Restaurant and Saloon
A Mon Chateau - Pleasant Valley Rd in 1890 (Grand Ave and Linda)
Photo courtesy of the Al Norman Collection
A Mon Chateau, 1345 / 1314 Grand Ave - corner of Pleasant Valley (Grand) and Linda:
In 1891 Axel R. Gruggel built a restaurant at this corner and called it A Mon Chateau (My Castle). Later this building is used as the Del Monte Grocery store.
Oakland Tribune - Sun - Jan. 23, 1955:
Now let's go up Pleasant Valley Avenue from the Grand Avenue business section. When we get to the Nelson Reom property at Linda Avenue,” recalls Norman, "we find the Mon Chateau, built in 1891. and the spot where none-too-busy business men found time to loiter. The proprietor for many years was A. R. Gruggel. Do you remember when Mr. Swalley, who had the peanut-popcorn-chewing gum concession at the Emeryville Race Track, went into the building business and constructed a house at the corner of Warfield and Wickson?
He sold it to a prominent manufacturer, and then it went into the hands of a Mr. R. B. Bernard. Now let's look back to those days when the Langstroth home stood at what is now Grand and MacArthur with the creek in the front yard. The only other house between here and the Reom place was the Levisone home on Jean St. Near Santa Clara. Then the Newland home stood where the Standard station is now at MacArthur and Lakeshore, and the Morgan home was next door on Lakeshore. Up at Trestle Glen and Lakeshore was the Beard orchard and home, and the hill between Grand and Lakeshore where the Bernards lived was just a hay field.”
Oakland Tribune - Sun - Dec. 26, 1965:
IT WAS Christmas, 1907. From downtown Oakland the after-theater crowds could reach Pleasant Valley in 10 minutes by streetcar. Although there were many delightful dining places downtown there were those who would choose A Mon Chateau for late dining and additional entertainment.
Pleasant Valley was the upper end of what we know today as Grand Avenue. The A Mon Chateau patrons would disembark from the streetcar at Sunnyside Avenue and find themselves practically at the Chateau's front door.
Regular French dinners were a feature at $1.
Proprietors Thomas P. Fenton, George P. Maloney and John F. Jennings advertised the Chateau as "a pleasant place in Pleasant Valley."
It all came to mind this week when someone handed us a 60-year-old theater program from Ye Liberty Playhouse, one of several Oakland entertainment palaces that featured stage dramas and musical delights in that era.
How long the A Mon Chateau prospered we don't know. There was no one close at hand who was able to recall. But a photo of the establishment in the theater program certainly gave it a pleasant and inviting appearance. All of which started conversations about other outstanding dining rooms in Oakland during that first scintillating decade of this century.
Oakland Tribune - Sun - Jan. 16, 1966:
PHOTOGRAPH of an inn called A Mon Chateau that stood approximately where Linda Avenue meets Grand Avenue was revived by the Knave a few Sundays back, and now comes Helene I. Noddin to tell us that she remembers it quite well.
Oakland Tribune - Sun - Jun. 3, 1951:
Oakland's Cable Cars
“The first cable cars in Oakland were narrow gauge affairs running from Seventh and Broadway out to Emeryville. This was later extended to First and Broadway. The cable house was at 24th and Harrison Streets, present site of Cadillac Motors. Piedmont was rather sparsely populated at that time and I had only two customers for my Tribunes. One was a saloon or roadhouse in Pleasant Valley, which is now Grand Avenue. The other was Mr. Isaac Requa's home. It was one of the first places built in that section. The second cable line ran into Piedmont, starting at Eighth Street, out Washington on a single track to 14th Street, thence to Broadway and out to 24th Street where it turned over to Harrison and then north up a private right of way along Oakland Avenue to Highland. The railroad didn't pay very well and Mr. Requa frequently gave the conductor a dollar and told him to ring it up. The conductor carried a long strip of cardboard on the belt at his waist, and he would punch holes in this to show the number of fares he had collected. Each time he punched the tape, the bell in the punch rang.”
Oakland Tribune - Sun - Oct. 9, 1955:
My fourth stop was the old French restaurant, wine and beer garden: the Amon Chateau on Linda Ave. about where Linda joins Grand Ave. today. There was no Grand Ave. then.
Inside the resort:
Oakland Tribune - Thu - Jun. 27, 1895:
A CHARMING RESORT.
A Mon Mon Chateau Is an Ideal Roadside Inn.
There is no more romantic or beauful spot on earth than the site of A Mon Chateau. It nestles among a series of hills. Majestic poplars shelter the place from the winds of the bay and render the resort delightful at all times of the year. When one gazes upon A Mon Chateau he feels that he is within the confines of one of the great provinces of France.
As one enters the portals of the chateau he is met by the genial host, R. Gruggell and his charming wife, who, by their cagaging manners and endeavors to please, make one realize instantly that the Chateau is an institution where the bon vivant and epicure will be well care for. The cuisine has become celebrated under the management of Mrs. Gruggell, a lady who acquired a knowledge of her art in France.
People who have dined in the most celebrated cafes in Paris pronounce the cuisine of A Mon Chateau equal to that of those establishments. If a person desires to partake of a dinner in the garden, arbor retreats nestling among the foliage, where the perfume of flowers is wafted on the gentle breeze are provided for his accommodation. A Mon Chateau is patronized by leading people, and this fact is a guarantee of its respectability and popularity.
The wine cellar of the Chateau is supplied with the best vintages of France and California. A special dinner is served every Sunday.
M. Gruggell, the genial and popular host, presides over the destinies of the establishment. This season he has provided his guests with a fine croquet ground. Special provisions are made for the entertainment of family gatherings or large parties. A Mon Chateau can be reached by the Piedmont cable cars or by a delightful drive by the shore of Lake Merritt, along shade roads and beautiful woods. A telephone is provided and by this means one can have awaiting them & repast it for the gods.
À MON CHATEAU-The far-famed establishment of California.. Superior cuisine: beautiful location. nestling among the mountains. Regular French dinners Sunday Gardens and arbors. Strictly first class. Piedmont cars direct. Get off Pleasant Valley road. Telephone 735, 4 bells.
Oakland Tribune - Sat - Jul. 24, 1897:
THE A MON CHATEAU.
The Only First Class Resort in Oakland.
Lovers of good eating will always have a genial remembrance of the A Mon Chateau, the family resort so excellently and respectably conducted by Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Gruggel in Pleasant Valley on the line of the Piedmont cable cars. The Chateau is nicely furnished with private dining rooms, music parlors and summer houses-the latter located in the flower field gardens of the place. French dinners and all other styles of cookery may be had at all hours at very reasonable prices. Mrs. Gruggel is a first class chef, and her home cooking is exceptionally fine. To the tired housewife there is no pleasanter Sunday outing than a trip to
the A Mon Chateau, along the valley, and a good dinner. The Chateau is strictly a first class family resort, and the Tribune unhesitatingly recommends it to the patronage of readers.
Oakland Tribune - Sat - Apr. 29, 1905:
The beautiful location of the Mon Chateau resort in Pleasant Valley lends an appetite to those who want to enjoy a fine repast. The Sunday dinners prepared at this old-time popular resort eclipse anything offered by any chef hereabouts. You get the best best splendidly prepared and the bill of fare includes the delicacies of the season. The Oakland avenue electric cars go within a block, making it convenient for those desiring to dine at this favorite place. The dinner bill of fare for tomorrow will be found in another column of today's TRIBUNE.
Oakland Tribune - Sat - Apr. 20, 1907
Oakland Tribune - Mon - Apr. 4, 1898
Oakland Tribune - Mon - Apr. 11, 1898
San Francisco Chronicle - Sun - Feb. 25, 1900:
WILL PROTECT THEIR OWN HOMES
CITIZENS ORGANIZE A VIGILANCE COMMITTEE.
PLEASANT VALLEY WILL BE PATROLLED BY DAY AND NIGHT.
Residents -of That District Are Determined to Take Desperate Measures With an Incendiary
OAKLAND, February 24.--The citizens of Pleasant valley have determined that there shall be no more incendiary fires in their district if they can prevent them. Steps were taken this morning to organize a vigilance protective association Immediately after the burning of the home of Mrs. Augusta Lunt at Booth street and Piedmont avenue, early this morning, & number of the citizens of the community met at the A. Mon chateau to discuss means of preventing further visitations of the midnight incendiary. A. R, Gruggel was chosen chairman. There were present: George Schulz, J. W. Boynton, H. Scott, Nathan Townsend, William Townsend, Nels Reom, Deputy Sheriff Hitchcock and P. J. Keler.
It was unanimously decided that heroic measures would have to be taken to prevent the destruction of more homes. On motion of P. J. Keller all present agreed to form a patrol and to arrest all suspicious characters seen in the neighborhood. The patrol is to be
maintained day and night. Deputy Sherif Keller said to-night that for some time past a demented youth has frequented the hills near
Pleasant valley. It caught he will probably be sent to an insane asylum, whether or not he is responsible for the fires.
Oakland Tribune - Mon - Oct. 13, 1902
C. C. Herbert takes over as proprietor
Burning down the House:
The San Francisco Call - Fri - May 1, 1903:
A MON CHATEAU BURNED DOWN
Pleasant Valley Resort Is Destroyed in an Hour:
A Mon Chateau, among the last of the roadhouse resorts in Oakland's "suburbs. where high life found a vent, was: burned to the ground this afternoon. In an hour nothing was left of the rambling hostelry but smoking embers; a few blackened stumps and a scorched chimney. Volunteers assisted the chateau attendants in saving the furniture; most of the belongings being dragged out.
The chateau stood at the junction of Pleasant Valley road and Linda avenue; beyond the city limits, and with rio water except that from garden hose available. The fire, which was seen first by Mr. and Mrs. Axel Gruggel, the chateau owners, broke out in the roof about 2 o'clock. The roof was all ablaze and the flames rapidly consumed the building, lack of water rendering work to save it useless.
While the tavern burned the furniture was being moved out by scores of willing hands, led by Deputy Sheriff Hitchcock. The Gruggels, who occupied a pretty cottage adjoining the resort, used such water as they could get to save their home, which came out undamaged.
Gruggel erected the chateau twelve years ago in a spot that was delightfully picturesque. He laid out gardens and arbors and made a specialty of catering to the bon vivants who came from far and near for a rollicking time in the quietly sequestered inn. In its earliestdays the chateau was heavily patronized, but electric cars invaded the country and Gruggel, like Tony Oakes of Haywards and Faure of the Hermitage, discovered that the good old days were passing.
Two years ago the original owner retired, leasing the chateau to Kellogg & Krause. This firm conducted it until last October, when C. c. Herbert, the present lessee, took charge. The inn was rehabilitated and brightened.
It was only a few hours before the fire broke out that the chimney connecting with a large kitchen range had been thoroughly overhauled and cleaned. Grusgel thinks the flue must have been disturbed, causing fire from the range to lodge in the roof rafters. The loss on building and contents is $3500 to $4000, with $2500 insurance on the house.
Oakland Tribune - Thu - Apr. 30, 1903
Oakland Tribune - Mon - Apr. 11, 1904
The San Francisco Examiner - Sat - Dec. 30, 1905
The San Francisco Examiner - Tue - Dec. 12, 1905
"George Aitchison, for many years host and owner of the famous resort A Mon Chateau, executed his last will and testament on the back of one of his menu cards. "
Oakland Tribune - Mon - Mar. 26, 1906
Between 1898 and 1906, and new owners, there was contention about a liquor license at the Mon Chateau.
Oakland Tribune - Mon - Mar. 26, 1906:
Several protestants against the granting of a license to run a saloon in Pleasant Valley at A Mon Chateau by George H. Allen, appeared under the leadership of a young man who gave the name of George H. Bailey, who said. however, that he did not reside in the vicinity of the saloon in question.
Mrs. 0. McCool testified that she had been insulted when she passed the place, by a man who wore a white apron.
Alien, by way of answering the charge said that he had never, since taking charge of the place, worn a white apron or a white coat and whatever insulting had been done must have been done by some Japanese who had had charge of the resort before it came under Allen's charge.
By cross-examination of the witness, Max Marcuse showed that Mr. Allen had recently taken hold of the place for the purpose of saying the property, for the widow of the late George Atcheson, who formerly ran the house, and that he was making an attempt to conduct the saloon in & legitimate manner.
A. D. Williams told about seeing two young women and two young men come away from the place in an almost drunken condition, Allen said that the party had not gotten any liquor in his saloon. They had come there and asked for a bottle of beer and a room and he had denied them both.
Walter S. Reed said that he had seen a man and a woman in the vicinity so drunk that the conductor of an Oakland avenue car was obliged to help them get aboard a car.
When questioned by Mr. Marcuse, Reed could not tell where the man and woman had come from.
Mrs. D. H. Anderson testified that her two children had come home one afternoon and said that they had seen a man at the place who was naked save that he wore an overcoat.
This story Alles denied
NAMES OF SIGNERS.
Bailey said that the petition did not have the names of six of the ten nearest residents.
Alien said that he was a stranger here, having only recently come from Sacramento. He had gone around in getting the signatures to his petition with the man who had previously had charge of the place. He was not able of his own knowledge to say who were and who were not taxpayers on his petition, but people across the street and on the adjoining property were satisfied to sign his petition and testify that he was running an orderly place.
Attorney David Mewade said that he represented the Atcheson estate and that a great deal of the testimony against the saloon was of a hearsay character.
The petitioner was instructed to show by a survey by the county surveyor whether or not he had the six of the ten nearest residents and property owners signed to his petition.
Adjourned for one week
The San Francisco Examiner - Wed - Jul. 18, 1906:
Much surprise has been expressed that the campaign is being instituted while there is still before Judge Harris a case arising out of an alleged illegal use of a slot machine. The Superior Court is now trying the case of the slot machines used in A Mon Chateau in Pleasant Valley. There are also two decisions on the legality of slot machines passed down by the Alameda county Superior Court in past years, but they are contradictory and the authorities feel justified in seeking a new decision. One was delivered by the late Judge Green in favor of the machines and the other by Judge Hall declaring the use of the machines contrary to law. On account of this tangle of Judicial opinion on the subject it is felt that the authorities are free to go ahead to quash slot machines and seek a new decision.
The San Francisco Examiner - Tue - Mar. 24, 1908:
FIGHT FOR EXISTENCE OF RAIDED ROADHOUSE
Three Proprietors of Pleasant Valley Resort Will Make Fight for
Right to Sell Liquor
A Mon Chateau, the Pleasant Valley resort in the Piedmont district, will renew its fight for existence Thursday afternoon when the proprietors will appear before Justice of the Peace Everetts of Piedmont on charges of selling liquor without a license,
A posse headed by Town Marshal Sam Kendall swooped down upon the Pleasant Valley in late Sunday night, arrested those in charge and ordered the place closed. The three proprietors were released on $200 bail each A Mon Chateau was denied a liquor license by the Piedmont trustees two months ago, but the sale of liquor was continued, and in order to bring the matter into court and settle it for all times, the arrests were made. Marshall Kendall took samples of various liquors in the place for evidence.
The San Francisco Examiner - Wed - Apr. 1, 1908:
THREE MUST FACE TRIAL
Alon Chateau Proprietors' Demurrer Overruled at Piedmont.
Justice Everett of Piedmont yesterday afternoon overruled the demurrers in the case of George Maloney, Charles Fenton and John Jennings, joint proprietors of A Mon Chateau, the Pleas. ant Valley resort, who were arrested by the Piedmont officials after a spectacular raid in which all the liquors in the place were impounded. The roadhouse was refused a license two months ago, and it is charged that the managers have sold liquors ever since, The defendants demanded separate trials and Justice Everett get Saturday next as the date for the case of Manloney, Wednesday for Fenton and the following Saturday for Jennings,
Oakland Tribune - Sun - Apr. 28, 1907
Oakland Tribune - Sat - Jul. 4, 1908
The Piedmont Casino (but still known as the A Mon Chateau) :
In 1910 a new owner, Rudolf Kohn, changed the restaurant into “The Piedmont Casino.”
The San Francisco Call - Fri - May. 10, 1912:
MARSHAL RAIDS A MON CHATEAU
Nine Alleged Confidence Men Are Arrested in Roadhouse
PIEDMONT, May 9.- A spectacular raid, in which nine alleged confidence and bunkomen were arrested, was made this afternoon by City Marshal J. J. Rose and six of his deputies on the A Mon Chateau, a notorious roadhouse, where sharpers, it is charged, have been operating for the last year. Rose was assisted in the raid by J. F. McCarthy of a San Francisco detective agency and four of the latter's men.
Rose received information today that a large number of confidence men, a number of them from San Francisco, were in possession of the former hotel. Complaints had come in to him and to acting Chief of Police W. J. Petersen of Oakland.
Rose was accompanied by Deputy Marshals Robert Johnson, A. L. Foster George Crawford, Martin Fahey and William Marshall, and McCarthy and his men. They surrounded the house. With Johnson and Crawford, Rose approached the front entrance, where he found Charles Kimball, caretaker of the roadhouse, and Fred Ward and W. S. Allen. They made no resistance when arrested.
Other members of the gang who were in the house fled to the attic and shut the trapdoor after them. Rose telephoned to the Piedmont firehouse for a hook and ladder wagon. A long ladder was placed against the house and entrance gained through the roof from a skylight.
Armed with revolvers, Rose and his deputies compelled the six men in the house to surrender. When booked on a charge of vagrancy they they gave the names of J. Thomas, L. M. Montford, James Costello, Lee Howard, George Gallagher and L. Wilson. They were released upon furnishing ball for $100 in each case.
A thorough search of the roadhouse was made, but no gambling paraphernalia was discovered.
San Francisco Chronicle - Sat - May 11, 1912
Oakland Tribune - Sat - May 18, 1912
The Telephone, The Piedmont Springs Hotel Saloon and The Partyline:
Oakland Tribune - Sun - May 2, 1943:
An Early Telephone
From Evelyn Craig Pattiani, who is collecting historic data connected with "The Saga of Piedmont Hills," I have received a document which will have real interest for all Oakland old-timers. This account, dated November 8, 1927, was given Mrs. Pattiani by Mrs. John L. Russell (Amy Requa): "Isaac Requa was the first resident of Piedmont to have the telephone installed in his home, and every now and then we hear of a little incident in connection with these first days of telephone services. One in particular, says an old friend, tells how Isaac always felt insulted if central asked him for a number. Mr. Requa had a friend residing at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco with whom he held a telephone conversation every evening, providing the line from the Requa home to the Oakland central office was in working condition. This line was line was originally part of a telegraph circuit built by the Government.
Why it was constructed or where it led is not known; running eastward from Oakland, was lost to sight over the hills, Part of this circuit was converted into a four-partyline connecting the Requa and Booth homes and the original Piedmont Springs Hotel to the Oakland exchange. The line was used for demonstration purposes in the days when telephone conversation between Oakland and San Francisco was considered a remarkable achievement. Friends would congregate at the Requa home to witness and marvel at the nightly performance, or now and then take part in it. However, these gatherings were often disappointing, for the line was out of order almost as many times as it was in good order. The trouble persisted where the wires crossed Lake Merritt. Whenever brisk wind sprang up the line would beak, In this event men were sent out in rowboats to fish the wires out of the water, splice them together, and raise the mended line into position by means of a block and tackle. Incidents of this nature occurred so frequently on the Requa line as to make repairs and trouble matters of routine, thus detracting from the novelty of telephone communication as time went on.
The telephone line referred to in the above." says Mrs. Pattiani, "extended to Walnut Creek, With the Piedmont Springs Hotel as an intermediary between there and Oakland and San Francisco. This data is authoritative. Anything further would be appreciated. Those early residents who were not connected with the Requa line made use of the public one at the hotel. Those families were four-the Walter Bates, Bowmans Craigs, Gambles and Wings. This was in the late '70's and early '80's.
On a New Year's Day, as near as memory recalls it was 1886, this rather famous springs resort - (the springs were sulphur, both pink and white) was razed to ashes. The fire occurred in the early afternoon and the Craig 'rockaway' had taken the family to Linden Street for dinner with relatives. Later as our 'sorrel' was slowly pulling us up the Moraga grade, there suddenly appeared around a curve an Oakland fire engine with its splendid team of dapple grays completely fagged and spent. Of course there was a halt and much consternation at the news.
The horses had been forced at their best speed over and up the four and, one-half miles, only to find that no water was available when they reached the already doomed hotel. The disappointment at missing such excitement was keenly saddening to brother Roy and me. But our father was rather relieved that the troublesome bar-saloon, which had become a matter of concern to the neighbors, was now eliminated. From that date my father was always alert to see that no other such place could ever get a hold in that home community. It was quite a few years later that the 'A Mon Chateau had its fame down in Pleasant Valley--near to Oakland Avenue- but it was 'over the border line' and not in Piedmont. To this resort a telephone line was fun, and by helping the company, by some private subsidies, it was continued up the hill to Vernal Avenue, now known as Highland Avenue. From there private poles had to be placed to the various homes. Then is when we had our first telephone, and it was on the same line with this ‘A Mon Chateau.' Residing there, on the upper floors, was the rather colorful person, Lady Yarde Buller. For mischievous children to listen on the line was a pastime very entertaining and quite forbidden by our parents. But this gay place' had a tenure of life for only a few years."
Oakland Tribune - Sun - May 2, 1943
"Then is when we had our first telephone, and it was on the same line with this ‘A Mon Chateau.' Residing there, on the upper floors, was the rather
colorful person, Lady Yarde Buller. For mischievous children to listen on the line was a
pastime very entertaining and quite forbidden
by our parents. But this ‘gay place' had a tenure
of life for only a few years."
The San Francisco Call - Sun - Aug. 27, 1899
[Webmaster notes: add verification and sanborn maps]
The old A Mon Chateau building was torn down in 1936 and the Richfield Oil Company built a gas station on the site.