Bacon Block on right - 1916 4

The Bacon Block (sometimes Bacon Building) was two different commercial buildings on the southeast corner of 12th and Washington.

1881-1902 Building

from 1896 Illustrated Directory

The first building dated back to 1881 and was originally known as the Land and Loan Company's Building, and featured a large painting of the Great Seal of California on its pediment. 1 It was also known as Cavalry Hall, because the 2nd floor was designed to be the home of the Oakland Light Cavalry. 5 It was built and owned by Henry Douglas Bacon (1817 – 1893), who lived at Oak and 9th until his death in 1893. Bacon donated for the now-demolished Bacon Library and Art Gallery at UC Berkeley, the first purpose-built library on campus. 6

The building burned in a dramatic fire the end of 1902. The fire was particularly fierce because one of the building tenants was the Smith Brothers, who sold stationery, but it was also helped by the construction of the building and a lack of water pressure. 2

1887 Sanborn excerpt1902 fire

1903-1972? Building

A new, larger building was constructed in 1903-1904. 3 The second was built by Henry's son, Francis ("Frank") Page Bacon (1848 – 1928). NB: Henry's great granddaughter was Frances Yvonne Bacon (1910 – 1956), better known as burlesque dancer and actress Faith Bacon.

The new building included an arcade (a covered passage) through the building, with entrances on 11th, 12th, and Washington.

The block is now covered in part by 1111 Broadway. The Bacon Block was probably demolished in 1972, at the same time as the Broadway Theatre, as part of the wider City Center project.

1911-1912 Sanborn excerpt1911 8

Links and References

  1. Oakland Brevities Oakland Tribune March 10, 1881
  2. Bacon Block Is Destroyed by Fire San Francisco Call December 31, 1902
  3. Stricken While at His Work Oakland Tribune June 8, 1903
  4. H72.131.96C Gift of Herrington & Olson, Oakland Museum of California Collections

  5. Light Cavalry Armory Building Oakland Tribune February 24, 1881

  6. Bacon Library and Art Museum

  7. 990013879770205115 California State Library

  8. Greater Oakland edited by Evarts Blake, Pacific Publishing Co., 1911