The early Oaklanders in this area were ranchers needing access to railroaders: cattlemen and ranchers who needed to ship their goods at the cattle loading stop at 47th Avenue. The first large landowner was C.L. Fitch, who purchased the land from Peralta and made a town called "Fitchburg." (Note: This does not appear to correspond with the neighborhood called "Fitchburg.")
Borax Smith took over the existing gold and silver smelting plant in order to smelt ore from the mines on the Oakland Hills some time in the late 1890s.
After the 1906 earthquake, homeless San Franciscans moved to the area.
The Realty Syndicate was involved in selling the "Melrose Acres" in the 1920s.
Between the 1890s and 1910s (maybe longer?) Melrose had an active ostrich farming industry. The ostrich feathers were used for women's hats. The Bentley Ostrich Farm (later renamed the Golden State Ostrich Farm) was located at International and High Street. A newspaper, The Souza Brothers Store News was published by the owners of grocers in the area from 1912-1923.
After the Urban renewal Of West Oakland in the 1950's and 60's Many African Americans and Mexican and Latino families began moving to the Melrose area. Latinos businesses like El Chechen which was once a popular Mexican Restaurant on International and 50th ave also Taqueria Morelia next to Talk of the Town was Popular as well. There was a Mexican Grocery store called El Progresso in the 70's and 80's and also Los Meixcanos Market on High st and International which opened up in the early 80's. also there is a Popular Mexican artisan store called Corazon del Pueblo on International Blvd near 49th ave. Today African Americans and Latinos still make up the Majority of the Population but since the 1980's Many Asian families have moved in as well adding to the diversity of the neighborhood.
Links & References
- Mailman, Erika. Oakland's Neighborhoods. Oakland: Mailman Press, 2005.