West side of marker:I remember when automobiles
San Leandro's first industries served the needs of farmers. In 1886, Daniel Best bought San Leandro Plow and formed Daniel Best Agriculture Works to manufacture tractors, combines, and harvesters. Best's son later merged the company with Holt to form Caterpillar, Inc. Another large industry, a cannery, was established in 1899. It would later become the California Packing Company (Del Monte label).
Still, agriculture was the mainstay of the economy until the 1940s and ?50s, when war production started a boom in industry and the population. Eighty-seven industrial parcels were annexed to San Leandro between 1942 and 1965. San Leandro products included tractors from Caterpillar, automobiles from the Dodge Plant, pencil slats from Hudson Lumber, and calculators from Friden. The last two decades of the 20th Century saw a decline in San Leandro's traditional large industry base and an increase in retail and smaller manufacturers.
South side of marker:
first came into vogue?Well, I was smitten
with the automobile fever,
and accordingly set about to construct one.
I tell you, that machine was a work of art—
In my opinion!
Daniel Best, who built the first car in Alameda County