Sidewalk maker: Gus Peterson

1717 Fairview Street, Berkeley

This handsome stamp on a concrete wall is the best mark left by August “Gus” Peterson. His sidewalk stamps are rare and poorly preserved; only one has a date (1914) in all of Oakland. It looks like there ought to be more in Berkeley.

Peterson was born in Sweden in 1880 and came to the US in 1903. The 1905 directory lists him at 3132 King Street, and in 1909-10 he was listed at 3130 King.

The 1910 census had him and his wife Signe, another Swedish immigrant, and their infant daughter Ruby living at 3132 King. The 1920 census found them and Ruby at 993 56th Street along with son Robert, Gus’s brother John and two Swedish lodgers. The 1922-24 directories list him living at 5979 Telegraph Avenue. At the time of his death, in 1926, he lived at 5205 Genoa Street.

He’s hard to trace in the newspapers because his name was a common one. In the listings I cite here, he was identified as a cement worker and/or married to Signe.

Five years ago, a commenter identified himself as Peterson’s grandson. Apparently Gus’s son Robert died without issue, so the line must go through Ruby.

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