|OAKLAND HISTORY TIMELINE|
1200 b.c. Ohlone Indians settle in the area that would become Oakland.
1772 Spanish explorers are the first Europeans to visit the East Bay.
1797 Established in Fremont, Mission de San José extends Spanish jurisdiction over the area that would become Oakland.
1820 Luis Maria Peralta is awarded a 44,800-acre land grant from the King of Spain that includes most of present-day Alameda County.
1821 The first non-Native American dwelling in what is now Oakland is built by Antonio Maria Peralta near Paxton and 34th Streets.
1842 Don Peralta divides his land among his four sons. Most of Oakland lies within the shares given to Antonio Maria and Vicente. Full-scale logging operations begin in the East Bay Hills by new settlers.
1849 During the California Gold Rush, Oakland becomes the mainland staging point for passengers and cargo traveling between the Bay and the Sierra foothills.
1851 The first village post office is opened in the Oakland House, Oakland’s first hotel, at the corner of Broadway and First. Mail is addressed to "Contra Costa" (the other coast) until 1855 when the post office recognizes the name Oakland.
1852 On May 4th, the State legislature approves incorporation of the town of Oakland. This hamlet of 75 people was previously known as Contra Costa. Immediately, construction of shipping wharves begins along Oakland’s Estuary. Building the large wharves and dredging a shipping channel position Oakland as an independent point of destination. The Young Ladies’ Seminary, predecessor to Mills College, opens in Benicia before moving to Oakland in 1871.
1853 The College School (Henry Durant, principal) is established in a rented room on the corner of Fifth and Broadway. It will later become the College of California, predecessor to the University of California. The first public school opens with an attendance of 16. The Oakland Police Department is founded.
1860 Oakland, with a population of 1,543, is ranked 38th in a list of towns of California compiled during the seventh census of the United States. En route from Sacramento to San Francisco, the famed Pony Express makes at least 20 documented rides through Oakland before the transcontinental telegraph system makes it obsolete in 1861.
1864 County supervisors rent an Oakland house to serve as the first county hospital. The first street paving is laid in Oakland, on a small portion of Broadway at a cost of $3.18 per foot.
1865 Designed by the great landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmsted, designer of New York’s Central Park, Mountain View Cemetery is dedicated on May 25. The first internment is June Weir in July. By 1876, 2,000 burials are recorded. By 2002, there are approximately 165,000 interred there. Many prominent figures in California history have been laid to rest in Mountain View Cemetery.
1867 Dr. Samuel Merritt donates 155 acres of dammed tidal water from the headwaters of Indian Slough. It becomes known as "Merritt’s Lake" and later Lake Merritt.
1868 Enoch Pardee builds a gracious home on 11th Street. The family lives in the home continuously until 1981. Enoch’s son George served as Governor of the State of California during the 1906 earthquake.
1869 The first Oakland horsecar runs from the Estuary to 40th and Telegraph. Oakland becomes the western terminus of the Transcontinental Railroad as the first west-bound train arrives on the Central Pacific railroad in the area now known as Old Oakland. The Oakland Fire Department is established.
1870 Antonio Peralta’s adobe home is replaced by a handsome Italianate frame house. Still standing in 2002, the house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and forms the core of the Peralta Hacienda Historical Park. The state legislature to designates Lake Merritt as a wildfowl refuge, the first wildlife refuge declared by any legislative body in North America. By the 1870’s, a Chinese settlement is established in the location of present-day Oakland Chinatown.
1871 Mills College moves to Oakland where a new campus is purchased and Mills Hall built. In 2002, Mills Hall remains a centerpiece of the college’s campus. The City government moves into the newly completed City Hall at 14th & Washington Street. The Webster Street drawbridge across San Antonio creek is completed connecting Oakland with Alameda. The city’s black community stands up to the Oakland School Board and fights to preserve open classroom admissions.
1872 The town of Brooklyn is annexed to Oakland
1874 The first edition of the "Oakland Daily Evening Tribune" is printed. The Federal government dredges the channel to open Oakland as a deep water port.
1876 The Camron-Stanford House, a lovely Italianate home, is constructed. The last Victorian home to grace the shores of Lake Merritt, the Camron-Stanford House is acquired by the City and becomes the Oakland Public Museum from 1910 to 1967.
1877 July riots in San Francisco lead to the organization of Oakland Citizens’ Committee of Safety to prevent spread of violence to the East Bay. City Hall at 14th and Washington burns to the ground in a suspicious fire.
1883 Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon opens and remains in continuous operation to the present. The bar was a favorite haunt of Jack London who references the bar seventeen times in his novel John Barleycorn. Heinold’s is designated a National Literary Landmark in 1998 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.
1884 Built as a wedding present to Emma Bray Cohen and her husband Alfred H. Cohen, the Stick-Eastlake style Cohen-Bray House on 29th Avenue is still owned by their descendants in 2002.
1886 Joaquin Miller, distinguished poet, purchases a site in the Oakland hills, naming it "The Hights". Miller plants some 75,000 trees on the 70 acres to create an artists’ retreat where the sharing of nature would nurture the creative spirit.
1888 Oakland annexes the Vernon Heights district in what is now known as Adams Point.
1889 Mills College grants the first B.A. degree awarded to women west of the Mississippi. H. C. Capwell opens the Lace House on Washington Street. Several moves later, the H. C. Capwell Company opens the huge department store at Broadway and 20th Street in 1927.
1891 Oakland’s first electric streetcar leaves the foot of Broadway for Berkeley. Residents throng the sidewalks as if it were a parade.
1897 Giovanni Ratto opens G. B. Ratto International Grocery at Sixth and Washington Streets and later moves to Ninth and Washington, its current location. The business continues to be operated by family members into the 21st century.
1899 Alexander Dunsmuir builds a spectacular 37-room Neoclassical-Revival mansion as a wedding gift for his bride Josephine Wallace. The home, now a museum, offers a glimpse of how the wealthy lived and special events are held on its 40-acre estate.
1903 Oakland’s first "skyscraper", an 11-story, steel-frame Beaux Arts-style office building at Broadway and 13th Street houses the Union Savings Bank.
1904 The first public recreation area, Bushrod Playground in North Oakland, is deeded to the City by Bushrod Washington James.
1907 Frederick Meyer establishes the California College of Arts and Crafts (CCAC) in Berkeley to provide an education for artists and designers that integrates both theory and practice in the arts. In 1922, Meyer purchases a four-acre estate at Broadway and College Avenue and moves CCAC to Oakland.
1909 The area of Oakland increases from 22.9 to 60.25 square miles with the annexation of Claremont, Fruitvale, Melrose, Fitchburg, Elmhurst and other outlying territories. Samuel Merritt College begins as a hospital school of nursing named after Dr. Samuel Merritt. The professionally accredited diploma school graduates more than 3,000 men and women during its first 72 years. In 1981, the college initiates an innovative four-year entry-level baccalaureate nursing degree program.
1910 Oakland’s population more than doubles in ten years from 66,960 to over 150,000 as people and businesses relocate from earthquake-ravaged San Francisco. Oakland regains control of the long-lost waterfront by final settlement of litigation which had lasted over half a century and cost several millions of dollars.
1911 Re-incorporation of Oakland under the new freeholders’ charter adopted in 1910 changes the municipal government from a council to a commission system. U. S. President William H. Taft lays the cornerstone for the new Beaux Arts-style City Hall, the first government building designed as a skyscraper and the tallest building West of the Mississippi when completed in 1914.
1914 Designed by J.J. Donovan, the Oakland Civic Auditorium opens on the south shore of Lake Merritt. The auditorium is described as "a California Million Dollar Amusement and Recreation Palace and
1915 Designed by Julia Morgan, the YWCA building at 1515 Webster Street opens. Morgan, an Oakland native, is the first woman to attend the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris. Considered one of her major works, the Oakland Y is the first of 18 Y’s designed by Morgan in California and Hawaii.
1918 Over $2 million is spent on construction of factory buildings, an amount not exceeded until 1923. Edoff Bandstand is built in Lakeside Park.
1921 Mills College confers its first master’s degree.
1925 Lake Merritt’s "Necklace of Lights" is lit for the first time during the Dons of Peralta Water Festival. There are 126 lampposts, each given by an organization or an individual. The lampposts and 3,400 pearly bulbs shine until 1941 when World War II blackout conditions are enforced. C. L. Dellums helps establish the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first African American trade union in U.S. history. Dellums serves as the union’s vice president and president. In 1995, Oakland’s new train station is named the C. L. Dellums Amtrak Station.
1926 Charter amendments are adopted which create a permanent Port Commission, and transfer to the County the assessment of city property and the collection of city taxes. Moviegoers flock to the opening of the Grand Lake Theater and are thrilled by the sounds of its mighty Wurlitzer organ.
1927 With the organization of the Board of Port Commissioners, the municipal harbor enters a new era of development as the "Port of Oakland" including the opening of the 700-acre Oakland Municipal Airport. The first successful flight from the mainland to Hawaii leaves from Oakland.
1928 The Fox-Oakland Theater opens in downtown Oakland boasting one of the largest stages on the West Coast.
1929 Razing of Idora Park is begun to make way for new homes. For 25 years, the 17-acre amusement ground in North Oakland offered a variety of entertainment from roller-coaster thrills to band music and opera. The East Bay Municipal Utility District completes Pardee Dam and the Mokelumne aqueduct delivering freshwater from the Sierra Mountains to Oakland. At 345 feet above the riverbed and 580 feet above sea level, Pardee Dam is the highest in the world at the time.
1930 Adoption of charter amendments divides Oakland into Council Districts and provides for a Council-Manager form of government.
1931 The Paramount Theatre, designed by Timothy Pflueger in the Art Deco style, is one of the last cinema-castle extravaganzas to be built.
1932 The Oakland Municipal Rose Garden blooms for the first time. Some 6,000 rose bushes bloom between May and September.
1934 Voters approve the East Bay Regional Park District which grows from 10,000 acres of former watershed lands in the East Bay hills to 50,000 acres in Alameda County and 42,000 in Contra Costa County including 59 regional parks and recreation areas, 29 inter-park trails, 10 freshwater swimming areas, two golf courses, and 18 children’s play areas.
1935 One of the Depression-era WPA construction projects that helps stimulate employment is the construction of the new moderne-style Alameda County Courthouse on the shores of Lake Merritt.
1936 The Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge, one of the engineering wonders of the world, opens months before the Golden Gate Bridge.
1937 The Broadway low-level tunnel connects Oakland with Contra Costa County. Amelia Earhart begins her ill-fated, around-the-world flight from the Oakland Municipal Airport. In 1997, Linda Finch re-creates Earhart’s flight in a restored Lockheed Electra 10E.
1941 The Port of Oakland voluntarily turns over to the Armed Forces such facilities as would be needed for the war program. In the ensuing years, the port area becomes the site for such vital and extensive developments as the Oakland Army Base and the Naval Supply Base. Filling tidelands for these bases is spectacular. A hill is literally moved to the sea when thousands of yards of soil are hauled around-the-clock in heavy diesel trucks at the rate of one per minute. Dedicated as a memorial to California poets and writers, the Woodminster Amphitheater and Cascades open in Joaquin Miller Park.
1942 The Permanente Foundation Hospital is dedicated in Oakland, the first in the chain of Henry J. Kaiser’s health plan hospitals.
1943 The Pacific Coast leads the nation in shipbuilding. Oakland leads other West Coast cities producing more than 35% of the entire Pacific Coast cargo ship output. Food packing is another major industry with 60% of total food stuffs coming from Oakland canneries. Oakland is truly an "arsenal of democracy".
1944 Dr. Bebe Patten establishes the Oakland Bible Institute which is later re-named Patten College to reflect the institution’s growth and expansion of academic programs and degree offerings. The Mai Tai, a refreshing rum cocktail, is created at Trader Vic’s restaurant.
1945 The day after V-E day, Oakland residents vote more than $15 million in bonds for city improvements including indoor swimming pools, new playgrounds, police court, streets and sewers, a central library and four new branch libraries.
1948 The last Oakland streetcar, Grove Street No. 5, rolls into the car barn. Motor buses replace the trolleys.
1950 Children’s Fairyland opens in Lakeside Park. Swelled by huge numbers of workers who flocked to the city for WWII jobs, the U.S. Census puts Oakland’s population at 384,575. Oakland’s African American population soars from 8,462 in 1940 to 47,562 in 1950. The military makes substantial improvement to the Port’s facilities.
1951 From one playground in 1904, the City’s recreation areas now number 112 including swimming pools, community centers, baseball diamonds and general playgrounds.
1952 Oakland celebrates its centennial with a variety of pageants, programs and exhibits
1953 The Oakland Board of Education organizes the Oakland Junior College and develops Laney College and Merritt College as separate campuses for the new institution. In 1964, Oakland Junior College is renamed the Peralta Community College District.
1959 The Morcom Amphitheater, located in the Oakland Municipal Rose Garden, is dedicated. The amphitheater becomes a favorite location for exchanging wedding vows.
1960 Construction begins on the airport’s new jet runway. The Oakland Raiders start playing in the upstart American Football League.
1962 The first container ships begin arriving in Oakland marking the beginning of dramatic growth of cargo tonnage handled through the Port of Oakland. Fukuoka, Japan becomes Oakland’s first sister city.
1963 Lake Merritt Wild Duck Refuge is registered as a National Historic Landmark.
1964 Construction of BART begins. The Port constructs the Seventh Street Marine Terminal, the largest single container terminal on the West Coast.
1966 Bobby Seale and Huey Newton organize the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense at Oakland City College. The $25.5 million Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum complex opens near I-880.
1968 Major League Baseball comes to Oakland when the Kansas City Athletics move into the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
1969 Construction on City Center begins with funding provided from matching grants tied to BART construction. The Oakland Museum of California opens and is one of the most architecturally interesting museums in the country. Comprehensive permanent exhibits on three floors portray California's natural wonders; events, eras and people who have shaped the state; and the art that Californians have produced.
1971 After leaving the Cow Palace, the Bay Area’s NBA team settles in at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena and becomes known as the Golden State Warriors.
1972 BART begins operation with its control center above the Lake Merritt station. The Oakland Athletics Baseball Team wins its first World Championship since relocating from Kansas City.
1973 Following a full and authentic restoration, the Paramount Theatre reopens in its original Art Deco splendor. The authenticity of the renovation is even more remarkable given it was accomplished with a $1 million budget. The Oakland A’s win the World Championship, again. Marcus Foster, Oakland’s first black school superintendent, is assassinated by the Symbionese Liberation Army.
1974 BART’s transbay tube opens for operation. The A’s make it three straight World Championship victories. Oakland declares the Western Pacific Depot on Third and Washington Streets as its first city landmark. By the late 1990’s, nearly 130 structures have been declared city landmarks and six areas are named preservation districts.
1975 Nakhodka, Russia and Sekondi Takoradi, Ghana become Oakland’s second and third sister cities. The Golden State Warriors take the NBA Championship in a four-game sweep over the Washington Bullets.
1977 The Oakland Raiders win their first NFL championship before a record Super Bowl crowd plus 81 million television viewers, the largest audience ever to watch a sporting event. Super Bowl XI’s final score: Oakland – 32, Minnesota – 14. The Oakland Tours Program begins offering free walking tours for school groups and interested visitors.
1978 The Peralta Hacienda is declared a State Historical Landmark.
1981 The Oakland Raiders are victorious (27-10) over Philadelphia in Super Bowl XV.
1982 Oakland enters into its fourth sister city agreement with the Chinese city of Dalian.
1983 The Oakland Tribune becomes the first major metropolitan newspaper owned by an African American when Robert C. Maynard acquires the paper through the first management leveraged buyout in U. S. newspaper history. Maynard joined the Tribune in 1979 as editor and continues to own the paper until 1992.
1984 Following a $15 million refurbishment, the Oakland Civic Auditorium is reborn as the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center.
1986 Don’t worry, be happy…Ocho Rios, Jamaica joins Oakland’s roster of sister cities.
1987 Oakland welcomes Livorno, Italy as its sixth sister city.
1989 The Loma Prieta earthquake hits the Bay Area collapsing the Cypress Freeway and destroying over 1,000 housing units in Oakland. Forty-five people perish. City Hall suffers structural damage and is evacuated. The earthquake-delayed World Series concludes with an Oakland A’s victory over the San Francisco Giants.
1991 A catastrophic wildfire rages through the Berkeley-Oakland Hills destroying over 3,500 dwellings in Oakland. Twenty-five people perish. First conceived in the mid-1970’s, Preservation Park opens. This unique urban redevelopment project contains 16 Victorian homes (five original to the site, 11 assembled from other locations) that have been converted to offices for nonprofit organizations. The homes are set in an urban park landscaped to resemble a typical 19th century residential Oakland neighborhood.
1993 The National Civic League designates Oakland as an "All-America City." National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Rand McNally rank Oakland’s climate the best in the U.S. Oakland has statistically the same number of sunny days as Orange County, California. The Oakland A’s Rickey Henderson steals his 1066th base and becomes world’s all-time leader in bases stolen.
1995 Oakland City Hall reopens following an $80 million seismic retrofit and renovation. Fortune ranks California’s "Golden Triangle" – Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose – as the #1 place to do business in the U.S. After a 13-year road trip in Los Angeles, the Raiders return to Oakland. Following a 12-year, $5 million restoration, the Potomac opens for dockside tours and Bay cruises. The 165-foot-long vessel served as President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s beloved "Floating White House" from 1936 until his death in 1945.
1996 A $200 million renovation to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum adds two 40,000-square-foot clubs, 22,000 seats, 125 luxury suites, a 9,000-square-foot kitchen, two new color video boards and two matrix scoreboards. The facility is re-named the Network Associates Coliseum in a 1998 naming rights deal.
1997 In conjunction with the 60th anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s attempt to circumnavigate the world, Linda Finch successfully completes the around-the-world flight, beginning and ending her flight at Oakland Airport’s historic North Field. An extensive $121 million renovation to the Oakland-Alameda County Arena adds 72 luxury suites and 3,900 club seats and increases seating capacity for basketball games to 19,200. The only two things not replaced during renovation: the roof and the "jewel box" exterior wall. The facility is re-named the New Arena in Oakland.
1998 Named in honor of late Oakland City Councilmember Frank H. Ogawa, City Hall Plaza re-opens after a $124 million rebuilding. Ogawa was the first Japanese-American to serve on a City Council in the U.S. Money magazine ranks Oakland among the top 25 cities to live in the U.S. and the 10th best in the West. The final phase of the Cypress Replacement portion of the Nimitz Freeway is completed at a cost of $1.2 billion nine years after the Loma Prieta earthquake collapsed the previous structure. The Downtown Historic District, encompassing 58 structures and 6 city blocks, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its historical and architectural significance.
1999 Jerry Brown, former State of California Governor and three-time Presidential candidate, is inaugurated as Oakland’s 47th mayor.
2000 The U.S. Census counts 399,484 residents in Oakland and ranks Oakland residents eighth in the U.S. in overall educational achievement. More than one-third of Oakland’s residents have a college degree – twice the national average. American Association of Electronics ranks Oakland third in the nation for percentage of households with Internet access. The Wall Street Journal ranks Oakland the #1 office market in the U.S. through 2005. The Cuban city of Santiago de Cuba is officially recognized as Oakland’s seventh sister city.
2001 Forbes magazine ranks Oakland the 10th best city for business in the U.S. Based on U.S. Census Bureau data, the Center for Women’s Business Research ranks Oakland third in the U.S. in the number of women-owned businesses. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Rotunda Building reopens following a $43 million renovation. The Beaux Arts masterpiece has a 125-foot atrium dome.
2002 State of California estimates put Oakland’s population at over 404,000. The African American Museum and Library, a division of the Oakland Public Library, opens following an $11.2 million renovation and seismic retrofit of the Charles Greene building (c. 1902). Jerry Brown is elected for a second four-year term as Mayor of Oakland. The City celebrates 150th anniversary of incorporation.
Originally compiled by the Oakland History Room of the Oakland Public Library, this timeline was expanded and updated by the Community and Economic Development Agency in preparation for the City’s 150th Anniversary.