Not to be mistaken with Oakland Nights Live May Trivia Segment!


Things we find when falling down OaklandWiki Rabbit Holes!


In 1921, a dog named Horseshoe was saved by the City Council and made the front page:

”The Oakland City Council yesterday passed a special resolution to save Horseshoe, a scraggy dog, from execution at the Oakland City Pound. Horseshoe was seized by the dog catcher, and Mrs. John Perry, 1353 Fifty-second avenue, lacked the necessary $3 to redeem him. He was about to be killed when Mrs. Perry’s tears and the aid of the Associated Charities won his freedom from the solemn city fathers.”1

Election Fraud

The first mayor of the City was elected, sort of.2

The Great Mackerel Recall of 1894

You never know when you’re gonna find a can of stinky fish.

”Market Inspector Pierce yesterday seized and confiscated four dozen cans of mackerel which had spoiled. A lady purchased a can of preserved mackerel a day or so ago, and when it was opened it was found that the fish had either not been properly preserved or had been in bad condition when canned, for it was in a bad state. Mr Pierce found and confiscated the whole lot.”3

How Far is Oakland From San Francisco?

Well, funny you should ask!

Q: How far is San Francisco from Oakland?
A: If you have business there, it is about six miles, but if you have no business there, it is about one hundred miles in expense, more or less- mostly more.

People Steal Strange Things

In 1892, Thomas James was caught stealing scientific articles from the Free Library. The judge felt lenient and decided to charge him $50 and see the crime as a misdemeanor instead of a felony. The judge gave the “literary thief” a stern talking-to, after which James fled the courthouse.5

I Always Knew that Lake Was Dangerous (or, What Goes Up Must Come Down)

In 1896, “aeronaut” Earlston went for a ride in a hot air balloon as a fundraiser for some poor families. He was going to make a fancy parachute landing, but suddenly he came tumbling from the air and the parachute didn’t release! Earlston was dragged around the lake for awhile but came out okay. His wife, however, fainted and hadn’t recovered by the time that his story was published in the Chronicle.6

Gambling is Bad.

Well, the city council thought so. In 1894 the city council cracked down on “Chinese lotteries” and made it a misdemeanor to be anywhere near lottery tickets (possessing them, visiting places where they were sold, etc).7

Chickens must be confined

In 1897 the City Council passed an ordinance stating that the "poundman" should capture any loose chickens between 7th and 27th Streets and Lake Merritt and Peralta Street.8


  1. “Oakland Council Passes Law to Save Life of Dog.” San Francisco Chronicle, Oct 1, 1921, p 1.
  2. Baker, Joseph Eugene. Past and Present of Alameda County, California, Volume 1. SJ Clarke: 1914.
  3. “Oakland News.” (There’s also a section about CPH Buck marrying for money in this edition.) San Francisco Chronicle, Sep 2, 1894.
  4. Calderwood, George and GT Loofbourow. Oakland, Athens of the Pacific. GT Loofbourow and Co, 1897. (A free eBook; you really should read this.)
  5. “It Cost Him Fifty Dollars.” San Francisco Chronicle: Dec 24: 1892.
  6. “AN AERONAUT’S ESCAPE Fell Into Lake Merritt From His Balloon.” San Francisco Chronicle: July 16, 1896.
  7. “To Suppress Lotteries.” San Francisco Chronicle: Feb 28, 1894.
  8. "CHICKENS AND ANNEXATION." San Francisco Chronicle: Apr 20, 1897.