EARLY DAY NOTES
(Contributed by Oakland Pioneers - No. 30)
In the early days there were many young men and women here who have since made their mark. On the west side of Broadway, between Third and Fourth, S. Heyman, a tinsmith, conducted a general hardware and store business. His family occupied the second story as their home and it was there that the present Sir Henry Heyman commenced the study of the violin. His parents were very hospitable and were always glad to make welcome their many friends. Sigmund Beel, the violinist, now also located in San Francisco, was a cousin of the Heyman boys and lived at Ninth and FrankIin.
The grocery store at the northwest corner of Seventh and Broadway, usually called "The Boys Store," was run by Fred Dohrmann, Henry Evers, Diedrich Rathjen - commonly called "Dicky" - and Octave Lamarche. The latter partner went home to Canada when the partnership was dissolved; Rathjen started a grocery business on Clay street; Henry Evers became an undertaker and Fred Dohrmann, lately deceased, established the firm of Nathan, Dohrmann & Co., in San Francisco, and during his later years was at the head of the Red Cross Society there,
In the early '70's, at Twelfth and Broadway, a Mr. and Mrs. Kahn, with their sons and daughters as clerks, opened a small drygoods store devoted to the sale of fancy work, woolen and silk articles and everything connected with art needlework. The family occupied the upper rooms as their residence, but their business grew to such proportions that very soon they were obliged to seek a larger store which they established on Washington street. Their sons afterwards established the palatial department store running from Broadway to San Pablo near Fifteenth. In the olden days, the population being small, there was a neighborly feeling amongst the merchants and their customers. All were close friends.
One of the early pastors, who was a friend of both young and old of all denominations, was the Rev. Benj. Akerly, pastor of St. John's church, which then occupied the west side of Grove street, from Seventh to Eighth. The old church was destroyed by fire soon after midnight one Sunday morning. Early the next morning. his old friend and neighbor, Rev. Father King, pastor of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, situated then and now upon the block adjoining, went to the home of "Father Akerly," as he was always known, and offered the use of the Catholic school rooms for his Episcopal services until other arrangements could be made. Then followed the Jewish rabbi, who offered the use of the synagogue, and other ministers followed with like offers, showing how highly he was esteemed by all.