Trip in Time: Businesswomen United

At a meeting on the evening of Friday March 16, 1917, women from around the East Bay met at Hotel Oakland to form an organization that would bring camaraderie to business women.

That organization would become the Oakland Business and Professional Women’s Club, one of the oldest in the state.

Gladys Barndollar, Alice Burnell and Helen Powers headed the venture. Barndollar previously presided over the women’s bureau of the Chamber of Commerce.

Just six months before the BPWC formed, the women’s bureau started an “Oakland Label” initiative to encourage products made in Oakland be promoted as such and made distinctive so that money would make its way back into the city. This initiative to sell Oakland was carried on by the BPWC.

Burnell was the club’s first president and the first female court reporter appointed in 1919 in Alameda County Superior Court. She presented a petition signed by several hundred women noting that no woman had ever held the position.

In 1922, Oakland hosted the third annual convention of the California Federation of Business and Professional Women, where noted lawyer and suffragist Gail Laughlin gave a fiery speech calling for the federal government to give women the same legal rights as men.

In addition to boosting economic stability for the city, the club also advocated to protect its beauty and published their own newsletter — the “Business Women’s Herald.”

The club began to outgrow its home in Hotel Oakland and for three years the club’s holding company financed to build a clubhouse at 15th and Webster streets. On July 14, 1924, a parade of business women carrying shovels and banners — some reading “Once women got what they wanted by crying, we of today got it by trying” — marched through Oakland’s business district. Meanwhile, 100 women turned their shovels alongside architects Carl Warnecke and Chester Miller and local business associations. The two-story colonial building still stands at 1608 Webster.

The BPWC’s dreams of women’s equality and a better Oakland live on.

http://www.insidebayarea.com/news/ci_25348413/

Want more?

Business Women’s Herald Volumes 1 and 2

Articles from the Oakland Tribune used to research this story

A previously posted photo of the groundbreaking was posted last year

http://oaklandtribunearchives.tumblr.com/post/46382136557

(Note, upon groundbreaking the address was listed as 1550 Webster but is now 1608. It is still the same building. )

Photo by Edward “Doc” Rogers

Holy City

California Ghost Town

William E. Riker, who called himself “the only man who can save California from going plum to hell” began preaching his “Prefect Christian Divine Way” in San Francisco around 1915 after trying a palm reading act.

Riker purchased land on the Old Santa Cruz Highway and started a colony with 30 followers soon after naming the town Holy City. The men and women lived in separate dormitories and operated the town’s attractions. Riker preached white supremacy, segregation amongst the sexes and races and sobriety. This was in contrast to Riker himself being married and the town selling beer.

Holy City survived as a tourist stop attracting motorists coming to and from San Jose with billboards along the roadside. In town were fourteen pump gas stations, a comfort station, restaurant, “Mystery Hall”, auditorium, printing press and radio station, KFQU. A traveler could also pay to peep into miniature churches or use a telescope offering a glimpse into Heaven.

State Route 17 opened in 1940 and the town lost traffic. Holy City was sold to a Hollywood promoted in 1954, after which numerous arson attempts destroyed the colony.

(All photos Oakland Tribune, January 1929)

Bathing Beauties of Idora Park

Oakland, CA - “Miss Tribune” comes up after from a high dive in May of 1916 and these gals show a big of leg in a beauty contest in about 1920 at the Idora Park swimming pool formerly in the Temescal neighborhood.

(High dive photo by Edward “Doc” Rogers; Beauty contest photo by Mose Cohen / Oakland Tribune Photos)

Fremont, CA Circa 1927 - The Sisters of the Holy Names at the Stanford ranch stand at the original fountain installed by Josiah Stanford in Warm Springs, a district of Fremont.
What started as the Warm Springs Hotel in the 1860s, became the vineyards and ranch to Leland Stanford. Leland’s son Josiah sold the property to a horse breeder in 1923 who then sold the ranch to the sisters in 1927. 
(Oakland Tribune Photo)

Fremont, CA Circa 1927 - The Sisters of the Holy Names at the Stanford ranch stand at the original fountain installed by Josiah Stanford in Warm Springs, a district of Fremont.

What started as the Warm Springs Hotel in the 1860s, became the vineyards and ranch to Leland Stanford. Leland’s son Josiah sold the property to a horse breeder in 1923 who then sold the ranch to the sisters in 1927. 

(Oakland Tribune Photo)

TRIP IN TIME: BAY AREA BOXING

The San Francisco Bay Area was a hub to the boxing world during the 20th century. A slideshow of boxers Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, James Corbett, Jim Jeffries and others who have rumbled in the Bay is now online http://photos.mercurynews.com/2013/05/31/46368/

Above, Ma Kearns, mother of manager Jack Kearns, and Jack Dempsey circa September 1922. (Edward “Doc” Rogers / Oakland Tribune)

Emile Griffith connects a left jab to Nate Collins’ left eye at the San Francisco Cow Palace November 10, 1970 in the ninth round. (Howard Erker / Oakland Tribune)