Bilger Quarry Workers 1898

Quarry employees (many of whom were from the Genoa region of northern Italy) of the Bilger Quarry. The man with a timber over his shoulder in the center of the photograph is Cesare Orio, who later became a successful Temescal merchant. The quarry was located on the present-day site of The Ridge shopping center (formerly the Rockridge Shopping Center), on Broadway and Pleasant Valley Road, Oakland, Calif.

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Broadway and Pleasant Valley Road, Oakland, Calif.

Incorporated in 1870 as the Oakland Paving Company, what became known as the Bilger Quarry was located at the present-day Rockridge Shopping Center, Broadway and Pleasant Valley Road, in Oakland. Its blue rock, processed at a nearby crushing plant, was used mainly as foundation for road building and related construction throughout the East Bay. By the turn of the 20th century, northern Italian immigrants dominated the workforce at the quarry, many of them living in a large boarding house near the site. The Bilger Quarry operated until 1923. In the 1960s the suburban-style Rockridge Shopping Center, which included a Safeway supermarket, Payless Drugs store, and several small shops, was built on the site. In March 2015, with Safeway holding the master lease to the property, the first phase of a complete redesign of the shopping center renamed The Ridge commenced.

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