NAME, Years Elected to City Council

George W Dornin (1854- served two terms: 1901 and 1903. He was president of Council in 1903.






George W Dornin was the eldest son of the famous dauguerreotypist and author, George D Dornin.7 He was born in 1854 in Grass Valley, California where Sr was making a name for himself as a daguerreotypist. Like his dad, he was an insurance agent.1 He shows up in the 1887 and 1901 directories as working for the Insurance Company of London and the National Fire Insurance Company and Springfield Fire and Marine Insurance Company, respectively.3 On the other hand, one Bishop's Directory lists him as a "draughtsman."

One of the Dornin's featured prominently in the early history of Berkeley and whichever Dornin this was was probably the same Dornin that was President of the Berkeley Temperance Society.4

Time on Council:

While on Council, Dornin was involved with the (never-ending) issue of the municipal ownership of Oakland's water. He was assigned the task of cross-examining Engineer A. L. Adams (anyone know which Adams this is?) of the Contra Costa Water Company. He was given this job because the council had been asking questions willy nilly and couldn't get any work done.6 Apparently he was good at this sort of thing (or at least no one else was better), as he was also president of City Council in 1903.



Chair of the Board of Freeholders, 1910: committee tasked with rewriting City Charter.5



  1. "MAYOR APPOINTS WATER COMMITTEE." San Francisco Chronicle: Apr 12, 1902.
  2. "Bishop's Directory." 1877-1878.
  3. "McKenney's Oakland, Alameda and Berkeley City Directory." 1887-1888. "Husted's Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda Directory." 1901."
  4. "Oakland Directory." 1877.
  5. "FREEHOLDERS HOLD THEIR FIRST MEETING: Oakland Lawmakers Will Have No Committee Work in the Framing of Charter." San Francisco Chronicle: July 21, 1910.
  6. "DORNIN TO BE THE SPOKESMAN: President of Council Delegated to Put Questions to Contra Costa Company's Engineer." San Francisco Chronicle: May 18, 1904.
  7. Palmquist, Peter and Thomas Kailbourn. Pioneer Photographers of the Far West. Stanford University Press: 2000.