Washburne R. Andrus (1841-1895) was mayor of Oakland from 1878-1880.

Andrus was morn in Farmingham, Connecticut and was a carpenter. He then became a policeman and after 7 years was elected a captain of police.

In 1873 he came to California and worked for the San Francisco Manufacturing Company. He then moved to Oakland. Washburn lived at 1406 Tenth Street.4

Andrus started as a Republican but when the Workingman's Party got more prominent, he joined that and became part of the labor movement and helped organize the Peralta Street Club

In 1878, Andrus defeated William B Hardy and was elected Mayor of Oakland. In 1879 he was reelected after he defeated D. W. Standeford, the owner of the Oakland Planing Mill.While Mayor, the city passed the ordinance authorizing suits to reclaim the waterfront and Andrus was offered $8,000 to veto it, but signed the bill.

Andrus was appointed Secretary of the State Board of Railroad Commissioners in 1880 served until 1887.

Read sections of his 1879 State of the City here (it was found behind a filing cabinet in 1975 and became a national story). 

After years of losing his sight, Andrus finally went blind in 1889 and retired from public life then.3

Andrus was a Mason. He was given a Masonic funeral and is buried at Mountain View Cemetery. He had no children.



  1. Wood, M. W. History of Alameda County, California. 1883.
  2. "Ex-Mayor Andrus Dead." San Francisco Call. June 7, 1895.
  3. "Ex-Mayor Andrus Dead."
  4. "EX-MAYOR ANDRUS DEAD: A Once Prominent Citizen and Respected Official." San Francisco Chronicle: June 7, 1895.