In many respects one of the most distinguished citizens of the East Bay district is Frank Otis, who has held the
office of mayor of Alameda continuously since 1919, and whose record of public activities has made him one of the
most favorably known men in this section of the state, while in the profession of law he has long been regarded
as the peer of any of the members of the Alameda county bar. Mr. Otis was born in San Francisco on the 18th day
of November, 1852, and is a son of Stephen and Harriet (Dennett) Otis, who were pioneers of California, he having
made the long journey around Cape Horn and she by way of Panama. He was reared in San Francisco, attending the
grade and high schools, and then became a member of the first freshman class to enter the University of California
tinder that institution's state charter. He was graduated, with the degree of Bachelor cif Arts, in 1873, in the
first class graduated from the present university campus, receiving the university gold medal awarded for the highest
scholarship. Subsequently in 1876 the Master of Arts degree was conferred upon him. He then turned his attention
to the law, studying under the preceptorship of Judge Selden S. Wright, and later of Edwin B. Mastick. Mr. Otis
was admitted to the bar in Sacramento, April 11, 1876, and became associated with the law firm of E. B. & J.
W. Mastick. From that time until 1919 Mr. Otis was associated with various lawyers, but from that date has been
alone in the practice. Possessing a keen and analytical mind, he has always been painstaking and thorough in the
preparation of his cases and in the trial of causes has proven skillful and resourceful, while as an office counselor
he has long been regarded as a sound and dependable advisor.
In 1880 Mr. Otis was united in marriage to Miss Lucretia Lockwood Mastick, a daughter of his early associate, Edwin
B. Mastick, and two sons born to this union are now living, namely, Edwin M., an attorney residing in Alameda and
a former state senator, and Stephen F., an attorney in Sacramento. Mr. Otis began his public career as a member
of the city board of education in 1899, serving eight years, during six of which he was president of the board.
He was elected near the end of 1906 to the state assembly, representing Alameda county from 1907 to 1911.
While a member of the assembly, he sponsored in 1909 the well known anti racetrack gambling bill which closed for
gambling purposes the race tracks of California. He likewise was the author of the certified milk bill which initiated
the procurement of pure milk by the people of this state.
He was mayor of Alameda from 1913 to 1915, and was a member of the board of freeholders, also presiding over a
later board which prepared the, city manager charter for Alameda. In 1917 Mr. Otis was elected a member of the
city council, serving in that capacity until 1919, when he was chosen mayor, and is now the incumbent of that position.
During all the years of his residence here he has evinced the keenest interest in the welfare of his community,
lending his efforts and his influence to its advancement and betterment along civic and moral lines. During the
world war he worked actively in the furtherance of the various war measures. He headed the executive committee
on all of the Liberty Loan drives in Alameda, each one of which exceeded the apportionment, and was an effective
four minute speaker. Mr. Otis is a member of the Society of California Pioneers, the Commonwealth Club, the San
Francisco Commercial Club, the Sierra Club, has served as head of the Unitarian Club of America and as a director
of the Olympic Club and the Mercantile Association of San Francisco. He belongs to the Benevolent Protective Order
of Elks and the Sons of the American Revolution, and is one of the charter members of the California Alpha of Phi
Delta Theta, belonging also to the Golden Bear Society and the Phi Beta Kappa. Mr. Otis has traveled widely, having
visited practically all of the larger cities of the world, and in 1889-90 made a memorable trip of one hundred
and thirty days on a clipper ship from San Francisco around Cape Horn to Liverpool. He is a man of vigorous and
alert mentality, is remarkably well preserved physically, and, though advanced in years, is still young in his
interests. His has been an active and useful life and no citizen of his community commands to a greater degree
the confidence and esteem of the people.
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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