The Centennial, behind 1890 city hall
photo from OMCA Collections, gift of Mr. Charles Taylor

The Centennial was a residential hotel (?) built (?) by Walter Blair, at the corner of 14th and Clay, where the Blair family lived from _ to _. [ at least 1876 to 1888 ] Prior to 1912, it was torn down, and a new building was constructed for the H. C. Capwell Company.

c.1880s directories 1,2.3 list the following staff:

  • Max Albrecht - porter
  • Jennie Baker - cook
  • Maggie Hudson - waitress
  • O. R. Johnson - proprietor (1884)
  • Maggie Madden - domestic
  • Julia Sullivan - waitress
  • Mrs. M. R. Wilson - proprietor (1887)
  • Miss Annie Windross - housekeeper

c.1880s directories 1,2,3 list the following residents:

  • E. T. Barber - physician and surgeon (office: room 9 at Cosmopolitan House)
  • Walter Blair - president, Broadway and Piedmont R.R. Co., proprietor, Blair's Dairy
    (also his wife, Phebe, and probably their daughters Mabel and Florence)
  • P. H. Brooks - clerk, Oregon Improvement Association
  • Duncan B. Finch
  • Mrs. Addie Gorrill
  • Charles H. Holt - Holt Bros., S.F.
  • George W. Reinhart - Ward & Reinhart
  • Andrew Ryder - Cushing & Ryder

At the time of Blair's death in 1888, there was a $15,000 mortgage on it through the Oakland Bank of Savings.

Additional Links

The Centennial is not to be confused with Centennial House, a hotel on 7th Street and Cedar in West Oakland.

Questions/Problems: I'm hoping to find a better picture of The Centennial, but the name makes it horrendously difficult to search on. Also, it doesn't seem that big to have the wealthy Blair family plus other people living in it. The above list includes people from the 1877, 1884-85 and the 1887 directories, but even limiting to 1877, it doesn't seem big enough to have 8+ people plus staff. Maybe it's just the perspective next to the larger city hall building.

Also, this article describes it: "He also built a large three-story hotel in 1876, at the corner of Fourteenth and Clay streets, known as the “Centennial,” which is still a portion of his estate and was his home at the time of his death." -- Gene