Oakland - Encyclopedia

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OAKLAND, a city and the county-seat of Alameda county, California, U.S.A., situated opposite and about 6 m. distant from San Francisco, on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay. Pop. (1890) 48,682; (1900) 66,960, of whom 17,256 were foreignborn, 3197 being Irish, 2742 German, 2026 English, 1544 EnglishCanadians, 1020 Portuguese and 994 Swedish; (1910 census) 150,174. It is the terminus of the Ogden branch of the Southern (formerly Central) Pacific, of the Coast Line of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, and of the Western Pacific railways. Passengers and freight from the East to San Francisco are transferred by ferry from Oakland. A branch of the bay (called Oakland Harbour) divides Oakland from Alameda, and the railway piers of Oakland run directly out into the bay for more than 2 m. toward San Francisco, thus shortening the ferry connexions. Lake Merritt, in the heart of the city, a favourite pleasure resort, is the centre of the city's park system. Oakland is the seat of California College (co-educational, Baptist, opened in 1870), and of St Mary's College (Roman Catholic, 1863) for men; and in the suburban village of Mills College, west of the city, is Mills College (non-sectarian, 1871) for women, an institution of high rank. Electric power for the city is derived from Colgate, on the Yuba river, 219 m. distant. Oakland has important manufacturing interests, the total value of its factory products in 1905 being $9, 0 7 2 ,539, 6 9% more than in 1900.

The site of the present city (as well as that of AIameda and Berkeley) lay originally within the limits of a great private Mexican grant which was confirmed by the United States authorities. A settlement was begun - at first by "squatters" in defiance of the private claim - in 1850; in May 1852 this was incorporated as a town (the name being derived from a wood of oaks in the midst of which the first settlement was made), and in March 1854 it was chartered as a city. In 1869 it was selected as the western terminus of the Central Pacific, a choice which greatly promoted Oakland's commercial importance. The water front was recklessly given away in 1852, and the resulting disputes and litigation lasted for more than thirty years; in 1908 the water front reverted to the city. The population increased more than sixfold from 1860 to 1870, and doubled in 1900-1910. It became the county-seat in 1874. In December 1910 a commission form of government was adopted.

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