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De Lauer's Super News Stand

OHA has presented a Partners in Preservation Award to De Lauer's Super News Stand, a landmark business in downtown Oakland for more than a century. De Lauer's, located at 1310 Broadway, has recently received a facelift. Scaffolding obscuring the front of the two-story building for the past several months has been taken down to reveal the new Art Deco–style tile work that replicates what file photos showed to be in place back in the 1930s.

The facelift work was done as part of an ongoing facade improvement program offered by the city of Oakland Economic Development Agency. Local firm RPR Architects, with offices in the historic Uptown Arts Building a few blocks north of De Lauer's, carried out the work.

While researching the history of the De Lauer's building, the RPR team consulted the landmarks survey file in the city's Planning Department. Preservation planner and historic building specialist Betty Marvin maintains the building survey section of the Planning Department. "Our files show that the building dates back all the way back to 1889 and has received other makeovers over the years," said Marvin.

According to materials found in the survey file on the De Lauer's building, its present location was first known as the Oregon Block at the tum of the last century, and it housed a jewelry business and an ice cream parlor.

Charles De Lauer and his brother Scott, originally from Cleveland, Ohio, first operated a chart on wheels near the train depot on Seventh Street, where they sold newspapers and racing forms. It would be several years before they graduated to operating from a commercial space. Charles' son, Charles, Jr., took over the business when his father died in the 1930s, and it was he who, in 1966, established the "super news stand" at its present location. Fortunately for the family, a BART station opened right in front of their business around the same time.

The news stand sold 150 newspapers, domestic and international, and magazines of all descriptions and interests, as well as racing forms, travel maps, detective novels, and, of course, lottery tickets. Famously, De Lauer's was open 24 hours and day, 7 days a week. Members of the extended family worked there over the years.

A fire in 1984 and the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989 caused the store to temporarily close, but each time disaster struck, the De Lauer family brought their business back, much to the delight of their longtime customers. In 2008, Charles, Sr. passed away at the age of 91, and news reports stated that the news stand was closing for good. Fortunately, this did not happen, and operations have continued with new owner, former manager Fasil Lemma, in charge.