R.L. Polk & Co.

Polk's Oakland (California) city directory (Volume 1928) online

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another achievement for aviation.










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A portion of the "^Vestern Harbor Front toiay. Albers Mills and Parr '
in the foregroinid. Compare with liU9 \'ie\v on opposite page.

The traffic department also must be congratulated upon completion of plans for a
Junior Traffic squad, already started with full co-operation of the School Department
and Oakland Safety Council, to aid in protecting children when crossing congested
streets in the vicinity of schools. This not only will instruct certain of our boys and girls
in the handling of crowds, but will react in bringing a "safety consciousness" to the mul-
titude of our growing school children. It also will relieve police officers now detailed to
such duty so that they may be placed in other protective service.


Plans for the modern lighting if Telegraph Avenue and of Franklin Street and other
arteries are now well under way, and these needed improvements will probably be com-
pleted before the end of the current fiscal year. I also at this this time wish to urge the
lighting of Fourteenth Street from Broadway to the western waterfront, the system to
continue down to the automobile ferry slips at the end of West Seventh Street. It would
be well, also, if Fourteenth Street, now being us'ed as a route to the auto terries by a
much greater percentage than West Seventh Street, were protected by "boulevard stops."
Seventh Street Viaduct

In this connection, also, let me state that the need, from the city's point of view, of a
subway or viaduct where the Seventh Street auto ferry route crosses the Southern
Pacific local tracks, is steadily diminishing because of the shorter and speedier traffic
artery furnished by West Fourteenth. I still believe such a safety crossing should be
built, however — though I am of the firm conviction that its costs should be borne entirely
by the Southern Pacific Railroad, whose operation creates the hazard.


Recent controversy between Alameda County authorities and the City Physician con-
vinces nie of the need of a new hospital for Oakland alone. The County Emergency Hos-
pital, in the rear of the Hall of Records on Franklin Street between Fourth and Fifth,
while efficiently manned, is small and too far from the average scene of accident. A
central City Hospital should be constructed, with at least two branch emergency treat-
ment stations, one centrally located with respect to East Oakland and another with re-
spect to Northwest Oakland. Such facilities, with new, more comfortable and speedier
police ambulances, would undoubtedly save many lives that in future might be lost,
through hemorrhage or other injuries requiring immediate care, in the long trip now
needed from outlying districts.

At the same time, with such a central hospital entirely our own and independent of
Alameda County, access might be had to its facilities by any citizen upon certification


by the City Physician. The present Highland Hospital, an Alameda County project, cost
In the neighborhood of $3,500,000.00. Of this amount the City of Oakland contributed
practically two-thirds, or $2,275,000.00. Nevertheless I am informed that the placing of
an Oakland city patient therein costs the City of Oakland something like $30.00 per day
- — and I am also informed that it is increasingly difficult for our City Physician to enter
Oakland patients even under these conditions. It is my opinion that the City of Oakland,
paying nearly 65 per cent of the Alameda County taxes, should have allocated for her
own use at least one wing of this county facility. The entire situation, however, again
points out the necessity of Oakland owning and maintaining similar institutions of her
own. It furthermore strongly indicates again the necessity of Oakland's separation from
Alameda County and forming — as for many years I have advocated — a "City and County
of Oakland." On this latter governmental plan I will dwell more in detail later.

More than incidentally, at this point I wish to commend recent action taken, by
Council upon Its advocacy by the Commissioner of Public Health and Safety; namely, the
consolidation of the two positions of Health Officer and City Physician and placing the
Health Department in the hands of Dr. Charles R. Pancher. This has resulted in the
saving of one salary and in the expediting of public health measures with more efficiency
than in the past. The city is also to be congratulated upon obtaining the services of Dr.
Fancher, who combines high professional ability with the practical consideration nec-
essary to governmental service. He is taking an interest in city health and medical
work far above the average, as the record of his combined departments gives ample


Oakland's Recreation Department, though operating under a much diminished budget
during the past year, has under the able leadership of its Superintendent, R. W. Robert-
son, maintained its high standard. With the expiration of the term of Mrs. Evelyn
Robertson last July 1st, and the mid-year resignation of Dr. Zales due to press of private
business, I appointed Mrs-. Nellie Anton and Mi-. Joseph N. Steiner to fill the vacancies.
The city's thanks go to Mrs. Robinson and Dr. Zales for their high-charactered service.

Oakland can be proud of this department's activities. Despite the reduced budget,
other economies were put in force by the department that gave the city during the past
fiscal year the following improvement:

1. Six new whaleboats and 12 rowboats on Lake Merritt.

2. Construction of a traveling theatre.

3. Six new handball courts.

4. Hardwood floors installed in three gymnasiums.

5. Four new horseshoe alleys in Mosswood Park.

6. Many new costumes for costume department.

7. Fencing of the New Century Playground.

8. Painting and repairing in most community houses.

9. Installation of water supply systems, doubling capacity, in both Mountain
Camps. Addition of hickory furniture to both camps-.

10. Planting of 350 trees and shrubs, in co-operation with Park Department, on
the Municipal Golf Course.

11. New caddy house, power mowing machines and other equipment at Golf

12. Addition of a full time man to carry on recreational work in the Industrial
Athletic Association, and an increase in facilities to care for several new In-
dustrial organizations.


View of Oakland Inner Harbor, showing spacious turning area and docking facil-
ities entirely free of heavy seas.

Attendance at various department facilities during 1927-2S follows:

Lake Merritt Boat Houses 86,000 using lioiUs

Chabot Golf Course 54,000 players

Playgrounds 1.730,167 total attendance with 60 playgrounds open

Total Gross Income from Golf, Camps and Boats $71,000

The Christmas Pagent, annually given in the Municipal Auditorium in co-operation
with the School Department, achieved another success in this past year. Two thousand
children participated and each of the two performances was attended by capacity houses
a total audience of over 18,000 persons. The May Day Festival, likewise a joint affair,
was carried out in Lakeside Park with over 5000 citizens in attendance.

The two municipal mountain camps, one in Tuolumne and the other in Plumas
County in the High Sierras', were practically full to capacity on opening day in June of
this year, with many hundred on the waiting list. The time is shortly coming when the
city will need another camp, and I would advocate at least one of these closer to the city.
Several locations are available, in the Santa Cruz mountains, in Sonoma County, and on
the coast. Transportation would be cheaper to such camps, and working members of
households could visit camping families during week-ends. An all-year highway has been
promised through the Feather River country, which will make possible entrance to the
Feather River camp for Winter Sports, which would add another feature to Oakland's
recreational facilities. The department has published several excellent pamphlets on its
mountain camps and general recreational service. Of these 46,800 were printed. Copies
have been sent to all cities, and Oakland received most favorable publicity through them.

Installation of a deep well and independent water supply system in Sequoia Park is
an outstanding achievement of the Park Department during the year. This facility will
be invaluable in case of summer fires originating in the hills which might threaten the
thousands of redwood trees and the rare Oakland Zoo animals that are features of this
great park.

Here it must be noted that three young Oakland redwoods, grown in Sequoia Park
under the direction of Mr. Lee Kerfoot, Superintendent of Parks, I sent with his and the
Park Board's co-operation to Mayor George E. Cryer of Los Angeles upon completion of
the latter's city's magnificent new City Hall. These Mayor Cryer himself planted in the
parked area before the municipal building, and the publicity both Oakland and Loe
Angeles received therefrom was worth thousands.

Changes in Park Board personnel Include my appointment of Mr. Roger Coit, promr
irent Oakland hotel and business man, vice Mt. Edgar M. Sanborn, who resigned in the
late spring of last year. At this point I wish to emphasize to the people of Oakland the
high calibred service of Colonel Charles 1. Anderson, whom I appointed to the Park


Feeding the wild duties on the shore of Lalie Meiritt. Miu-h li:is
tions thiough the bandina of thousands of thes

Board to fill a vacancy occurring some time before. He has devoted much thought and
energy to Park affairs ever since appointment, though giving his time, as' do all mem-
bers, gratis. His service has ever been with a complete understanding that money spent
by the Park Board is the taxpayers' hard-earned money and must be expended only in
worthy projects and with an eye toward eflicient economy in its use. At the same time he
is enthusiastic in Park work and his recommendations always practical and thoughtful.
He is an outstanding example of the type of public servant that our growing city needs,
and I wish in this writing to make public acknowledgment of that fact.

In addition to the new Sequoia Park water system, other major improvements in this
department are:

1. Replacement of rustic fence at Mosswood Park.

2. Construction of Concession Building in Lakeside Park near the Duck Pen.

3. New well at DePremery Park to replace the old one, which caved in.

4. Relaying walks' and constructing benches in Lincoln Square and in Jefferson
Square — made necessary by the building of playgrounds in these parks.

5. Construction of rock retaining wall and re-surfacing walks in Linda Vista Park.

6. Regrading and re-surfacing the grounds around the Zoo.

7. Replacement of rock wall at various points around the Lake.

8. Thinning out trees and clearing out underbrush in Sequoia Park.

9. Construction of new Lion cage at Zoo.

Here, incidentally, since jurisdiction of Lake Merritt particularly pertains to the
Park Department, I wish to advocate the continuation along Lakeside Drive of the stone
embanlanent now bordering the Lake on Harrison Street. This also I will mention later
on under the head of "Recommendations."


I wish at this time, however, to repeat and emphasize a recommendation I first
brought up in 1919, and which I have urged for the Council's most earnest consideration
in practically evei-y annual message since. I refer to the necessity of cleaning the waters
of Lake Merritt, and to the demand for the establishment of a Municipal Swimming
Pool therein. This is a matter, too, which from the fire hazard standpoint of our entire
business and industrial district should have the advocacy of every taxpayer and citizen.

Lake Merritt should and can be maintained at maximum purity by bringing to it, via
pipe line and high presure salt water fire fighting conduit and pumps, the clean, high-
tide ocean water of San Francisco Bay. In my message of 1923 I stated that "bringing
in this water, which can be accomplished at a relatively low cost from the deep water of
the western waterfront at the end of Fourteenth Street, will not only provide athletic
clubs with clean salt water for plunge, bath and other purposes, but will permit the
hot'3ls of our city to take advantage of the supply. The greatest benefit, however, would
be the provision for a continual flow of clean salt water into Lake Merritt. delivered to
the Lake through a series of electrically lighted cascade fountains' erected at strategic
points. The present Estuary opening will then be used for an outlet only."







», '■ ., :'. ^


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Oakland Municipal Auditorium on the south shore of Lake Merritt

In addition to supplying clean water for the Lake, thus eliminating danger of stagna-
tion, this plan would carry out the project of teaching our school children to swim. Sand
for Lake beaches could be brought in at a minimum cost, and bathing houses of an
architecture blending with the Lake parking constructed for the convenience of all our
public. The Lake could then be used for international swimming contests and acquatic
events for which our citizens must now avail themselves of the facilities of adjacent
cities, spending their money in such localities when it should be spent in Oakland. That
such a swimming facility would be appreciated even by those people who have swimming
facilities directly on San Francisco Bay, is clearly Indicated by the fact that govern-
ment tests of the temperature of Lake Merritt water show it to have an average annual
temperature some 12 degrees warmer than the waters of the Bay.

Another advantage would be the Lake's greater value in the making of motion pic-
tures. Some years ago two Hollywood firms us'ed the Lake for water scenes in a picture
of college life, but the bathers were so fouled with the impure waters that they have not
returned. With clear water for such use Lake Merritt scenes would be broadcast to all
the world.

Another point of inestimable value would be that with fresh salt water continually
flowing down the Lake and out into the Estuary, there would be developed a fishing
ground of great recreational value. At the time I first gave publicity to this' plan, I had
an offer from a man in Pittsburg, Contra C!osta County, to supply at least one ton of
live striped bass for the Lake each month. The State Fish and Game Commission would
also co-operate in keeping the Lake stocked with the fish. Not only our adult sportsmen
would be supplied with sport without leaving the confines of Oakland, but our school
boys and girls could also thus be taught, not only swimming, but the essentials of sports-
nianship as pertaining to fish and game. Added thousands of wild fowl now wintering on
the Lake would also be attracted by the clear water. In addition to the pleasTires added
for Oakland people. Lake Merritt beautification and its use for acquatic sports and fish-
ing would be of incalculable value from the advertising standpoint. Another factor lower-
ing the actual taxpayers' cost of such a system, would be the reduction of insurance
rates following the completion of the high pressure salt water system with its un-
limited supply and the higher value of salt water for fire fighting purposes.


The Durant property should be an Oakland park. I long have advocated ib purchase.
Three years ago Cliff Durant himself offered this home property to the City a le.-s than
the then market price — 500 acres for $350,000. It contains 150 acres already IcHtitifuUy
parked with one of the nation's finest collections of rare trees; it has its owi. i; Ivpen-
dent water supply; it would require but little expense to convert it into one of the
finest parks in the country and one available not only to East Oakland — which badly
needs such a facility — but to the entire City. The other 350 acres, practically contiguous
to our present Municipal Golf Course, would have furnished sufficient land for a secnn4
golf course and a municipal playground. I even engaged the late Luther Burbsnk :> in-
spect this land — yet despite his enthusiastic report the then Council turned the i' : ' ii. •(
down three times; though Mr. Durant's generous offer was twice repeated, -^.w tji^.
owners ask over a million dollars for the same acreage.

A petition to create an ass-essment district in that section was circulated dvrlae the
year, but failed for want of proper signatures. I believe in buying this tract — but i be-
lieve firmly that the cost should be borne by the entire City and not by a smaller dis-
trict. Later on in this message I shall discourse briefly on a proposed city-wide bind
issue and this matter will appear again.



The Municipal Band is an adjunct of the Park Department, and I am happy to see
that it is giving excellent service to the people who every Sunday come by the thousands
to Lakeside Park to listen to the open air concerts under the efficient baton of Director
Herman Trutner Jr. Captain Trutner was for years Bandmaster of the 13th Infantry
Band, as was his father before him, and is an accomplished musician who can handle
practically every instrument in the band himself. I would recommend that s-uiBcient
funds be placed in the Park Department Budget to allow band concerts practically every
week in the year, during sunny days in Lakeside or other parks, and on rainy days in
the Municipal Auditorium.

In this connection I believe that the wisest means of funding the Park Department
is by appropriating it, through Charter provision, a set number of cents on the tax levy
each year. This would allow department heads to look ahead in the matter of land
purchase and lay aside annual amounts to such account. It would thus also provide for
normal increase of annual funds in proportion to the assessed valuation of Oakland
property. On this matter, under recommendations, I shall have further to suggest.


The Library Department, under the supervision of Librarian John B. Kaiser, has
maintained its efficiency and inaugurated many developments that add greatly to this
important municipal service. In the Library Board itself one vacancy occurred, to which
I appointed Charles W. Fisher, an attorney and member of a well known Oaklandi

I wish to convey to Mr. Russell Lowry, whom Mr. Fisher succeeded, my highest ap-
preciation of his seiTice to the city while acting on the Library Board.

The Library Department is growing rapidly and the public more and more demand-
ing its various services. During last year it circulated over 1,100,000 books from a col-
lection of approximately 150,000. More than 63,000 persons now hold Oakland Library

There is great need for a new Central Library building. The present one, at Four-
teenth and Grove Streets, was erected by Andrew Carnegie in 1901. Long since it has
outgrown these quarters, with the result that it is costing the city many thousands
annually in rental of adjacent buildings' for reading rooms and storage houses. The
inclusion of a new Library Building in an early bond issue is practically mandatory.


It is my belief, however, that adequate museum housing is a more immediate need
at this time than is a new library building.

For years I have advocated construction of a Mus«um Building more befitting the
metropolitan era this city is entering, at one time making a budget appropriation of
$100,000 to start the work and allowing for two more annual similar appropriations for
its completion. I appointed a committee of thirty representative citizens, headed by ex-
Congressman Joseph R. Knowland, to make a comprehensive and forward-looking plan
for the construction. But when the committee report came in the money had been shifted
by the Council to other uses.

In this connection let me mention the necessity for a Budget Control Officer who
would be empowered to prevent such Illicit transfers of budget money. On this matter I
will discourse in more detail under the head of "Recommendations."

The museum situation is a most unsatisfactory one. We possess exhibits that any city
in the country would be proud to have, and the Henry Snow African and Arctic collec-
tions' are without rival in the entire world. They are among the greatest assets the Oak-
land School Department as well as the general public has for its educational advance-
ment — but they are housed in antiquated residence buildings entirely inadequate from

.ttion Department activitie.s on Lake Merritt. in cot
ment. Practically every school in the

;id School Depart-


The "Heart of Oakland," looking- westward

TOSS the eastern ai-m of Lake Merritt. i^a
ment house district; cupola of City Hall ii:

the Standpoints of setting, exhibition, lighting and fire protection. I most strongly urge
that action be taken upon this vitally needed improvement during the coming fiscal vear
It IS unfortunate that, among Oakland's many men of wealth, not one has so far "been
public spirited enough to build at least a wing of such a museum building as a donation
to the people among whom he gained his riches.


Through efficient work of this department the city buildings are iu better condition
and appearance than at any other time in the past decade. At a cost of some $3000 the
City Hall Itself was washed, acid being necessary to eradicate the grime and soot de-
posit of many years. It now presents a fine appearance of which our citizens can be

Many alterations' inside the hall were made during the year The Civil Service De-
partment was transferred to the main floor formerly used by the Tax Collector's depart-
ment but now available due to the consolidation of our assessment and tax collec-
ll°"/«"*^'*°J' '^"'^ ^^^' °f '•'^ County of Alameda. The old Civil Service quarters on the
third floor have been remodelled and are now being used by the Recreation Department
Alterations were made of quarters vacated on the fourth floor by the Recreation De-
partment, the space now being used by the Building and Plumbing Departmentst re^
f," «°,fv."l ™°'? '^'pcient service to the public. Additional rooms were partitioned off on
the fifth floor for better accommodation of the Legal Department, whose work has been
greatly augmented through public service developments. On the ninth floor other altera-
tions were made to accommodate increased staff of the License Inspection and Collection
Department, following passage of the comprehensive business license ordinance

Outside of the City Hall the most notable achievements of the Public Works Depart-
ment were three: construction of a new type of fire house in the Morasia District instal-
lation of a hardwood wainscoting in the entire corridor of the Muni'cipal Auditorium
and construction of a demountable sectional stage and sloping floor for the Auditorium
arena, through generous co-operation of the Chicago Grand Opera Company Manv
changes were also made in some twenty-five flre houses, police stations, the pound, and
library, adding to their efliciency, comfort and better appearance; while, with co-opera-
tion of the Street Department, better facilities for automobile parking were completed
adjacent to the Auditorium.

The Moraga Fire Hou.=,e is outstanding and unique in appearance and design, and
has won admiration and discussion throughout the country. A photograph of it appears
on page 26. It is built of pre-cast reinforced concrete frames, a notable departure from
usual custom; and is equipped with every modern convenience, gas stove, instantaneous


cnvie residential and apait-

water heater, steel lockers, hose drying tower, wall beds, etc. Not only is it an efficient
station, but its cost, $22,S26, has been largely returned in the national advertising gained
through its most modern and unique characteristics.

The new wainscoting in the Auditorium facilitates the re-location of equipment with-
out damage to walls as previously often occurred, and also adds greatly to the appearance
of this much-used public facility.


The coming of the Chicago Grand Opera Company to Oakland marked a distinct for-
ward step in Oakland's progress as a theatrical city. After consideration of the facilities

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Online LibraryR.L. Polk & CoPolk's Oakland (California) city directory (Volume 1928) → online text (page 5 of 432)