July 23, 2011

San Leandro in 1907

The following article about San Leandro appeared in the September 1907 edition of Out West Magazine:


"OH. HOW BEAUTIFUL! I had no idea this was such a lovely place."

This or some other similar expression, is the one which invariably falls from the lips of those beholding San Leandro for the first time; and a stay of any length in the town always convinces the sojourners that their first impression was no mistake.

This charming burg lies on the eastern side of San Francisco Bay, about four miles below Fruitvale, and occupies about the same relative position to Oakland on the south as Berkeley does on the north.

It is no exaggeration to say that San Leandro has the most even climate of any locality in the State, the United States Weather Reports of 1906 showing the average to be sixty-two degrees Fahrenheit in summer, and sixty degrees in winter, which is unquestionably an incomparable record--a place where "Jack Frost" is a stranger and the severe rigors of winter unknown, likewise, a place never oppressive with the sultry heat of summer.

This remarkable equality in climate is due largely, if not entirely. to the proximity of the ocean, the cool breezes of which temper not only the sun's rays, but the severe chills of winter as well.

The damp fogs which creep through the Golden Gate seldom reach San Leandro, and when they do come that far, it is always at such an elevation as to be entirely unobjectionable.

San Leandro is on the line of two transcontinental railroads, the Southern Pacific and the Western Pacific. Additional passenger service is given by the Oakland Transit Consolidated, which runs through the main street of the city and connects with the ten-minute ferry-service across the bay to San Francisco. The other railroad improvements which are now under construction will undoubtedly in a very short time place the town on an equal footing with Berkeley as regards both service and rates.

View of San Leandro

Of all other things, San Leandro is probably best noted for its beautiful streets.. In the early history of the bicycle craze it was here that many a famous record-run was made. At the present writing the automobile enthusiasts are proposing to hold the Vanderbilt Cup races here, and the arrangements are in a fair way to be made.

Estudillo Avenue, which connects the San Leandro Road with the new Scenic Boulevard, is without a rival in the state for beauty. Tall overhanging locust-trees meeting overhead, give the appearance of a roadway through a veritable tunnel of green foliage.

The new Scenic Boulevard referred to is almost completed to San Leandro, It is a wide. finely-paved roadway, running along the foot-hills as far as Haywards, and will cost the county nearly half a million dollars. It is claimed that more automobiles run through San Leandro than anywhere else in California.

The Plaza in San Leandro

The fine climate makes. this locality a choice spot for fruits and flowers. Cherries and apricots are the principal fruit-products, with apples, peaches, pears and plums in lesser quantity. Berries and melon do equally well. San Leandro has on more than one occasion furnished the first raspberries to the San Francisco market. All kinds of table-vegetables do fully as well as fruits and melons, and the value of the vegetable products is quite equal to that of the fruit. Situated about a mail east of the town, nestling in the foot-hills, is beautiful Lake Chabot, famous not only for its scenic beauty, but also for the fact that its waters are restrained by the largest earth-dam in the world. A good roadway runs for five miles along the western shores of the lake, and makes an attractive drive. Lake Chabot furnishes the town with water, and also contributes to the water-supply of Oakland.

San Leandro is an ideal manufacturing city, by reason of being on the line of two transcontinental roads and having a climate which enables men lo work at their best in all seasons of the year. The largest plant now located here is that of the Best Manufacturing Company, devoted principally to making harvesting machinery, traction engines, crude-oil engines and other machinery of that class. It occupies over two square blocks and gives employment to over three hundred men. Its business is steadily on the increase.

The Junior Monarch Hay Press Works are also located here. The "Junior Monarch" and "Little Giant" hay presses are well known all over the West.

Here, also, is the home of the popular "Boss Ladder" made by Driver, Aber & Co., who, by the way, are the largest ladder-manufacturers on the Coast.

A Street in San Leandro

The Pacific Preserves Company and the California Fruit Canners' Association, both have large establishments here, which during the season give enjoyment to a considerable number of people.

San Leandro has its quota of schools and churches. The primary and grammar school buildings are well located in a spacious block with attractive grounds. Both schools have a good record. There is also a Catholic convent for young ladies, under charge of the Dominican Sisters, where all English branches are taught, besides foreign languages, music, painting and fancy work. Boarding pupils left in their care are given a complete education.

A modern paid fire department is one of the proud possessions of the city, which was recently augmented by the addition of a powerful gasoline fire-engine. The trustees now have in contemplation the installation of a fire alarm telegraph, which will put the town in first-class rank as regards fire protection.

Residence Near San Leandro

Bridge Over San Leandro Creek

Estudillo Avenue in San Leandro

The Suburban Electric Light Company has its head office here and supplies light and power to many surrounding towns. San Leandro itself is admitted to be one of the best lighted towns in the State.

Another distinguishing feature is the number of fraternal orders located here. Every prominent fraternal society is represented and they all have a good membership and apparently thrive. Consequently social entertainment is never lacking.

In conclusion, it can be truthfully said that this charming locality possesses extraordinary features. Its proximity to San Francisco and the fast growing city of Oakland makes it convenient for "suburbanites." The railroad improvements contemplated and those under construction will undoubtedly double its population within a short time.

As a manufacturing locality, as a place of residence or for investment, San Leandro offers exceptional attractions.

A San Leandro Home (Dunsmuir House)

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at July 23, 2011 7:47 AM | TrackBack


Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures and information. My parents' (and mine) first home was in San Leandro (c.1955). I was raised in Michigan and never got to know beautiful San Leandro but can certainly feel it's charm from your posting.


Posted by: Kathy McDonald at July 31, 2011 10:06 AM
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