George Berkel (December 1849-1931) was the son of German immigrants. He married Hattie Roberts Berkel (1869 – 1938), the daughter of German immigrants, in 1895 in Alameda County. 1 He was 20 years older than Hattie, and they had no children.

directory listing, 1910The 1900 census lists his occupation as "paper hanger", i.e. someone who hangs wallpaper, and they lived in what was then Brooklyn Township (not to be confused with the town of Brooklyn.) The 1910 census lists his occupation as "painter / house", and they lived on East 14th Street. The 1920 census lists his occupation as "store keeper / hardware store". Clearly George was moving up in the world, or at least getting a less physical job, as he was now 71. The 1924 city directory gives us an address, 9337 East 14th Street, across International from where Talco's now stands. The 1930 census lists George's occupation as "none"—he was retired, and now age 81. A different city directory from 1910 gives some interesting tidbits. The area is listed as Elmhurst, 94th Avenue was called Mountain View Avenue, and suggests that George pretty quickly went from house painter to mostly running the hardware store since he had just listed the former as his occupation in the 1910 census.

This is where things get a little more interesting. Somewhere along the line George purchased a plot in Evergreen Cemetery. George and Hattie clearly wanted the plot to be noticed, because it is adorned with one of the largest, most distinctive monuments in the entire cemetery. It's nothing compared with some of the huge mausoleums in Mountain View Cemetery, but it stands out in Evergreen. On the monument is a bas relief carving of James Earle Fraser's "End of the Trail", which was originally cast for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition held in San Francisco. Perhaps George and Hattie saw it there. George died in 1931 and is buried in Evergreen; Hattie died in 1938 and is also buried there. There is a third marker, "Father, Born 1820 Died 1897", which is presumably George's father.

Berkel family monument
photo from Our Oakland


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