Alben Randolph Froberg (May 9, 1890 – October 8, 1968) was an Oakland-based architect. He designed a number of familiar buildings around Oakland, include the former Connell GMC Pontiac Cadillac building on Broadway, and what was IB's Hoagies at 1601 San Pablo.


Froberg was born May 9, 1890 in Eureka, California, to Finnish-born John Froberg (1854 – 1929) and Hannah Ritola (Froberg) (1861 – 1918). In 1910, the Froberg family, including Alben's brother John Oswald Froberg (1892 – 1949) and sister Sadie Froberg (1895 – 1918), lived in Berkeley. [Gene says: Sadie and Hannah's death year makes me wonder about influenza. Haven't seen a cause of death yet; NAParish responds: Sadie's obit doesn't mention a cause of death, and I can't find Hannah's (yet).]

In 1919, Alben married Concha Torres (Froberg) (November 19, 1893 – January 12, 1969). Concha's parents were from Colombia/Panama and Mexico, but Concha was born in California. In 1920, the new couple lived with Concha's parents in Sausalito. By 1926, they'd moved 494 Cheney Avenue in Lakeshore near the Grand Lake Theater. From c.1933–1940, they lived at 476 Chetwood. From c.1943 they lived at 1219 Sunnyhills Road in Crocker Highlands. They had no children.

Education and Professional

Williams and Slade Building, Architectural Forum, July 1937 (fair use)Froberg studied at UC Berkeley under John Galen Howard. 3 He graduated in 1913 with a Civil Engineering degree (then in the Natural Sciences) 2 and obtained his architect's license in 1915 1. The 1920 directory lists him working as a draftsman in San Francisco for Frederick Whitton. His first known design in Oakland was the Laher Auto Spring Company Factory, built in 1925. A 1927 directory lists his business address as 1924 Broadway in Oakland. 1933 and 1939 directories list his office at 1955 Webster. In the 1940s and 50s, he had an office at 3454 Harlan Street.

It appears he mostly worked alone, but the 1938 directory lists him working with H. J. Christensen, one of the builders of the Connell GMC Pontiac Cadillac building.

Froberg's works in Oakland include:

8-30-46 Trib

  • 2619-25 Magnolia Street - Laher Auto Spring Company Factory (1925)
  • 1771-1775 Broadway - possible: according to this page (1932) Excerpt from 1930 Polk's directory with NAParish's guess as to the owner of the building
  • 1700 24th Street - Consolidated Freightways Warehouse (1940-41)
  • 2020 Broadway - Frank Werner Company (women's shoes) [ (see 08-30-1946 Tribune). This building is no longer there, having been replaced by a 5-story shiny modern thing. ]
  • 2025-2035 Franklin St.; later the home of Irene Sargent's [ (see 08-30-1946 Tribune). This building is no longer there, having been replaced by a parking lot. ]

Froberg also designed buildings in Berkeley, and a number of industrial structures for shipyards in Alameda.

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Death and Burial

Alben Froberg died on October 8, 1968, at the age of 78. His remains were interred at Mountain View Cemetery in Plot 45, near his mother, father, and sister. [Gene says:  I couldn't find a marker for Hannah or John (brother); NAParish responds: This list says Sadie and Hannah (listed as "Mother") share a marker.] Concha is apparently buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma with her parents, although funeral services were held at Oakland's Grant Miller Mortuaries, the same funeral home where services were held for Alben just three months earlier. His brother, John O. Froberg, is buried at Colma's Cypress Lawn Memorial Cemetery.

CC SA-BY Our OaklandObituary from October 9, 1968 Oakland Tribune
(fair use)

Links and References

  1. Arts & Architecture, Volumes 9-10
  2. 1914 Register, University of California
  3. Miss Lorena Buck, Of Architectural Society Initiates SF Call September 21, 1912
  4. Architectural Forum July, 1937 (PDF)