Oakland Tribune from Oakland, California on May 16, 1952 · Page 19
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Oakland Tribune from Oakland, California · Page 19

Oakland, California
Issue Date:
Friday, May 16, 1952
Page 19
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CEnTEIIHIAL ST0E7 Colony of Dead Fast as Infant Oakland Oaklahd'i very first resident may have lived a long time healthy, climate, of course but they died in obscurity. ; Until Mountain : View Cemetery and St. Mary's , Catholic Cemetery were established late In December. 1863. the pioneers died and were duly buried, but little remains to mark their de parture. . . : i For one thine.! the man in charge of the first fofficial ceme tery could neither read ;" nor write and the first 10 or so years of the community's pass ing are uncluttered; by records, i When Oakland was a little village, in the first years of its existence, the graveyard was lo cated east of Oak Street between 7th and 11th Streets. SITE NEEDED Bt TOWN But the town grew, that site was soon needed and in 1857, the city council took up the matter of providing an official cemetery. Two offers of " acreage jwere made. The one accepted on July and executed the establishment 1 was 10 acres "at the back of Mr. Fountain's on peralta Road. Bordering the shore of what was Lake Peralta! in early days ' Lake Merritt now the ceme tery was between Webster Street and Alice Streets, 16th and 17th Streets of today. The property was remote from from any houses and it was sup cosed the location was ; perma 1863, the council again was pe titioned this time for permis inn to discontinue interments within the city limits." 'GREAT INCONVENIENCE iThe city fathers replied that there was no other burial ground and unless provisions were made "a great inconvenience would result to the citizens." Six months later, the present Mountain View Cemetery came into being.1' - T$"' Meanwhile, the! town's small colony of Catholics had petitioned church authorities for aj church of their own, including three considerations in their pe titions: a place to worship God an opportunity for the children to be instructed in the faith and a Catholic cemetery where their dead might be buried. , PARISH ESTABLISHED As a result of this petition, the parish of Immaculate Conception, commonly known i as St. Mary's, was established in 1858 Fiva years . Jater.i the parish founded St. Mary'si cemetery. The 42 acres forjthe cemetery were purchased from Thomas Mahoney, whose ranch was con idered "far in the foothills." . The cemetery was four miles from the center of -town and appeared safe from any homesite or business development, for even the most farseeing could not envision the Oakland of to day. A funeral meant a days journey over country roads, yet the proud residents irequenuy made the trip to care for their hallowed ground. St. Marys' Cemetery was consecrated by Archbishop Alemany on December 8, 1863, in "impressive ceremonies." 4 The first to be Interred was a Mary Biley, laid to rest five days later. BEYOND THE LIVING . Mountain View Cemetery was established the same December on 200 adjoining acres, also in thought "it will be forever be vond tht - enroachments ! of the living." ; ' " The cemetery wasn't set up, apparently, for the sole benefit of Oakland. The first map shows that it was "Plan of a Metropoli tan Cemetery fori the. City ol San Francisco, situated in the suburb of Oakland," - 1 ' Fred Law Olmstead, the architect who designed. Central Park, prepared the general plan. He had come west to make a report on Yosemite and was brought to Oakland to lay out the cemetery. BEAUTIFUL DESIGN To this early designer goes the credit for the natural beauty of the cemetery today. . It was lie who stressed making the cemetery like a park and it was his detailed plan for landscaping and for. the dispensing .of. "unsightly barriers between their places of rest" which is responsible for the cemetery's present-day' reputation as one of the most beautiful memorial parks in the Nation. ' Among the men who conceived !: . I ... w wettk FmM FtWt lm yn VAIP3 FIiAIl 32S3 C 14TH ST. KI e3311 V of Mountain View were many of Oakland's first citizens. Dr. Samuel Merritt was the first president of the cemetery association and the names ! of such leaders as Hiram Tubbs, A. M. Crane, Rev. S. T. Wells, J. A. Mayhew, J. S. Emery, J. IE. Whitcher, R. W. Heath, S. E. Alden and Rev. I. H. Brayton appear as the original board of trustees. ;j ;' ' ' '-- SALE FOR $13,000 Rev. Brayton, who owned the "vale" which became the cemetery, got $13,000 for the; acreage. Three acres of the -original parcel were sold in 1865 for the establishment of the Jewish cemetery at one corner of Mountain View. For many - yeas these were the only local cemeteries. Meetings : of the Mountain View trustees were held in the old Tubbs Hotel for many years the address was first recorded as Brooklyn and later 'changed to East Oakland. From the very first. gathering, the activities of the association were recorded in a leather-bound book of minutes, a record still; in possession of the present officers of the association. . FINANCIAL TROUBLES urom tne minutes it appears that obstinate financial difficul ties were encountered during the first years and the trustees, as in dividuals, took it upon them selves to raise $zuuo in lSbo so the work of surveying and plotting the gorunds could continue The first recorded interment took ; place on July 28, 1865 Jane1 Waer, age 43, who died of "bilious fever in Oakland Town ship." By 1876, some 2000 had been interred or entombed at the cemetery. The history of California can be written from those records. EPIDEMICS,. SUICIDES There were ' those who died from gunshot wounds. One terse entry, May 8, 1868, says merely: Chinaman, death by hanging." There were pioneers who found life intolerable and who, for al the future, are therefore recorded as "suicide."! And on the'recorcfc are ' the results of epidemics which raged again and again during early years. There are many who helped to build Oakland and the West. Buried at St. Mary's are the Peraltas, Governor Alvarado and others who played a role in the history of this area. One head stone is sacred to the memory o Carlo Sonognini, who drowned on July 4, 1868, after saving four persons (thrown in the water in a ferry boat accident. In Mountain View i rests Charles Crocker, one of the "Big Four' who built the Central Pa cific Railroad. Nearby is tfie mausoleum of Gen. David D Colton, also! identified with the "Big Four" and the Southern Pa cific. . PIONEERS REST THERE Dr. Merritt, mayor of Oakland and one of its first citizens, .is buried in the cemetery he helped to establish.) Dr. Henry Durant, first president of University .of California; Professor Joseph Le- conte, famed geologist and nat uralist; Nathan W. Spaulding, twice mayor of Oakland: Sen George C. Perkins, governor of the state in 1879 and a US. sena tor for 22 years, also rest at Mountain' View. Other figures include Gov, Washington Bartlett, who stepped from the San Francisco mayor alty into the governors chair in 1887; Gov. Henry H. Haight, who was a resident of Alameda. ur. Jonn Marsh, famed pio neer i- Contra , Costa .County, killed near Martinez in 1855, was re-interred at Mountain View. Other . pioneers include Edson Adams Sr., one of the founders of Oakland; Gov. Stephen T. Gage; F. M. "Borax" ! Smith; Antoine Chabot who gave his name to Chabot Observatory and "Lake Chabot; Walter Blair, one-time owner of Past Piedmont acreage, i. One of the monuments, that erected to the memory of Henry D. Cogswell, founder, of the school in San Francisco, is the highest shaft in the West Fifty- five carloads of granite were used in its construction. Another v monument, to the memory of Emma ,Marwedel, pioneer in the kindergarten movement, consists of childhood toys and the inscriptions: "In spired apostle of Froebel she loved little children." r A.vV.4a -A Mountain View Cemetery Had been In. operation for 26 years when this 'picture of the entrance was taken in 1889. The road leading tc it was known then as Cemetery Road, but since had been changed to fteclmont Avenue.' The horse car of the Piedmont Springs Railway (at left) ran from the cemetery entrance "through grain fields and climbing hills" to Piedmont Sulphur Springs. It was a branch of the Broadway and Piedmont Railroad which ran from Seventh and Washington Streets, to 14th Street to Broadway,1 to Piedmont Avenue and thence to the cemetery. This photograph Is from the collection of F. B. Cullom, general manager of the Mountain View Cemetery Association. Deadline for Parade Entries Is Extended Entry deadlines for the June 8 grand ' Centennial Parade has been extended to May 22, Robert Rishell, parade chairman, said today. :'; . : More than $1500 in cash prizes and trophies is expected to lure participants from throughout Northern California, Rishell asserted. V l' Walter K. Knox and Glenn Warner are co-chairmen, and Hjalmer Berg is secretary of the parade. Awards will be made in the following categories: Horseless! carriage, best band. military or professional; best band, school; drill teams, men, women and miutary; marching; units, majorettes, drum and bugle corps, drum corps mixed, floats, sweepstakes, comical, historical, 10 mounted classes. Publisher to Be Honored At Dinner Joseph R. Knowland, publisher of The Tribune, will be honored for the part he played in organizing 4 the Oakland centennial celebration at a dinner at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow in the Athena Athletic Club. J. Paul St Sure, son of the late Federal Judee A. F. St Sure,, will be the speaker of the evening. Harry W. Spencer will serve as master of ceremonip. H. W. Saunders, president of the Athens Club, is honorary chairman of the event W. C Groeniger Jr. is general chair man. r ' v .-."!. Other committee members are T. W. Dunlop. vice-chairman: Edward H. Siems, finance: Or- ton E. Lucas, menu, seating and arrangements; Carl H. Hansen. tickets. . and Farl R VmuvIii - , j 9 printing. A social hour will precede the dinner. . From Tribune Files . Dusters are in order now. Tht Tribune, April 10, 1875. H rII hfp 'JUj ti t if1 r Yv Ml I . Jl Sml la COUx! 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