Archive for the ‘Profiles’ Category

Sidewalk maker: Ed Doty

July 14, 2017

Edwin “Ed” Doty was a major maker of Oakland and East Bay sidewalks, doing business with his son Abraham “Abe” for many years as Ed Doty & Son.

Doty was born in Canada in 1862 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen, but he gave conflicting information about his parents and the year he immigrated. His wife’s name was Lizzie and they had one child, Abraham (1908-2003). Ed died in 1931.

The 1909 directory lists him at 1687 26th Avenue, but the address changed to 2487 by the 1920 census. It’s a nice place; I’ll show it to you farther down.

A glass paperweight made by Ed Doty & Son, recently listed on eBay, contains the text “Trademark of Concrete Since 1907” and the address 3481 26th Avenue.

I’ve found “Ed Doty” sidewalk stamps in Oakland dating from 1923 to 1945, in a variety of configurations. From 1929 to 1931 they looked like this:

Starting in 1932, they looked like this, distinguishable by the shape of the “E” and the “O”:

There was also this variant in the early years:

At some time in 1937 the firm switched to a new design that incorporated the “concrete master” number. It used number 16 through 1938:

Starting in 1939 it used number 17. I speculate that Abe Doty had to replace his master finisher for some reason and needed a new number.

During the same years, the firm also kept using the third variant, but with hand-drawn dates:

Here’s the Doty house. Of course, Doty laid most of the concrete on the block, replacing work by the earlier generation like Stevenson.

The driveway is gorgeous, as concrete driveways go. There’s a little panel on the corner bearing a small child’s hand and foot prints. And here, in the entryway, are some more.

In writing this post, I realize that there are details about the stamps that I need to clarify, so look for updates in the comments every now and then.

Sidewalk maker: Joe B. Silva

June 30, 2017

Joe B. Silva was born in the Azores and later became part of the East Bay’s thriving Portuguese community. I know little of his life because my sources are limited and because “Joe Silva” is an extremely common name. I just know he was born in 1876 and died in 1962. His first wife, Mary Rose, bore seven children and died in 1938. She was to be buried in St. Mary’s, but FindaGrave has no record of her or Joe. His second wife was named Gertrude. Both were Portuguese.

The Portuguese have a long and complex history in America, as summarized in a timeline from the Library of Congress. The same is true for California. There were divisions between the continental and Azorean/Madeiran Portuguese, who came here at different times for different reasons. The Oakland Tribune named Silva as the Grand President of the “Protective Association Union Madeiran Society” (Associação Protectora União Madeirense do Estado da Califórnia, or União Madeirense for short), which was founded in 1913 in West Oakland. A continental Portuguese society was founded here four years later.

Silva was first listed in the Oakland business directory as a cement worker in 1922, living at 3408 E. 18th Street. However, his first sidewalk stamp looked like this:

I’ve seen only three of these in Oakland, one of which is dated 1922. Why did such a proud and prominent Azorean use an Anglicized name? There were Portuguese concrete contractors before this, like the Azorean Construction Company (1909), Francisco Comachao (1912) and M. Gonçalves (1914), but most Portuguese names did not emerge on our sidewalks until the mid-1920s and later. Be that as it may, Silva soon came out with a new stamp using his real name. The earliest of these I’ve found is from June 1924, and the latest is 1937.

Oakland directories from 1923 to 1940 listed Silva at 2209 E. 15th Street.

He may also have collaborated with Albert Moniz, who hand-drew several different “Moniz-Silva” marks without dates, but I think that was more likely the much younger A. J. Silva.

Sidewalk maker: P. M. Henning

June 9, 2017

Paul Max Henning was born in 1886 in Giebichenstein, Germany. He served in the German navy for three years and then emigrated to America.

As of 1917, he was a PG&E employee living in Sacramento, where he requested an exemption from the draft, claiming a wife and father as dependents. His registration card recorded him as a man of medium height and build with light-blue eyes and light-brown hair. He also described himself as a German citizen.

By 1921 he was living in Oakland, working as a clerk. The 1924 directory was the first to list him as a cement contractor, living at 726 15th Street. The next year he was at 5228 Lawton Avenue. The oldest mark of his I’ve found is from 1927. He ran ads in the Oakland Tribune in the late 1920s that would point readers to the address of a recent job, so you could go look at it or talk to the proud new homeowner. His mark was always sturdy.

His mark never changed, with one exception — this single example from 1940.

In 1942 he gave the draft board an address at 333 Park View Terrace.

The latest date of his I have found is 1949.

Henning died in 1975, and his remains are encrypted in Mountain View Cemetery.

Sidewalk maker: J. C. Estey

May 19, 2017

The worn, unobtrusive stamp of J. C. Estey can be seen wherever the pavement is oldest. But this man left a rich record.

John Crowell Estey was born in 1842 in Londonderry, New Hampshire. Some sources spelled the family name “Esty.” He served in the Union Army during the Civil War. A letter he wrote to his parents in 1865 is extant, in which he told them of the death of his brother Charles in a Confederate prison. He added, “It won’t do for me to live single much longer. In 1868 if I live and nothing happens before, then I think I will take a wife.”

The 1870 census listed him as a farmer, married to the former Harriet “Hattie” Evans and father of two-year-old Minnie, living in Manhattan Township, Kansas.

By 1876 he was registered to vote in San Francisco. In 1878 he was awarded a patent on a scheme to extract power from inside a water line.

As of 1879 Estey had moved to Oakland. The 1880 census listed him as a coal dealer with three children, including a son Charles. In 1882 the Daily Alta California reported that he had been elected Assistant Superintendent of the Central Mission Sunday School in Oakland. That same year the Oakland Tribune reported that he was moving his coal yard to 16th and San Pablo. In 1886 he was listed as a farmer in the rolls of the State Anti-Riparian Irrigation Organization of California, living at 535 17th Street, where the Oakland Ice Center is today. He was listed as an officer in the Civil War veterans association that same year.

Voter records show that between 1892 and 1896 he relocated to 458 E. 17th Street in East Oakland. In 1896 he was active in the People’s Party.

The 1900 census listed him as a cement contractor, and so did the 1901 Directory of American Cement Industries. He advertised in the Tribune in 1901 as “Contractor for all kinds of Cement Work, Concrete and Stone Walls.” This is significant because it pins him down as one of Oakland’s earliest sidewalk makers. It is conceivable that some of the pavement bearing his mark dates from before 1900. However, I have found only a few dated examples, all from 1912. Baker Street, in the Golden Gate neighborhood, has a bunch of them.

Estey died in 1919. I have no information on his gravesite, but he qualified for a Civil War veteran’s grave.

Sidewalk maker: Robert Appleby

May 12, 2017

Robert O. Appleby was born in Newbottle, County Durham, England, in 1883, where the 1901 census listed him as a “horse shoer above and below ground,” presumably in the coal mines. He escaped that miserable life to America in 1905, where he married Winifred E., another English immigrant who came to America in 1907. The 1910 census listed the couple and their first child as living in Linda township in Yuba County, where he and all his neighbors were gold dredgers.

Appleby showed up in the Oakland business directory in 1917. The 1920 census listed him as a blacksmith at the shipyards, living at 2500 63rd Avenue with Winifred and their two daughters. Looks like the house is still there.

In 1925 he changed his directory listing from blacksmith to cement contractor, a status he kept at least until the 1940 census.

I’ve recorded a sprinkling of his marks all around Oakland, dating from 1931 to 1937.

He was still at the 63rd Avenue address in 1944. He died in 1968 at a ripe old age, while Winifred died in 1962. She’s buried at Mountain View Cemetery, but I have no information about him.

Sidewalk maker: T. J. Garvey

April 7, 2017

Thomas Joseph Garvey was born in Fresno in 1898; his father John J. Garvey was a Kansan of Irish descent and his mother Elizabeth was a Northern Irish native. By 1910 his family was living in Oakland, and he grew up at various addresses along Adeline Street. His 1918 draft registration form described him as a tall man of medium build, with blue eyes and brown hair.

He followed his father briefly into shipfitting, but in 1927 he was in business as a concrete contractor, living with his wife Fern (born in 1900) at 716 8th Street. As of 1930 the couple had moved up to 5686 Ocean View Drive, and from 1937 on they lived at 4520 Harbord Drive.

T. J. Garvey’s marks fall rather neatly into three periods. This was his first stamp.

The mark below, at 941 Arlington Street, is one I documented just a few days ago, the first example from 1933.

By the next year, his stamp had begun to degrade, and he was touching it up by hand.

Most of his marks from then through the war years were partly or fully hand-drawn. Then in 1947 he got a new stamp that used a serifed font, like Courier.

He used this one consistently through the 1950s. The latest mark I have is this one from 1958, on Tunnel Road.

Garvey died in 1960, and his wife lived on in the Harbord Drive home at least through the 1960s. She died in 1987, and both are buried in Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Hayward.

Marks from T. J. Garvey’s 32-year career are scattered widely throughout Oakland, though only a small fraction of them bear dates. You can at least assign them a decade just by looking at them. I’m only missing examples from 1929, 1932, 1942, 1943, 1945, 1951 and 1957. Perhaps they survive in neighboring cities.

Sidewalk Maker: Jacobs and Pattiani

March 24, 2017

This stamp was made by a general contractor, not a sidewalk maker. It’s on Martin Luther King at 15th Street, in front of the building newly occupied by Flax Art & Design. However, Jacobs and Pattiani was the contractor of record for the Claridge Hotel building across the street, so maybe that’s the connection.

Harold B. Jacobs (1894-19??) was a contractor from Alameda who lived on Holman Road in Trestle Glen. But Pattiani had the eye-catching name.

Alfred Washington Pattiani (1855-1935) was best known as a fashionable architect-builder around the turn of the last century. As Christian Olson of edificionado puts it, “Alfred Pattiani was the builder of choice for the moneyed class in the East Bay for many years. His grand Victorian homes dot the oldest parts of Berkeley, Oakland, and most notably Alameda where his office was located.” The Berkeley Daily Planet published a story in 2006 about the maniacal restoration of a Pattiani house.

Pattiani was born in Ohio of cultured Bavarian parents (his grandfather changed the family name from Fahrnbacher upon emigrating to the U.S.) — his father C. Alfred was a daguerrotypist and his mother Eliza a noted composer — and spent most of his life in the Bay area. He began his practice by designing his own home in 1879 and was active until at least 1917.

The Jacobs and Pattiani firm is listed only in the 1928 directory, at 337 17th Street. Pattiani lived on Lagunitas Avenue in Adams Point at the time. There are reports of it doing business from 1928 to 1932, but the firm’s name disappeared from the directories.

I have found two Jacobs and Pattiani marks in Oakland, both in front of brick buildings. The other one is at 450 24th Street, perhaps Oakland’s prettiest Auto Row brick structure. See it here.

Pattiani is buried in the Chapel of the Chimes Mausoleum along with his wife Ida. And there’s a Pattiani Way in Alameda, on Bay Farm Island.