Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oh what a week!

Looks like my grandmother, Loraine Gunzendorfer, stayed in the Bay Area after her visit to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in October, 1914.  She certainly was one busy young lady!

First stop was The Key Route Inn, which was a major hotel in Oakland at the time.  The wood framed structure opened in May, 1907 and was located at what is now Grand Avenue along the west side of Broadway.  The major feature of the hotel was a large archway and corridor through which the tracks of one of the rail lines passed – it was there that a stop connected to the main lobby of the hotel.  The Inn sustained major damage from a fire in September, 1930 so between that event and the Great Depression, the Inn was demolished in 1932, just 25 years after it had opened. 

Key Route Inn Photo
Key Route Inn
The archway can be seen under the “hotel” sign
I’m wondering if Grandma stayed at the Key Route Inn while she was visiting as she had two meals there on October 20, 1914 with her grandmother, Rebecca Steen

Key Route Inn

And here’s another menu that shows a pretty nice meal for $1.00.  I definitely inherited the “love” of collecting menus from Grandma!

Key Route Inn Menu

Next stop was the Industrial Fair Coliseum.  Not sure what this was but Grandma thought it was odd.

Industrial Fair

After a few days rest, it was time to go to the theater.  October 23 found Grandma at the Orpheum Theater in San Francisco to see a “poor show” with her cousin, Irene Gunzendorfer.

Orpheum Program Orpheum Ticket

And the next day she went to The Columbia Theater to see Disraeli.

Disraeli Program Disraeli Ticket

I researched this play a bit and found that George Arliss was awarded the Best Actor Oscar in 1930 for his portrayal of British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, the role he played in 1914 in the play Grandma attended at the Columbia Theater.  He began his career in theater and toured the United States for 5 years in Disraeli.  He then went on to star in silent films before transitioning to the “talkies”.  Coincidentally, he was also nominated that year for Best Actor for his role in The Green Goddess, a remake of the 1923 silent film.  Interesting piece of trivia to learn on the day we will celebrate the 85th Academy Awards.  Who will join George Arliss as Best Actor this year?

George Arliss
George Arliss as Benjamin Disraeli
The Theatre magazine, 1911

Next stop was a “surprise party at Balkin’s” on October 25, 1914.  I don’t know anything about the Balkins – was it a person or a place – but she must have enjoyed it enough to keep a napkin in her memory book.

My grandmother sure got around and had a pretty full week in October, 1914.  And all of this while she was still in high school!


  1. Debi, I can see a high school girl keeping memorabilia like that in a scrap book! What a wonderful collection of ephemera it makes for you now. All the little details...I could get lost reading all those names in the programs.

    I wonder if by "poor show" your grandmother just meant that she didn't think the performance was any good. And I'll put in my guess for "Balkins" being the surname of a friend or neighbor who hosted the party. But one look at a San Francisco city directory would most likely settle that question.

  2. The Key Note Inn looks like an exciting place to stay. Sounds like quite an adventure!

  3. It's amazing that a building like the Key Route Inn had rail lines pass through its first floor! My mom collected, too, but didn't save like your grandmother, Loraine, did. How I wish she had! It's interesting to read your posts and find out what you've been able to uncover about the places in your grandmother's scrapbook. Fun!