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What Happened to Oakland’s Downtown? 13
Downtown Oakland…..Well folks, I’m sad to say that this term is a bit of an oxymoron. No, I’m not poking fun at it and I’m not attempting to abuse the priceless memories of those who grew up here. So why is it an oxymoron and what happened to whatever we refer to as downtown Oakland?
In 1872 the wilderness of a farming Oakland had a railroad, a railroad station and large house serving as a ticket agency and as the post office. Then realizing that local citizens needed stuff that the railroad could deliver to them, Mr. Bush built his store in 1877. It ultimately became the beloved Wigwam, the singularly iconic Oakland building of an entire generation. Oakland by 1877 was still a remote outpost of Franklin Township controlled by the pharos of Ridgewood. But, we nonetheless then had the magical and primordial stuff of being a center of commerce (or dare I say town?) unto ourselves. The germ of a town was growing in the wilderness among the farms of the Ramapo Valley. David C. Bush walked and worked the fields of his farm and he had a vision. He also had something secret in his pocket. Let’s just call it pixie dust.
Virtually every town in Bergen County, all 70 of them, were founded and developed around their railroad stations and their railroad stations gave rise and impetus to the development of their downtowns as business districts
Oaklanders had a different view of the world and what a main street ought to be. We built beautiful Victorian homes along Ramapo Valley Road near the railroad tracks and station. Yes, it is true that there were some businesses around the railroad tracks and station.
Obviously there was the Bush General Store built in 1877. And there were also the Oakland Hotel, the McNomee Store and the Lloyd store. And who can forget gun powder works with its own rail spur. Even the Calder residence was greatly expanded to become the Calderwood Hotel in the early 1900s. And we can still see the original Van Blarcum home which in time became the Van Blarcum Hotel, Annie Meyers house and ultimately the ’ Professional Building across from where the original Oakland RR station was. These were few and a mere core around the railroad tracks. Up and down Ramapo Valley Road within spitting distance of the tracks, Oaklanders built beautiful Victorian homes, not commercial buildings or stores. No one really knows why our founders chose differently from virtually all other communities. Perhaps it was intentional or maybe it was that they didn’t know better. Regardless, it was their vision for their town to be.
The point is that beautiful homes actually once dominated what we now consider ‘downtown’ Oakland. If there were stores and retail establishments instead of homes surrounding the railroad station, Oakland probably would not have suffered its architectural devastation or at least as much as it has. As Oakland grew, these homes became vulnerable and victims to ‘progress’.
THE WASTELAND OF STRIP MALLS
The Valley of Homes was soon to become the Wasteland of Strip Malls.
It was politics and the lack of vision of biblical proportions that did us in. And, I hasten to add the ‘times’ and apathy of Oakland’s citizens.
Up until 1956, Oakland was truly a Mayberry with not even a traffic light. Our population in 1950 was 1,817 souls and in 1960, it had exploded to 9,446, an increase of over 500%. New residents began to flood into Oakland particularly as Route 208 was beginning to approach our borders. It is said that between 1950 and 1960, over 300 new houses were built per year in Oakland. These new residents demanded the services and resources one might expect from a larger community.
Oakland didn’t have any shopping to speak of as everyone simply went to Pompton Lakes to purchase everything they needed. But while there was no real shopping, Oakland did have a lot of space (aka empty fields and homes) along Ramapo Valley Road in the center of town. These open spaces were the final remnants of Oakland’s agricultural past, ie, abandoned farms. Additionally, the shopping malls along Routes 4 and 17 were opening and causing devastation to local downtown shopping areas throughout the county. This sent a powerful message to the then mayor and politicians of Oakland.
One must add that it was the views and attitudes of the times embraced by the nation and by the citizenry of Oakland that greatly contributed to the destruction of downtown Oakland. The 1950’s was the period of post WW II when America ruled the world. Nuclear energy was on the near horizon and America’s march into progress was the rally cry of the day. Out with the old, in with the new. If one was to consider that the buildings, homes and hotels in downtown Oakland date to about 1895, they were only 65 years old in 1960. Although they were the stuff of architectural heritage, they weren’t antiques. They weren’t modern and they were vulnerable to profit and indifference.
Butcher Hotel on Ramapo Valley Road
THE BEGINNING OF THE END
An evil brew and confluence of malefactors in Oakland was emerging to initiate the devastation our downtown: An exploding population in a town with no shopping, the pending arrival of Route 208, a downtown composed mostly of ‘old’ wooden buildings and a populist attitude of progress at any price. Oh, and did I mention a mayor and council whose lack of vision was of biblical proportions? When the mayor looked at the retail devastation in the county caused by the shopping malls and mixed that view with the growing needs of his electorate, it was clear to him as to what was needed to be done.
We needed stores. But not clustered along narrow streets. We also needed parking and lots of it for the shoppers. We needed a large variety of different types of stores to attract and keep shoppers. And, all of this had to be centrally located. Our politicians of the mid 1950’s gleefully fondled the map of downtown Oakland looking for space to develop. What they found was the answer to the Oakland politicians’ dream the newly minted concept of strip malls. And so it was that in the short space of less than 10 years, Oakland went from no shopping to having no fewer than four large strip malls. And in doing so, our downtown was virtually destroyed.
In 1957 Oakland was to have a supermarket with additional stores. These factors combine to equal Oakland’s very first strip mall when we welcomed the Grand Union to town in what was to be later known as the Sears Shopping Center.
Although it’s location initially seems odd, consider that the entire 10 acres on the strip mall was once owned by the Ponds Church in 1924. The then mayor on January 30, 1955 in an incredible show of hubris made a presentation to the Elders of the Ponds Church. His agenda was to have the church building demolished and purchase the land because it was in the way of the soon-to-be new strip mall. He offered an alternative site in town as a swap. The Elders listened as politely as they could and after he left, immediately initiated plans to expand the church to its present size. It was the ecclesiastical equivalent of ‘Don’t let the door hit you in the butt’. Literally, thank God.
But the development of this new strip mall in 1957 consumed the last and only vacant property in the center of Oakland. Future additions to the inventory of retail stores would have to be at the expense of what was already here, ie, our cultural and architectural heritage. Oakland’s first new strip mall was a success. More, newer and bigger were the by-words of the day.
TOO MANY IS NOT ENOUGH
The nearest and obvious prime meat for development was the property of the Oakland Military Academy, an Oakland Victorian architectural icon whose core structure dated back to the late 18th or early 19th Century. The Academy was founded by John Sarcka in the 1930’s after Mrs. Calder passed away. Due to the success of the Academy, it needed additional space for barracks and for classroom training. As a result it began to successfully acquire almost every building adjacent to the Academy property along Ramapo Valley Road and even a few that weren’t.
After purchasing the Calderwood, Sarcka purchased the revered Oakland Inn on the Southeast corner of Ramapo Valley Road and Yawpo Avenue. With only two exceptions he then purchased every Victorian home on the east side of Ramapo Valley Road between Yawpo and Maple Avenue. He then acquired the Sanders property located on the North side of Yawpo Avenue containing two old, 2 story wooden apartment buildings behind the current Bank of America building. The Academy also owned a large house on the West side of Ramapo Valley Road located where the current Oakland Drugs is situated. It was called the Penny House.
Penny House (Moved from Ramapo Valley Road - 1966)
Hence the Academy property literally contained everything that a developer and politician could ask for: Massive space, a perfect location, ‘old’, disposable buildings and potential tenants. Permit me to add profits. Lust and greed know no bounds.
What follows a first hand verbal account of the event that led to the demise of the Oakland Military Academy. And it is from a person who got his information directly from John Sarcka: Sarcka’s lips to his ears and his lips to my ears.
It seems that shortly after the development of the first Oakland strip mall behind the Ponds Church, The Oakland Military Academy suddenly began to receive building code violations from the borough for plumbing, safety, fire, electrical, and so forth. Although Sarcka fixed the deficiencies, the repairs never seemed to be satisfactory and further deficiencies were even discovered. The volume of them, the suddenness of their discovery and the frequency of being cited was, let’s just say, very highly unusual particularly since Sarcka had great position and stature in Oakland at the time. The cost of the repairs to the many and growing number of code violations became massive and on-going and the costs were becoming prohibitive. Sarcka is quoted as asking why, “Why are they doing this to me? What do they want and what do they want me to do?” The probable and obvious answer was simply that ‘they’ just may have wanted him to sell out and move his academy someplace else. There was money to be made with the Oakland Military Academy property and Sarcka was in the way.
I ask the reader to reflect upon the fact that the Oakland Military Academy owned virtually all of downtown Oakland on the East side of Ramapo Valley Road. If the Academy is sold, abandoned and destroyed, so would each of every building that it owned. And that’s precisely what happened.
The Oakland Military Academy moved to Orange County, NY. Each building owned by the academy was destroyed, moved or ‘accidentally’ burned down. And Oakland’s downtown was devastated as a result. So much and too much of our architectural history and heritage was sacrificed for a strip mall and a parking lot.
MORE, MORE, MORE
And there were more malls to build, more of paradise to be paved and more parking spaces to create. Yes, there were more sacrificial offerings to the gods of progress.
Immediately adjacent to the brand new Copper Tree Mall were 2 fine Victorian houses coupled with a large expanse of property. They were the Nielsen House and the Kestler House and they impeded the march of progress. And so it was that a new strip mall was built, the A&P came to Oakland and these fine houses on Ramapo Valley Road succumbed in the process. Gone forever.
Nielsen House (Drug Fair Parking Lot)
And then there is one of the unkindest, heritage-destroying cut of all, one inflicted upon Oakland’s architectural heritage by one of our own, Art Seele.
In 1957 Mr. Seele was no longer a young man. For many years he owned the iconic and famous Seele’s Restaurant and Bar, a building whose roots extended back to about 1890 when it was first a private home and then a small hotel. It evolved into a bar and grille and adjacent to it was the locally famous Seele’s Confectionery ice cream parlor, a form predecessor to the Wigwam. It was located on the Northeast corner of Yawpo Avenue and Ramapo Valley Road. The destruction that was taking place in our beloved Oakland apparently gave him the idea that it was OK to join sacrificial orgy occurring in our downtown.
Seele's Bar (Was Oakland Hotel - 1947)
At first, he built his strip mall behind his bar but apparently that didn’t work. So, he demolished his iconic bar and grill in favor of parking spaces and re-opened his bar where Pete and John’s paint store is currently located.
Unfortunately, there’s more and most are Victorian houses sacrificed on the alter of commerce.
First there is the 1795 Becker House. Well, it seems that Oakland politicians eagerly approved the destruction of that house in favor of an Exxon gas station on the corner of Courthouse Place and Ramapo Valley Road. Think about it for a moment….A gas station in exchange for a 18th Century home built during a time when America’s Constitution was still being debated by a nascent nation. Then there was the Victorian home next to the McNomee house. The front of it was sacrificed to Ralph’s Pizza in the 1960’s. But that was not enough as the entire house was destroyed in favor of a bank building and parking lot that now stands in its stead. And then there was/is the Victorian house currently next to Oakland Drugs and recessed back almost behind the current Lukoil gas station. At one time it was curb side on Ramapo Valley Road. But, it seems that the then gas station owners needed to expand and also wanted more parking space. So, the house was literally picked up and moved away from the street to the point that it’s mostly obscured today.
Burt McNomee Home (Where Alpha Jewelers was and Nail Salon)
In the 1980’s the ghost of David C. Bush witnessed the destruction of his home on Ramapo Valley Road located immediately across the tracks from his railroad station. Over the years it changed hands several times and served many businesses until finally, it was razed. The property lay fallow until a developer decided that yet another strip mall was needed in Oakland. And so a new Walgreens, Starbucks and yet another bank were built upon the ashes of the farm and homestead of Mr. David C. Bush.
Bush Homestead Destroyed in 1981
Where there wasn’t destruction, there was the frontal modification of our classic homes on Ramapo Valley Road during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. Specifically, the ancestral McNomee home, then the Yeoman home and currently the ReMax Real Estate office, had its beautiful front porch torn off to add 2, single story cinder block stores in place of it. But, credit is due as the ‘house’ of the structure was repurposed, enhanced and beautified. Additionally, there was a small, very quaint butcher shop from the turn of the century on RVR that was moved about 50 feet back to make space for a cinder block box retail store now occupied by a hail salon. One must look very hard to discover it as it is currently part of a tire retailer.
NOTHING IS SACRED
The most severe insult to our most beloved downtown Oakland is saved for last.
The year was 1957 and Oakland definitely needed a larger post office. Oakland’s then leading politician looked around to find a suitable location for a new post office and sitting there was the original 1872 Oakland railroad station built by the residents of Oakland on land donated to Oakland.
It fit every criteria for official disposability and destruction: It was ‘old’, rail service was seriously declining, the station was in serious disrepair, it was owned by Oakland and, best yet, it sat on land owned by Oakland as the land was donated to Oakland by David C. Bush. It just doesn’t get any better for the greedy and the apathetic.
And so it was that the original Oakland railroad station of 1872, the edifice that singularly defined Oakland as a geo-political entity, put Oakland on the map and created our downtown area, was doomed to be replaced by a singularly ugly, one story building to serve as both our new post office and as a railroad ticket agency. To add insult to injury, that monstrosity itself lasted only about 25 years before it too was thankfully demolished. Now, the land is vacant and its vacancy stands out in our downtown like a missing front tooth. As a footnote, while our railroad station was literally in the midst of being demolished, a local newspaper reporter asked the then mayor of his thoughts. He responded that “Perhaps this just might be a mistake.” Unbelievable but true!
So, there you have it. In the short space of less than 10 years from 1957, the downtown of Oakland went from the valley of homes to the vast wasteland of strip malls: From a Victorian architectural heritage that could challenge the best in America to a disjointed mix of remnants of the former glory combined with faceless, characterless cinder block retail structures. All in the name of progress.
THE FUTURE IS YOUR CHOICE
The reader now knows what happened to our downtown and why it happened. But while no one can deny that we needed stores for our growing population, no alternative locations were ever considered as there was no sense of historic preservation for future generations. Also the words of downtown ‘charm and character’ were seemingly absent in entirety from the Oakland’s vocabulary and political lexicon of the day. Equally, it’s important to note that downtown Oakland still contains more 19th Century buildings than perhaps any other town in Bergen County in spite of the best efforts of our former politicians.
And in conclusion, I’ll say it again: The destruction of downtown Oakland was initiated and caused by a singular lack of vision of biblical proportions by our elected officials, the silence of our citizens and the greed of developers which combined to sacrifice our architectural heritage upon the altar of ‘progress’. Remaining today is just enough to sadly remind us daily of what used to be and the tragedy that ensued to permit what occurred. Is anybody angry yet?
Yet, questions remain. Specifically, what will become of our remaining treasured downtown buildings built during the 19th Century? Will greed and apathy win again or shall there be a collective will to preserve and enhance our treasures and our downtown? Will future generations of Oaklanders have only faded photos to remind themselves of what was and then to ask why? Will there be a downtown ‘redevelopment’ that obliterates all that remains of our treasures in the name of new progress as currently contained in Oakland’s Master Plan? It’s your call and your choice. Choose wisely while asking yourself if you care enough to care.
3 thoughts on &ldquo The Unauthorized Biography of the Founder of Oakland David C. Bush &rdquo
Growing up we had many members of the Bush family still living in Oakland, there must be Bush family members still there? Kevin you are a fabulous writer and make a story come alive!! Thank you
Thank you but you are too kind. To the extent that my writing is acceptable, I owe it to both my dad who was a truly great writer and to the subject matter of Oakland which I love so much. My writing here is such an enjoyable passion.
Thank you for sharing your historical knowledge of Oakland, and I hope you keep it going.
I remember the small train station before it was torn down and often
think that the space looks down at the heels. Some plantings would help what is now a barren area. If anyone is game to do it, please respond. Maybe we could
pull our efforts together and beautify Bush Plaza. Some pine trees or rose bushes in a semi circle, anyone?
Harrison Railroad Park
Southern Pacific Engine #2467
At Harrison Square (downtown, at 7th and Harrison Streets), there used to be … trains! It was called Harrison Railroad Park and was dedicated in 1967.
On July 26, 1960, Southern Pacific Engine 2467, the first of five giant retired SP Steam Locomotives, arrived at Harrison Railroad Park. Reading the following day’s Oakland Tribune article 1 , one can sense that the logistics and excitement that day were akin to Space Shuttle Endeavor being moved through city streets in Southern California recently.
The engine weighed 110,300 pounds. The move involved being piggybacked on a trailer, makeshift rails to unload the locomotive from the truck, and slowly winding its way through city streets as railroad buffs and passers-by watched all along the route.
There were also a number of railroad cars in the park:
- Coach Car - Western Pacific #302
- Baggage Car - Western Pacific #128
- Superintendent’s Car - Southern Pacific #121 “Western”
Additions to the park were planned (were they implemented?)
The idea for a Railroad Park was championed by District 3 City Councilman Howard Rilea, who had, incidentally, ridden this exact Locomotive (Engine 2467) from Fresno to Oakland on February 10, 1945, on its last run before being decommissioned. Rilea himself was a retired Railroad Engineer. His hopes for the park could be found in the last line of the Tribune Article 1 , “The display will provide a capsule history of the fascinating era of rail travel …”
Rilea may have selected Harrison Square as the site for the display because the first transcontinental railroad, completed in 1869, formerly passed by the Square on Seventh Street, then called Railroad Avenue. 3 However, back in 1958 Rilea had apparently tried to get a steam locomotive placed in Jack London Square. 4
”RAIL CAR ADDED TO PARK--Southern Pacific Supt. Albert C. McCann (center) turns over keys to plush superintendent’s car to Mayor Clifford Rishell as (from left) Carl O. Olsen of the SP, and Oakland Park District officials, Andre T. Fontes and W. Elwyn Dunstan, look on. McCann was last to use the special car.” -- Oakland Tribune, Friday August 5, 1960 page 28. End of the Line - They Moved A Railroad. Parade 11 - 13- 60 Oakland Tribune
Ain’t no trains there today. Look there now, there are some structures, and a sign reading “Welcome to Chinese Garden Park”. Oakland Councilmember Henry Chang had set out to convert the rolling stock into a history of the contributions of C hinese workers who came to California and helped build the transcontinental rail line across the United States. The rolling stock did not work for this purpose and were removed to make way for the current pagoda-style structure 3 .
During the 1980s, the “Friends of the #2467” group began the process of restoring the locomotive to operating condition. The locomotive was moved out of the park in 1990.
According to recollections on Trainorders.com, 2 the locomotive and railroad cars were given to different organizations:
- the Western Pacific cars are now at the Western Railway Museum at Rio Vista Junction
- the Southern Pacific superintendent’s/business car is at the Niles Canyon Railway undergoing restoration
- Engine 2467 was given to the Pacific Locomotive Association, which temporarily moved it into a warehouse on the Oakland Army Base where it was restored to operating condition. From there it was driven under its own steam to the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento
Nellie Wong wrote a book of poetry called Dreams in Harrison Railroad Park which was published in 1977.
Photo, Print, Drawing National Pike, [and tracks of] Western Maryland R. R., [along] C. & O. Canal, east of Hancock, Md.
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- Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-37403 (b&w film copy neg.)
- Call Number: SSF - Roads -- Maryland -- 1922 [item] [P&P]
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Contains photographs of the oakland Railroad station - History
This is an article that was published on December 17, 1991 and it is a History on Somerfield, Pennsylvania by: FRANCES BORSODI ZAJAC a staff writer for the Herald-Standard..The following is respectfully summited by Lawson L. Duckworth and the Old Petersburg-Addison Historical Society.
THE LITTLE TOWN WASHED OFF THE MAP
By now, the water is well on its way to covering up the triple arch bridge once again. Soon, it will reclaim the side walks, the foundations, the land that used to be known as the town of Somerfield, a little village that lived along the banks of the Youghiogheny until it was destroyed in the 1940's to make way for a new dam.
First demolished and then covered by water, the town remained forgotten, until this fall when 1991's drought became so severe that the water at Youghiogheny Lake had to be drained to feed area rivers for navigation and water supplies. As a result, the remnants of the little village of Somerfield appeared from the past.
People traveled from as far away as Washington, D. C., Virginia and North Carolina to see the village firsthand. "Everybody wanted to know about its history". said Tom Beggs, a member of the Old Petersburg-Addison Historical Society, which is striving to become the local experts on Somerfield and quickly sold over 500 photographs of the Bridge to visiting tourists.
"Its was gratifying to see so many people interested in the past", said Marshall Augustine, president of the Society.
Jack Cornish, whose family owned the Cornish Hotel in Somerfield, said of the crowds,"(After the story broke) there were over 4,500 people there the next Sunday and it's been that way ever since. People walked half a mile to get there. Even people in wheelchairs..It brought back a lot of memories for me, about the "Old Town" and being a kid and swimming on the river, canoeing on the river".
Jacob Speers, also known as Spears, was the first white man to own land in what later became the village of Somerfield, according to the Old Petersburg-Addison Historical Society.
Basing their research on the Books "Somerfield-Bedford Counties History" and "Somerset-Bedford-Fulton Counties" and interviews with former residents, the Society is preparing to publish a book on the area in time for "Old Pike Days next May".
Augustine, Beggs, Ruth Wirsing, Eugenia Younkin and Sarah Bartlett told the following story:
One of the first white men who crossed this area was George Washington, who made the journey in 1753-55 during early expeditions and with Gen. Edward Braddock.
Speers recieved a warrant on the land on April 17, 1769. He sold it to Philip Smyth in 1816. Not much is known about Smyth, except for a slur delivered by a traveler in a jounal who called the town's founder "a fat, irgnorant Dutchman".
Smyth, who had already owned a tavern in the surrounding Addison Township, laid out the town in 1818 as Smythfield. But the name had to be changed because there already existed a town called Smithfield in Fayette County.
The town grew with the creation of the National Pike, which ran through the middle of Somerfield. The town actually had only two streets: Bridge Street (which was Route 40 and ended at the triple arch Bridge) and River Road, which ran along the Youghiogheny River. In addition, there were a few alleys.
Across the river from Somerfield was the town of Jockey Hollow. Down the river was Watsondale. In all, the Army Corps of Engineers reports 10 villages were destroyed for the creation of the Dam.
On July 4, 1818, the Triple Arch Bridge was dedicated. It had been built by three men named Kinkaid, Beck and Evans, who were housed in a tavern built especially for them: the Youghiogheny House, which was later owned by the Endsley family and eventually run by the Cornish family as the Cornish Hotel.
Dedication of that bridge was a momentous occasion. President James Monroe, along with several members of his cabinet and other officials, turned out. Residents from all over the countyside were present.
The town grew and prospered with westward expansion. A number of Taverns or Hotels were built. Several stage coach lines had stops in the town, including the Good Intent Stage Company and Stockton Lines. Many stage coach drivers lived in the town.
By 1830, Somerfield had a Post Office with Dr. William Frye as the town's Postmaster and probably its first Physician.
But as the Pike came into disuse, the prosperity of the town declined. Books note the town took on a dilapidated appearance. Population fell to about 80 inhabitants, but there still was some commerce: two stores, one blacksmith shop, a spoke-factory operated by William Endsley & Son, one wagon shop, one cabinet shop, one boarding house and a Methodist Church.
Salvation came with the Confluence and Oakland Railroad, a subsidiary of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Once more, business and population grew. By 1893 when the town was formally incorporated as a borough, there were five stores in Somerfield, including Hook's Department Store. John W. Endsley was the first Burgess.
A number of Victorian-Style Homes were built during this time. There was also a bank: the First National Bank of Somerfield. Reports indicate a Tannery and Flour Mill were in operation and the town had an Elementary School. Residents prospered from the Lumber and Deep Coal Mining Industries just outside of town.
But it was the car that meant the most to Somerfield. That creation turned the little town into a Tourist Attraction as people sought out camping and recreation. Part of that recreation was gaming, which became a big part of town life during the 20's. Society members said Ray Montague ran a store where high-stakes card games were often played--with as much as $10,000 on the table at a time. Montague was also famous for serving up White Lighting. Mrs. Bartlett said he had the largest "Gin Mill" in the area.
On the more respectable side, the town was a favorite of Church Groups, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Somerfield also attracted United States Presidents. President Taylor passed through, Herbert Hoover reportedly dined at the Hook's Department Store and Restaurant as an ex-president.
President William McKinley actually spent six weeks in Somerfield each summer at the Youghiogheny Hotel, later known as the Cornish Hotel. He had family in nearby Somerset, including his niece, Mable McKinley, about whom a story still circulates in the area.
According to the story, Mable was playing in the Hotel with Gilbert Endsley when she threw a ball that went through a window above the door. The window was patched, but never replaced. It remained a memento of the occasion.
Somerfield also saw one of its own rise to prominence, James William Endsley, son of Willaim Gilbert and Julianne (Watson) Endsley, rose from the town's first Burgess to the States General Assembly in 1904 and 1906.
Endsley, a Republican, organized the Listonburg Coal Mine Company (of which he became Secretary and General Manager) and directed the Somerset County National Bank of Somerset, the largest financial institution in the County during its time.
But, as Transportation made Somerfield, it left it behind. Augustine said that at the turn of the Century, there were only five miles of paved roads in the County. People in cars traveled gravel roads. During the late 30's, these roads were paved, allowing people to drive farther and faster. Now, instead of staying in River Towns like Somerfield, people traveled farther to Grand Hotels and the Ocean.
Yet as Somerfield experienced this downturn, something else was in the works-an idea for a New Dam that would spell the end of the town.
Members of the Petersburg-Addison Historical Society said townfolk were upset to be losing their homes. Tempers flared at the mention of the name of "J. Buell Snyder", a Fayette County Congressman who pushed for the creation of the Dam.
Plans for the Dam did materialize. The Government bought the land and 176 people were forced to move. They dispersed in all directions. World War II slowed down plans for the new Dam, but by the mid-40's the town was demolished and flooded. Except for one house. Society members say it still stands as a two-story frame structure on the hill above the town. Once the summer home of a wealthy Pittsburg woman, it serves as the only reminder of a town that lasted through three centuries of American Life.
Contains photographs of the oakland Railroad station - History
History of Bedford and Somerset Counties
Chapter 30: Townships in Somerset County, Part Two
Note: There are three parts to this chapter: Part One | Part Two | Part Three
Jefferson township was formed in 1847 out of part of Somerset township. Its earliest history is practically that of the Somerset settlement, of which it was a part. Among the Somerset settlers who lived in what is now Jefferson township were James Allen, Adam Flick, Nicholas Barron, Peter and George Bucher. These were all here in 1783, some of them a half dozen years earlier. In 1784 their families numbered twenty-four persons.
It is quite certain that some of the Bruners lived here also. The wife of Nicholas Barron was Rachel Houser. Her parents lived near Morrison's Cove, in Bedford county, and had taken refuge there on account of an Indian alarm. When harvest time came, a party of men, women and young people went back to the farms to harvest some grain, but on their way were attacked by Indians, who shot down all the men of the party and made prisoners of all the rest, excepting Mrs. Houser, who escaped. The girl Rachel and an older brother were among the captives, and were taken to Logstown, an Indian village, on the Ohio river. After some years her brother escaped, but the girl remained a captive until a general release of prisoners was effected. After her return to civilization she became the wife of Nicholas Barron. Numerous descendants of hers may still be found in the county.
Peter Bucher, a noted hunter, lived on one of the Morrison farms. Conrad Shaullis was also a very early settler. As we do not find his name on the assessments prior to 1785, it is this writer's opinion that he did not come here until some time after the close of the Revolutionary war, in which he served, although it is claimed he was here much earlier. It is also a question whether the Shaullis family of Somerset county may not be descendants of Sebastian Shaullis, who was one of the first settlers in the present township of Brothers Valley, or at least of the same stock. The Gardners were also early settlers, but not much earlier than 1790, even if so early as that.
A man named Jones built a grist mill on Jones run about 1778, which was the first mill built anywhere in the ancient Somerset settlement. This mill, long since disappeared, was on the old Putman place. It was operated by William Jones, one of his sons, who necessarily would also have been one of Jefferson's earliest settlers. The Scotts came into the township before 1800, and the Barclays about 1803. Henry Baker, born in Somerset county, settled in Jefferson township in 1813, on a farm of 160 acres. On this farm he built a grist mill, and for those days a large distillery, which he operated for many years. The mill is still in use. Baker whiskey acquitted a wide celebrity, and its name at least has never been permitted to die out. It must be said, however, that this is one of the very few (perhaps the only one) of the oldest distilleries that has never entirely gone out of business. Henry Baker also kept a good tavern, prospered, and grew rich.
About his mill and tavern grew up the straggling village of Bakersville, which has always been the business center and postoffice of the township. Not believing in race suicide, Henry Baker reared a family of fourteen children, and was gathered to his fathers in 1863.
In 1847, when the township was organized, there were 101 taxables. Much of the township is mountain land, and the township has not made the same rapid advance in population that other parts of the county have. There are a Lutheran and a German Baptist church in the township, and nine schools.
Much work was done in Jefferson township, on the South Penn railroad, and its abandonment was a great disappointment to its people. The township is rich in coal, and as the newly completed Pittsburg, Westmoreland & Somerset railroad passes through its northern part, it is only awaiting the magic touch of capital to become a scene of bustle and activity.
TURKEYFOOT TOWNSHIP (UPPER TURKEYFOOT).
Turkeyfoot township was formed by the Bedford County Court out of part of Brothers Valley township at its July sessions of 1773. Its original metes and bounds were described as follows: "Beginning where the Chestnut ridge (the Negro mountain) crosses the line dividing this province from Maryland, thence along the summit of the said Chestnut ridge to where it crosses the Great road (Forbes), leading from Bedford to Fort Pitt thence along the said road to where it crosses the Quemahoning creek thence down the said creek to its junction with Stony creek, to the mouth of Little Conemaugh thence down Conemaugh to where the line dividing Bedford county from Westmoreland county crosses it thence along said line to the provincial line thence along the provincial line to the place of beginning."
This included all of the present townships of Addison, Middle Creek, Milford, Somerset, Black, Jefferson, Lincoln, Jenner, Conemaugh and nearly all of Quemahoning township, as well as the southwest corner of Cambria county. By the creation of these townships it was in time reduced to the present limits of Upper and Lower Turkeyfoot townships. The Castleman's river forms the southeastern boundary of Upper Turkeyfoot township, which extends in a southwest direction to the summit of Laurel Hill. The Laurel Hill creek flows through the middle of the township.
Among the early settlers in the township were John Cunningham, a native of Ireland Frederick Weimer, John Weimer, Jacob Younkin, Frederick Younkin, Henry Whipkey and Henry Grove. Some of these were here as early as 1779. Peter Gary and James Knight settled here about 1800.
A number of these early settlers were Irish, and from this circumstance we have the name of Paddytown, which is more a locality than a village. A postoffice has been here since about 1820, but under the name of Turkeyfoot. John K. McMillen is said to have been the first postmaster. David King was the postmaster in 1832. The first and probably the only tanyard in the township was operated here by John K. McMillen about 1820. The first grist mill in the township is supposed to have been built by Matthew Pinkerton, but we have no date. About 1840 it became notorious as the haunt of a gang of counterfeiters, some of whom were brought to justice.
Among other incidents in the history of the township was the drowning of four men in the Castleman's river, near Fort Hill, some time about 1837. John Heinbaugh, Jacob Vought,
John Case, and two others named Baer and Lindeman were at a sale somewhere in the township. The men were all young, and remained at night to attend some gathering of the young people of the neighborhood. There was a deep snow on the ground, and the day being warm it melted very rapidly. The parties lived in Addison township, and had crossed the river in a canoe. When they came to the river on the following morning, on their return home, they found it a raging flood. Some of their friends at the river attempted to dissuade them from attempting to cross the river when the water was so high, but they were strong and fearless, and made the attempt in their boat. When they were about three- fourths on the way across the boat was caught in an eddy, and the five men were thrown into the water. All of them were drowned except Lindeman, who was fortunate enough to reach the shore. The bodies of the unfortunate young men were recovered miles below, and buried on the Addison side of the river.
In 1855 a young man named Levi Wilkins, living on the famous Fort Hill farm, while attempting to cross the river on horseback from the Turkeyfoot side, after night, was swept from his horse and drowned. The horse, whose bridle had caught on a bush about a mile further down, was found in a starting condition some days afterwards, and the body of his rider was found still further down. A year later a Mrs. Bird and two children were drowned near the same place. When found the unfortunate woman had her babe clasped to her breast in death's embrace.
Kingwood is a small village of perhaps a dozen houses, that up to the time of the completion of the railroad along the river was the business center of the township, and in a certain sense it is so yet. The first dwelling house was built by Alexander W. Walter, in 1854. Two years later he erected a store building, and in time the village grew up around it. A. J. Shultz opened the first blacksmith shop about 1868. Jacob Kregar succeeded Mr. Walter in the store. The village has been a post town for about fifty years, and has two churches.
The village of Markleton is a small village on the railroad, seven miles west of Rockwood. It probably derives its name from Markle pulp works, which was established near by tin 1880, and which promised to develop into a great industry, but was abandoned at the end of two years. This little village nestles between the hills in one of the most picturesque spots along the Baltimore & Ohio railroad. It owes its chief importance to a large sanitarium. This institution is probably the second largest building of any kind in Somerset county. It is thoroughly equipped for its intended purpose, and certainly is a place where the invalid and seeker after health may find rest and quiet. This sanitarium has from its first opening, in 1800, enjoyed a high degree of prosperity. There is an electric light plant attached. This, on the night of November 21, 1903, was destroyed by fire in which M. O'Brien, wife and child were burned to death.
Little has thus far been done toward development of coal lands of the township.
Casselman borough was laid out in 1869 by L. L. Wolfersberger and David J. Phillippi, who owned the site of the town. The town was platted on a large scale, there being 385 lots, besides twenty-eight large outlots between the railroad and the river, intended for manufacturing sites. A public sale of lots was held, and a considerable number were disposed of, but the town has been very slow in building up. The first house was built by Levi L. Wolfersberger in 1869. The first store was opened by John R. Weimer in the same year. The town is a point from which considerable lumber, railroad ties, bark and charcoal are shipped. The land about it is also underlaid with coal. A mine was opened four or five years ago, miner's houses were built, and it looked as though the town would at last take a start. But the work suddenly stopped. The present population is estimated at 200. Casselman was incorporated as a borough in 1891. Charles Barnes was the first burgess. His successors have been: H. H. Wilt, William D. Zufall, C. C. Wilmot, L. L. Weimer, Charles Barnes, J. C. Liphart, William D. Zufall.
LOWER TURKEYFOOT TOWNSHIP
When Turkeyfoot township was divided in 1848, the southern part took the name of Lower Turkeyfoot. It is the central part of what in the early history of the county was known as the Turkeyfoot region. Its early region has already been dealt with elsewhere. The township is separated from Addison township by the Castleman's river. The flourishing boroughs of Confluence and Ursina are within its limits. The other villages are Draketown, Harnedsville and the new town of Humbert.
Draketown is situated about two and a half miles north of Confluence, and grew up about a grist mill that Oliver Drake, a pioneer settler, had built on the waters of Drake's run, about the close of the Revolutionary war. This mill was rebuilt by his son, Jonathan Drake, in 1812. It was destroyed by fire a few years later, and rebuilt in 1819. From Drake the mill passed to Thomas Ream, who was killed by a falling tree. A fulling and carding mill was also built here by Jonathan Drake at a very early period. About 1815 it was operated by John McCartney. These were the first industrial establishments in the township. The only other one the village ever had was a tannery established in 1854 by Hendrickson and Welsh. The Jersey church, the first Baptist church west of the Allegheny mountains, is less the two miles west of the village.
Harnedsville, in the southern part of the township, was laid out by Samuel Harned about 1847. Its location is in a beautiful valley and near the point where the first Jersey settlers are supposed to have crossed the river as they entered what to them was "the promised land." The original plat of the town shows that fifty-three lots were laid out, of which about twenty-five up to the present time have been built on. The village nurseries, which lie just outside of the town, were first started Harrison H. Kemp in 1857. Under the management of his sons, who were brought up in the business from childhood, they have grown to be of considerable importance. Over sixty acres of land are set out and are stocked with upward of a million and half of all sort of trees.
At Kutztown, a small village near Ursina, the house of a man named Lytle was destroyed by fire March 20, 1902, and two children were burned to death. v The site of Ursina is a farm that was improved by Andrew Ream, one of the first Jersey settlers. Arrows and spearheads and other evidence of Indian occupation are found here to this day. There is also evidence that a stockade for defense against the Indians was built on this farm.
The town was laid out in 1868 by Hon. William J. Baer. The surveyor was R. J. Botzer, a civil engineer. Its name is a derivative of the word "bear" in Latin. The town is located in the narrow valley of the Laurel Hill creek, about two miles about its junction with Castleman's river. The town was platted on both sides of the stream, and on the original plat there are 1,464 lots and out-lots- enough for a fair-sized city. The town, however, never attained the size its projector had hoped for, thereafter the town grow quite rapidly.
The first house was built in 1868 by Ephraim S. Kregar as a hotel, known as the Sycamore House. The first store was also built and opened in 1868 by Isaac A. Jenkins. An extensive foundry was also built by Alexander Stutzman and Noah G. Keim, but was only operated a few years. A gristmill was built in 1871, and the same year a stave factory was put in operation by Norman B. Lichtiler this was afterward converted into a keg or barrel factory. A railroad was built along the North Fork in 1872 for the purpose of reaching coal lands along that stream, but the enterprise was abandoned and the track torn up. It was rebuilt in 1902 and a second attempt is being made to develop this coal field, which lies partly in Upper and partly in Lower Turkeyfoot townships.
A two-story brick schoolhouse was built in 1872 at a cost of $7,000, which at that time was probably the best in the county. The place has a thriving Odd Fellows' lodge and a Grand Army post. There are also two churches and one hotel. The town in recent years has had a very slow growth it present population is estimated at 450.
The present residence of Noah Scott, in the northern outskirts of the borough, was the scene of the famous battle between Major Alexander Hanna and five of the McClintock boys, which took place at a mustering in 1828. Major Hanna was a man of prodigious strength. His assailants, all powerful men, but knowing they could not cope with him single-handed, all attacked him at the same time. During the fight John McClintock cut Hanna across the abdomen with a knife. With his bowels protruding so that he had to hold them in with one hand, he still beat off his five assailants until rescued by his friends, and eventually recovered from his injuries. Some of the McClintocks were arrested and imprisoned, while others fled the country.
Ursina was incorporated as a borough in 1872. The first burgess elected was Abraham S. Levy. His successors have been A. S. Levy, M. L. Keim, W. H. Berger, William Shaw, S. Bockman, B. F. Boyd, A. Holliday (three terms), B. F. Boyd, J. B. Jennings, P. H. Sellers, William Shaw, J. B. Jennings, C. F. Robinson, Andrew Holliday, J. B. Jennings (two terms), M. Andrews, J. B. Jennings, G. W. Anderson, J. B. Jennings (two terms), M. King, J. M. Marshall, J. B. Levy, B. F. Firestone, H. B. Altfather, C. Cunningham.
This thriving town is located at the confluence or junction of the Laurel Hill creek and Castleman's river with the Youghiogheny river. It is the historic Turkeyfoot of the county's early history. That part of the townsite between the North Fork and the Castleman's river was the survey of James Spencer, one of the earliest settlers in the Turkeyfoot, who sold it to William Tissue about 1798. The smaller part of the town, between the Castleman's and Youghiogheny rivers, was the farm of Henry Abrahams, who so far as documentary goes to show was the first settler in this region, although James Spencer can at most be only a year or two later.
Washington visited this locality October 20, 1754, and remained here over night. In his diary he speaks of it as a suitable place for a fort. It is a well authenticated fact that it was also the site of an Indian village.
William Tissue, who owned the Spencer tract, platted the town of New Boston thereon in 1800. His charter to the prospective purchasers of lots, which is on record, indicates that he proposed selling the lots at public sale. A "Coal Bank" on the west side of the north fork was granted to the use of the inhabitants. The charter was not placed on record until 1815. It is not known that Tissue ever sold any lots, and it may be looked upon as being a paper town.
On 1869 A. Newton Tissue, the then owner, sold 103 acres to Peter Myers, from whom it passed to the Confluence Land Company, who laid out the town of Confluence in 1870. A large number of the lots were sold at public sale, others at private sale. Hon. William H. Koontz and Cyrus Meyers were the attorneys of the land company, and as such signed the deeds for all the lots sold, Mr. Koontz alone signing them after the death of Mr. Meyers. The first house in the new town was built by Andrew Bowlin. The first store was opened by Van Horn & Liston in 1870. A. G. Black established an extensive pottery in 1872. Another early industry was a tannery, operated by Joseph Cummins. The town had a healthy growth from the start, and soon became an important shipping point. It is also the northern terminus of the Oakland and Confluence railroad. It was incorporated as a borough in 1873.
The greatest industry that the town has ever had, and the one that has contributed most to its prosperity, is the tannery, established in 1894, by T. G. Beggs, of Woburn, Massachusetts (now of Confluence), and W. S. Cobb, of Malden, Massachusetts. The cost of this tannery and its equipment was $50,000. It has a daily output of four hundred cow hides, and gives employment to a large number of men.
A fine electric light plant, owned by the municipality, was completed July 29, 1904, and is in successful operation. The capacity is 1,200 incandescent lights, besides the arc lights needed for street lighting. The municipal officers who carried the installation of this plant to a successful conclusion were Earle Beggs, burgess D. H. Brown, Elisha S. Bowlin, George E. Cunningham, William Heinbaugh, Thomas Flannigan, J. M. Dodds and Orville M. Fike, town council. In 1905 a good system of water works was installed by a private corporation. The town at present has twenty-nine stores and business houses, and four hotels. There are also three churches, a large five-room school house, and a public hall with a seating capacity of 600. The First National Bank of Confluence, of which George R. Scull is president, and D. L. Miller, cashier, was incorporated in 1900, with a capital of $25,000. It has loans of $125,000, and deposits of $120,000. The first burgess of Confluence was D. W. Patton, his successors have been: G. G. Groff, Daniel Mickey, two terms J. E. McNut, Daniel Mickey, four terms Simon Groff, two terms A. R. Humbert, W. R. Mountain, A. R. Humbert, two terms R. R. Sanner, J. A. Bradley, J. W. Brown, three terms M. Henry, A.N. Atchell, Earl R. Beggs, Ross Bowman.
Addison township which was formed from a part of Turkeyfoot township in 1800, was the third township created after the organization of Somerset county. It is, however, the eighth township in point of age as the county is now constituted. It was named after Hon. Alexander Addison, the first judge of the courts of Somerset county.
Its northern boundary is the Castleman's river and the Black township line between the river and the summit of the Negro mountain. On its eastern side it is bounded by Elk Lick township, on the south by Mason and Dixon's line, while Youghiogheny river washes it western border. It is rich in the historic associations of the Turkeyfoot region, of which it is a part. Its northwestern corner is a part of the far-famed Turkeyfoot itself. The eastern side of the Great Crossing, of which mention is made in every history of our country that has ever been written, is in Addison township. George Washington passed through it in 1753, when on his mission to the French fort at Venango. In the following year, under his direction, the first road cut through any part of Somerset county was opened through the southwest part of the township. This road, which was the forerunner of the great National road or turnpike, was traversed by Gen. Braddock when on his ill-fated march to Fort Duquesne in 1755. Braddock's army encamped on the eastern or Addison side of the river. There is reason for believing that Braddock's preceding encampment was also in Addison township. The line of the province is not marked on Orme's map but the encampment is marked on the map so near where this line should be marked that it could easily have been on the Somerset side.
Along the two rivers and their tributaries were the hunting grounds of the Indians for ages before the coming of the white man the evidences of the aboriginal occupation may be found to this day. After defeat of Braddock, during the remaining period of the French occupation war parties of French and Indians traversed the township on their way to Pennsylvania and Virginia. The entire region was embraced in the claims of the French. When French explorers discovered the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, in the name of the king of France they took possession of all the country bordering on the waters of their remotest tributaries, this necessarily included all of Somerset county west of the Allegheny mountain.
With the ending of the French occupation, one of the only two roads from the eastern part of the county to the Ohio river passed through Addison township. Of course, this highway, the Braddock road, was a military road, and under military control. While the country was not open to legal settlement, still it is known that some persons were permitted to settle along the road under that authority. This being so, there can be no reasonable doubt but that there were some such settlers in what is now Addison township. If there were any here, there can also be no doubt that they had to flee from the country during the time of Pontiac's war, but when that was over they must certainly have returned, or others taken their places.
Henry Abrahams, the first settler in the county, of whom there is any documentary evidence showing a time when he was already in the county, settled between the junction of the Youghiogheny and the Castleman's rivers, in Addison township in 1764 as a permanent settler. He is also one of the trespassing settlers mentioned in Capt. Steele's report, as is also Benjamin Pursley, who also appears to have settled in this township, and has given his name to a mountain stream tributary to White's creek. The man Sharpe, by whom Steele sent the proclamations to the Turkeyfoot settlers, also probably lived somewhere about the Great Crossing, where Steele found him. While this name can be connected with Addison township at a later period, no such name can be connected with any other part of the Turkeyfoot region.
Richard Hoagland lived on land tying on both sides of the Braddock road, and in 1772 had seventy-one acres of improved land, which of itself indicates a residence of some years, because the bringing of such an amount of land under cultivation could not at that time have been accomplished in much less than a half dozen years. Richard Hoagland was commissioned a justice of the peace in 1773, being the second one in what is now Somerset county. Thomas Green was also in the township as a settler in 1772. Jacob Rupel was in the township as early as 1774 Jacob Hartzell and James Mitchell in 1778 Jon Mitchell some years earlier. The Enlows were already settled here in 1768, being among the trespassing settlers. Enough has been said to justify the claim that the settlement of Addison township as we now know it began as early as that of any other township in the county.
Vachel White, who lived in the township many years, was in it in 1783, as a single freeman. It is not exactly known when John, Robert and Alexander McClintock, Joseph Ringer, James Campbell, John Liston, John McLean, Conrad Silbaugh, Peter Augustine, Sr., the Hilemans and Kamps, settled here, but they were all living in the township in 1795. Peter Augustine appears to have first settled in Brothers valley township, where he was living in 1782. His family in 1784 was composed of five persons. The first assessment of Addison township, in 1801, shows that there were 125 resident taxpayers.
About seven miles of the National road pass through the southwestern part of the township. It is safe to say that during the period of the best days of that great highway, there was more stir and bustle seen along these seven miles of road than over twice that distance on any other road in the county.
Petersburg was laid out in 1817, by Peter Augustine, but whether this was the older or the younger Peter Augustine the writer is not able to say. The place takes its name from the first name of the founder, with suffix "burg." The name of the post office is Addison, and away from the immediate vicinity of the pike the place has come to be more generally known by that name than by that of Petersburg. Henry Stuller built the first house on the Augustine lots about 1819. Gabriel Adams kept the first tavern in a house on the south side of the road, a short distance west of the toll gate. There is good authority for saying this, but if it is correct it must have been before 1816, as the name of Gabriel Abrahams is not found on the Addison township assessment list after that year. At a much later period William Reynolds did keep a tavern there in a large frame house that enjoyed a remarkable patronage. Thirty-six six-horse teams were seen in its yards on one occasion. The brick house known as the Central Hotel was built by Zel Hagans, who died very soon after moving into it. This was about 1831. Robert Hunter may be said to have been the first landlord who really opened this house, which, except for one or two short intervals has always been used as a hotel. One of the earlier lines of stages stopped at this house. Somewhat earlier, about 1820, Henry Wentling erected a large frame house (now used as a dwelling) on the north side of the street, which he occupied as a tavern until 1829. Among his successors in the tavern were John Rissler, James Connelly, Matthias Fry and Col. Samuel Elder. While on the subject of taverns, it may be said that Henry Myers kept a tavern in the township in 1803 Jacob Welsh a tavern and store from 1805 to 1810 Conrad Show, who was probably the father of Daniel Show, who built the Temple of Juno, also kept a tavern in 1805. In 1807 John J. Buch, and in 1809 John Liston and Peter Lenhart, kept taverns in the township, but we are not able to locate them. They all belong to the period before the turnpike.
Thomas J. and Nathan Cooper established a foundry in Petersburg in 1844, which was operated under various owners until 1882. Richard Brooke began operating a tannery in 1825. This in late years has been known as the Dean tannery. Another tannery was operated by A. Jeffries. Both, as we are informed, have been discontinued. A tanyard was operated in Addison township as early as 1800, by Frederick Diveley.
The first store in the village was probably kept by Andrew Mitchell and Henry Wentling. General Moses A. Ross commenced his mercantile life as a clerk in the store of John C. Darreil, of Somerfield. From this store he went into business on his own account at Selbysport, Md., but only for a short time. In 1829 he opened a store in Petersburg and conducted a successful business for more than sixty-five years. Thorough and methodical, with good judgment, and, with these, enjoying the confidence of the community to the fullest extent, he acquired a competency. But not all of General Ross' time was given to money making. In all matters relating to the public welfare he was ever ready to give his time and perform his part of the needed work. As a member of the first board of school directors of Addison township he was active in securing the acceptance of the common school law, and in all he served for thirty years in the office of school director. He was postmaster for fifteen years and for seventeen years acted as clerk of the township. Except perhaps the office of township supervisor, there was probably no official position in the township that he was not called upon to fill. Twice honored by the people of Somerset county as their representative in the general assembly in his second term he served as chairman of the committee on education. General Ross closed his long and useful life in 1894, in his eighty-fourth year.
Among the institutions of Petersburg is an Odd Fellows' Lodge, and a division of the Sons of Temperance, which has held its charter for almost sixty years- the only one out of a half dozen or more in the county at one time that has continued to do so. The First National Bank of Addison was established in 1903. Its capital is $25,000, with deposits of $50,000, which is a very good showing considering the size of the place. William M. Watson is president. Within the last few years the town has awakened from the lethargy into which it had fallen after the decadence of the pike, and there are now eight or ten retail stores doing business. Dr. William F. Mitchell has been the only practicing physician in the town for many years. He is in all the lines of his ancestry a descendant of the oldest pioneer families of the Turkeyfoot region, and there is no one so well versed in the lore and legends of the Pike as he is.
Listonburg, on White's Creek, about two miles northeast of Petersburg, had its origin in a tannery that was put in operation by John Liston about 1790. There was also an oil mill connected with it which was destroyed by fire in 1834. It may be said of all these old oil mills (of which there were many at one time scattered over the county) that their output was linseed oil manufactured from flax seed that came from nearly every farm. A woolen mill in a stone building was operated as early as 1810 by Thomas Lingle. Thomas Liston built the present woolen mill in 1844. Later it was operated by his sons, Jesse and Jeremiah Liston. Including custom work, their mill manufactured about thirty thousand pounds of wool into goods of various kinds. For years the Liston brothers were the active business men of the neighborhood. They ran a store, a saw mill, a local coal mine, besides taking care of one of the largest farms in the township. The woolen mill was purchased in 1904 by Cook, Emert & Co., of Somerset. They have since enlarged it, adding ten thousand feet of floor space, and have also added much improved machinery. A grist mill was built here in 1864 by J. Gregg. The first blacksmith was Ephraim Stuck, who came in 1849.
Always something of a business place, Listonburg, during the past few years, has became of enough importance to have four retail stores. There has also been a postoffice there for a number of years. Listonburg was for half a century the residence of Alfred S. Mitchell, who died in 1901. Mr. Mitchell, a descendant of the old pioneers, was a noted surveyor. It is said that in his lifetime he surveyed every farm in his native township of Addison, which is really a very large one, besides thousands of others outside of it, and in hundreds of cases he was called on to give testimony in court on disputed lines. His work in his line was so accurate that it was seldom questioned. He also served his township for many years as a justice of the peace. As such he was one of a class that is rapidly disappearing.
The railroad of the Drony Lumber Company passes Listonburg and some distance further up Whites Creek is the small village of Unamis, which has grown up within the past three or four years. There is a postoffice store, as there is also at Strahn, near by.
Somerfield borough was laid out by Philip D. Smyth, in 1818, as the town of Smythfield. Its situation is where the National road crosses the Youghiogheny river. It was laid out on land warranted to Jacob Spears, April 17, 1769, fourteen days after the land office at Philadelphia was opened for the sale of lands west of the Allegheny mountains. There is a strong probability that Jacob Spears was the same Spears by whom Capt. Steele sent the proclamations to the trespassing Turkeyfoot settlers in 1768, and that he, himself, was one of the trespassers. Spears sold the land to Smyth in 1816. Smyth already kept a tavern somewhere in Addison township, and this probably was the place, although he also owned the Richard Hoagland lands, which were further away from the river. The famous stone bridge was completed July 4, 1818, when it was turned over to the government. The occasion was made a gala day such as had never seen before in these mountains. President Monroe, with several members of his cabinet and other officials, were present, and all the countryside turned out in honor of the occasion. The Endsley stone house, built in 1818 by Kinkaid, Beck and Evans, the bridge builders, was always a noted tavern. Its walls and foundations are as firm to-day as when first laid. Its first landlord was James Kinkaid, who was followed by John Campbell, Capt.Thomas Endsley, and others. Capt. Endsley taking it for the third time in 1847, since which time it has remained in the Endsley family.
There was an log tavern, built by John Campbell about 1823, and first occupied by him. In 1823, Kinkaid, the bridge builder, built a brick tavern on the south side of the street. That also became famous as a tavern. It was the relay house of the Good Intent Stage Company, the Endsley House being the same for the older Stockton lines. In the palmy days of the pike, Somerfield was essentially a stage town. At its taverns were kept the relay stations for the teams of the different stage companies, and their patronage was more largely from the traveling public than from what was known as the road traffic. Most of the drivers of the many stages also lived here, and the town, along with its neighbor, Petersburg, was the scene of more bustle and activity than any other town in the county.
We are not able to say just when the name of the town was changed from Smythfield to Somerfield, but it must have been before 1830. Dr. William Fry was then postmaster of Somerfield. He was probably the first physician who located there, living there to the end of his life. He is still remembered not only as an able medical advisor, but as a gentleman in all the rations of life. With the decay of the pike, the prosperity of the place vanished, and as the time passed, the town took on a dilapidated appearance. With the building of the Confluence and Oakland railroad, which passes through it, the business life of the place was quickened, and it entered on a new era of prosperity with a largely increased population. At this time there are five stores in the town. Somerfield was incorporated as a borough in 1893. John W. Endsley was the first burgess. His successors have been: J. B. Jordon, John Close, H. R. Watson, Robert C. Campbell, John Close.
According to Rev. John Heckwelder, the Moravian missionary, the name Quemahoning is derived from the Indian word "Cunni-Mahoni." "Cunni" meaning a pine grove, and "Mahoni," water from a lick-the two words taken together meaning water issuing from a lick.
Quemahoning township was formed out of a part of Brothers valley and Turkeyfoot township by the Bedford county court at it April session, 1775. Its lines ran as follows: "Beginning where the Great road which is laid out through the glades crosses the Allegheny mountains near Burd's gap, thence along said road to where it crosses the Laurel Hill at Mathias Ditche's Gap, thence along the Laurel Hill by the West Moreland county line to the head of Little Conemaugh, and from thence along the dividing ridge between the waters of the Susquehanna and Little Conemaugh to the Allegheny mountain and by the same mountain to the place of beginning." There must be some mistake in this description of the original boundaries of Quemahoning township. As it reads, it would be an impossible boundary, because the lead of the Little Conemaugh is in the Allegheny mountain, and cannot be reached from Laurel Hill except by crossing the county. It must mean the head of the streams flowing into it from the north which have their source in the ridge that separates them from the mountain streams that flow into the Susquehanna river. So understood, it would give the old Huntingdon county line as it existed when Somerset county was formed, and would include the region between the Glade road and that line, all of which belonged to Somerset county.
Quemahoning was the third township of the county in the order in which they were organized. Its northern boundary was what afterwards became the first Huntingdon county line, its southern boundary about where the Bedford and Mount Pleasant turnpikes now are. As new township were formed to the north of the old Glade road, it continued to grow smaller until about 1811, when it reached its present dimensions. Its surface is somewhat hilly.
As the Forbes road crosses the township, it was settled about as early as any other part of the county. Among the early settlers were the Stoys, Millers, Custers, Berkeys, Bowmans, Shaffers, Zimmermans and Kimmells. George Kimmell, who lived in the township as early as 1776, is dais to have built the first grist mill, one mile east of Stoyestown and probably long before 1800. This is at the place known for many years as Sprucetown, changed to Kantner, after the building of the railroad in 1880. Kimmell also built a fulling mill and a saw mill at the same place. There was also a tannery built there, probably by Kimmell also. In October, 1873, the mill and tannery were destroyed by fire. David Specht, who then owned the property, rebuilt the mill. On the night of December 11, 1893, the mill was again destroyed by fire, and with it a large general store, two warehouses and a large barn, a blacksmith shop, the post office and the large bridge across Stony creek. In short, the place was practically wiped out. Josiah Specht, the then owner, promptly rebuilt most of the property. The fulling mill has become a well-equipped woolen mill. Joseph H. Kantner operated it for many years, as did his father, John F. Kantner, before him. The property has been owned by William L. Rininger since 1884, who has greatly improved it. Kantner is a large shipping point on the railroad, and has always been something of a business place. The post office was established in 1892. William Suter was the first postmaster.
Landstreet is a mining town about three miles north of Hooversville, founded by the Stuart Coal company, about 1900. It is now owned by the Somerset Coal company, which employs fifty men in its mine. There is a post office and a population of about 100.
Blough, formerly Dull's Station, is a small village about two miles north of Hooversville. It has a post office, store, church, school, and population of about 75.
The Lincoln Oil and Gas company, of which Oliver P. Shaver was president, was formed in 1904 for the purpose of making a thorough search for oil and gas in Quemahoning and Lincoln townships. It was a local organization. In 1904 and 1905 three wells were drilled. The first well was drilled on the Daniel E. Long farm and was sunk to a depth of 3660 feet. No oil was found, but a flow of gas comes from the well that on a ten-minute test showed a pressure of 28 pounds. Mr. Shaver, the president of the company, estimates that the well could furnish about 150 dwellings with light and heat. Mr. Long has piped the gas into his residence and claims that there is no diminution in the flow of the gas.
The second well was drilled in Lincoln township, to a depth of about 2,700 feet the third well was put down to about the same depth on the farm of Samuel Bowman, in Quemahoning township. No results were obtained from either well. In addition to these three wells at least six other wells have been sunk to a great depth in the southern and eastern part of Somerset county, in a vain search for oil and gas. This has been done at a cost of many thousands of dollars. While a slight show of oil was obtained at two of them, these tests should settle it that Somerset county is not on the oil belt.
Stoyestown is one of the oldest villages in the county. It was founded by Daniel Stoy, who is said to have owned a past of the land on which the town is laid out. The exact time when Stoy, had the town platted is not known, but it was probably not long after the laying out of the Pennsylvania or Great road, which passes through the town, This was in 1790.
The assessment for Quemahoning township for 1796 shows that 46 lots are owned by different persons. This proves that the lots had already been sold in 1796. The earliest deed on record for any lots was made in 1797, and is for three lots, Nos. 14, 3 and one number illegible, which Stoy sold to R. Hunter for six dollars. The place is spoken of as a settlement as early as 1798, and the most considerable one between Bedford and Greensburg. There was probably an earlier plat, but in 1803 Stoy had a plan made and recorded. There are forty-seven lots on it and the record contains a description of each lot, which is something unusual. Below lot No. 27 is a note that 26 and 27 are Clark's numbers, which indicates that the lower part of the town may have been platted by one of the Clark family. The plan also recites that the land on which the town was built was warranted to Philip German (probably Garman) in 1788, and it was sold to William Hunter in 1789, to Henry Bitel in 1799, and to Stoy in 1800. The survey is called Mayfield. The town is built on a hill.
Stoyestown is the center of a good agricultural region, and until the travel over the turnpike has been diverted to the railroads it was a thriving and bustling village. Local tradition says that the first sore was kept by Joseph Buck. If correct, it must have been very early. It is certain that General Alexander Ogle kept a store in the township in 1796, and it is also said that lived in Stoyestown before coming to Somerset. George Graham kept the first tavern in the town, but this could not have been earlier than 1799, as in the preceding year he was living in a cabin. Joseph Pisel, whose name is marked on Stoy's plan of 1803 as a lot owner, also kept a tavern in 1799, and probably in the town. It is not known when Stoyestown became a post office, but it must have been at a very early day. The first postmaster that we know of was John S. Statler, in 1817. John Kennedy is said to have carried the first mail into the town.
Stoyestown was incorporated as a borough March 29, 1819, but through some neglect its charter was forfeited. In 1838 it was again incorporated. Roger Marshall was the first burgess. In 1832 there were forty dwellings, four taverns and four stores. In 1839 there were ten stage drivers living in the town, which would make it seem that Stoyestown was a station for the stage companies. Stoyestown was visited by a disease - fire in 1879, which for a time threatened to destroy a large part of the town. Peter J. Cover's large general store, Odd Fellows' Hall and several other buildings were consumed.
While no coal mines are being operated very near to Stoyestown, nevertheless those that are being operated in Quemahoning township have quickened the business life of the town, and a spirit of improvement has arisen that promises well for the future. Within the last two years a public water supply has been provided by a chartered company, and the matter of sewerage is also receiving attention. Among the institutions of the town are a prosperous Odd Fellows lodge, a Grand Army post, and the First National Bank, which was organized in 1901, with a capital of $25,000. It deposits reach $125,000. Frank Taylor and John H. Bowman, its first president and cashier, are still at the head of it. There are also Reformed, Lutheran and Methodist churches. There are sixteen stores in the town, and its two hotels, the Hite and Custer, are both landmarks, and excelled by those of no other country town in the county.
While Stoyestown was incorporated in 1838, there is no record of it burgesses that goes any further back than 1853. Since that time they have been as follows: W. A. Garman, R. H. Patterson, David Clark, Adam Grimm, John F. Rainey, John H. Hite (two terms), Wesley M. Young, George Brubaker (two terms), John B. Kuhn- John F. Rainey (tie), J.W. Rainey, Fred Groff, George Brubaker, John H. Hite, John Cole-C.W. Pugh (tie), J.F. Rainey (two terms), Jacob Thompson, John H. Snyder (three terms), John Cole, Noah Bowman, John H. Hite, Benj. F. Bowman, Fred Grof, John H. Snyder, John C. Snyder (two terms), W. B. Tice, Adam Grimm, John H. Gardner (two terms), M. V. Sorber, J. H. Custer (two terms), C. W. Pugh (three terms), M. V. Sorber, Ed Smith, John B. Young, B.F. Bowman.
Hooversville is situated in the northern part of Quemahoning township, in the midst of a fertile agricultural country, and one that is also rich in coal and other minerals. The first settler of the land on which the town was afterwards laid out was Caspar Ripple, to whom the land was surveyed in 1794. John Clark built a grist mill here in 1843. The first house in the town was built in 1850 by George Lohr, who occupied it as a store and dwelling. Aaron Crissey started blacksmithing in 1855. The founder of the town was James Hoover, who platted the first lots, and the town takes its name from him. A postoffice was established in 1876, and George Hoover, who was a storekeeper, was the first postmaster. Up to 1881, when the railroad was completed, the town was only a quiet country village. After 1881 the town took on a more rapid growth. But it was not until after 1896, about which time outside capital began to take interest in the coal fields of the northern part of the county, that the town became of the importance that it now is. The town was incorporated as a borough in 1896, and A. B. Clark was the first burgess. His successors have been: A. B. Clark, S. V. Hanna, W. E. Rodgers, J. W. Nestor, Irwin Hoover.
Dr. John Howard was the first physician who located in the town.
The Somerset Coal Company has been operating a mine since 1902, right in the town, that employs 130 men and has daily output of 600 tons. The Knickerbocker Smokeless Coal Company has two mines near by, that employ 200 men and have a daily capacity of 900 tons. The Federal Coal Company also has two mines near the town that employ 150 men, with a daily output of 700 tons. In other industries the town has a flouring mill, saw mill, machine shop, two planning mills, paving and cement block works, two hotels, eight stores also Lutheran, Reformed, Christian, German Baptist and United Brethren churches. There is also a prosperous Odd Fellow's Lodge. The First National Bank of Hooversville was organized in 1902, capital $25,000 deposits $125,000. The present population of the town is estimated at 1,200 as against 465 in 1900.
Note: There are three parts to this chapter: Part One | Part Two | Part Three
[Source: The History of Bedford and Somerset Counties by Blackburn and Welfley, published in 1906. Chapter 30. Transcribed and donated by Batha Karr [email protected]>. ]
This county is part of the USGenWeb Project, a non-profit genealogical resource web system, and is maintained by April Phillips and Connie Burkett with help and information provided by other volunteers.
Contains photographs of the oakland Railroad station - History
The following essay is reprinted with permission of the Oakland Museum of California and the author. Oakland Museum of California is presenting the exhibition Scene in Oakland, 1852-2002: Artworks Celebrating the City's 150th Anniversary, which will be on view March 9 through August 25, 2002. If you have questions or comments regarding the essay, please contact the Oakland Museum of California directly through either the following phone number or web address:
Scene in Oakland, 1852-2002: Artworks Celebrating the City's 150th Anniversary
by Harvey L. Jones, Exhibition Curator
During Oakland's first 150 years, numerous California artists found inspiration in the wide variety of pictorial subject matter they could draw from in the city. The exhibition Scene in Oakland, 1852-2002, part of this museum's celebration of Oakland's sesquicentennial, affords an opportunity to exhibit 66 views of the city by 48 artists, drawn largely from the Oakland Museum of California?s own collections.
Oakland in its early decades was filled with high rolling hills and steep canyons, tall redwoods, fragrant bays and native oaks along descending creeks that met sloping meadows and grassy marshlands near the estuary and San Francisco Bay. These soon gave way to urban development with the changes to the landscape that "progress" inevitably brings. Evidence of the region's first inhabitants, the Ohlone Indians who occupied the shores of the Bay Area for 3500 years before the arrival of the first white men, was largely gone by the time the city was incorporated in 1852.
The original town of Oakland occupied the area west of the slough along San Antonio Creek, later dammed forming Lake Merritt. The regions east of the slough, including the adjacent towns of Brooklyn, Clinton, San Antonio and Fruitvale were later annexed to Oakland, and then the city eventually expanded to Trestle Glen and Montclair in the Oakland hills. Some locations of early scenes in the exhibition are identified by their original town names.
The name "Oakland," derived from "Encinal," meaning oak grove, reflects the city's origin in Spanish California, located on part of the Peralta land grant. This origin is beautifully depicted in Ferdinand Richardt's painting of Oaks at Madison and Eighth Streets.
The museum's earliest view of Oakland is a pencil and watercolor sketch of lower Broadway in May 1854, done by an unknown artist. The scene is reminiscent of a movie set for a frontier town the broad dusty road between two rows of hastily constructed wooden storefront buildings located in a grove of native oaks.
The city's history, as a world seaport, a transcontinental railroad terminus, a residential community, an industrial center, as well as an important educational and cultural district, is well documented in images produced by many of California's prominent painters and photographers. Oakland and the East Bay were either the home or the host to numerous artists throughout the city's history, including such well-known 19th-century artists as Albert Bierstadt, William Keith, Eadweard Muybridge and Carleton E. Watkins. The descriptive works of these and other celebrated 19th-century artists reveal the crucial beginnings of the East Bay's biggest city.
A William Keith watercolor from 1867 shows a very rural Southern Pacific Railroad depot among the oaks on Seventh Street at Adeline. Another of Danish born Richardt's paintings shows Mrs. Poston's Female Academy, a school that in 1870s occupied the present site of our Oakland Museum of California. Joseph Lee, an artist with a penchant for meticulous detail, depicted the farmhouse Residence of Captain Thomas W. Badger in Brooklyn, in two paintings from about 1871. The artist's views from the north and the south also show a train crossing a trestle near the estuary.
Then as now Lake Merritt was a popular subject for landscape painters. Many artists captured the appeal of this urban lake, which became a recreational park for city residents and the site of America's first wild bird sanctuary. Its central location can be seen in several early scenes that provide panoramic views of the growing city, such as Léon Trousset's Lake Merritt Scene (View of Oakland) , 1875.
Resident artist Marius Dahlgren's depictions of Oakland in the late 1870s and early 1880s includes Alameda County Courthouse, East Oakland , shown in its location at the corner of East 14th Street and 20th Avenue. Another of his Oakland views from the northwest corner of 12th and Clay Streets features a man on horseback near the First Congregational Church. Carl Dahlgren, brother of Marius, provides his turn of the century view of the College of Holy Names at its original site near Lake Merritt where the Kaiser Center now stands.
The twentieth century witnessed the greatest changes in Oakland's visible profile, brought on by population growth following the two world wars. Building booms for housing and business, as well as greater emphasis on cultural and recreational facilities are reflected in exhibited artworks by many painters and photographers active during the twentieth century. Oakland's changing metropolitan skyline exerted its pictorial appeal on the artworks of several painters during the twentieth century when high-rise office buildings, like City Hall and Tribune Tower, and more recently, skyscraper additions to Civic Center dwarfed the church steeples and tall trees of an earlier cityscape.
Urban subjects began to appear in modern paintings and photographs exhibited in art galleries after the 1920s and 30s. Mary DeNeal Morgan's painting of Lake Merritt from the 1930s shows on the horizon several of the city's then "skyscrapers" that remain in view to this day. Painters and photographers such as Lundy Siegriest, Peter Stackpole, Willard Van Dyke and Lewis Watts found inspiration in some of Oakland's freeways, derelict buildings and neglected neighborhoods for subjects that call viewers' attention to the social implications beyond the aesthetics of their scenes.
Historical events such as the disasters of the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 and the fire in the Oakland hills of 1991 have certainly affected the landscape of the city. Mark Downey, June Felter, Glenna Putt and Ambrose Pillphister captured images of those landscape-altering incidents in their paintings or photographs.
Jan Lassetter's painting of The Trojan Horses , 1988, depicts the Port of Oakland's giant cranes, a dominant sight on today's southwest skyline, symbolic of the Port's importance to the city's commerce. Anthony Holdsworth makes a specialty of painting the peopled city streets and industrial areas of Oakland. In two paintings that reflect the combined architectural legacies of both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in downtown Oakland, Holdsworth's pictures stand in dramatic contrast to our anonymous artist's view of lower Broadway in Oakland, May 1854, the chronological beginning of the exhibition.
Harvey L. Jones is senior curator of art at the Oakland Museum of California.
Checklist of the Exhibition
1. Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) View of Oakland , c. 1872 Oil on canvas 6-3/4 x 10-1/4 inches Gift of the Art Guild of the Oakland Museum Association 2. William Clapp (1879-1986) Estuary Dwellings , c. 1928 Oil on wood panel 20 x 16-1/2 inches Gift of Donn Schroder 3. William A. Coulter (1849-1936) War Time, 1919 Oil on canvas 36 x 78 inches Gift of Moore Drydock Company 4. Carl Dahlgren (1830-1886) College of Holy Names, Oakland , c. 1900 Watercolor on paper 16 x 21-1/2 inches Museum Donors? Acquisition Fund 5. Marius Dahlgren (1844-1920) Alameda County Courthouse, East Oakland , 1882 Oil on canvas 11 x 17-1/2 inches The Oakland Museum Kahn Collection 6. Marius Dahlgren (1844-1920) Clay and 12th Streets, Oakland , c. 1900 Oil on canvas 15-1/2 x 23-1/2 inches Lent by Jim Schubert 7. Willard Dixon (b. 1942) East Bay , 1979 Oil on canvas 72 x 144 inches Gift of Marguerite Laird 8. Mark Downey (b. 1960) Collapsed Cypress Freeway , 1989 R - print 16 x 20 inches Lent by the artist ? courtesy Lucid Images 9. Mark Downey (b. 1960) Oakland Fire Aftermath , 1991 R - print 16 x 20 inches Lent by the artist ? courtesy Lucid Images 10. Jonathan Eubanks (b. 1927) Boats on the Lake , 1966 Gelatin silver print 15-3/8 x 18-1/2 inches Museum Donors Acquisition Fund 11. June Felter (b. 1919) Oakland Hills Fire #1 , 1992 Acrylic on canvas 54 x 54 inches Gift of George Krevsky 12. Paul Fisher (1891-1982) East Oakland and the Bay , 1974 Watercolor on paper 12-1/2 x 19-1/2 inches Gift of Paul Fisher 13. Paul Fisher (1891-1982) The Bus Driver , 1974 Acrylic on canvas 30 x 40 inches Gift of the Donors? Acquisition Fund 14. Jade Fon (1911-1983) The Bait Gatherers, 6th Ave ., c. 1978 Watercolor on paper 20-1/2 x 28-1/2 inches Lent by Pamela Della 15. Jade Fon (1911-1983) Lake Merritt and Court House , c. 1964 Watercolor on paper 14-7/8 x 22-1/8 inches Gift of the Reichel Fund 16. August Gay (1891-1949) Oakland Estuary I , c. 1926-1929 Etching on paper 6 x 7 inches Gift of the Novy Fund 17. Selden Conner Gile (1877-1947) Joaquin Miller Home , 1915 Oil on canvas 11-1/2 x 14-1/2 inches Gift of Louis B. Siegriest 18. Howard Hack (b. 1932) Oakland Mole, 1965 Oil on canvas 64-3/4 x 105 inches Gift of the Women?s Board of the Oakland Museum Association 19. William Hahn (1829-1887) Rural Scene by Lake Merritt, 1880 Oil on canvas 30 x 45 inches Gift of Mr. A.K.P. Harmon, Jr. 20. Anthony Holdsworth (b. 1945) Blues on Broadway , 1994 Oil on canvas 45 x 34 inches Lent by the artist 21. Anthony Holdsworth (b. 1945) Tourist and Bookmark , 2001 Oil on canvas 17 x 17 inches Lent by the artist 22. Henry Hussey (1887-1959) Beach, Lake Merritt , c. 1916 Modern print from original glass plate negative 9-1/2 x 7-5/8 inches Gift of Henry Hussey 23. Henry Hussey (1887-1959) Lake Merritt Looking West , c. 1920 Modern print from original glass plate negative 7-5/8 x 9-1/2 inches Gift of Henry Hussey 24. Charles Chapel Judson (1864-1946) Dimond Canyon, Fruitvale , 1903 Oil on canvas 19 x 14 inches Gift of Dr. and Mrs. James R. Allen 25. William Keith (1838-1887) Southern Pacific Depot, 7th & Adeline Streets , 1867 Watercolor on paper 16-3/4 x 23-3/4 inches Gift of Mrs. Nancy Crane Hussey 26. Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) Broadway in Wartime Oakland , Spring 1943 printed 2002 Gelatin silver print 14 x 11 inches Gift of Paul S. Taylor 27. Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) Oakland Technical High School , c. 1942 printed 2002 Gelatin silver print 11 x 14 inches Gift of Paul S. Taylor 28. Jan Lassetter (b. 1938) The Trojan Horses , 1988 Oil on canvas 55 x 60 inches Lent by the Port of Oakland 29. Joseph Lee (1827-1880) Residence of Capt. Thomas W. Badger, Brooklyn, From the Northwest , c. 1871 Oil on canvas 26-1/4 x 42 inches Gift of Lester M. Hale 30. Joseph Lee (1827-1880) Residence of Capt. Thomas W. Badger, Brooklyn, From the South , c. 1871 Oil on canvas 26-1/4 x 42 inches Gift of Lester M. Hale 31. P.G. Lindsay (dates not known) Residence of Samuel Merritt, c. 1868 Watercolor and ink on paper 10 x 22 inches Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Howard Willoughby and Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Buttner 32. Fred Martin (b. 1927) 10th Street Looking East, #1 , 1955 Oil on masonite 7-1/2 x 14 inches Gift of Fred Martin 33. Fred Martin (b. 1927) 10th Street Looking East, #2 , 1955 Oil on masonite 7-3/4 x 12 inches Gift of Fred Martin 34. Xavier Tizoc Martinez (1869-1943) The Bay, c. 1910 Oil on canvas 30-1/2 x 36 inches Gift of Dr. William S. Porter 35. Mary DeNeale Morgan (1868-1948) Lake Merritt, Oakland , c. 1935 Oil on paperboard 19-1/2 x 26-3/8 inches Gift of the Reichel Fund 36. Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904) Mills Seminary, Seminary Park, Alameda Co., CAL ., 1873 Mammoth plate albumen print 15-1/2 x 21-1/4 inches Gift of Mills College 37. John Herbert Evelyn Partington (1843-1899) Lake Temescal , 1890 Oil on canvas 20 x 30 inches Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard M. Logan 38. Richard Langtry Partington (1868-1929) A Summer Day at Lake Merritt, c. 1907 Oil on canvas 16-1/4 x 22-1/4 inches Gift of the Reichel Fund 39. Ambrose Pillphister (b. 1934) Oakland Fire #2 , 1991 Gouache on panel 15-1/2 x 22 inches Lent by Garry and Sylvia Bennett 40. George Post (1906-1997) 3rd and Alic e, 1949 Watercolor on paper 22 x 28 inches Gift of George Post 41. Glenna Putt (b 1927) Oakland Fire II , 1991 Oil on paper 12-1/2 x 15-1/2 inches Lent by Charles and Glenna Campbell 42. William S. Rice (1873-1963) Lake Aliso, Mills College, 1911 Watercolor on paper 8-1/2 x 11-1/4 inches Lent by Terry Geiser and Janet Mark 43. Ferdinand Richardt (1819-1895) First Street Train and Trestle, c. 1875 Oil on canvas 19 x 27 inches Lent by Dr. Oscar and Trudy Lemer, San Francisco, CA 44. Ferdinand Richardt (1819-1895) Mrs. Poston?s Female Academy , c. 1879 Oil on canvas 27-1/4 x 40 inches Gift of Miss Elaine Sweet 45. Ferdinand Richardt (1819-1895) Oaks at Madison and 8th Streets, c. 1875 Oil on canvas 14-1/4 x 21-1/4 inches Gift of Mr. Lester M. Hale 46. Ferdinand Richardt (1819-1895) Pardee House, Oakland , c. 1880 Pencil on paper 14-3/4 x 22-1/4 inches Gift of Mr. Gustav. H. Schneider 47. Robert C. Rishell (1917-1976) Oakland Railroad Scene , c. 1965 Watercolor on paper 20-1/8 x 26 inches Gift of the Women?s Board of the Oakland Museum Association 48. Louis Siegriest (1899-1980) Oakland Quarry , 1920 Oil on cardboard 12 x 16-1/4 inches Gift of Louis Siegriest 49. Lundy Siegriest (1925-1985) Freeway, 5th Avenue Marina, 1978 Oil on canvas 8-1/2 x 10-1/2 inches Gift of the Estate of Lundy Siergriest 50. Peter Stackpole (1913-1997) Oakland, Concrete Overpass, 1970 Gelatin silver print 8 x 10 inches City of Oakland 51. Roger Sturtevant (1903-1982) Forest Path , c. 1920 Gelatin silver print 7-5/8 x 5-5/8 inches Gift of the artist 52. Roger Sturtevant (1903-1982) Trestle Glen, 1920 Gelatin silver print 4-3/16 x 6-15/16 inches Gift of the artist 53. Léon Trousset (active 1867 to 1882) Lake Merritt Scene (View of Oakland), 1875 Oil on canvas 27 x 34 inches Lent by Garzoli Gallery 54. Unknown Artist Lake Merritt , c. 1870 Oil on canvas 36 x 62 inches Gift of the Kahn Foundation 55. Unknown Artist Oakland, May 1854 , 1854 Drawing and watercolor 6-3/8 x 10-7/8 inches Collection of the Oakland Museum 56. Unknown Artist Panoramic View of Oakland , c. 1893 Albumen print Composite group of four photographs, each 10 x 20 inches Lent by Thomas Rogers 57. Willard Van Dyke (1906-1986) Oakland Store Front , c. 1934 Gelatin silver print 9-1/2 x 7-1/2 inches Museum Donors? Acquisition Fund 58. Bernard von Eichman (1899-1970) Bright Lights , 1928 Watercolor on paper 14-1/2 x 17-1/2 inches Gift of the artist 59. Bernard von Eichman (1899-1970) Eighth Street, 1928 Waterccolor on paper 14 x 19 inches Gift of artist 60. Bernard von Eichman (1899-1970) West Oakland, 1928 Watercolor on paper 16-1/2 x 22-1/2 inches Gift of the artist 61. Carleton E. Watkins (1829-1916) 12th St. Oakland, c. 1880 Modern print from original albumen print 11-1/2 x 16-5/8 inches Gift of Mrs. Charlotte Boggs 62. Carleton E. Watkins (1829-1916) 13th St. Oakland, c. 1880 Modern print from original albumen print 11-1/2 x 16-5/8 inches Gift of Mrs. Charlotte Boggs 63. Lewis Watts (b. 1946) Martin Luther King Way , 1993 Gelatin silver print 20 x 16 inches Gift of Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation 64. Lewis Watts (b. 1946) Mrs. Watters Just Arrived For Her Daughter?s Wedding, New Oakland Train Station , 1997 Gelatin silver print 20 x 16 inches Gift of Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation 65. John C. White (active 1859-1873) The Oakland Long Wharf, 1873 Watercolor on paper 23 x 49 inches Lent by Garzoli Gallery 66. Raymond D. Yelland (1868-1929) Fruitvale Meadows , 1894 Oil on canvas 14 x 22 inches Gift of Mr. William Raymond Yelland
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The opening of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 reduced travel time between the East and West Coats from as much as four months by sea to just six days. The Central Pacific made Oakland its western terminus. In 1871, the railroad completed the two-mile-long Long Wharf off the city's western shoreline, where the trains and ocean-going cargo ships. The railroad stimulated Oakland's rapid growth as a shipping and population center, giving birth to the modern city.
Sleeping Car Porters
Among the most respected members of Oakland's African American community were the Pullman Porters, uniformed attendants who staffed the railroad's luxurious Pullman Sleeping Cars. The Porters provided professional and courteous service on the overland routes. The works was hard, shifts were long, and the pay was low - but the employment was steady. Widely traveled, educated, and knowledgeable, the Porters were esteemed within the community.
In 1925, the Pullman Porters formed a union and began fighting for higher wages and shorter hours. The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters - the first African American labor union in the United States - was in the vanguard of the national struggle for equality and civil rights. It also contributed to the rise of the black middle class. In 1937, the union was recognized by the Pullman Company.
Oakland resident Cottrell Laurence Dellums (1900-1989), a Pullman Porter, was a leader in organizing the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Though he was fired for his union activities, he persisted and eventually served as the Union's West Coast president. He also achieved prominence as an advocate of civil rights and fair employment practices at the federal, state, and local levels. In 1995, Oakland's new Amtrak station was named in his honor.
"Street running" in Oakland, Calif., 2015.
Color digital image showing a Capitol Corridor train (Auburn-Sacramento-Emeryville-Oakland-San Jose) "street running" near the Oakland - Jack London Square station image dates to September 2015.
The Capitol Corridor route is primarily financed and operated in partnership with the State of California. It is managed by the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA), which partners with Amtrak, the Union Pacific Railroad, Caltrans and the communities comprising the CCJPA to continue development of a cost-effective, viable and safe intercity passenger rail service.
As Capitol Corridor trains approach and depart the Oakland - Jack London Square station, they run along Embarcadero West, a roadway shared with cars and other modes of transport. In the railroad industry, this is commonly known as "street running." Here the train is shown at Embarcadero West and Broadway, about four blocks west of the station. As seen in the image, Capitol Corridor trains generally employ bi-level "California cars." Along with the locomotive, they wear a distinctive blue and yellow paint scheme.
Photographer: Chuck Gomez for Amtrak. From the Amtrak Corporate Collection.