The family then included 10-year-old William, 9-year-old Charles and 4-year-old Anna. Charles’ father was making his living as a carpenter, a trade that he likely taught Charles. The 1870 census show Charles, now 19 years old, living with his family in Concord, Ohio. They family had added a son Arthur in 1861.
It is not clear when Charles arrived in Alameda. The 1878 directory shows him living at the Loyal Oak Hotel on Park Street and lists his occupation as carpenter.
He was likely earning his living working for A. C. Gilbert and real-estate professional David S. Brown at the time. Charles is absent from the 1880 census rolls in Roxabell, Ohio, where the rest of the family was living. The same census does not list him living in Alameda.
Alameda historian Woody Minor’s research confirms that Charles first worked in Alameda as a carpenter for Gilbert. “Gilbert was the first to bundle real estate, insurance, design and construction in a single enterprise,” Minor writes. This made Charles’ employer Alameda’s first large-scale homebuilder.
According to Gunn, Gilbert’s earliest Alameda house — an Italianate-style creation that still stands rose up in 1878 — the same year we find Charles living in Alameda — at 2225 San Antonio Ave.
Gilbert and real-estate broker David S. Brown worked together on the project. The pair joined forces again the following year.
That home, also built in the Italianate style, still stands at 900 Grand St. Gilbert and Brown built and sold two other homes on the same block: a Stick-style residence at 903 and a high-basement cottage in the Second Empire-style at 911 Grand. In all, they built eight homes in Alameda.