Structure Type: built works - dwellings -public accommodations - hotels

Designers: [unspecified]

Dates: [unspecified], demolished 1918

4 stories

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13th Street and Jefferson Street
Downtown, Oakland, CA 94612

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The Hotel Metropole stood on the northwest corner of 13th and Jefferson.


Robert C. Smilie, one of the Bay Area's leading contractors of the last quarter of the nineteenth century, commissioned the construction of this hotel which functioned during the 1890s-1900s as the leading lodging spot for businessmen visting or meeting in Oakland, CA.

Building History

Oakland's Queen Anne Style Hotel Metropole was owned in 1895 by the successful building contractor Robert Smilie, and was named for the luxurious Hotel Metropole (1885) in London's Whitehall neighborhood, the center of British government. Smilie, at this time, was also a major shareholder in the Hotel Palomares in Pomona, CA. (See "At the Hotels," Los Angeles Herald, vol. 44, no. 58, 06/08/1895, p. 10.) California also had another well-known Hotel Metropole, that one located in Avalon on Santa Catalina Island.

The Smilie Estate sold the Hotel Metropole in 1913. The San Francisco Call wrote of this sale: “One of the largest realty transactions of the week just closing engineered by a San Francisco realty firm, was the sale of a $100,000 property in Oakland. This property was the site of the Metropole hotel at Thirteenth and Jefferson streets, Oakland. The hotel and its ground was bought by Frank W. Bilger and John W. Phillips, the former a member of the firm of Blake & Bilger, and the latter director of the Central National bank of Oakland. It is the intention of the new owners, who purchased the property from the Smilie estate, to raise the present hotel building at least one story, building in a group of stores fronting on both streets. The present building will then be remodeled and transformed into a thoroughly modern hotel. The Metropole property has an interesting history, having changed hands but four times since it was secured by grant from the United States to the famous Peralta family. From the Peralta family it was transferred to the Bigelow estate, from the Bigelow interests to other owners from whom R.H. Smilie purchased it to build upon it the Metropole hotel. The hotel building cost in the neighborhood of $70,000 and was, for a long time, Oakland’s principal hotel. Remodeled and improved, it is thought the property will again become one of the income producing holdings of the transbay city. The sale was made by the Anchor Realty company of San Francisco, who represented the Smilie estate.” (See “Metropole Hotel Is Sold by Local Firm,” San Francisco Call, vol. 113, no. 182, 05/31/1913, p. 12.)

R.M. Briare was the Manager of the Hotel Metropole in 1906.

Building Notes

The Hotel Metropole, like many hotels and apartment buildings in the East Bay following the San Francisco Earthquake of 04/1906, received many customers fleeing the city either temporarily or permanently.

The Oakland Rotary Club held its first meeting at the Hotel Metropole on 11/27/1908. It became the third Rotary Club in the world. (See Linda Parker Hamilton, "Established 1909 Rotary Club Oakland No. 3,” [Oakland, CA: Rotary Club of Oakland and Linda Parker Hamilton, 2011], p. 23.)


The Hotel Metropole burned in a fire on 10/16/1918. (See “Score Are Saved from Blazing Hotel,” Oakland Tribune, 10/16/1918, p. 1)

PCAD id: 67