courtesy Evan Hart

Fernwood Ranch Dairy was a small dairy and milk distributor from 1902 until c.1942. It was founded 1902 by Antone "Tony" Campomenosi as the Red Gate Farm Dairy. Initially it was near Lawton and Broadway; in 1910 Campomenosi renamed the dairy and moved it to 452 Clifton St. The Campomenosi family lived next door at 458 Clifton St.

The dairy won medals at the 1931 Pacific Slope Dairy Show for milk, both before and after pasteurizing. In 1932, they were distributors for Stornetta & Sons Grade A Raw Milk. 1

In 1935, Campomenosi and the Fentons were party to a law suit challenging the constitutionality of the Agricultural Adjustment Act. 2

1899 Dingee map

The origin of the name is uncertain. Fernwood was the country estate of Jack Coffee Hays, later owned by William Dingee. Red Gate Farm was the farm adjacent to it owned by William Dingee. It's possible that Campomenosi kept his cows there. Lending support to this theory, a Fernwood Ranch Dairy milk bottle was found in the area.

Tony's nephew, Lawrence "Campi" Campomenosi, worked at the dairy in the early 1940s. The 1940 reverse directory lists Fernwood Ranch Dairy, Fruitvale Dairy, and Albany Farm Dairy at 452 Clifton, 4 and the 1941 directory lists A.D. Campomenosi, 5 but the 1944 reverse directory does not list anything. Tony died in 1942, and references to the dairy quickly fade, so it's possible the dairy closed around the time of Tony's death.

Trulia, Zillow, et al, say that Howden Tile moved to the Clifton Street building in the 1930s. That is incorrect, as the 1940 directory still shows them on 17th Street, but the property is currently owned by the Howden family. 3

Links and References

  1. Dairy Started Here in 1902 Oakland Tribune May 5, 1932
  2. Oakland Firms Hit Dairy Pact Oakland Tribune July 6, 1935
  3. 452 Clifton St
  4. Pacific Telephone and Telegraph 1940 Directory
  5. Polk's Oakland 1941