(Contributed by Oakland Pioneers, No. 62.)
NOTE - The following interesting information in regard to our city in early days is taken from "Crofutt's Transcontinental Tourist's Guide," published in New York in 1872:
Oakland is the fourth city in the state, its population being about 11,104, and rapidly increasing.... The name of the city is significant of its surroundings, as it is situated in an extensive grove of evergreen oaks, with orchards, parks, gardens and vineyards on every side. Nestling amidst this forest of perpetual green can be seen, peeping out here and there, the magnificent villa of the nabob, the substantial residence of the wealthy merchant and the neat and tasteful cottage of the well-to-do mechanic, who have been attracted here by its grand scenery, mild climate and quiet surroundings, being free from dust, noise or the bustle of a large city.
Oakland is lighted with gas, has broad, well-paved streets, is abundantly supplied with water from a creek five miles distant, supports several horse railroads and three daily newspapers, the Transcript, News and Termini.
Churches are numerous. Most of the secret orders are well represented. Public and private schools are ample. The higher educational institutions comprise the University of California, the State University School, the Female College of the Pacific, the Oakland Military School, the Oakland Female Seminary and the Convent of "Our Lady of the Sacred Heart."
The University of California is now occupying premises temporarily until its new building is finished, which is in course of erection at Berkeley, four miles distant. Near the university is located the State Asylum for the Deaf, Dumb and Blind. It is a massive stone building. three stories high, 300 feet above the bay, and commanding a very extensive view.
Until the building of a pier at Oakland Point, the only harbor was at San Antonio Creek, the water to the westward of the city being quite shallow for a long distance from shore. Down the pier rolls the long train, directly out into the bay, 2 1/4 miles to the ferry boat, which conveys passengers over the water, three miles to the city of San Francisco. This pier has a double track and also carriage way extending the whole length.
There are three slips. The one to the north is 600 feet long and will accommodate the largest ships, the water being 26 feet in depth at low tide and 32 feet at high tide. On each side of the slíp are erected large warehouses, one of them 600x52 feet, the other 500x52 feet, with tracks running through for the purpose of loading and discharging.