In the summer of 1931, a group of property owners in the central downtown section formed an association called the Downtown Property Owners Associations.
One of the first projects they took on was the modernization some of the “elderly buildings” in the downtown area. They were losing tenants to the new modern buildings going up in the downtown area.
The association took care of all the details of the program.
“Just try to find a vacancy!”
Jonas Building – 1932 – Northwest corner of Broadway and 11th Street in downtown Oakland, California. Abraham Jonas owned the building. He ran a clothing store for men.
The Jones building was the first to be remodeled and modernized.
The Abrahamson Building – Southwest corner of 13th and Washington streets. Opened in 1893 as Abrahamson’s Dry Goods. Owned by Jules and Hugo Abrahamson.
A five-story structure at the southeast corner of 13th and Washington Streets was the second project in the modernization program. J.H. King supervised the transformation of the building, and E.T. Foulkes was the architect.
The facelift was complete in March of 1934 with the opening of the Union Furniture Company. The firm occupied all five floors of the building.
Over the years, other businesses occupied the building.
Delger Building – northwest corner of thirteenth and Broadway
M.K. Blake Building. – A four-story store and office structure at the southwest corner of 12th and Washington Streets.
The building was stripped of the bay windows, cornices, and other ornamentation removed. New tile was placed on the exterior walls.
Glenn Building – 1308 Broadway –
According to the Oakland Tribune, the Glenn Family had owned the building for 50 years.
In 1937 work began on the Glenn Building at 1308 Broadway as part of a modernization program of the Downtown Property Association.
The improvements to the two-story cost $5,000 and included all new tiles on the front of the building. Edward T. Foulkes was the architect on the project.
Most people will recognize the building as the home of De lauer’s Newsstand.
In total, 31 buildings were rebuilt or given a “facelift.” The program was a success, buildings were filled with stores, and the stores were filled with people who were shopping.
Plaza Building at 15th and Washington Streets
Farmers & Merchants Savings Bank Building at 13th and Franklin
S.H. Cress Company on 14th and Broadway.
Federal Telegraph Building at 12th and Washington streets
Fuller-Sparks Building on 14th Streets.
Masonic Temple Building on 12th Street for the new Lerner Store
There have been many discussions and articles about the name “Uptown” for an area in downtown Oakland. Most people hate it, except for the new people who just moved here, who call it “hip” or “trendy” (this is just my opinion I did not conduct a poll).
Most recently on one of the Facebook groups, I belong to. Just about everybody who commented hates the use of word uptown. Only two people actually read my comment about the history of the name. One still didn’t buy my explanation, and the other thanked me.
No as a native oaklander we have never used the word uptown it was always downtown”
Gentrification definitely gentrification”
We went Downtown
Growing up in Oakland, we always went downtown and never uptown because we went home.
It still is downtown to us and will always be! I will not argue that!
People are assuming the name “Uptown” comes from newcomers or “gentrifiers” that are taking over the area.
I know I questioned it, thinking they (the developers) were trying to make it sound like New York.
“The use of “Uptown” to refer to what is really part of downtown Oakland is relatively new and followed the city’s massive gentrification project to renovate the Fox Theater and build 10,000 new units of housing around Grand Avenue and Telegraph in the early 2000s.”
A couple of years ago, I decided to research the name a little more. I was reading an old report from the redevelopment agency from the 1980s and I saw a reference to the “Uptown District”. That got me to thinking and the rest is history.
A bit of history follows.
During the first fifty years of Oakland, the primary business activity centered around 9th and Broadway. The first map of Oakland, drawn in 1853, marked 14th street as the northern boundary of the city.
Businesses initially were built near the waterfront at 1st and Broadway. As transportation improved and the population increased, buildings moved further up Broadway.
A prominent sign of upward commercial advance was the completion of the First National Bank in 1908 at Broadway and San Pablo, along with the Cathedral Building and City Hall.
Uptown Historic District
The Uptown Historic District runs from 18th Street to 21st Street along Broadway at the north end of Oakland’s central business district. It includes three blocks of the triangular gore between Broadway and Telegraph Avenue, plus the Fox Theater on the west side of Telegraph and portions on the eastern side of Broadway at the 19th Street intersection.
The district represents a phase of the expansion of the central business district, in the 1920s and 30s. The new shopping and entertainment center was at the north end of the turn of the century downtown, anchored by the new Capwell department store and developed by Capwell’s 20th and Broadway Realty Company.
The district is an essential collection of small to medium scale commercial buildings of the 1920s and 30s, historic brownstone and terra cotta buildings from the 1920 and colorful Art Deco Terra Cotta from the 1930s.
Capwell’s, I. Magnin buildings, the Fox and Paramount Theaters, and the Flora Depot building are excellent examples of each of the styles.
Uptown the Beginning
In 1895 the Tribune’s new was located “Uptown.”
In the early 1900s as Oakland grew from the waterfront people started calling the area past 14th Street “Uptown.” By 1903 the area just below 14th Street was called getting crowded and the large mercantile businesses were reaching out for more space. They could only go uptown.
The real expansion uptown began in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Capwell’s was built in 1928.
Pioneers in “Uptown Oakland”
Smith Brothers new “Beautiful Uptown Store”
It was reported in the Oakland Tribune on March 24, 1936 that 19 new leases were signed in Oakland’s uptown business district.
In 1944 the new Hibernia Bank was built in “Uptown.”
After 17 years on 14th Street Walson’s moved “Uptown” to 2000 Franklin in 1968.
I could go on and on but I won’t.
There have been walking tours of the “Uptown District” since the early 1980s.
I like that the “old” name was used and not changed to something awful like the following:
“NOBE” is possibly the baldest and most obnoxious attempt to rename part of Oakland. Devised by realtors, the name is an acronym referring to North Oakland-Berkeley-Emeryville.”
East Bay Express
“Baja Dimond” This is a ridiculous name that some realtors have tried foisting on the part of the Fruitvale just below the Interstate 580 freeway across from the actual Dimond neighborhood. It’s the Fruitvale, not the Dimond.
East Bay Express
Just remember that Uptown is a part of Oakland’s History and they a linked in history.