1933 Thomas Brothers Map of Oakland, Berkeley, and East Bay Cities

Map of Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont, Alameda, Emeryville, San Leandro, Albany : [prepared for] Henry Z. Jones, Jr. Realtor. - Main View

1933 Thomas Brothers Map of Oakland, Berkeley, and East Bay Cities


The emergence of the East Bay.


Map of Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont, Alameda, Emeryville, San Leandro, Albany : [prepared for] Henry Z. Jones, Jr. Realtor.
  1933 (undated)     28 x 32.25 in (71.12 x 81.915 cm)     1 : 30000


A rare c. 1933 map of Oakland, Berkeley, and other East Bay cities issued by realtor Henry Z. Jones. It highlights the development of Oakland and the East Bay as an urban hub in the early 20th century.
A Closer Look
This map is oriented towards the northeast, depicting the cities of the East Bay (San Francisco Bay Area). An alphanumeric grid surrounds the map in the border and corresponds to indexes around the map for streets of individual East Bay cities. Roads, rail and streetcar lines, city and county limits, and waterways are clearly denoted. The University of California (Berkeley) can be seen towards top-left. The hills to the east, which at this time included golf courses and eucalyptus plantations, as well as some park land, is now almost entirely dedicated to parks and nature preserves.
The Emergence of the East Bay
This map was produced on the tail end of an extremely rapid pace of population growth in Oakland and the East Bay, an area which had previously been farmland. Between 1900 and 1930, Oakland's population more than quadrupled from some 67,000 to 284,000. Nearby cities and towns saw similar rates of growth, driven by industrial development and the arrival of refugees from the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. Oakland developed a special niche in automobile manufacturing and was known as 'the Detroit of the West'.

The growing population of the East Bay demanded mass transit; a need met by the Key System. Beginning with the San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose Railway, incorporated in 1902, a series of mergers and a reorganization resulted in the creation of the Key System Transit Company in 1923. The Southern Pacific Railway also ran a competing streetcar (interurban electric) system that was later acquired by Key.

Aside from providing transportation throughout the East Bay, Key was notable for its ferry connection to San Francisco via a pier at the island-like 'mole' in the San Francisco Bay, at left. This was a popular and affordable means of passenger travel to San Francisco, but the system was overburdened by demand, one of the main impetuses for building the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge (opened 1938). Even with the completion of the bridge, demand for the Key System remained high enough that the lower deck of the bridge originally included dual-track rail lines, shared between Key, Southern Pacific (until its acquisition by Key), and Western Pacific, that terminated at San Francisco's Transbay Terminal. However, as with streetcar lines in other cities, Key's ridership plummeted in the postwar period, and it was defunct by 1960.
Publication History and Census
This map was produced by Thomas Brothers, a prominent map publisher in the Bay Area, for Henry Jones, a local realtor. It is undated, but the lack of the Bay Bridge would support a date no later than 1933, while the presence of the Alameda Airport and a reference to Oakland Municipal Airport indicate a date no earlier than 1927. This issue of the map with Jones' name is only known to be held by the California Genealogical Society and Library in Oakland, while the map on which it is based (OCLC 23835262) is held by the California Historical Society, the University of California Berkeley, the University of California Northern Regional Library Facility, the University of Washington, Indiana University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.


Thomas Brothers (1915 - 1999) was founded by George Copleland Thomas and his two brothers in Oakland in 1915. Operating from a street corner in Hollywood, Copeland started his business by selling maps to movie stars' homes. From this, Thomas created a 'map book' / guide book institution, while carrying most of the day-to-day operating information around in his head. After George Thomas passed away in 1955, his widow hired Warren Wilson, an attorney, to straighten out the company's affairs. When it became clear that none of Thomas's heirs were interested in continuing the business, it was offered for sale. Wilson and accountant Tom Tripodic jointly purchased the company and decided to move in a new direction while 'maintaining the Thomas Brothers' tradition.' They moved the company headquarters from San Francisco to Irvine, California. The company was purchased by Rand McNally in 1999 who laid off many of Thomas Brothers' most skilled cartographers and employees in 2003 and officially closed all California operations in 2009. More by this mapmaker...


Very good. Some wear along fold lines. Light soiling.


OCLC 919048461.