Chamber Update 2020
|The Oakley Chamber of Commerce is saddened to announce in light of recent events we will be ceasing operations May 1, 2020. As many of you know the Chamber has brought many fun events to the local community over the years such as the Oakley Almond Festival, Oakley Wine & Whiskey Soirée along with trying to be a voice for the Business community. In recent years the involvement of local businesses has changed in the area which has resulted in a loss of memberships and fundraising opportunities for the Chamber. While we have attempted to re-tool and recruit more members, our attempts have not been successful and have led to the situation we currently face which is low revenue, increased operating cost and loss of our operating space.|
We would like to thank each and every one that has been a part of the Oakley Chamber of Commerce history and wish each of you success.
If you know a business looking for furniture, event supplies, or other items, please feel free to reach out as we will begin selling off assets.
2020 Oakley Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
Michael Miller, Branin Cook, Kyle Scheer, Kristin Mattingly, David Greenblatt, Mark Whitlock
Welcome to the Oakley County Chamber of Commerce in beautiful downtown Oakley, California. Please be sure to stop in and visit us!
Our board of Directors all take pride in the direction of the Vision and Mission of the Chamber for today and tomorrow.
Get to know your Board of Directors working hard for our members and the community.
Farm Land to Growing City
Welcome to the City of Oakley, CA… In 1897, Randolph Marsh purchased twelve acres of land and planned a town. Marsh is credited with naming Oakley for the trees that occupied a large portion of the natural landscape. However, there is a great story about how Oakley was almost named Dewey. It seems that Randolph Marsh and another settler, Joel Wightman, couldn’t agree on the town’s name. Wightman wanted to name the new community after Admiral George Dewey, a hero of the Spanish American War, and Randolph Marsh wanted to name it Oakley. They decided to play a game of cribbage. The winner of the game would name the town. Marsh won, and Oakley was officially named.
Alden Norcross joined Randolph Marsh in further developing Oakley when they purchased an additional nineteen acres and plotted the town. They recorded the maps, and Oakley was founded.
The first business to be established was a mercantile built by Joseph Jesse. Marsh agreed to give Jesse the land for free hoping that with one store built it would encourage others to come. He was right. There was soon a blacksmith shop, saloon, hotel, railroad depot, barber shop and more. Some of the first merchants were John Augusto, Jerry O’Meara, Henry Janssen, Frank Silva, William Carpenter and Arnold Van Kathoven.
Oakley’s boundaries at the turn of the century were Dutch Slough on the north, on the east Marsh Creek, and to the south sand hills covered with chaparral.
On July 1, 1900, the first Santa Fe train stopped in Oakley. The Santa Fe Railroad provided the spur needed for agricultural growth of the area and afforded local farmers a means of transporting their products to market.
Oakley’s first school was the Iron House School organized in 1862 by Sarah Abbot Sellers. Iron House was the first school east of Antioch. The Oakley School opened in a tiny building downtown in 1903 and was moved to a schoolhouse on O’Hara Avenue between Acme and Ruby Streets the following year. In 1904, fifteen students were enrolled at the school and by 1920’ the school had been enlarged to three rooms with a teacher for each room plus a principal, Edith Berta Dal Porto, and an enrollment of fifty students.
In 1908, Salvador Dal Porto, a boarding house operator from Jackson, settled in Oakley. Dal Porto was instrumental in the development of Oakley’s business district. It didn’t take long before the town had two social halls, four churches, two saloons, a barber shop, two grocery stores, a blacksmith shop, several warehouses, a bank and many more businesses. In 1910, Dal Porto purchased, remodeled and enlarged the Oakley Hotel. In 1917, the Bank of Oakley was established.
The Ladies Improvement Club was organized in 1913 with Mary O’Hara serving as the first president. These women were instrumental in the development of Oakley’s first library. A small library was first housed in Farrell’s general store offering the residents of Oakley three hundred books. In 1916, the Ladies Improvement Club purchased the Congregational Church building for a clubhouse and public library. The Ladies Improvement Club later changed their name to the Oakley Women’s Club.
In 1924, the Oakley Hotel and most of the businesses downtown were destroyed by a fire. Dal Porto rebuilt his hotel and several other businesses. He also installed a waterworks. He remained one of the town’s most prominent citizens until his death in 1932.
By the 1930’s there were packing sheds along the Santa Fe spur that shipped carloads of produce to eastern markets. During harvest time, Oakley was filed with men that had come to work in the fields and packing sheds.
It took a special breed of pioneer to settle in the Oakley area. It was necessary to face long hot summers with winds blowing that would cover everything in sight with the local sand.
Incorporated in July 1999, Oakley is one of California’s youngest cities.
— Information courtesy of the East Contra Costa Historical Society and Museum
We Have Something for Everyone
The Oakley Chamber of Commerce has all your area information including attractions, accommodations, dining, special events, festivals, business directory, and calendar of events.