header chapter 13

In 1888 work was proceeding apace on the Peralta Park Hotel. In May Curtis requested, and the Electric Light Co agreed to provide him with, a light standard and lights to be installed at his expense at Peralta Park. A month later Curtis opened two offices on Shattuck at Center Street, one for himself and other for the Peralta Park Hotel Co. His office was the first private establishment in town to be lit by electricity.

In July, Curtis became interested in the plans for a recreational facility, currently under study by Dr Baronides, for the site of the Wentworth Shoe Company. The two men met and evolved the idea to combine their resources and to open Curtis' beach to patrons of Baronides’ facilities. This project, encouraged by those who were gratefully heartened by anything that would improve the West Berkeley community, agonized with different possibilities for a number of months, but nothing of substance ever came about.

In August it was announced that the second story of the hotel at Peralta Park was under construction. The hotel was described as being, when completed, 198 feet long and 60 feet deep, four stories high, with 2 towers, 8 gables, 12 dormer windows and equipped with electric lights supplied by its own electrical plant, which would be located on the grounds.

That same month a proposed new service of Southern Pacific Railroad was announced. The new line would connect East and West Berkeley by a run around the north end, and was designed especially to serve the land owned by Crocker and Towne, i.e., the Jones Ranch, which included everything from the crest of the hills to the shore of the bay, between Berkeley’s north charter line and the Alameda-Contra Costa County line, an area estimated to be about 1800 acres. The Jones Ranch, either formerly or still owned by Horace Carpentier, now constituted all of North Berkeley and Albany. As described at that time, the railroad would go from Vine and Shattuck diagonally across Rose, and then across Codornices Creek just above Josephine. In making this announcement, it was noted that it was on the basis Col. Crocker's promise of this line that Curtis undertook the Peralta Park project in the first place.

In October, a meeting was held by the directors of the Peralta Park Hotel Co. Short of cash, they levied on its stockholders an assessment of $6.25/share, payable by the Fourth of December. By way of incentive, it was noted that they would sell the shares of those who were delinquent at auction!

In 1889, while the finishing touches were being applied to the Peralta Park Hotel, the first signs of serious trouble begin to appear. Quietly there were in process a flurry of title shifts, with Strelinger (Curtis) both selling interest in the land to the Hotel Company, and moving title into his wife's name. At the same time, J.C. Holland, a functionary of the Central Pacific Railroad, purchased slightly under forty six acres of "Peralta Homestead" property from Maria Hall (Carpentier's niece), property that lay adjacent to Peralta Park, and initiated action that was intended to hassle Curtis and the Corporation. Holland petitioned to have the railway station removed. While failing to cite details, the paper announced that Holland also filed suit against William Schmidt for assault with intent to commit murder.

In April of 1889, Curtis and his associates incorporated as the Peralta Building and Loan Association of Berkeley. The offices of the corporation were located at 217 Sansome St. S.F. Among its members were C. R. Lord, W. S. Somerwell, A. S. Cook, MD, William Kreling, Pres.; J. L. Scotchler, VP; J. Alfred Lueders, M. B. Curtis, J. T. Morrison, Edward Ackerman, and Thomas A. McGowan. The Anglo-California Bank served as treasurer. Charles K. Clark was secretary and Thomas F. Graber, still the Town's attorney, served as well the association’s interests. Krelling, a man who had been principally involved in McMullan's bank scam as well as other of Curtis’ projects, was the owner of a theater in San Francisco. In August of 1890, apparently because it was not doing well, this venture merged with the Homestead Loan Association. In August of 1889 the Peralta Park Hotel Company obtained a loan of $25,000 from the Pacific Loan Association. At the same time, Mrs Strelinger released her first mortgage on the hotel property and assumed a second.

In February of 1890, a legal question was posed to the Town Attorney, Mr Graber, regarding use of the sewers. It seems a man named Eames, living just below the south boundary of the town asked to hook up to the sewer. Graber gave the opinion that Eames would have to pay extra for service outside of the town. However, Graber, who is also attorney for the Peralta Park Co., allowed as to how the hotel, also located beyond the town boundaries, could hook up without additional charge. Much was made of this by Editor Marquand at the Advocate, who was quite ready, during this period, to quickly find fault with any indication of capitalistic corruption.

It was during that same month that Marquand found added pleasure in reporting a second incident signifying the corruption surrounding the Peralta Park organization. It seems that the Town had recently opened bidding for street work. The job had been awarded to J.J. Dunn, a well known local contractor (and quarry operator, and friend of the Advocate) who in fact had already been doing most of the Town's road work, and who had offered the lowest bid. However, because of some irregularity, it was pointed out by C.T.H. Palmer (brother of H.A.Palmer and a man respected for his competence as a contractor in street work, paving, and what all) that the error in letting this contract was grievous, and on that account there was a good chance that nobody could be legally paid to do this work. Rather than to simply overlook the error and allow Dunn to proceed, the job was once again held open for bid. However, because of Palmer's remarks no one now was willing to bid, except for one man named John W. Elder. As it turned out, John Elder was none other than Maurice Curtis, Strellinger, O’Posen. This news was presented in the form of an open letter from George Schmidt. Mr Schmidt accused the Town Fathers with strong partiality, especially on the part of trustees Scotchler, Lord, and Morrison. Morrison was a partner of Curtis (and the same man who cited Barker's unfair advantage in the sewer scam), Lord, the contractor for Peralta Park, and Scotchler was another partner in adjacent and no less questionable projects. These same men, Schmidt pointed out, also arranged it so that some of the lots of Peralta Park, none of which were within the town's limit, could hook up to the sewer for free. With the coming of progress, there was corruption aplenty in the bucolic town of Berkeley.

By mid February of 1890, the Peralta Park Co announced yet another levy on its stockholders of $25./share. In May, while appearing in the East, Curtis imparted the following (paraphrased) discourse in an interview with a reporter from the Rochester Daily Herald:

"He'd been off the stage for 3 years because of his wife's health. In the meanwhile he had settled in Berkeley where he built a house on 4000 acres in Peralta Park near the town of Berkeley. He called his house Posen Lodge and it cost him $31,000. He had also developed a town he called Posenville. It was 30 minutes from San Francisco, there was a hotel called the Del Peralta, which had cost $150,000. There are electric cars, ferry boat connections, school, club house, and churches. The California & Oregon (sic) Railroad ran through it. He claimed also to be a stockholder in the California & Nevada Railroad and the Vice President of the 1st National Bank with holdings of $150,000... "

In April of 1890, a few days after Curtis announced the May 15th grand opening of the Hotel, he quietly leased the entire building and grounds to a Professor Homer Sprague for the purpose of conducting a school for young ladies. With the lease improvements were promised to be immediately forthcoming. Curtis installed a gymnasium ($2500), a stable ($3000), an engine house and laundry ($1000), steam radiators ($2000), tank ($300) a new fence, and an elevator ($2700). In addition, 500 more trees were to be planted on the property. Additional landscape work was being done by John de Lancy, formally the head landscape gardener at Golden Gate Park. Curtis was also putting in a double tennis court on the south side of the Creek, with a beautiful bridge connecting them with main grounds. Clearly, the hotel plan was dead.

peralta park

Homer Sprague

Professor Homer Sprague arrived in Berkeley with excellent credentials. Born in Sutton Mass, he attended Leicester Academy in Massachusetts. The family was of modest means and in 1847 he was working his way through his schooling while living on milk and bread. In spite of his personal hardship, he was class valedictorian in 1848. That same year he entered Yale University, again working his way through but this time, it has been reported, by splitting wood. Sprague was a man outspoken in his views against slavery and when war broke out he organized his own regiment, but he did not, himself, become a combatant. Later he did enter the army on behalf of the Union, he served as a captain, and this time proved himself a fearless leader. Sprague was wounded, captured, and, as the reports have it, remained a brave soldier through it all. He was mustered out in April of 1866. By September of that year he was serving as the principal of the State Normal School in New Britain, Conn. In the Spring of 1868 he was made representative of New Britain in the state legislature. In the summer of 1868 he was appointed professor of rhetoric at Cornell University. He resigned from that position to be principal of the Adelphi Academy. In 1876 he was head master of a girls' school in Boston, and remained at that post for nine years. Following that position, and for the next 1 1/2 years, he was in California. It is of significant interest that of this period, during which he was serving as the President of Mills College in Oakland, no details are given in his extensive, official biography. Rather obliquely, reference is made only to his having "been in California". Following this California sojourn, he was for a short while president of the University of North Dakota before returning to the East Bay and Peralta Hall.

As it turns out, during Sprague’s tenure at Mills (according to discrete but available sources at Mills College), had become far too familiar with the young ladies of the school, and was asked to resign in lieu of scandal. And that is what he did. He had arrived at Mills at the age of 56, in the summer of 1885, the same year that the school went from being a seminary to a college. He lasted formally until early 1887. In November of 1886, while not as yet having resigned as president of the institution, Dr. Sprague left Mills College and moved with his family to San Francisco.

Homer left the school and managed to escape having a serious blight on his record. He went on to a continuing successful career, and returned to Mills in 1918 as an honored and elderly personage, to offer his comments upon how much it had improved. In a book written by Rosiland Keep, "Four Score and Ten Years", Sprague is described as a good man who, because of his personal rigidity and lack of funds, failed to meet the needs of the college at that time. In other words, Rosiland minced her words. It has been unofficially remarked that all male presidents of the college at one time or another were thought of as both immoral and incompetent.

In October of 1891, Peralta Hall was referred to as a cultural Mecca and socially very correct. Everyone who was important came there to speak, to be seen at functions, to associate with other important people. In September of 1891, only one month prior, the big news in and around San Francisco was that Officer Grant of the San Francisco Police department had been shot and killed by a drunk Maurice Curtis. By the end of the next March, Curtis was finally released on bail. The trial was lengthy and further complicated by several hung juries and serious charges of police corruption in the investigation and presentation of evidence. At the end Curtis was found not guilty, but by then he was an entirely ruined man.

In November of 1891 it was announced that Mrs Curtis had sold her very large portion of the Peralta Park operation to Herbert Cheseboro. A month later, after relocating herself to San Francisco, she sued James McCarthy and M.W. Conner for extortion, pointing out that while they had agreed to arrange for and aid in this sale for a commission, the deal was fraudulent and they were demanding their fee regardless. Mr Cheseboro, after placing his $1000 deposit, appeared to have to disappeared. These men still claimed their $6250 fee.

The building, which was designed to be Berkeley's finest hotel, would never be employed as such. Following the school operation established by Homer Sprague, the facility was variously occupied by several such institutions, and in 1903 became the property of the Christian Brothers of St. Mary's. It served as St. Mary's High School until 1946, when a fire resulted in damages which considerably reduced the building’s size. A vestige of its prior grandure remained in use until it too was finally razed in 1959. The site is still that of St. Mary's High School. The entrance to the school is through Albina Street, given the stage name of the wife of the hotel's ostentatious and unscrupulous developer. On Albina Street, just a few feet north of Hopkins Street, about half way to the school's entrance, and just south of the creek, there is a plaque noting the location of the long gone Domingo Peralta hacienda.

The Hotels of Berkeley

While none quite compared with thePeralta Park, Berkeley had its own hotels. These developed in several neighborhoods, and each of them were located as a convenience to the riders of either the steam railroad or the horse car/electric. The first hotel erected was that at the terminus of the horse car established by Henry Durant. It was located at the corner of Allston Way and Telegraph, just across the street from Sather Gate.

The University Hotel was built by the Edgar Brothers in 1872 and leased to Thomas Berry. It opened in 1873, along with the new University, and was described at that time as "magnificent". In actuality, it was a simple boarding and rooming house which accommodated about twenty people. Later called the Olive Branch Hotel, it was promoted as "the pioneer hotel of Berkeley". Initially occupied by the workers who were employed on the first University buildings, it later filed with students. By 1878 the Olive Branch was in serious financial trouble. At that time its operation was taken over by R. G. Huston. He did some work to restore it and converted the lower portion into his grocery store. However, his business did not fare well and by August of the following year, Huston quit the premises. The establishment was taken over by Chappie, Tilman & Co. and with the passage of yet another year, they too bowed to what seemed to be the inevitable. In July of 1882 a fire effectively destroyed the Olive Branch, and did some damage to the adjacent post office and drug store. In July of 1886 the widow Edgar, still owner of the property upon which the hotel once stood, was offered $4000 by the Narrow Gauge Railroad for her property on Choate and Allston; she sold it for six thousand.

In the meanwhile another hotel had been installed on Telegraph Avenue, this one named the Berkeley Hotel. The Berkeley Hotel was located just down the street on the southwest corner of Bancroft and Choate (Telegraph). Doing business at that location was R. R. Reed who, like his predecessors just down the street, saw his business collapse in June of 1883. He was followed at this location by Grant Carnall, youngest son of the town's first Justice of the Peace and partner of James Barker. Young Carnall and an associate opened their grocery business in 1884. This entrepreneurial episode lasted all of three months, at which point the young partners sold out their new business to G. W. Nichelman. Five months later, in October of 1884, the Berkeley Hotel was again described only as a student boarding house. In mid May of 1885, a fire broke out at four different places at the Berkeley Hotel. The paper noted that this fire appeared somewhat suspicious because coal oil had been poured all over the place. The fire was put out by students. At the time of the fire, the hotel was occupied by the Thompson and son Grocery, and the G.W. Long restaurant which quit the business on account of the damage sustained.

In 1887, J. R. Little took steps to have the structure moved to the southeast corner of Allston Way and Shattuck. It was his intention at that time to reopen it as a downtown hotel. The location on Shattuck had for many years been occupied by a cottage known as the Poinsette house. This house was originally built on the Kearny Tract by a man named Tubbs in 1853. It was moved to its Shattuck Avenue location in 1858 and had been occupied on an occasional basis by George Blake, for about one year. In 1859 Mr. William Poinsette, at one time a business partner of Acheson, rented it and lived in it for the next 22 years with his family. In 1881 it was occupied by a Mr. Nelson and family. By 1887, it was empty and becoming increasingly derelict. This little house, sitting approximately where Edy's Restaurant had until recently been located, seems to have little immediate relevance. However nearly every published history of Berkeley includes a picture of this building, without benefit of identification.

Little's plan did not materialize. In August of 1888, M. H. C. Barrow, a N.Y. attorney, bought the Berkeley Hotel. He described elaborate plans to move it off the corner lot to one adjoining, to extensively renovate it, add all new furnishings, install a cement sidewalk on both Bancroft and Choate, introduce gas lights in all the rooms, light the dining room with electric lights, and establish his own office in the front portion of the hotel. In October Mr. Barrows arrived with his family from N.Y., and the work began. By mid-March of 1889 the new and vastly improved Berkeley Hotel was opened. Mr Barrows, being a prudent man, insured his establishment to the hilt. He had purchased coverage from numerous insurance companies, namely: New Zealand: $3,000, Oakland Home: $1000; North British $1000; Anglo Nevada $1000; Phoenix $1500; American $1500, and Aetna $6000. For a grand total of $15,000, not to mention the additional coverage on the furniture to wit: Home Mutual $2000, State Mutual $1000, and National Assoc. $2000: for another grand total of $5,000. In less than one year from its official opening, on February 27, 1990, a sudden and intense fire broke out at the Berkeley hotel. The building was totally destroyed, however some fast acting students who were in the vicinity managed to rush in and carry out the downstairs furniture. Mr Barrows and his family, all of whom were safely across the bay in San Francisco at the time, publically proclaimed their perfect alibi. It was no less conspicuously noted in the Herald that business had not been so good prior to the fire. Not nearly as good as Barrows had thought it would be.

What was soon to be the business center of Berkeley's, that area located at the Center Street Station known as the Terminus, was the site of what would eventually be three hotels. The first, built with the arrival of the railroad at Center Street, was, fittingly enough, the Terminus Hotel. In 1874, John Acheson bought from Henry Durant the Northeast corner of University and Shattuck for $600. Three years later he sold an interest in this same property for $4740 to H.M.Howell. In 1876 Acheson built the Terminus Hotel on that site, which was later increased in size onto additional property he had purchased from the Durant estate in 1882. Acheson now owned from the corner up as far as Byrne's Coal and Hay establishment, now the Thrifty Junior. This establishment did a modest business, increasing as the neighborhood grew. In 1884 Acheson moved the original structure away from the street and around it constructed a new and considerably larger establishment. With its completion the name was changed from the Terminus to the Acheson. The location could no longer be reasonably identified as the end of this railroad line.

While surrounded by public controversy during a period when Acheson provocatively and courageously defied a local ordinance governing the sale of alcohol, the hotel maintained its good reputation. In 1891 John Acheson died. He was then age 41 years. The circumstances surrounding his death were shrouded in mystery for several months, with varying stories of the nature of his demise being popularly circulated. By August it was officially, albeit reluctantly, announced that he had died of Diphtheria. At the time, with the sewer issue still up in the air, any news of a possible local contagion was considered to be exceedingly bad for business. The business was purchased from his estate by A.A. Fongo, Berkeley's town constable.

The second hotel to be erected at the terminus was built by Fischel and Bauml. Purchasing the land at the Northwest corner of Shattuck and University from Barker in 1887, the Fischel Hotel was constructed the following year. A large and imposing building, it was three stories tall, had three stores on the ground floor, and twenty three rooms on its second floor, all lit with gas. Access to the second floor was from both University and Shattuck. Indoor plumbing was provided, the hallways were eight feet wide, and the cost of this project came to a whopping $14,500. By September of 1888 the building was all but complete. In October the Fischel and Bauml Market was opened in one of the first floor spaces; the corner store had been rented to a Mr. T.W. Dudler, or Dudley, of San Francisco who was to open a restaurant. Nothing much came of his plans, however, and he sold out his interest to Isaac Bottomly in January of 1889. Mr Bottomly had previously managed the establishment at the "3 Mile House" (Claremont and College Ave). However, by June of that year the restaurant had yet another proprietor, this one a Mr J. Meyers.

In June of 1890 the Fischel Hotel became the California Hotel. John Greub was the new manager, replacing J. Meyers. In June of 1891 Greub declared his insolvency and was replaced in July of 1891, by Thomas Hampton, who did some renovation. And so it went. The hotel endured in spite of marginal management for many years. While an attractive addition to Berkeley's downtown ambiance, its operation was never exemplary. Today it is the site of MacDonalds.

The third hostelry serving Berkeley's downtown was the Hann Hotel. Well before any signs of development had begun on the east side of the railroad tracks, Thomas Hann, a Berkeley butcher in 1878 purchased from the BLTIA a lot in its Tract A, and there established his business on the west side of Shattuck between University and Addison. Eight years later, in an auction sale of the Terminal Tract held by Mr Bartlett (the block bordered on the west by Shattuck, the North by University, the east by Oxford and the south by Addison), Hann bought two lots adjoining the corner of University and Addison, on the other side of the railroad tracks from his initial purchase. This property was originally occupied by a plant nursery and flower shop, but since 1905 has been the site of the Studio Building. Shortly after the Terminal Tract acquisition, Hann purchased, from the Blake estate. the southeast corner lot at Center and Shattuck. In May of 1890 the Hann Block was begun at this, his third, downtown location. His building included five stores on 1st floor, and on the 2nd floor there were 19 rooms for offices or families. Dr. Payne, Berkeley's seminal physician, abandoned the office he had operated at his home on the southeast corner of University and Shattuck, and rented space in the Hann building. The building was constructed by A.H. Broad at a cost of $10,000. With the completion of this project, Hann went on to build another commercial building on the southwest corner of Shattuck and Vine, also built by Broad, this one costing $4000. Of Hann's projects, this one, completed in 1891, is the only one yet standing. The Shattuck Avenue development burned to the ground shortly after the turn of the century.

West Berkeley and Adult Recreation

The reception afforded the late but inevitable arrival of the choo choo into West Berkeley, was held at the newly erected Frederick's Hotel, built by William Fredericks who had achieved success with the establishment of Fredericksburg Beer Company in San Francisco. Fredericks, a San Francisco resident who died in 1885, had by the time of his death extended his business interests into Berkeley. The Hotel, operated initially by a Mr Ludeman and later by John Rooney, served the needs of both the occasional traveler, as well as the local community as a center for public entertainment. West Berkeley was literally saturated with establishments which specialized in both good company and strong beverages. It was therefore no surprise when one of the major industries to locate in this Bayside community would be devoted entirely to the needs of the alcohol consuming public.

In December of 1882, Messrs Nella, Fugal and Stroebel, doing business as Fredericksburg Lager, purchased the southeast corner of San Pablo and University, that parcel previously owned and occupied by the smithy of Peter Guenette, for $3700. These men declared their intention to build on that site a brewery, and to operate it as an extension of their plant located in San Francisco. Work began immediately and by march of 1883 the plant was nearly in operation. Operating under the name of Hofburg Brewery, it enjoyed an immediate success and by July of 1883 the proprietors had added a large malt house to the plant. In January of 1884 it was formally incorporated with an issue of $100,000 worth of shares, each valued at $10.00.

The business was sold, towards the latter part of 1885, to Maitland C. Brooks and two brothers by the name of Landregen. In 1890 the business reverted to a man named Nickols, who sold it to San Francisco Breweries, a British firm.

A week following the sale to Brooks and the Landregen brothers, Brooks married Maggie M. Frobese, a native of Berkeley, and the daughter of Sea Captain Martin Frobese. She and her parents lived in West Berkeley, at the corner of 5th and Holyoke. Maitland and Maggie wasted no time in starting a family and the following July they became parents. Three days later Maitland Brooks died. In March of 1889 Ms Brooks was wed to Mr Henry Taylor, then West Berkeley's most prominent lumber merchant.

Henry Taylor

Henry Taylor was born in Boston in 1858 and came to California with his family in 1880. They settled first in San Bernardino and moved to Berkeley three years later. In 1885 Henry Taylor and his partner, Chris Ford, purchased the East Berkeley Lumber Yard. This business had been started and operated for many years by the Heywood family, and had more recently been rented to a Mr Byxbee who failed to prosper. It was then sold to Thomas Richardson who leased it to Taylor and Ford. Their partnership lasted a matter of a few months, at which time Taylor assumed the business as a sole proprietor. As a businessman Henry Taylor did well. Within a mere three years he began to expand his business and to increase the scope of his efforts. In 1888 he had railroad tracks laid directly onto the (old Jacobs-Heyward) wharf and a year later he opened the Lorin branch of the Taylor Lumber Company at Alcatraz and Stanford Avenue. By 1891 there was a Taylor Building near the corner of Center and Stanford from which the majority of his business was conducted.

In 1886 Henry Taylor was living at Mrs Crow's boarding house at the corner of Bancroft and Dana. While a resident there, he arranged for a telephone line to be installed between his room at Mrs Crows' and his business at the wharf. Later that year he moved to the Alpha Block (the Golden Sheaf Bakery) on Shattuck Avenue. Two years later, Henry had made enough money to build his own home and contracted with C.R. Lord for an extravagant edifice at Fifth and University. In 1991 he had built new home in Peralta Park, on the corner of Hopkins and facing onto Albina St; this building was also constructed by C.R.Lord. He remained at that address for the next fifteen years. In 1906 the Taylor's built the lavish and infamous Taylor/Mullgardt House. This building was designed by Louis Christian Mullgardt and could only be described as a palace from Shangri-La. It sat atop The Uplands like an exotic crown. The morning mist in terraced gardens gave the impression that the house was floating just above the ground. The unfortunate circumstances of the Taylor family following their move into their new home (a tale in itself) were punctuated by the demolition of the house in the mid-thirties to make way for a less noble real estate venture. Some parts of the original structure remain but are a sorry tribute to one of the most magnificent homes ever to grace the hills of the East Bay.

The Shattuck-Whitecotton Hotel

Of all the Berkeley hotels, the history of the Shattuck Hotel, for many years known as the Whitecotton Hotel, is likely the most interesting. This project, begun well after the death of Francis Kittredge Shattuck, had been undertaken by his widow, Rosa. Given the circumstances of her life at that time, it is quite likely that she accomplished this in concert with her sister-in-law, the real estate brains of the family, Millicent (Shattuck) Blake. However, before getting into this story, it is perhaps well to complete the oddsey of Frank Shattuck, filling in those activities which occupied him during the final years of his life.

Francis Shattuck effectively withdrew from political life when Horace Carpentier dropped, or had been relieved of, his position of power in Oakland politics. With the exception of his brief and tacitly honorary position on the Berkeley Board of Trustees, Shattuck no longer occupied the position of power that he had enjoyed while luxuriating within the Carpentier machine. But as a result of his now unquenchable appetite for politics, he diligently pursued the Oakland Mayor's job in 1887 and again in 1889, and was rejected both times. In 1892 Shattuck announced his intention to once again run for a position on the County Board of Supervisors, but never did. Unskilled in most respects, he would continue to coast on his reputation, his dignity, and his traditional (if somewhat fictitious) role of Berkeley's preeminent pioneer.

Besides the politician, Shattuck regarded himself as a banker and a businessman of eclectic interests. He was named as having some peripheral involvement with the Welsbach Incandescent Gaslight Co in Oakland, the Home Gas Light Company, and the Oakland Home Insurance Company, In 1880 had become a director of the 1st National Bank in Oakland. But regardless, Frank's days were now being spent mostly in pursuit of domestic pleasures, and dabbling some in real estate. Working under the able supervision of his sister-in-law, Milicient Blake, he kept active selling portions of George Blake's, as well as his own remaining lands. Shattuck advertised his real estate office as being located in the Blake building at 918 Broadway.

In 1886 Shattuck sponsored the construction of a business block that was located between McClain's "Pioneer" Grocery, which was situated on the southwest corner of Addison and Shattuck, and the Gottshall block on the northwest corner of Center and Shattuck, a project of Louis Gottshall. The Gottshall block opened for business in June of 1886, initially occupied by the Alameda Water Co., Hilton's Drug Store (which had up until then been located in the Antisell Block, and which, in March of 1889, after Doctor Hiltons move to Seattle, would be sold to Daggett & Co. of Rochester, N.Y. and operated as the "Berkeley Pharmacy), Norris and Harrow (cigars and billiards), and Norris (fruits, candies, and toys). In June of 1887 the Weiner Block, another project of Carlos Lord’s, was under construction on the adjacent, or southwest corner of Center and Shattuck.

In all, four relatively small buildings were erected by Shattuck, one of which would be occupied by A. B. Merrill, another early Berkeley druggist. Merrill, beginning in April 1887 shared his space with the East Berkeley Post Office. In November of 1890, additional space was required and the Post Office moved into its own quarters in the space that had been occupied by Norris & Harrow's billiard room, which had moved next door in the Gottshall block. Alongside of Merrill was The Homestead Loan Co., the offices of the Herald, of J. J. Dunn, and those of Averill & Stewart.

In 1891, Shattuck initiated no less than three new projects. The first was the development and sales of the southern half of his property, that which lay between Dwight Way and Russell Street. At that time B.D. Boswell was contracted to do street work for Shattuck (in Tract #5), which culminated in the opening of Ward, Stuart, Oregon and Tremont (Milvia) Streets. The second of Shattuck’s latter projects was the building of his new home, and in January of 1891 work was underway. The original Shattuck house had been occupied, since the Barker's return from Chicago, by the Kierulff family. The new house, to be constructed south of the creek, was built by H.L. Whitney at a cost of $7,000. In August of the same year, Shattuck began his plans for yet another new business block.. This building, measuring 80'x100', with the upper story to serve as a public hall, was located on the northwest corner of Allston and Shattuck Avenue. In anticipation of this work, in 1889 the "Shattuck Cottage" was moved from the corner of Allston Way to Center street. The cottage was relocated adjacent to Shattuck's recently completed livery stable on Center Street, which was operating under the proprietorship of a Mr Waterbury.

The contract for new building to W.H. Weilbye, of Oakland. The cost was estimated at $14,000. There would be five stores on first floor. The 2nd floor was designed for use by the public and consisted of a hall 60'x70', with seating for 600 people. On the third floor would be found the banquet hall, measuring 20'x50'. In spite of the fact that electricity for both commercial and home lighting was already well established in Berkeley, Shattuck’s entire building was to be lighted by gas.

In 1891, prior to the completion of this new building, the Bank of Berkeley and the Berkeley Savings Bank were incorporated. Its members were F. K. Shattuck, Thomas Hann, J. K. Stewart, W. E. Sell, J. L. Barker, C. E. Merriam, and Irving Stringham. It was anticipated that it would be located in Shattuck Hall.

Several months later, in January of 1892, the articles of incorporation were filed for the Commercial Bank of Berkeley and the Berkeley Bank of Savings. These new institutions replaced the Bank of Berkeley and Berkeley Savings Bank. It seems that the first try ran into a problem of not enough public interest, which translates into not enough money. Rather than repair what was not going well, virtually the same entrepreneurs (with the exception that that A.W. Naylor who had been the president and manager of the Capitol City State Bank of Des Moines, Iowa was in, and C.E. Merriam was out) created the second pair of commercial entities. It is not clear how this made any difference at all, but the two reconstituted banks opened in April of 1892. They later formally merged as the Mercantile Trust, in 1922, which later became the American Trust, and then finally a branch of Wells Fargo Bank.

Shattuck died on the Ninth of September, 1898. He left an estate that was estimated to be valued in excess of two million dollars. Frank Shattuck had been a lifelong member of the Live Oak Lodge of the Freemasons; the Berkeley Masonic Lodge, Francis K. Shattuck Lodge #571, was named in his honor.

After Shattuck's death, his wife Rosa expressed the desire to build a hotel on their homestead property and name it for the family. On September 26, 1907 the Hotel Shattuck Association was formed with Wm. E. Woolsey, the husband of Rosa Shattuck's niece, as president. Rosa's niece, her namesake and her sister's daughter, lived with the Shattucks for a number of years and in 1884 Rosa Livingston was married to William Woolsey.

Rosa Shattuck died the following year. The Woolseys', now residing in the Shattuck mansion, carried through with the plan and the hotel was finally completed in 1910, and named not for Frank, but for Rosa Shattuck. Following the completion of the structure, the odyssey of the Hotel Shattuck becomes confusing in the extreme.

The five story, 300 room hotel, designed by Ben McDougall, officially opened on the 16th of December 1910 with a speech by the noted California poet Joaquin Miller. In the hotel's first five years it was managed by a man named Noah Grey. Mr. Grey, left the Shattuck to manage the newly opened Claremont Hotel, and was replaced by Col. Fred T. Robinson, who was the Woolseys' son-in-law. In 1918, the head clerk at the Hotel, a William W. Whitecotton, married a hotel guest, the widow Mrs. Leila Wishon, and with her money purchased the hotel lease and its furnishings. In 1920 Whitecotton and his wife purchased the property from Woolsey. Having done so they both renamed it the Hotel Whitecotton, and sold the lease and furnishings to Frank Wishon, Leila's brother[1].

In 1924, Dr. G. Otis Whitecotton, William's brother, took over its management until 1926. Dr Whitecotton later was named as the Medical Director of both Highland and Fairmont, Alameda County Hospitals. He served in that capacity until near his death in the late 1960's.

In January of 1927 Frank Wishon sold the lease and furnishings to J.W. Roundtree who in his turn sold it to Jacob "Jake" Levingston who became owner/manager for the next twelve and a half years.

On July 31,1941 the Whitecottons sold the Hotel property to the Levi Straus Realty Co. for a figure "in excess of $700,000.00" and Jake Levingston sold the lease and furnishings to Wallace H. Miller, past manager of the Durant Hotel, the following year.

In 1942 Miller took over as owner/manager and immediately changed the name back to the original, The Hotel Shattuck. It has remained so to the present. Five years later the hotel underwent a major renovation which took the main entrance from Shattuck Avenue around the corner where it now fronted onto Allston Street. William Whitecotton died in retirement in Los Angeles in 1933 and the Woolseys both passed away in 1939.

Closely identified with the Shattuck Hotel was the general merchandising enterprise which occupied the same building, Hink's of Berkeley. Hink's occupied much of the ground floor of the Shattuck Hotel. It moved to that location after spending ten years in the newly completed Wagner block where it had been since 1904. Initially organized in 1872 as Stange & Hink, it was first located on Third St. in San Francisco. The business prospered and the partners were able to expand. With their third store they moved across the Bay and settled in Oakland. In 1907 the business was incorporated and L.W. Hink became its manager.

Ralza Morse

While Rosa Morse forever played an important secondary role with respect to her more illustrious sister, not to mention her certainly more conspicuous husband, there were yet other members of her family which occupied a role in Berkeley's history. Ralza Morse, Rosa's brother, arrived in the Berkeley area no later than 1870. In January of that year, Morse acted as a witness to a codicil of the will of Benjamin Ferris. In January of 1874 he was present for the meeting called by Henry Durant regarding plans for incorporation, and in 1878, in apparent opposition to the political disposition of his brother-in-law, he signed the Memorium in favor of the town's incorporation. At the time, however, Morse was not a Berkeley resident, rather he was living in Temescal on Old Telegraph Road (now Claremont Blvd) about 1¾ miles from Humboldt Park.

In 1880 Morse was elected to the position of County Assessor and built himself and his family a new home, adjacent to that of the Shattuck's, which was located at 2220 Shattuck Ave., at the the northwest corner of Shattuck and Bancroft. The following year, in September of 1881, Shattuck formally completed the sale and the transfer of title to Morse for the property upon which this house was built. Seven years later Morse purchased an additional portion of this same property and in 1889 a matching parcel on the opposite side of Bancroft, corner of Fremont (Milvia), from Barker. At the time, the full extent of the Shattuck estate had extended from Bancroft to Allston, uninterrupted by the as yet to be installed Kittridge St.

Morse moved into the new house with his wife Ellen and their two daughters, Miss Mattie and Miss Nellie. Mattie Morse, principally occupied as a day care worker (the partner of Mina Byxbee) and the president of the local chapter of the W.C.T.U., died in 1890 at the age of 25. Mattie died in Lakeport County where she had been taken with the hopes that the climate would be favorable to her health. While she and her mother were away, Morse was finally defeated in his continuing bid for the position of County Assessor, however with what spirit remained, he installed a tennis court in his yard at Bancroft and Shattuck, and participated in the formation of the Continental Building Association with N.S. Trowbridge, and Mssrrs Kelsey, Embury and Wright.

In August of 1887 Morse joined in a real estate partnership with a man named Little, and they advertised themselves as the sole agents for the Blake, Shattuck, and Leonard Tracts. This partnership lasted for four years, at the end of which Morse sold out and Little joined with Phelps. Both Little and Phelps had been long standing employees of the railroad. Soon Phelps left his recently established partnership with Little and moved in with Morse. Within days, Little sued Morse for breach of contract, since Morse, who had sold Little both name and reputation, had violated the agreement by opening his own office adjacent to his previous partner. Nothing dull about that Shattuck clan!


[Chapter 12] -[Chapter Index] - [Chapter 14]