EMIL CHARLES HAHN
No citizen of Oakland merited to a greater degree the confidence and respect of his fellowmen than did the late
Emil C. Hahn, whose death, on December 25, 1927 was deeply regretted throughout the community, for he possessed
not only much native ability, but also those qualities of character which are essential to the highest type of
citizenship and together with a kindliness and geniality that gained for him the friendship of all who knew him.
Mr. Hahn was born in San Francisco on the 25th of August, 1869, and was a son of John William and Elizabeth Hahn,
the former a native of Germany and the latter of France. They were numbered among the pioneers of the Golden state,
arriving in the early '50s, and here spent their remaining years.
Emil C. Hahn attended the public schools of his home city and was first employed as an errand boy in a tailor shop.
Two years later he began to learn the trade of cigarmaking, which he followed for three years, when he turned his
attention to the coppersmith trade, at which he worked for seven years in San Francisco. On August 1, 1894, he
moved to Oakland and entered the employ of the Southern Pacific Railroad as a coppersmith and steamfitter, which
position he filled for five years, at the end of which time he resigned and bought a notion and periodical business,
at the corner of Seventh and Pine streets. This proved a successful venture and as trade increased he added other
lines, including men's furnishings, cutlery and a line of cigars and tobaccos, investing several thousand dollars
in the business. He was also made agent for the Wells Fargo Express Company, acting in that capacity for three
years, and at all times exercised prudence and judgment which enabled him to realize a very satisfactory measure
of success. For several years Mr. Hahn agitated the idea of organizing a bank in his community, but for some time
met with little encouragement. Eventually, however, his determined efforts were fruitful and in 1904 the West Oakland
Bank was organized, with a capital of fifty thousand dollars, and he was chosen vice president of the institution.
The same year he was appointed postmaster of Oakland, discharging the duties of that position for one year, when
he resigned in order to accept a seat in the city council, to which he had been elected. This proved a wise selection
on the part of the people, for Mr. Hahn soon became known as one of the ablest and most efficient members of that
body, safeguarding and promoting the public interests. As chairman of the committee on ordinances and judiciary
he exerted a marked influence on city legislation and every measure which was calculated to promote the city's
advancement and better the public welfare received his earnest and effective support. On retiring from council,
Mr. Hahn was appointed superintendent of the city street cleaning department, which position he held for sixteen
In San Francisco, Mr. Hahn was united in marriage to Miss Josephine Duffy, a daughter of Terrence and Ann (Markey)
Duffy, who were early settlers in this state. Mr. Hahn was a member of Liberty Lodge No. 35, K. P., which he represented
in the grand lodge three times; Liberty Company, No. 11, Uniformed Rank, K. P., of which he was first lieutenant;
Vorwarts Lodge, No. 113, I. O. O. F., and Andrio Aerie, No. 7, F. O. E. While living in San Francisco he was a
member of the Native Sons of the Golden West, but did not identify himself with that organization after coming
to Oakland. His life was characterized by high ideals, fidelity to principle and a sincere interest in the welfare
of those about him, which prompted him to many deeds of distinctive service. He earned a reputation as an enterprising,
progressive man of affairs, and a broad minded, charitable and upright citizen, traits which the public was not
slow to recognize and appreciate, and at his death many splendid testimonials to his life and character indicated
the strong hold he had on the hearts of his fellowmen.
History of Alameda County, California
BY: Frank Clinton Merritt
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chicago, Ill 1928
Alameda County, CA
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