The Land of Cotton
1883, the south shore of Brooklyn Basin became the land of cotton. But
here the crop was not hand-picked by impoverished sharecroppers--it was
hauled in by rail to the California Cotton Mills. There, two Scottish
immigrants--John Yule Millar and William Rutherford--helped establish a
textile industry on the West Coast and a market for California-grown
The mill's largely Portuguese-American work force was paid its daily
wages in coin. The sound of the earnings tinkling in the pockets of
those workers--who settled in a company town beside the mill--gave the
neighborhood the nickname "Jingletown."
A new state-of-the-art facility replaced the original mill in 1917. Much
of the factory was demolished by the construction of the Nimitz Freeway
in 1954. Only a portion of the plant remains, a brick and glass relic of
Oakland's industrial heyday.
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room
"Walk Along the Water"
© Oakland Museum of California, used with permission.
Update: The remaining mill structure has been awarded City of Oakland
Landmark status and converted to work/live lofts. A
can be seen beside Freeway 880 where it cuts through the site of the original
mill. Bill Threlfall, Waterfront Action, 2009
Explore this Topic:
Mills Historical Video - Internet Archive
of twine works at California Cotton Mill, ca. 1890s - Oakland History Room, Oakland Public
photograph of remaining mill structure - Waterfront Action
photograph of Freeway 880 where it cuts through the site of the original
mill - Waterfront Action
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