Archive for the ‘1926’ Category

The Lyon building and other delights

February 12, 2016

As you walk up Broadway past the old Saw Mill building, you might notice two bronze letters in the sidewalk spelling out the word “NO.” That’s because you’re looking at it backward. Things make sense at the building’s main entrance, where a large stone/concrete lion with a dozen layers of paint looms over the door and the word “LYON” is spelled out in metal.

LYONsign

With that in mind, you can set out downhill from the doorway and see the letters rightly as the second half of LYON.

LYON-ONsign

Or go uphill instead to see their counterpart. I have to assume that both of these once had four letters.

LYON-LYsign

The building began in 1916 as Lyon Moving & Storage. It was quite grand, in the old Oakland style. Today, there are 53,000 storage companies in America, most of them quite bland and not a single one, I’m sure, with its name on the sidewalk in bronze.

In other developments, I spotted two more treasures during the week.

Blake & Bilger Company

blake-n-bilger

38th Avenue at Opal Street

This is probably the best-preserved Blake & Bilger mark in the city. The firm was a major builder of Oakland’s first sidewalks, from the first decade of the 20th century, but today there are maybe a dozen of these marks left.

1926 – J. H. Fitzmaurice (II)

1926ff

1501 Harrison Street

Fitzmaurice, founded in 1922 and still going strong as a general contractor, was the first sidewalk maker in Oakland to use the barrel-shaped stamp format, which it introduced in 1926 and used into the 1950s at least. Only a handful of this stamp’s first configuration — with “OAKLAND” placed above the center — have stamped dates inside the mark. So I had to capture this one even though I have another example from the Grand Lake neighborhood.

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1926 – A. N.

July 22, 2015

1926ee

92nd Avenue at San Leandro Street

This is an odd one, but here it is.

1926 – L. Banchero & Co.

May 27, 2015

1926dd

8327 Plymouth Street

This bizarre backwards mark appears to be from 1926. Let me share my thinking here. First, we’re very close to Banchero & Co.’s home location on 86th Avenue. Second, all my other Banchero marks used a racetrack format whereas this is an oval. Third, unless I’m badly mistaken, there’s no possible way to create a reversed mark with a properly made bronze stamp. Fourth, the numeral 6 next to the (backwards) date “192_” suggests to me that it’s meant as 1926. Fifth, all other Banchero marks date from 1927 and later.

The scenario I envision is this: When it went into business in 1926, the Banchero & Co. firm ordered a stamp, but it was defective thanks to a boneheaded foundry error. They went ahead and used it until a new one was made. I’ll have my eye closely peeled as I explore the next few avenues.

1926 – H. C. Orth

March 30, 2015

1926cc

7428 Arthur Street

Much of this block was done by H. C. Orth. Here’s a superior impression to my previous example, including the association oval.

1926 – T. A. Ryan

November 19, 2014

1926bb

Seminary Avenue at Walnut Street

There are two of these at this address, both of them cracked, but they’re far less cracked than the example I showed before.

1926 – T. A. Ryan

November 9, 2014

1926aa

5733 Fleming Avenue

Cracked, but I’ll take it.

1926 – N. Lena

November 8, 2014

1926z

3000 Madera Avenue