The history of St Andrew’s Society of Oakland has been very much related to the varying waves of Scottish immigration over the past one hundred years and more into California, initiated by changing social and economic conditions and events in Britain, particularly in Scotland and stimulated by the attractive economic growth in California. California was the land of golden opportunity while Scotland was in decline.
The California Gold Rush was a catalyst for this area of America and lead to the development and growth of San Francisco in the 1850’s. San Francisco tripled its population in the 1860’s. Scottish immigrants associated with each other keeping their cultural and traditional links and founded several Societies and Clubs that still remain over 150 years later.
St, Andrew’s Society of Oakland was founded in 1878. May 3rd 1878. 60 charter members. The first Scottish association established in the East Bay. Founded as a benevolent organization.to fulfill a sacred obligation to aid the unfortunate among our countrymen, or their families, who may have settled here.
Many of the charter members of the Society were members and officers of more than one association. St Andrews Society of San Francisco was founded in 1863; and the Caledonian Club of San Francisco in 1866. Due to the development of Oakland and the East Bay in the 1870’s there was sufficient strength to start an organization in the East Bay.
Henry H. Haight, born in Rochester, New York 1825 – Governor of California between 1867 and 1871, became a member of St Andrew’s Society of San Francisco in 1863 and was briefly a member of St Andrew’s Society of Oakland in 1878 until he died Sept 2nd at age of 53 from heart disease.
Archibald McKinley, was a founding member and our first President in 1879 through 1880 and again in 1887. He was also President of St Andrew’s Society of San Francisco in 1878 and 1882.
Thomas Stead joined the St Andrew’s Society of Oakland in 1903 and became member of St Andrew’s Society of San Francisco in 1907.
The Society holds annual Burns nights and St Andrews Day celebrations. And annual picnics. Our first annual ball was held on Dec 3rd, 1878. Tickets were $2.00 with a resultant surplus of $29.00.
The Society has been and still is very active in the support of local Highland Games. We did run our own one in 1880 but we lost $42.54 and decided that was enough. Never again. The decision then and remains to support the Caledonian Club of San Francisco in their primary function in the Bay Area.
St Andrews Society of Oakland is organized as a benevolent organization and is recognized as a non-profit organization and tax exempt under section 501(c)(04) of the Internal Revenue Code.