Joseph Stickney Emery (September 30, 1820 – January 22, 1909) for whom the city of Emeryville was named, came to California in 1850 and moved to the East Bay in 1858. Emery was an original director and later president of Mountain View Cemetery’s planning commission and one of the cemetery's original trustees. Probably his most notable achievement was supervising the dredging of the Oakland Estuary, allowing ferries to run to and from San Francisco. This allowed Oakland to become the terminus of the first transcontinental railroad. He was president of the Oakland Railroad Company beginning in 1869, which had a horsecar line up San Pablo Avenue.


Emery was born September 30, 1820, in Pembroke, New Hampshire, to Jacob Emery and Jane Gault (Emery), the seventh of 10 children. Like many, he was inspired the discovery of gold in California, and came around Cape Horn on board the John Marshall arriving in San Francisco in September 1850. 6


In 1859, Emery purchased Plot 6 (as shown on the 1857 "Map of the Ranchos of Vicente and Domingo Peralta") for $8,000. 4,6 It was between 153.76 acres and 185 acres, from San Pablo Avenue to the waterfront.

He had a 2-story house constructed on a large lot near present-day Park Blvd. and San Pablo Avenue. An 1878 etching shows a long, curved driveway and beautiful grounds.

Around 1912-1913, the house was moved closer to San Pablo Avenue and a bit north to 4325 San Pablo to allow for the construction of the Oaks Ball Park, new home of the Oakland Oaks baseball team.

The 1934 Sanborn map shows it as a rooming house. 4 It was demolished in 1943. 5 An outline of the moved house can be seen next to the fire station on the 1950 Sanborn map, and an even fainter outline of part of the house can be seen under the bleachers along the third base side of the ball park.

Residence of Joseph Stickney Emery 2

Joseph Stickney Emery House 11903 Sanborn excerpt1911 Sanborn excerpt 1950 Sanborn excerpt. Note the map ghost of the moved house next to the Emeryville Fire Station

Death, Burial, and Legacy

CC SA-BY Our Oakland

Joseph Emery is buried in Mountain View Cemetery. Ironically, although he worked as a stonecutter, Emery's grave plot has no marker.

Most notable in Emery's legacy is of course the city of Emeryville which bears his name. More directly, the Emeryville school district is the Emery Unified School District, and the high school is Emery High School. The Emery Apartments are on Hubbard Street in Emeryville.

Links and References

  1. Alameda County: The Eden of the Pacific. Tribune Publishing Co: 1898
  2. Official and historical atlas map of Alameda County, California. Compiled, drawn and published from personal examinations and surveys by Thompson & West, 1878
  3. San Francisco: Its Builders, Past and Present S.J. Clarke Publishing 1913
  4. Joseph Stickney Emery (1820-1909) on Emeryville Historical Society
  5. Wreckers Razing Old Home of Founder of Emeryville Oakland Tribune May 16, 1946
  6. Joseph S. Emery, Pioneer, Called by Death Oakland Tribune January 23, 1909 (p2)