Category: Oakland

  • Some Details of St. Paul’s Cathedral

  • More Reflections of St. Paul’s

    Reflections of the towers of St. Paul’s Cathedral in the windows of the Software Engineering Institute.

  • Houses on the South Side Slopes

    Improbable houses on the Slopes, with a view of Oakland in the background.

  • Some Details from Webster Hall

    Webster Hall sign
    Webster Hall

    Father Pitt picked up a Fujifilm HS10 camera very cheaply, and here is a demonstration of its long range. The picture above and the picture below were taken standing in the same spot: the steps of the Mellon Institute across Fifth Avenue. The picture above is not a composite: the lens is wide enough for the whole building. (Of course the perspective has been adjusted, because old Pa Pitt wouldn’t let a picture go without doing that.)

    Scallop-shell ornament

    A scallop-shell ornament over one of the windows in the upper floors. The long lens makes it easy to pick out interesting details, and the details on Webster Hall, designed by Henry Hornbostel, are worth picking out. It’s a kind of Art Deco Renaissance palace, built as luxury apartments, but soon changed into a hotel, and then back to luxury apartments again.

  • Cathedral of Learning

  • Samson Dealer, Oakland

    Sampson Motors dealer

    Continuing our visits to car dealers of the past, we come to the Samson dealer. At least it seems to be a Samson dealer, although it could also be a Sampson dealer. Our 1923 map shows it as “Samson [sic] Motor Co.,’ but these maps are prone to slight misspellings. On the other hand, Sampson was a very rare brand of car, and this seems like a fairly grand dealer to be built for a rare marque. On the third hand, Samson was a brand of tractors and trucks in the early 1920s, and this looks like a rather classy building for a dealer in farm implements. At any rate, it was a motor-vehicle dealer of some sort. More recently it was a gallery of some sort, and now it is decaying, although part of the building appears to be still in use.

    The front is a feast of terra-cotta details.

    Service entrance]

  • Soldiers and Sailors Memorial from a Different Angle

    We saw the front as it looked 22 years ago (and as it looks today, because nothing has changed except the plantings). This is the Bigelow Boulevard side the way it looked the day before yesterday, as seen from Lytton Avenue a block away. Supposedly this was the side that architect Henry Hornbostel had been forced to agree to make the front, but then he built the thing his way anyway, with a long vista down to Fifth Avenue.

    Old-timers will remember the parking lot in the foreground as Syria Mosque.

  • Soldiers and Sailors Memorial, Oakland

    Soldiers and Sailors Memorial

    In 2000, a planting of deep burgundy celosia gave old Pa Pitt the opportunity to take this picture with his beloved Kodak Retinette.

  • Goofy Gargoyle, Grumpy Gargoyle

    Two gargoyle faces on St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oakland.

  • White Motor Company Dealership, Oakland

    White Motor Company emblem

    Continuing our visits to car dealers of the past, we visit the White Motor Company dealer on Melwood Avenue, which has fortunately found a new use in the medical-industrial complex.

    White dealership

    White started in the automobile business with a successful steamer (more Whites were built than Stanleys), but as gasoline-powered cars took over the market, White abandoned steam and went with the crowd. At some point around World War I or after, White left the car business and concentrated its efforts on trucks and buses. The company was very successful in that business, and remained a manufacturing force until it was bought out by Volvo in 1980.

    From the other end