Sidewalk maker: Jacobs and Pattiani

This stamp was made by a general contractor, not a sidewalk maker. It’s on Martin Luther King at 15th Street, in front of the building newly occupied by Flax Art & Design. However, Jacobs and Pattiani was the contractor of record for the Claridge Hotel building across the street, so maybe that’s the connection.

Harold B. Jacobs (1894-1948) was a contractor from a wealthy Alameda family who lived on Holman Road in Trestle Glen. But Alois W. Pattiani (1893-1966) had the eye-catching name, thanks to his father.

Alfred Washington Pattiani (1855-1935) was best known as a fashionable architect-builder around the turn of the last century. As Christian Olson of edificionado puts it, “Alfred Pattiani was the builder of choice for the moneyed class in the East Bay for many years. His grand Victorian homes dot the oldest parts of Berkeley, Oakland, and most notably Alameda where his office was located.” The Berkeley Daily Planet published a story in 2006 about the maniacal restoration of a Pattiani house.

Born in Ohio of cultured Bavarian parents (his grandfather changed the family name from Fahrnbacher upon emigrating to the U.S.) — his father C. Alfred was a daguerrotypist and his mother Eliza a noted composer — Alfred Pattiani spent most of his life in the Bay area. Alois grew up in the family home at 1521 Central Avenue, Alameda, and worked for a while for his father. Sometimes he signed his name “Junior” despite not quite sharing his father’s name.

The Jacobs and Pattiani firm is listed only in the 1928 directory, at 337 17th Street. Alois Pattiani lived in San Francisco at the time, but he moved to Oakland and later lived at the north end of Bryant Avenue. There are reports of the firm doing business from 1928 to 1932, but its name disappeared from the directories.

I have found two Jacobs and Pattiani marks in Oakland, both in front of brick buildings. The other one is at 450 24th Street, perhaps Oakland’s prettiest Auto Row brick structure. See it here.

5 Responses to “Sidewalk maker: Jacobs and Pattiani”

  1. Paul T. Roberts Says:

    Andrew: I am really impressed with your Oaklandunderfoot web site – lots of great content and a resource to help people understand our history and surroundings! You have done a tremendous amount of work on this – congrats!

    I wanted to provide a little more information on Jacobs and Pattiani. This Pattiani is actually Alois W. Pattiani, not his father Alfred W. Pattiani who you well describe in your blog. Alois build some houses in Sacramento in 1925-1926 and then teamed up with Jacobs as general contractors for a range of buildings in Oakland, circa 1927-1932. They were the general contractors for the Salvation Army’s Evangeline young women’s residence (which is now the Claridge) in 1930-1931. Maybe that is why their sidewalk mark is across Grove (now MLK)? They did build a number of brick commercial buildings similar to the Flax building across the street, but I have not documented that building as one they built. They built 442 24th (the other place where you noted one of their sidewalk marks) for Western Auto in 1929.

    Keep up the great work; take care.

    Paul Roberts

  2. Andrew Alden Says:

    Thank you SO much for this information! I have edited the post.

    Please comment on any other post you care to, because that’s what this blog is about: building a great resource.


  3. Rand Careaga Says:

    Many years ago—I’m talking mid-eighties here—there was an interesting article on the subject of local sidewalk stamps in the “East Bay Express.” I mentioned it to my then-spouse, who turned out to have been slightly acquainted with the author. Would that have been you, I wonder?

    As others have said, keep up the good work.

    [It was probably about Lincoln Cushing; see the link on my front page. — Andrew]

  4. Paul Roberts Says:

    Yes, that was not me; probably Lincoln Cushing, per his website (Great job Lincoln – keep it up!). I was doing research on and giving lectures on Alfred W Pattiani at that time.

  5. Sue Says:

    To Rand Careaga …

    Thanks much for your clarification …

    Doing some genealogy and found my mother in law living at/in Evangeline Hotel in 1932 as an unmarried 24 year old seamstress … This was such a lovely find .. as I could find nothing else … Have never been to the Claridge but will check it out sometime soon ..

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