From: The Oakland Daily Evening Tribune, 20 June 1874, Page 1, Column 1


The New Ferry-The University-Deaf and Dumb and Blind-Cherried-Piedmont

There is no better investment than to drive out San Pablo road to Heywood and Jacob's Landing, thence up to the State University, touching at the school for the Deaf and Dumb and Blind, thence over by Mountain View Cemetery to Piedmont and down by Lake Merritt. The scenery is unexcelled in its way, and the public institutions on the route are the noblest landmarks the State can boast.


A couple of the TRIBUNE crew left Oakland about 1 P.M. yesterday, taking lively interest in the wayside of San Pablo; counting a score of new buildings and admiring the taste of such men as Mr. Deitz. The Deitz place is about the most artistic residence property on the eastern side of the bay; its statuesque finish is suggestive of the higher culture of foreign lands. San Pablo road is in fine condition, evidently the result of the personal attention of Geo. W. Parsons, the township overseer. The site of the ferry landing fronts the Golden Gate squarely, affording a general view of the bay. Work on the new pier has progressed rapidly, all things considered, and only a few days more will be required to put on the planking so that boats and vehicles can connect. The new pier is parallel with the Heywood-Jacobs one, and a few hundred feet south; is about the same length. It will be wide enough for horse-car and ordinary road vehicles to pass. Excepting a bridge at the crossing of the San Pablo road, nothing has been done toward the horse-car enterprise. Considerable grading will be necessary between the bridge and the ferry; but all in all, the enterprise can be carried to completion in a very short time. The boat will doubtless bring over the materials therefor. The first consideration is to get it underway. The intrinsic merits of this enterprise is self-evident to the most casual observer. The old wharf is stacked full of lumber, and building is still slowly but surely gaining in the Berkeley part of Oakland township. As we approached the University level, the stiff breeze from the ocean raised or somehow toned down wonderfully, leaving a vacuum half a mile wide at the base of the mountain where the wind was hardly felt. This is an important feature of Berkeley, and a peculiarity of atmospheric operation that must be experienced to be fully realized.


We happened into the Agricultural College lecture room just as some of the students were reading compositions on various topics. The facult calls them "theses." A young man read an interesting paper on the glacial theory. He was succeeded by a Miss Scrivener on the Social Growth of the San Joaquin Valley. She has hopes that the Grange organization will materially aid in pulling that Pike county wagon out of everlasting darkness. Leaving out all allusion to the Grangers, we have much hope for the young lady; believe that she is practically posted, and will be a credit to the institution. We had not time to hear it all through, and left a young man struggling with the subject of the elevation of labor. Were he to reverse the title and give us the other side-the labor of elevation, he would let the average laborer stay where he is. However, the boys will be boys, and the faculty must give em rein occasionally. There were a number of spectators-interlopers like ourselves present. The University is now one of the fixtures of the State; wholesale fault-finding has had its day, and with the new means of communication, therewith, it must prove the nucleus of a town of thousands instead of hundreds inside of the next three years.

Just as we departed, the sound of a brass band came from some indefinite quarter, and afterwards we saw a young man emerge from a door with what looked like a joint of stovepipe, muffled in a green baize bag; he clung to it like a young mother to her first baby. The probabilities are eleven for more or less music at Berkeley sometime.


After gently testing the legislative enactment for the prevention of the sale of liquor nearer than two miles of the University, we came along to the School for the Deaf and Dumb and Blind. The late Legislature must have been a very contemptible sort of affair, and it looks as if the liquor men know just what they are about all round. The Dolly Vardens must be at a discount. Were the Faculty to open a groggery in the College of Letters, and Professor Gilman part his hair in the middle and make fancy drinks for the boys, the temptation could be scarcely less than at present.

The school presided over by Professor Wilkinson is very quiet just now; all except two or three of the pupils have gone home on vacation, the end of which is the 25th of August. It is customary to call this institution an asylum, but it is no more so thatn is the State University. The authors of the celebrated Code got the word Asylum into their immortal document in this connection. They should be provided for in the Stockton Asylum before being allowed to revise any more laws. This school for the unfortunate is getting to look more like an old castle every year; it don't look a bit like any other public building in California. The most that is doing there now would come under the head of house-cleaning. The courts, of open spaces in the center, are being thoroughly upturned and flower-beds being inaugurated. By the 26th of August, the Supreintendent will have the entire premises finished up. He gave us an interesting account of the charge; evidently doesn't believe in people marrying cousins and that sort of thing, and thereby inflicting an offspring of no particular benefit upon the world. In California where cousins, etc. are comparatively scarce, the per centage of deaf and dumb, &c, is only about on in two thousand population; in the older states, much higher.


From the so-called asylum, we come along to the foothills half a mile or so toward Oakland, and brought up among John Kelsey's cherry trees. Mr. K. has about the finest showing of this sort of fruit outside of Lewelling's at San Lorenzo, and the wonder is that he is not over run with tourists. He says the University boys do not trouble him in the least, which is a singular state of affairs indeed. He says he told those youths that all who could not afford to purchase fruit, he would give all they wanted. In any event the faculty are to be congratulated upon having such a well-behaved set; or rather, the community are to be. No hazing or stealing speaks well. Mr. Kelsey sells cherries and currants by the ton every day. We were shown some grafts only one year old, perfectly breaking with the finest of cherries, and the plume-like branches throughout are loaded not unlike the clustering of grapes.


From Kelsey's, we zigzagged across the foothills toward Piedmont, passing the Mountain View and Catholic cemeteries, and one or two country seats of palatial proportions. There is one residence up in the hills between Telegraph avenue and Broadway extension, that surpasses anything we have seen in the county in architectural extent and variety. Who it belongs to we could not learn. The proprietor must be "grand, gloomy and peculiar" in his tastes. Mountain View Cemetery is taking on monumental and other aristocratic airs right speedily. The Piedmont House presented a lazy appearance, as if not overcrowded with custom. Several persons were sitting on the verandah, chairs heaved back, as if petrified. They looked so self-satisfied, however, that we did not stop for fear the disturbance might be disagreeable to them. From this elevated resort, the descent to the eastern shore of Lake Merritt is rapid. This body of water was lashed into a foam, and the latter was being blown across the road like bunches of wool or thistle tops. The shore presented a singular appearance from this cause. The clicking of mowing machines is everywhere heard these days in the regions at the mercy of the grangers, and all in all the suburbs of Oakland were never more interesting than at present.


Note: a photo of the Asylum as it appeared in the 1860's and 1870's is located here.

Note: a photo of Kelsey's nursery as it appeared in 1872 is located here.