Pix Hotel
courtesy Chris Treadway

The Hotel Pix (or Pix Hotel) was a small hotel and restaurant in the Examiner Building at 830 Broadway. It was the Pix from at least 1953 until 1959, when the building was incorporated into an expansion of Simon Hardware. 4 The hotel was owned by Clark J. Pickens in 1953, who had a lien filed by the IRS because of a failure to pay taxes. 1

One theory on the name is that it was homonym for Pick's, short for Pickens.

Hotel Aetna

Myrtle Gormley and Olaf Karlsen 2

It was the Hotel Aetna (or Aetna Hotel or Aetna Rooms) from at least 1914 to at least 1932.

1914 ad

In 1923, Olaf Karlsen was the proprietor. In a strange event, Claus O. Johnson attacked Karlsen's daughter, Myrtle Gormley. Karlsen rushed to her aid, and Johnson shot him. Johnson pursued Gormley and choked her, but she managed to break his hold (and possibly one of his fingers). Johnson fled the scene, and shot himself near the 8th St. dam but survived. Karlsen was badly injured and not expected to survive, but was doing somewhat better the next day. 2,3

Myrtle Gormley took over running the hotel after that.

Oddly enough, that wasn't the Karlsen's last run-in with troublemakers. In November 1932, Frederick Pollard made a drunken "berserk march" down Broadway, randomly punching people. His first victim was Emma Duffy, Myrtle's sister. Myrtle went to her aid and became Pollard's second victim.


In the 1935 directory, it is simply listed under "Furnished Rooms", with Mrs. Carrie Renslow as the manager. 5

Links and References

  1. Hotel Owner Hit By U.S. Tax Lien Oakland Tribune October 6, 1953
  2. Man Sought For Attack Shoots Self Oakland Tribune July 16, 1923
  3. Gun Man In Girl Attack Shoots Self San Francisco Examiner July 17, 1923
  4. Simon's to Expand Into Entire Block Oakland Tribune February 16, 1959
  5. Polk's Oakland Directory 1935
  6. Man Who Made 'Berserk March' on Broadway Held Oakland Tribune November 14, 1932