Sidewalk maker: Ed Doty

Edwin “Ed” Doty was a major maker of Oakland and East Bay sidewalks, doing business with his son Abraham “Abe” for many years as Ed Doty & Son.

Doty was born in Canada in 1862 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen, but he gave conflicting information about his parents and the year he immigrated. His wife’s name was Lizzie and they had one child, Abraham (1908-2003). Ed died in 1931.

The 1909 directory lists him at 1687 26th Avenue, but the address changed to 2487 by the 1920 census. It’s a nice place; I’ll show it to you farther down.

A glass paperweight made by Ed Doty & Son, recently listed on eBay, contains the text “Trademark of Concrete Since 1907” and the address 3481 26th Avenue.

I’ve found “Ed Doty” sidewalk stamps in Oakland dating from 1923 to 1945, in a variety of configurations. The original imprint looked like this:

From 1928 to 1931 the Doty stamp looked like this, with larger letters:

Or this, with a dot in the date instead of a dash.

Starting in 1932, they looked like this, distinguishable by the shape of the “E” and the “O”:

At some time in 1937 the firm switched to a new design that incorporated the “concrete master” number. It used number 16 from then until March 1938:

Starting in April 1938 it used number 17. I speculate that Abe Doty had to replace his master finisher for some reason and needed a new number.

All along, the firm also kept using the original stamp, but with hand-drawn dates:

Here’s the Doty house. Of course, Doty laid most of the concrete on the block, replacing work by the earlier generation like Stevenson.

The driveway is gorgeous, as concrete driveways go. There’s a little panel on the corner bearing a small child’s hand and foot prints. And here, in the entryway, are some more.

In writing this post, I realize that there are details about the stamps that I need to clarify, so look for updates in the comments every now and then.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: