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1941: The shortlived glory of the El Cerrito Journal building

The new and proud El Cerrito Journal building as it prepared to open in 1941.

The one-story building at 10512 San Pablo Ave. in El Cerrito was gutted earlier this year and is now being rebuilt.


The building at 10512 San Pablo Ave. as it looked in April.

We stopped by one weekend and were told the building will house an art and dance studio.

The building is far from a landmark, but it does have a history, the longest being Maxwell’s Stationery Store and later Star Education Supply.

Maxwell Office Products.

But before that, on the eve of World War II, it was the El Cerrito Journal building.
The city’s weekly newspaper was founded in 1917, the same year El Cerrito was. The publication moved from temporary home to temporary home under different owners.
In October of 1941, the Journal announced its new building, which it shared with El Cerrito Electric Co., an appliance and appliance repair store.
The Journal pronounced the building modern in every respect, down to soundproofing the front-end business office from the noise of the press in back.
The paper at that point was under the guidance of Vivian S. Maxwell, who had leased the publication in 1936 from previous owner/editors. The public was invited to see firsthand at an open house announced Oct. 23, 1941, slightly more than six weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The El Cerrito Journal announces its new home in 1941.

Even though it was “built with the needs of a modern newspaper in mind, affording more room and improved lighting,” the building and its use lacked the grandeur and staying power of, say, the Tribune tower in Oakland.
By 1948 the building was being refurbished again and was known as Maxwell’s Stationery (El Cerrito Electric moved out), later Maxwell’s Office Products.

Reconstruction progressing in April.

Chris Treadway