Archive for the ‘ Streetscape’ Category

Contra Costa Water Co.

31 August 2020

521 55th Street

This is a good example of Oakland’s oldest water infrastructure. The Contra Costa Water Company was founded in 1866 by Anthony Chabot, a name you may recognize. It was Oakland’s largest water provider until its demise in 1907, when it merged with the Oakland Water Company to form the People’s Water Company, marking the end of the city’s infamous water war.

This is the only piece of street hardware I’ve found that features the full name of the company. If you see any others, by all means post the location in a comment. These unsung bits of history grow scarcer every year.

Brass in the sidewalk

29 July 2020

1100 Broadway

The 1100 Broadway building, a splashy newcomer to downtown, has added a subtle touch of metal to the sidewalk out front in these thin strips of brass inserted between the pavement panels. Each one is a different length.

Vault lights, Old Oakland

19 June 2020

483 Ninth Street

When the 1870s-vintage buildings of Old Oakland were rescued and renovated, some updated versions of this 19th-century technology were installed to bring natural light into the subfloors on the west side of Ninth Street. These will probably not turn purple like the many antique examples around downtown/uptown like these and these.

OMECO Products

6 April 2019

Park Boulevard and 8th Avenue

The Oil Marketing Equipment Company was at 325 Fremont Street, San Francisco. It was run by an Atherton resident named Frank D. Mahoney. You could phone him at GArfield 1-5328.

The 1948 San Francisco directory lists it as “Manufacturers and Distributors of Specialized Equipment for the Oil Industry.” Its factory was at Dollar and Linden Streets in South San Francisco, on the railroad tracks. As of 1960, its factory was in Redwood City at 3524 Haven Avenue. It was listed in the San Francisco directory until 1962. All of those addresses are occupied by newer buildings today.

Fearey and Moll

17 August 2018

5345 Foothill Boulevard

This fabricator, owned by Robert Fearey Jr. and Charles Moll, was located on 40th Street next to the Key System tracks. More information and a photo were dug up by Gene Anderson for the Oakland Wiki.

Union Water Company

29 September 2017

The Union Water Company was a short-lived private water provider of the early 20th century that served a territory from Richmond to San Leandro. As of 1916, it got its water from a network of 103 wells near the Bay shore between Newark and San Pablo. Examples like this water-main lid, from the neighborhood of Codornices Park in Berkeley, must be quite rare.

Piedmont pavement fancywork

18 August 2017

On Cambrian Avenue, in eastern Piedmont, are some striking examples of the concrete worker’s artisanship. This whole end of town is paved with the same pattern of grooves and plaques, apparently emplaced by the J. H. Fitzmaurice company. Where Cambrian and Sandringham Road meet is this elaborate custom corner.

And nearby is a fine example of freeform finish work by August Casqueiro, marked with his “concrete master” stamp.

In all my years of documenting the maker’s marks, I neglected this aspect of sidewalk making. Time to collect a gallery, and maybe learn the names of these features.

Workers made the golden sidewalks, curbs and gutters by laying down a layer of colored slip on top of standard concrete, and then doing the fancy scoring and tiling. Red sidewalks are made the same way. The town of Piedmont diligently bevels off the sidewalks wherever the concrete becomes a tripping hazard, and that exposes the inside details.