Reliance Athletic Club from
Alameda County, The Eden of the Pacific 2

The Reliance Athletic Club was a men's amateur athletic club, started in 1885 as a baseball and football club. The founders included Felton Taylor and A. P. Brayton, Jr, and the membership was a "who's who" of Oakland families. The club moved a number of times, and dissolved in 1910.

Although they started as a baseball and football club, they later hosted amateur and professional boxing matches, and took part in all sorts of track and field events. They even sponsored bicycle races at their track in Alameda, 13 and auto races in Emeryville. 12,14 The football team played Cal and Stanford, and played them multiple times in the 1900 season. 8

The club first met in Germania Hall on Webster below 6th Street.

The first football team was Felton Taylor, William Taylor, William McGillivray, James A. Snook, Charles Downey, Alex Rosborough, W. G. Elder, W. O. Cullen, R. M. Fitzgerald (captain), H. Briedenbac, Fred Lange, and Charles Comstock. The first baseball team was Gray (C), Seaton (P), Canton (1B), Elder (2B), J. Brooks (3B), Hoyt (SS), Briedenbac (LF), J. Snook (CF), F. Knight, (RF), with T. Browne and George Stultz as substitutes. 19

The first officers elected in 1886 were: president, R. M. Fitzgerald; vice-presient, C. H. Lovell; treasurer W. G. Elder; secretary, T. M. Browne; captain, George Stultz. 19

In 1887, the officers elected were: president, J. W. Thompkins; vice-president, Edward Frederick Delger (son of Frederick Delger); secretary, C. G. Bishop; directors: J. W. Tompkins, C. G. Bishop, E. F. Delger, C. H. Lovell, R. M. Fitzgerald, Charles A. Bon, and C. C. Musser. 17 The club used rooms in the Masonic Temple. The membership was over 200 people. 18 The list of members in 1888 is impressive, and has over 300 names.

When they incorporated officially as a club in 1892, the directors listed were R. M. Fitzgerald, J. H. Ames, H. L. Coleman, S. G. S. Dunbar, Philip H. Remillard, J. W. Thompkins and J. C. Wilson. 15

The club opened new quarters at the corner of San Pablo and 17th Street in 1893 with a gala affair. 1Alameda County, The Eden of the Pacific says of it: "For sixteen years it has been the representative of clean, manly sports in Oakland." Although it describes it as being in the Heeseman Building, the photo shows the name Reliance Building at the top. The building was designed by Charles Mau.

In 1898 the officers were R. M. Fitzgerald, president; J. H. Ames, secretary; Herman A. Tubbs (Hiram Tubbs' son), treasurer; C. H. Lovell, J. Cal Ewing, M. W. Jellett, directors; Philip S. Carlton, secretary.

At its annual meeting in 1904, finances were said to be much improved, in part because of debt reduction. Officials elected were: president, R. M. Fitzgerald; vice president, Felton Taylor; directors, P. J. Cadogan, G. Russ Lukens, W. B. Fawcett; P. H. Rosenheim, Paul J. Schafer. 5 Senator Lukens resigned, and Edwin Stearns, secretary of the Oakland Board of Trade, was elected to replace him.

In 1907, the club moved from its quarters in a national guard armory at 466 - 20th near Broadway and Telegraph to "the big pavilion adjoining the Piedmont baths," i.e., the former cable-car powerhouse. Arrangements were made so that club members could use the facilities at the baths. 4,6

The 1908 club elections saw the re-election of president Walter B.Fawcett (his fourth term), vice-president Emil Fritsch, and directors Dr. John Slavich, Clarence Head, Charles Conners and Dr. C. P. Weston. 7 The club decided to move again, this time to Reed Hall, at the corner of 13th and Harrison. 9

The club continued to face financial difficulties, went bankrupt, and was dissolved in 1910. 3,10 The belongings of the club, including gymnastic equipment and trophies, were auctioned off. 16

The original building on San Pablo became the Reliance Theatre about 1916.

Pages tagged “Reliance Athletic Club”

Links and References

1909 auto trophy donated by Maxwell Hardware
OMCA Collections, Gift of Helen Minchin

  1. Reliance Club - Opening of New Quarters in Oakland San Francisco Call May 30, 1893
  2. Alameda County, The Eden of the Pacific 1898
  3. Reliance Athletic Club on Wikipedia
  4. Reliance Athletic Club Secures New Quarters San Francisco Call August 9, 1907
  5. Reliance Club Officials San Francisco Call April 22, 1904
  6. New Pavilion for Reliance Club San Francisco Call June 23, 1906
  7. Reliance Club Holds Its Election San Francisco Call April 17, 1908
  8. Football Games for the Coming Season San Francisco Call July 27, 1900
  9. Reliance Club Selects Its New Home San Francisco Call September 13, 1908
  10. Debts Deal Reliance Club Death Blow San Francisco Call August 30, 1910
  11. Athletic Club Directory San Francisco Call September 23, 1904
  12. Exonerate Club For Man's Death San Francisco Call July 9. 1909
  13. Unsuccessful Attempt to Pocket a Fast Man Los Angeles Herald May 31, 1894
  14. Motorists Are to Hold Race Meet San Francisco Call June 27, 1909
  15. Articles of Incorporation Sacramento Daily Union June 21, 1892
  16. Trophies Sold and $1200 Netted Oakland Tribune November 18, 1910
  17. Election of Officers at Reliance Athletic Club Oakland Tribune June 28, 1887
  18. The Convenient Rooms of the Reliance Club Oakland Tribune September 29, 1887
  19. The History of the Reliance Athletic Club Oakland Tribune November 21, 1888