Oakland in Alameda County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
Francis Marion “Borax” Smith
1846 - 1931
Mules proved to be the answer. Hitched in pairs to form a team of 20, these strong, hardy beasts successfully pulled 30-ton loads in two large wagons, plus a 500 gallon water wagon. During the 5 years of Death Valley hauling, in which 20 million tons of borax concentrate was delivered to market, not a single mule was lost, nor did any of the specially built wagons break down.
Although the 20-Mule Teams were twice recalled
With his fortune established, Smith turned his energies – and fortune – to the development of Oakland, his adopted city. He envisioned a modern, well-planned community with a world class seaport, and he helped make it a reality. He bought, consolidated, and reorganized the fragmented street railway lines in Oakland and Alameda County and created the Key Route System of streetcars, interurban trains, and transbay ferries. He also built the Claremont and Oakland Hotels, the Syndicate Building at 1440 Broadway, and developed housing tracts in North Oakland and Montclair, along with a water company to serve his properties and the rest of the community.
His home, Arbor Villa, south of Park Boulevard near today’s Oakland High School, was an estate of 50 acres, Borax Smith was a warm and generous person, who opened his home for charitable fund-raising parties. His name was often the first on lists pledging funds for civic improvements and charitable causes. In 1902,
Erected by Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation.
Location. 37° 48.033′ N, 122° 14.966′ W. Marker is in Oakland, California, in Alameda County. Marker can be reached from Park Boulevard near 3rd Avenue, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2014 Park Boulevard, Oakland CA 94606, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Church of St. James the Apostle (approx. 0.6 miles away); Oakland War Memorial (approx. 0.7 miles away); Alameda County Courthouses (approx. 0.8 miles away); Water & Rails / Brooklyn Basin (approx. one mile away); The History of the Site of the Shade Tree (approx. one mile away); Oakland’s Chinatowns Asian Resource Center (approx. 1.1 miles away); Site of College of California (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Oakland.
More about this marker. The marker is located on the grounds of the Francis Marion Smith Recreation Park.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. Marker commemorating the 20-Mule Teams in Death Valley, California
Also see . . .
1. Francis "Borax" Marion Smith - The Borax King of Death Valley -- Legends of America. At the age of 21 he left his father's ranch and, answering to the irresistible call of the west, he made his way toward the Pacific, visiting Idaho, California and Nevada, spending considerable time in mining and other work in those states, before settling in Nevada for five years. (Submitted on March 6, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
2. Arbor Villa - Oakland Wiki. Oak Hall was the name of the mansion on the Arbor Villa estate, a gorgeous, extravagant three story home with at least 42 rooms, including 15 bedrooms; a ballroom; a bowling alley including a ball return; an organ with (Submitted on March 6, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
Categories. • Industry & Commerce •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 6, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 583 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on March 6, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.