Elysees of Paris, Unter den Linden of Berlin, the Koenig Strasse of Vienna are considered by cosmopolitans and globe trotters to be the greatest boulevards in Europe, while at home the only Fifth avenue of New York, where there is so much in a look; Euclid avenue in Cleveland, Lakeside boulevard in Chicago and Pennsylvania avenue in the Capital, all of which are wonderful streets, constantly striving to annex the palm from the famed boulevard of the great metropolis.
Beautiful and wonderful as these famous boulevards and streets are, they are very formal and dignified, and as much etiquette is observed by the occupants in the know as is used in a drawing room. In other words, there is a lack of humor or breeziness in one's surroundings to see something uproariously funny in Fifth avenue, would bring out the riot squad, one just smiles, never laughs a side-splitting laugh; it would not be considered good form on this well-groomed thoroughfare.
Many years ago, the old-time pleasure-loving people of Oakland had their own famous boulevard, such as it was, and for real enjoyment, breeziness and comraderie [sic] it had any other thoroughfare of its character surpassed.
Known then as the San Leandro Road, it still exists today, although shorn of its former glory. It is how the right of way for the electric system which connects Oakland with the thriving towns beyond, and over which roll heavy trucks laden with the produce of the farm.
It is better paved than of old and densely populated communities fringe its length. When in the hey-dey of its popularity as a boulevard it ran through hayfields and orchards, with the blue foothills to the east and the marshes and bay to the west.
It had its communities, however, but they consisted of road houses, and the entire twelve miles of its length was dotted at intervals of a mile or so with these resorts for the convenience of man and beast, for no other travelers used the road except the primeval hobo.
These resorts bore various names; some after their proprietors, while others were decorated with euphonious signs, which had no relation to the place or its surroundings whatever, but which bugged the eye of the Jovial Joy rider.
The Villa, Bellevue, the Resort, the Three-Mile House were some of the principal ones. They all looked alike, it being considered business suicide to show any originality in design or get away from the customary road house layout, which was generally a two-storied affair; painted white with green blinds, a wagon shed on one side, and both, if there was enough ground; a horse trough in front with a hitching rail alongside.
The road house always had a porch covered with a wooden awning, the uprights of which were nearly gnawed through by the restless plug of some tarrying farmer homeward bound.
The front room contained the bar, and the back room, which was usually of some proportions, was the dining-room, where the merry-making took place.
The most famous of these road houses were the Three-Mile House and Tony Oakes'. [see below, if the link doesn't work - MF] The former, as its name implies was three miles distant from Oakland, and it was the first stop on the long drive to Hayward, which was the end of the trail. The custom was, after leaving the limits of Oakland, which was Fruitvale avenue, to race to the Three-Mile House, the loser standing the expense.
At times the make-up of the race would consist of single-horse buggies or sulkies, and quite often two-horse teams, and as the entire width of the road would frequently be occupied by the racers, the incoming farmer with a load of turnips and onions would be forced up against the three-rail fence while his eyes would follow the racers until lost in their own dust.
The hangers-on waiting at the Three-Mile House for something to turn up would glimpse a cloud of dust far down the long road and with a cry of "Here they come!" every available chair on the veranda would be occupied, likewise the hitching rail and water trough, with spectators to cheer the winner and condole with the loser, and incidentally come in on the refreshments.
ANCIENT SPORTS.The Three-Mile House was run by one Joseph Dieves, the son of a pioneer brewer of Oakland. [Joseph P. Dieves was the son of Joseph Dieves, I believe. - MF]
|Joe Dieve's place, AKA Three-Mile House,|
now 54th Ave & International Blvd
But Dieves seemed to have a nose for raids, likewise a friendly sport-loving constable who would tip him off when the "bulls were about to descend upon his castle, so when it was known to the sports on both sides of the bay that something would be doing at Dleves' on a certain date, word would quietly come to Dieves later on that he would be raided at 4 o'clock on that day.
Promptly, however, at 4 o'clock the fight would come off, for Dieves had learned a trick by previous experience. Instead of being raided at the time he was quietly told, the minions of the law with their tin stars and whiskers would rush in about 2 o'clock, expecting that Dieves would try to beat them to it, but instead of finding a couple of roosters gouging each other with two-inch spurs, they found a few inoffensive men sitting about smoking and talking horse.
However, they would stick around for an hour or so and then take their leave, and when their forms had blended with the dust in the far distance from every room upstairs, and from every closet in the house, would emerge gentlemen with black mustaches, striped shirts and bedecked with diamond horse shoe pins. They would lose themselves in the barn behind the house and soon the feathers would be flying and bets would be laid.
The old San Leandro road of a fine Sunday was one continuous stream of horse-drawn vehicles, from the arch-necked span driven by the village swell, accompanied by his best girl, to the lowly old "Dobbin" with the family surrey loaded to the gunwales. Pacers, trotters, bays, geldings, white horses with flowing mane and tall, passed over the dusty highway, all on pleasure bent, but the sensation of the day, which is still remembered by some of the old boys, was when a regular feller from Oakland, who is still alive, went down the San Leandro road with a tandem. The road houses were emptied of their occupants, who watched the turnout open-mouthed until out of sight. The farmers turned so abruptly in their wagons to watch it as it ambled past that many of them fell off their seats, and the unprecedented occurrence was the subject of talk for months, the slogan being "Did ye see thet durn crazy feller las' Sunday drivin' two hosses hitched one head t'other? - the durn fool!"
Oftentimes the road would be the meet for many local horsemen of fame, the long unobstructed stretch giving them ample opportunity to limber up their horses, and many a trotter that was exercised along the San Leandro road was afterward heard from on the regular track.
These old-time horsemen were wont to congregate at Dieves' or some other hostlery, and while their steeds were being rubbed down and manicured by the Irish hostlers, their owners would sip toddy and recount past performances of their own and other horseflesh.
No conversation is conducted with more calm and quiet than the discussion of the merits of valuable horses amongst genuine lovers of fast and pedigreed stock; to them the dignity of the subject has a sacredness that is worthy of the utmost respect that could be paid anything alive.
On one memorable occasion, when a bunch of these old horse fans were seated about a table in one of the resorts on the road discussing the merits of various horses that were stepping away at 2:20 and thereabouts, the large group of loungers present who had nothing to do but listen to any discussion about anything, were respectfully silent, as fast horses was the one thing that they were familiar with, and to be fortunate enough to hear opinion by these authorities was some event. After the records of Maud S., St. Julien, Goldsmith Maid and other famed trotters of the world had been discussed, a young Portuguese known only as Joe, who had been an interested listener, suddenly broke in with "My brodder, Antone, he gotta fasta horse; he come down San Leanro road lak hal!"
The San Leandro road lay in a straight course to the town of Hayward. Just before San Leandro was reached, the speeders were held up by the sign on the old covered bridge over the creek, which warned them of a fine for fast driving over said bridge, but the sports intent on beating the other fellow into town, has his eyes only on his horse's ears and rattled over the bridge in a cloud of dust, only to be gathered in by the constable at the other end who was hiding in his whiskers, and the treasury of the town would be enriched by $10.
After a rest at the Estudillo house in San Leandro, which still stands today, the remaining few miles to Hayward was made in record time, and a cloud of dust. The end of the Journey was then reached. The road continued on past Hayward for many miles, but it was practically unknown, for when Tony Oakes' was reached the inner man was in splendid condition to be fed and interest in anything else ceased.
Oakes made a specialty of good things gastronomical, he being a chef of some renown. His star dish was fried chicken with a delicious white sauce, which was a secret process with him and on which he had a patent, so everybody stopped and regaled themselves.
Both Oakes and Dieves stood in the way to become very well off. Their patrons spent lavishly, and for many years they had a wonderful business, for of the thousands that journeyed over the old boulevard they captured the lion's share of the dollars that were spent.
But one day the electric car came, and to stay at that, and the deathknell of the two famous resorts, likewise the old San Leandro road as a boulevard, was rung.
The Three-Mile House is no more. It was moved some years ago, but it passed away in a blaze; not of glory, however, for while on the housemovers' rollers out in the middle of the San Leandro road it took fire and was completely consumed. The site it so long occupied is now Fifty-fifth avenue in the city of Oakland.
|Tony Oakes' Hotel stood at Castro and Calhoun Streets|
(Mission Boulevard and B Street) according to
the Historic Context Statement for the City of Hayward
Oakland and Hayward are connected today by a new boulevard about a mile to the east of the old road. It follows the rise of the foothills, is splendidly paved and motor cars zip over it with the speed of a projectile. It bears a more metropolitan name than its "has been" sister road, and so far surpasses it in every respect that the old-time thoroughfare is thrown into the discard. Still there are some of the old-timers left with bent backs who still drive their wagons laden with garden truck over its dusty surface, and who remark as their gaze travels toward the new road with its glistening autos: "Them there fancy roads can't hold a candle to the old San Leandro road, be gosh!"
[The "new boulevard about a mile to the east of the old road" the author is talking about Foothill Blvd, shown here in this 1912 map.]
|Map Of Oakland And Vicinity. Published By The Realty Union, First National Bank Building, San Francisco, California. Copyrighted in 1912.|
The content below is at https://wc.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=robert_pocan&id=I392https://wc.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=robert_pocan&id=I392, but since it was returning errors at one point I'm pasting it below, so that it isn't lost.
GEORGE OAKES FAMILY (author, George Henry Oakes, written in 1964)
My father, George Anthony Oakes, acquired the first Hayward weekly newspaper, the Hayward Journal, around l873. His office was on Castro Street, named after Guillermo Castro, early Mexican resident. My father's father had the second hotel in time of establishment, almost next door to the printing office. The hotel was one of the first three-story buildings in South County. The name of the hotel was "Tony Oakes' Hotel", and next door was a beautiful fountain, along with Tony Oakes' Ball Room, the meeting place of gatherings in the 1870's, On the rise (above) "A" Street and Main, was located the first hotel conducted by William and Rachel Hayward, who moved here from Indiana. Both hotelmen, Oakes and Hayward, are at rest in one of the first big cemeteries in the Fairview District Hills of Hayward, Lone Tree Cemetery.
There was no bank in Hayward in the early days of Tony Oakes' hostelry, so the hotel served as Chamber of Commerce, banking money in the hotel safe, and was often the meeting place of the Town Trustees. I honestly don't know of any family that has made a bigger contribution over 100 years that the Oakes' family, and my mother's folks, owners of the Henry Peterman grocery and meeting place at Mount Eden. My mother, Emma Peterman, met Editor George Anthony Oakes, when he called at Peterman's grocery and Post Office about 1887. I know, because I was born about a year after the marriage.
Mother, exceptionally friendly, had been substitute teacher at Mount Eden School until she wed and moved to her home on upper B Street, almost next to the Hill and Valley Clubhouse as we know its location today. She was a friend to everyone, and saw to it that the Hayward Journal was among the best known weekly newspapers in the State. It was Hayward's only newspaper.
My father was master of ceremonies at almost every big county-wide gathering at Tony Oakes' Hall. The dining room was so well liked, that Supervisors from San Francisco and other celebrities came by tally-ho to spend the week-end at Tony Oakes' place. Personality and singing aided the entertainment and popularity of this well-known hostelry in South County.
Tony played his guitar beautifully while he sang. Most of the guests came by the Southern Pacific (railroad), and there were horses and buggies to meet all trains. You have to have lived years ago and know entertainers like Leo Carrillo, to appreciate the true greatness of my grandfather. He liked to have my mother at his side at the Grand Balls when the San Lorenzans like the Jack Marlins, Cranes, McConaghy's folks, Gove Roberts, and Mount Eden's Henry Gansberger, Henry Meininger, A. W. Oliver's folks, William Mohr, Henry Schafer, Frank Dennis and others turned out to enjoy really big affairs. Mother was the equal of any hostess of national renown, because she played the piano so well, and had the faculty of going out of her way to make people happy.
She was unofficial "Mother of Hayward" for over 30 years. The Hayward Kiwanis Club featured her in an Early Day Pageant, written by John Sandoval, which was presented at Jacob Harder Amphitheatre (Bret Harte School) a few years ago. Emma was the official hostess for Edwin Markham when the famous poet came to town. The governor of California (a newspaper owner of the Berkeley Gazette) had my mother as his official hostess when he opened the 1915 World's Exposition (San Francisco). He was Governor Richardson.
Tony Oakes will some day find his niche in history, even more than now. The Oakland Tribune in the Knave's Historical section, presented a half page spread of Tony Oakes and his hotel, with three column pictures of his hotel in Hayward, in an issue of five years ago. The editor traced him from his Boston home in Massachusetts, through the Mexican War, where the United States secured everything from Texas to California.
The writer described how this young 20 year old man was the mess boy of (General) Winfield Scott, and won the regiment over with his singing and guitar playing. Then his being kept in the cooking department caused him to become later, one of the greatest chefs and hotelmen of all California.
He finished with telling how the blue-eyed soldier left the service to open up his first restaurant in San Francisco, coming in with the 49ers.
After being burned out there, and going to Sonoma, and becoming a ward of General Vallejo, then buying the main hotel and becoming Mayor, then leaving to start hotels in Petaluma, San Francisco, San Mateo, then finally, Hayward.
Ralston, the early day railroad financier, urged him to go to San Mateo, where he bought the pioneer hotel, and a good deal of the business section, according to the San Mateo County Historical Society recently. My sister, Nelda Oakes Beacock, unearthed the historical record of our grandfather, much of it being news to the San Mateoans. A Mr. Atherton, who had Atherton St., near Watkins Street in Hayward, coaxed Tony to establish a hotel in the "up and coming town of Hayward". Nelda was a historian in her later years after teaching in Hayward Schools, with Katherine Borneman, principal.
The pioneer families whose folks knew Tony Oakes should be mentioned, but I'm afraid of omitting so many dear friends' names.
One of the best known young men came onto the local picture about 15 years ago. After I sold the Hayward Journal, my son, George Paul Oakes, gathered my four newspapers into a large daily reaching Fremont, Union City and Newark, and has one of the largest circulations in South County. He and I are co-publishers, and feel very happy in the Fremont area, where our newspapers have been active the last 35 years, since we sold our Hayward paper. Some of our dearest local friends will be surprised to hear we have a payroll of around $750,000 a year. And George Paul Oakes is City Councilman, former Mayor, and he appointed Jack Rees as Educational Chairman to try to get a State College in Hayward. This was when he was President of Hayward Chamber of Commerce.
This sounds like my usual "proud father", but I'll like to know how he can balance a newspaper (daily) and 10 Rousseau subdivisions at one time, and still keep healthy ....and smiling, too!
Sincerely, George H, Oakes
2543 Lancaster Rd, Hayward, California
P.S. I wedded Pauline, daughter of the Pennebaker, President of the Albany Nurseries of Oregon. Her father moved to Hayward, from Ashland, to become manager of their California plant. All the newspapers we have had in Hayward, Livermore, Alvarado, Newark, Centerville, Niles and MiIpitas, have brought many friendships, and my wife has been my linotype operator and assistant editor and made our newspapers succeed. In our day, we did everything at the pioneer plant. Oh, yes, she did a good job as wife, mother, cook, etc,
The five generations of Oakes men still keeping local history going except the first two deceased are:
ANTHONY GEORGE OAKES - Hotelman
S. F., Hayward, Sonoma
Beginning in l849
GEORGE ANTHONY OAKES - Hayward's first
1673 - 1923
GEORGE H. OAKES - Co-Publisher with
George P. Oakes in Fremont
GEORGE PAUL OAKES - Councilman of
City of Hayward - Publisher -
GEORGE MALCOLM OAKES - Son of George
P. Oakes - 14 year old High
School Student at Hayward
Adobe Trails, June 1970, Hayward, California
A quarterly publication of the Hayward Area Historical Society, Pages 6-8.
Tony's oldest son George Anthony had little of his fathers attachment for hotels, nor was he interested in books. He quit school and hustled off to Antioch, where he learned the printing trade and the publishing business at the "Ledger". He returned to Hayward and became interested in the "Hayward Weekly Journal". Published in the Principe building on the west side of Mission Boulevard, it had been founded by Charles Coolidge in 1877. After a year, Coolidge sold it to Frank M. Dallam. During the next four years Dallam increased the paper's circulation and influence. This successful plant George Anthony purchased in November, 1882, and at the same tine accepted the appointment of Town Clerk in Mr. Dallam's place.
In 1887, George Anthony married Emma Petermann, one of four sons and four daughters of Henry and Mary Petermann. They had come from Hanover, Germany and after operating a candy business first in Sacramento and then in a new store on the southwest corner of Jackson and Telegraph Road, now Hesperian, and erected a spacious two-story house to the south of it. There they lived and reared their family until their deaths; Henry in 1891 and Mary in 1930. They and others of the family are buried in the Mt. Eden Cemetery on Depot Road.
Emma helped in her father's grocery and general merchandise store and was the assistant post-mistress. She was an energetic, capable woman, and together the husband-wife team expanded the "Hayward Weekly Journal" beyond the city limits. When Mrs. Hayward died, Emma accepted her title of "Mother of Hayward". She helped Governor Richardson open the Worlds Fair in San Francisco in 1915 and until her death in 1961 at the age of ninety-four years served as Hayward's official hostess, surviving her husband by sixteen years.
George and Emma had three children, George Henry, Nelda, and Helen.