Excerpt from 1892 Birdseye view of San Leandro

The town of Fitchburg was established by Henry S. Fitch of San Francisco who purchased the area circa 1850, after ending up in what later became Oakland while attempting to sail to Marin County. 1,8A Los Angeles Herald article says Fitchburg was named for his sister, Caroline Fitch (Runkel), 2 but this is inconsistent with all other records. The town was officially incorporated into the city of Oakland on December 8, 1909 following the annexation vote in November 1909.

After his wayward voyage in 1850, Mr. Fitch attempted to acquire what became the heart of Oakland from the Peraltas, but he was unable to reach a deal and instead the land was squatted on by Horace Carpentier and the other founding scoundrels. 3 He tried to console himself by buying Alameda instead, but was only able to purchase part of it. This became known as the Fitch Tract, which he later sold to his brother Charles L. Fitch. 8

Henry Fitch was described in many articles as being an Army colonel, including in his obituary in the San Francisco Call, although his headstone in the San Francisco National Cemetery lists his rank as captain. 4 In addition to Caroline and Charles, other siblings included Cornelia E. Fitch, who died at the age of 17 or 18 in 1852. 4

The town was first laid out with a tract map filed by Henry Fitch in 1870. 5 A new post office called "Edendale" was established at Fitchburg in 1874. Mr. Metcalf was to be the postmaster. 6 It was discontinued in 1875. 7 c.1883 there was a school at Fitchburg, with Miss Lulu Rotchford as the teacher. 9

1878 Thompson and West Atlas 1899 map excerpt

See also the Fitchburg neighborhood.

Links and References

1870 map 5

  1. Melrose area served cattle industry Oakland Tribune May 4, 1992
  2. Mrs. Caroline Runkel Los Angeles Herald May 10, 1903
  3. The Passing of the Oaks Oakland Tribune April 2, 1911
  4. Capt Henry S. Fitch on FindAGrave.com
  5. Recorded and Advertising map of Fitchburg, 1870 Recorded and advertising maps for Fitchburg.pdf
  6. notice Oakland Daily Transcript December 23, 1873
  7. New Postoffice Oakland Tribune July 6, 1875
  8. History of Alameda County, California Frank Clinton Merritt, S.J. Clarke Publishing, 1928
  9. San Leandro Items Oakland Tribune January 2, 1883