Bay City Iron Works


Oakland has many old businesses that have left their mark on the pavement. This marker for Bay City Iron Works is at 475 4th Street, a building that houses Ion Cars today. But the marker says, “Since 1885.” Perhaps this was its first home.

If you look up the company’s name today, Google points you to an empty lot at 2897 Chapman Street, in Jingletown. But the company’s earlier home was near the docks, at the corner of 3rd and Washington Streets (221 Washington). See this family biography of Harry Melville Thornally, who used to work there, for photos and letterhead of the place. In The Iron Age issue of October 3, 1901, the firm is reported to be in the process of building it. Today the sign on the building says “Parker Electric Mfg. Co.” I’m not sure what this website has to do with it, but check it out.

Alameda County, the Eden of the Pacific; the Flower Garden of California (Oakland Tribune, 1898) says of the firm, “The enterprise is located at 521 to 525 Third Street. It turns out all kinds of agricultural work, general jobbing in machine work, threshers, machine engines with straw-burning boilers, and irrigating pumps of the M. B. Schutzell design.”

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