Principles and Practices By John Joseph Donovan 1921

The End

Posted in East Oakland, Homes, Oakland Tracts, Tract or Subdivisions

Central Terrace – 55th and Foothill

It is located where Foothill Blvd meets Trask Street and 55th Avenue. 55th Avenue was formally called Central Avenue, and Foothill Blvd was often referred to as the Scenic Boulevard. Central Terrace also includes Ruth Avenue, Laverne Avenue, El Camille Avenue, and Kingsland Avenue. The area now is considered to be an extension of Maxwell Park or the Fairfax District, depending on who you talk to.

Mutual Realty Co.’s Central Terrace office,
Foothill Boulevard at 55th Avenue and Trask Street looking north
Cheney Photo Adv. Co., photographers. C 1912
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

Brochure for Central Terrace

The Mutual Realty Company put the Central Terrace Subdivision on sale in April of 1912.  The agent was Fred T. Wood, who later took over the project. Then they added the Central Terrace Extension and Scenic Park Knoll

Earth Sciences and Map Library,
The University of California, Berkeley -Cadastral map. Historic Maps of Bay Area

Central Terrace is surrounded by modern schools and educational institutions of the very highest standard, the John C. Fremont high erected at the cost of $140,000, the Melrose School, the W.P. Frick School and the Lockwood Grammar School and the famous Mills Seminary for young ladies, all are within short walking distance from any part of Central Terrace”

See brochure below

Central Terr 1915_side
Earth Sciences and Map Library,
University of California, Berkeley –
Historic Maps of Bay Area
centarl-terrace-brochure-front
Earth Sciences and Map Library,
University of California, Berkeley –
Historic Maps of Bay Area
From the Brochure
Oakland Tribune Apr 1912
Foothill Blvd at 55th Avenue
Photo By Cheney Advertising c 1912
Previously Sold on eBay
Laverne from 55th Ave
Photo By Cheney Advertising c 1912
Previously Sold on eBay
Ruth Ave from 55th Ave
Photo By Cheney Advertising c 1912
Previously Sold on eBay
Photo By Cheney Advertising c 1912
Previously Sold on eBay
Ruth Ave
Photo By Cheney Advertising c 1912
Previously Sold on eBay
55th and Ruth Ave – Google Maps
Foothill and 55th today – Google maps

More to come –

Posted in Oakland Tracts, Tract or Subdivisions

Havenscourt

The_San_Francisco_Call_Sat__Nov_29__1913_
SF Call Nov 29, 1913

Wickman Havens Real Estate Company opened Havenscourt in 1912.   Within the 170 acres  Havenscourt there are 21 miles of streets and sidewalks.¹

The_San_Francisco_Call_Sat__Apr_13__1912_

The official entrance was at Havenscourt Blvd and East 14th Street, where there was a pergola and a gazebo. The Havenscourt station and business district was located  Havenscourt Blvd and Bancroft.²

ohrphoto.districts.040
Photo by Cheney Photo Advertising – Oakland History Room
The entrance to Havenscourt
1920Havenscourt Station East 14th St. & Havenscourt Blvd.
Havenscourt Blvd at Bancroft looking towards Frick School

Two Schools, 17 Acres Playground, a Civic Center and train station

Picture21
67th Avenue between Arthur St and Avenal Ave
Picture20
64th Avenue and Foothill Blvd
HAVENSCOURT-BUNGALOWS-66th-AVENUE-1912
Looking south on 66th Street from Arthur St

Then and Now – Above and Below

66th Avenue Today – Google Maps
HAVENSCOURT-HOMES-65th-AVE-ARTHUR-ST-VIEW-OAKLAND-1914-
Looking south on 65th Ave from Arthur St
2546 65th Ave – Today
Picture13

All photos were taken by Cheney Photo Advertising Company and are from Oakland History Room or OMCA.

Links:

  1. Story of Havenscourt – SF Call Nov 29, 1913
  2.  The Home Place Beautiful – Oakland Tribune Jun 1, 1912
  3.  Showing 6712 Flora St circa 1912-1916 OMCA – Havenscourt Tract Block 3

The End

Updated Dec 16, 2019