The Tapes of Russell Street

Part 7. Gertrude’s house

Daniella Thompson

2 November 2004

Gertrude Ella Tape (1890–1947) was the youngest of the four Tape children. In 1913, she married Herbert P. Chan (1891–1970), a U.C. pharmaceutical student. The couple lived temporarily with Joseph and Mary Tape at 2119 Russell Street while their own home was being built three doors up the street, at 2125 Russell.


The Chans’ bungalow stands next to the original Tape home. Mary Tape
and her children Frank, Emily, and Gertrude pose on the porch in the mid-1910s.

On 13 September 1913, Herbert took out Building Permit No. 3184 to construct a new one-story, five-room dwelling with plaster exterior, concrete foundation, and a brick chimney on “N side Russell 200’ E Shattuck, Lot 25, Block 4.” The contractor was E.B. Spitler, and the stated cost was $2,500. On 7 October 1918, the same contractor (this time spelled Spitter in the building permit) applied for a permit to build a garage at a cost of $100.


2125 Russell Street today (photo: Daniella Thompson, May 2004)

This Craftsman bungalow was the fifth house built by members of the Tape family on the 2100 block of Russell St. The Chans owned it until 20 May 1921, when a Mrs. Howe was recorded as the new owner according to realtor Ormsby Donogh’s files. Mrs. Howe was still the owner in September 1930. By then the Chans, who had moved to Oakland in 1921, were divorced, and Gertrude was living with her parents in the remodelled duplex at 2121 Russell Street. She would remain there until the end of her life, and her brother Frank would join her in the early ’40s, following the breakup of his own marriage to Ruby Kim.

The period photos published here were scanned from Gertrude’s album. She often wrote captions under the pictures, identifying the posers and the location or offering comments like “Stealing grapes”; “A real miner to be”; “Some ‘ham’”; “A Yama Yama Kid”; or “Our Bunk.”


The Chans’ roadster, mid-1910s


Russell Street, looking east. The same houses are still there today.
Gertrude poses with her father Joseph, who’s at the wheel of another roadster.


“A happy family.” The people in this photo are Chan relatives.
Gertrude and Herbert are seated on the right.


“A married ladies luncheon” (l to r): Mary Tape, Florence Park, Gertrude Tape Chan, Emily Tape Park (seated), and Daisy Lee (second from right).


Emily, Mary, Frank, and Gertrude. This photo appears to have been taken
at the same time as the one at the top of this page.


These original window panels were replaced in
the 1970s and found recently in the garage.
(photo: Daniella Thompson, August 2004)


“At Home 1-7-1917.” Wah S. Lee in the living room of 2125 Russell St.
shortly after his marriage to Daisy.


The newlywed Daisy Lee at 2125 Russell St., 7 January 1917


The Bluestone-Bensky family, current owners of 2125 Russell St. (photo: Daniella Thompson, August 2004)


The interior details remain unchanged. (photo: Daniella Thompson, August 2004)

Unless otherwise noted, all the photographs on this page were scanned from the Tape family photo albums, which were generously made available by Jack Kim.

Continue to Part Eight

The Tapes of Russell Sreet


Essays & Stories

Copyright © 2004–2012 Daniella Thompson. All rights reserved.