AKA: Swan's Tenth Street Market, Oakland, CA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - markets

Designers: Leonard, Thomas, Architect (firm); Oliver and Thomas, Architects (firm); Pyatok Associates, Architects (firm); William Howard Knowles (architect); Thomas Leonard (architect); Michael Pyatok (architect)

Dates: constructed 1917

901 Washington Street
Old Oakland, Oakland, CA 94607

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The 10th Street Market stood at 901-921 Washington Street in Oakland.


By 2000, the 10th Street Market had developed into an ensemble of eight buildings covering a 200-foot by 300-foot city block on Washington Street in Oakland's Old Oakland neighborhood. These original eight buildings were built gradually on the site, between 1917 and 1940. The entire block underwent a wholesale renovation in 1998-2000 through the cooperation of Oakland city government, businesses and non-profit organizations.

Building History

A jack-of-all trades merchant and investor Jacob Pantoskey (born 11/20/1854 in Germany-d. 07/29/1923 in Sonoma County, CA) immigrated to the US from Germany in about 1860. He resided in Oakland by at least 1880, where the US Census identified his occupation as a "huckster." (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1880; Census Place: Oakland, Alameda, California; Roll: 62; Page: 277C; Enumeration District: 015, accessed 03/15/2022.) He undertook a variety of jobs during his lifetime, but found some stabiity managing public markets. Pantoskey managed the Oakland Free Market at Clay between 4th and 5th Streets, between 1890 and 1910. Like the Pike Place Market in Seattle, the 10th Street Market supported not just produce merchants but retailers of other goods and services as well.

By World War I, Pantoskey had selected a key site on which to build the first buildings of the 10th Street Market. In 1917, he obtained the services of the Oakland architectural firm of Oliver and Thomas to design building in the 10th Street Market ensemble. A history of the market produced for the Rudy Bruner Award competition in 2001 said of Pantoskey's market location: "Swan’s Marketplace was a site of some prestige. For 60 years following Pantosky’s 1917 commission to the Oakland architectural firm of Oliver and Thomas, the multiple buildings on the Swan’s block were among the most important shopping destinations in Oakland. Washington Street was the premier retail street in downtown, running a full 14 blocks from the waterfront to City Hall at Fourteenth Street. Swan’s Marketplace was its centerpiece." (See Bruner Foundation, Incorporated.org, "2001 Rudy Bruner Award Silver Medal Winner," published 2001, accessed 03/15/2022, p. 126.)

In 1921, architect Alfred W. Smith erected an addition to Pantoskey's market at 910 Clay Street. Well-known architect William Knowles produced designs for three more additions during the span between 1925 and 1927. Finally, by 1940, Edward T. Foulkes (1874-1967) erected the Swan's Department Store Building on the southeast corner of 9th and Washington Streets. Construction of Swan's began on 03/11/1940. As per the Bruner Award history, "Knowles, Foulkes, Smith, and others working on the Swan’s block helped sustain Oliver and Thomas’ original design with the use of white glazed brick and multi-colored terra cotta medallions. The consistent use of these materials, the structural module, and the window treatments helped give the block a unified appearance over 23 years of building additions." (See Bruner Foundation, Incorporated.org, "2001 Rudy Bruner Award Silver Medal Winner," published 2001, accessed 03/15/2022, p. 129.)

By the 1950s, the "Old Oakland" neighborhood was beginning to decline economically, as more well-to-do residents relocated to new suburbs around the Bay Area. The completion of the large Oakland Convention Center in the mid-1980s caused the neighborhood to be caught off from other parts of the Downtown and presented a stark, linear barrier to the block occupied by the 10th Street Market. The Swan's Market closed in 1984, just as the convention center was being finished. After the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989, the City of Oakland Redevelopment Authority (ORA) bought three derelict blocks of Old Oakland, and mothballed the land for future development. ORA then offered one portion of the 10th Street Market parcel (for the asking price of $5) to the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) for redevelopment.

Building Notes

The 10th Street Market, aka "Swan's 10th Street Market," was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001, Building #01000826.


The market was expanded during the 1920s and in 1940.

An $20 million historic renovation of the market occurred between 1998 and 2000, supervised by Oakland architect Michael Pyatok of Pyatok Associates, Architects. This renovation had several, interlocking aims to provide living and working spaces for people with low and moderate incomes and to protect a landmark building in an historic neighborhood. It created 20 co-housing units and 18 low- and moderate-income apartments, made space for six retailers in the Housewives Market Building, developed 17,400 square feet of office space, and opened up 17 retail spaces for small businesses and restaurants. Additionally, a gift store for the Museum of Children's Art was also created at this time. Pyatok also took his artistic cues from Oliver and Thomas's original design conception.

In 2001, the Bruner Foundation, Incorporated awarded the Michael Pyatok-led renovation of the 10th Street Market receiving a 2001 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence Silver Medal. It was one of four buildings to receive a Bruner Silver Medal in 2001. The Village of Arts and Humanities in Philadelphia, PA, won the single Gold Medal in 2001 from the Bruner Foundation, Incorporated.

National Register of Historic Places (Listed 2001-08-03): 1000826 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 4242