Sidewalk maker: Manuel Medis

Manuel D. Medis was born in Massachusetts to Manuel Medis, a Portuguese immigrant, and his wife Ella, a local of Portuguese descent, on 17 September 1895. He was the oldest of four children when the family moved to Oakland, where they were counted in the 1910 census. He served in the military during the first world war, after which he married an Ohio girl named Sylvia Mae Quickle.

Medis got into the concrete business right away. He was listed in the 1922 directory at 3806 Hopkins, in the Laurel district. As of 1924 he and Sylvia were living at 2427 Scenic Avenue, where they stayed the rest of their lives. The house is a typical working-class dwelling, though it’s been added on to since the 1960s.

2427scenicave-medis

In the 1925 directory he was listed as part of a team, “Medis and Rose,” with an older cement worker named Manuel Rose. No marks from that pair survive, and they may not have used a stamp. Be that as it may, Medis the solo practitioner left his stamp on sidewalks all over Oakland. It never changed.

m-medis29

I’ve documented examples dating from 1927 to 1940.

m-medis40

I don’t know much much longer he practiced, but he was listed in the 1941 directory. He would have been in his mid-forties.

Manuel Medis died in 1954, and Sylvia stayed on at the Scenic Avenue house until her death in 1968. They seem to have been childless, but perhaps his three sisters stayed in town and supplied them with nieces and nephews. He’s buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery next to Sylvia.

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