The GRAND CENTRAL HOTEL, OAKLAND. Photographer Trade Card / Albumen Photograph, Carleton Eugene Watkins, 1829 - 1916.


San Francisco: C. E. Watkins' Yosemite Art Gallery, 26 Montgomery Street, (n. d.). Ca 1875. Photograph with printed caption. Verso with 23 line description of the hotel, as well as, underneath, an 11 line plug for "C. E. Watkins' Yosemite Art Gallery". Printed, in red, vertical note to verso left side: "Carriages and Buggies Hired at Half the Rates of San Francisco." Recto with albument photograph of the hotel. Card: 3-1/4" x 5". Photo: 2-3/4" x 4-5/8". Now housed in a clear mylar holder. Some age-toning to card. Minor fading to the photograph. Overall, a VG survivor. Item #50093

"Oakland’s first large hotel, the Grand Central, at 12th Street from Webster to Harrison, was built in 1872 and destroyed by a fire which started on March 9th, 1880 .... It was designed and originally co-owned by Samuel Merritt and Captain P. S. Wilcox,...

The 1874 Oakland City directory called the building one of the most expensive in the city. Covering a full city block, the building was in the style of Italian architecture with a Mansard roof, and was 4 stories high with 3 towers (probably above these 4 stories). A porch led from each entrance all the way to the sidewalk, making dismounting from carriages convenient even in rain or sun. ”The vestibule at the main entrance has a tesselated flooring of artificial marble. The ceiling rises eighteen feet in the clear. Laurel, oak, and walnut are represented in the graining, which has been executed with considerable care.” Other modern features included an elevator and telegraph office, and suites were available in addition to private rooms." [Oakland Wiki]

Watkins is, of course, one of the seminal names in mid-19th C. western photography. This trade card hales from just before Watkins lost his gallery, "apparently after defaulting on a loan from his financial backer, J. J. Cook" who then sold the materials to Isiah West Taber. Cf. Palmquist, PIONEER PHOTOGRAPHERS, p. 581.

We find only one OCLC holding of this Watkin's trade card, at the Bancroft. Curiously enough, the extensive Carleton Watkins website, devoted to the photographer's life & body of work [including ephemera & trade cards], does not list the item.


Price: $825.00