- Back then, Oakland was barely out of its teens as a city with only 12,000 people. It had mud streets, rutted from horse-drawn carriages and the occasional cow wandering loose. Ulysses S. Grant was president of the United States. ... News from other areas was tapped out on telegraph machines, scribbled down on a pad, then each letter of type set by hand and the newspaper churned out with the huff and puff of a steam-powered press.
Oakland was growing, and George Staniford and Ben Dewes, who worked in a small printing company on Ninth Street, took advantage of it. They put together four pages of a three-column sheet with a front-page item about the "grandest affair" to be given by Relief Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, and a reproof about people being rude to out-of-town visitors in church. Much of the rest was ads — some things don't change — for saloons, cigar parlors and billiard halls. There were even a couple of jokes: "The color of the wind was discovered by the man who went out and found it blew." Ha ha.