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Revised: February 12, 2015

Meet our Relatives - Oddstad Branch

Andy Oddstad


Nobody could tell you more about Andy than his own daughter, Sandy Nathan, who has been gracious enough to give me some insight into Andy.

Here is her website
See "Father’s Day Tribute to Andy Oddstad, my Dad"
Here is a snippet of what Sandy wrote:
"...As of 1964 when my dad was killed, Oddstad Homes had completed over 14,000 homes, 2,500 apartment units, three shopping centers, a youth center, and a couple of churches in the San Francisco Bay Area. An incredible legacy of achievement...."

"...Ellis and Henry had two sisters, Stephanie Ingibjorg Maria Oddstad, widow of Dr. Andres Fjeldsted Oddstad (who was decorated with the Order of the Falcon for promoting the culture of Iceland). Dr. Oddstad was instrumental in organizing the Icelandic Society of Northern California and was its first president. Dr. and Mrs. Oddstad's home was Open House to all Icelanders where they received a warm welcome....Read more in the Stoneson report by Caroline Cartwright.

Andy Oddstad was one of the first frogmen, now known as "Navy Seals". He received a Bronze Star as evidenced here by a scanned copy Sandy sent in.
There is a great story about the Marines which Sandy has on her Blog.

Andres Fjeldsted Oddstad, Jr. Andy began the Sterling Building Company after World War II. He built Sterling Terrace and Sterling Manor in South San Francisco and Sterling Highlands in Redwood City. He also built Sterling homes in Belmont and Palo Alto. He changed his company name to Oddstad Homes Corporation and continued to develop lands on the Peninsula. Farm Hill in Redwood City and Linda Mar in Pacifica are notable locations. Andy donated land for a park in Pacifica, and a school there is named in his honor.

Andy Oddstad was an innovator. He used a new type of prefabricated concrete for floors and walls with reinforcing steel already built into them. Andy died at age 45 in a tragic automobile accident.

Andy’s sister, Elma Mendola, was also a notable Icelander. She worked at the National Broadcasting Company in San Francisco and was the only woman trained to be a broadcast engineer. World War II had caused a shortage of trained men. She was the first woman to run for Congress from San Mateo County in 1958. She lost, but enjoyed the distinction of being first woman to run.

Also see
Stoneson Clan page
Henry Stoneson
Ellis Stoneson

Andy's uncles were Henry & Ellis Stoneson. His aunt was Stephania Ingibjorg Maria Emma Stoneson Oddstad, who married Andrés Fjeldsted Jónsson. His photos could be seen on the Reports page.

Historic Resource Evaluation Report Page 11
Devil’s Slide Tunnel/Shamrock Ranch Pipeline Project September , 2008

Suburban Development in Post World War II Era
A post-war real estate boom, driven in part by a federal G.I. bill for military veterans, transformed the San Francisco Bay Area, including the North Coastside region. Thousands of new single-family houses were built in the late 1940s and early 1950s in Daly City, adjacent to present-day Pacifica. Daly City became a model for developments along the North Coastside. In the 1950s and 1960s new subdivisions were built in the towns of Sharp Park, Vallemar and Rockaway Beach. A number of shopping centers followed the new residential development. Between 1950 and 1968, 13 new elementary schools and two high schools were built (Savage 1983:12).

Postwar suburban development in the San Pedro Valley region was pioneered by real estate developer and engineer Andrew Oddstad. Oddstad’s uncles, Henry and Ellis Stoneson, had built the Stonestown shopping center in San Francisco and were also prominent Peninsula home builders. “Andy” Oddstad began his own real estate career by building low-cost housing in San Francisco in 1946 and later became the largest developer in Pacifica. By the mid 1960s Andy Oddstad’s Sterling Homes, had become the third largest residential construction firm in the San Francisco Bay Area(Culp 2002:55): Oddstad started buying land in the San Pedro Valley in 1953 from San Francisco realtor Ray Higgins, who had acquired substantial portions of the valley in the 1940s.

Oddstad began his development in the western half of the valley in the new community of Linda Mar, which Alan Hynding describes as the “largest north coast subdivision” in the early 1950s (Hynding 1982:285). Time Magazine’s profile of Linda Mar in September, 1954, described it as a “raw new suburb,” where only 900 of the proposed 3,500 homes (costing $9,500-$11,500) had been built and occupied. The local scene was one of “bulldozers…hard at work gouging out lots on the hillsides, and scores of concrete foundations dot the valley floor (“Time Magazine1954:n.p.). John Culp notes
that early residents of Linda Mar found a serious downside to the rapid pace of development:
Houses outpaced the infrastructure, however, and when the first Linda Mar residents arrived on December 16, 1953, they [found, as Oddstad himself noted] “no sewage, water, schools, streets, or anything." (Andrew Oddstad, quoted in the Pacifica Tribune 1961). Capitalizing on the need for a supermarket, Henry Doelger, who Oddstad once worked for, came to the valley in 1955 and started construction of the Linda Mar shopping center on the east side of Highway 1…In 1955, 1,200 new families moved into the North Coastside with 700 of those moving into Linda Mar alone. In August of 1955, family number one thousand had moved into Linda Mar and, as a special bonus, was given $4,000 in gifts by Andy Oddstad (Culp 2002:55-57).

From 1950 to 1955 the population of Linda Mar and eight other hamlets along six miles of Highway One grew from 3,000 to 15,000. The rapid growth and lag in infrastructure development led to a movement to incorporate. Incorporation votes in 1953 and 1955 failed to pass. An attempted annexation of Linda Mar by San Bruno finally brought about incorporation of Pacifica in 1957 with Jean Fassler as Pacifica’s first mayor.
Development in the city of Pacifica has always been primarily residential, and includes the communities of Linda Mar (San Pedro Valley), Sharp Park, Vallemar, Rockaway Beach, Edgemar, Pacific Manor, Westview, Fairway Park, and Pedro Point. Pacifica’s current population is about 40,000.

By 1968, most of San Pedro Valley had been developed through construction of new housing, although horse back riding remained popular and some farming continued at a few ranches, including the Weiler Ranch and the Picardo Ranch; by 1980, San Pedro Valley was almost completely developed (Culp 2002:59, 63). The 625-acre McNee Ranch, just south of Shamrock Ranch, was sold to the State of California for use as a park in the 1970s (Drake 1994 art III:3B).

South San Francisco's housing explosion August 13, 2012, 05:00 AM By Darold Fredricks
"The 1940s after World War II was the beginning of the largest housing boom South San Francisco was to experience. During the war, everyone who wanted a job could have one but there wasn’t a great deal of things one could buy. Money was invested in war and savings bonds that helped fund the war effort. After 1945, almost everyone was ready to spend their hard-earned salaries on comfort that had been denied during the frugal war times...."

Andres Oddstad, house builder July 30, 2012, 05:00 AM By Darold Fredricks
Photo courtesy of the Colma History Museum 1950s ad in Colma newspaper.
" In the 1950s, the Peninsula was booming with construction projects involving family houses. A number of developers such as Henry Doelger (Westlake-Daly City), Bohannon in San Mateo, Eichler throughout the Peninsula and Conway, as well and many others, were making their mark as construction kings in developing farmland throughout the Peninsula....."
Hank Christopherson showed Roy this article in the newspaper.

Even Iceland added to our state dream December 10, 2007, 12:00 AM
"When we speak of the ethnic groups that have made contributions to life on our Peninsula, Icelanders do not immediately come to mind. There are Icelanders among us, but you probably don’t recognize them as such...Read More."

From Vern Ausman
Re: Image 3408 (see top right column) Andy junior is definitely the boy behind Emma: Pearl born 1916, Andy 1918; and photo in 1922?
The girl or boy at Emma's left hand seems to belong to the lady in the middle as well as the boys you identify as Groa's.  Is the lady in the middle therefore Groa?  Right lady I agree is Runa Thordarson from her face and narrow chin.  

Old Jon legally took the name Oddstad in 1913, as well as his wife Gudny, and sons Andres and Thorkjell/Charles.  Those documents were registered, as well as a common property agreement for Jon and Gudny.  So they were known as: Jon S. Oddstad; Gudny A. F. Oddstad; Andres F. S. Oddstad; and Charles T. Oddstad.  The other 3 brothers did not adopt Oddstad, Jon, Gudjon and Sveinbjorn.
Andres was born in Iceland on the farm Kalastadakot on north side of Hvalfjordur in August 1886; was too weak for the journey in 1887 so was left with Andres Andresson Fjeldsted of Hvitarvellir farm where the Hvit river broadens out to the bay of Borgarnes, his maternal uncle, to travel later.  He travelled in the late 1890's as a teenager, carrying a volume of Heimskringla as a gift from Arni Sveinbjornsson of Oddstadir farm up Lundarreykjadal, his paternal uncle.  I have the book; it is inscribed as a gift from Arni, and Andres signed himself as Andres Fjeldsted Jonsson in copperplate, so was advanced in education before he left Iceland. 

Helga Thorbergsdottir Fjeldsted my grandmother, wife of Jon Jonsson Sveinbjornsson had been living with Andres Andresson Fjeldsted before 1887 and at age 10 joined her father Thorbergur for the emigration of the big joint family, Fjeldsted's and Sveinbjornsson's.

Andres Andresson had multiple farms at the mouth of Hvitar, some of which are still in the family;
I visited Ferjukot in 2010 which is west of the old bridge where the old ferry was previously operated by the family.  Then they ran a gas and convenience store; which now is a salmon museum.  It is now off the beaten track, with a new bridge from the town of Borgarness directly to the southeast.   Hvitarvellir is at the east end of the old bridge and had been sold in 1898.  That was a whole other story, well known in Iceland; the purchaser was known as "The Baron", he was a Frenchman but living in England, and started a salmon cannery with Andres Andres working with him.  He committed suicide in London in 1902 apparently because of financial problems.  He left the farm and a warehouse in Reykjavik on "Baron" street up the hill from town centre.  I don't know who took possession; there is a book "The Baron" that I tried to find at an antiquarian bookstore but could not even find the bookstore:-) 
Here is Vern's branch
> Helgi Lavergne Austman
> Guðný Lovísa Jónsdóttir
> Jón Jónsson Sveinbjörnsson
> Jon Sveinbjornson
> Jon Sveinbjornson m.
> Guðný Andrésdóttir Fjeldsted Oddstad
> Þorbergur Andrésson Fjeldsted m.
> Helga Guðmundsdóttir


Halfdan's outline is mainly complete; Oddstead is not correct; children of Jon Jonsson Sveinbjornson carried the name Sveinbjornson, i.e., my mother Lovisa; one of Jon's siblings is missing, Sveinbjorn J. Sveinbjornson who married a Jacobina. Jon S. Oddstad and family arrived in Crescent Beach area in 1904 and had a number of properties in the area and Vancouver, then he moved to Blaine on a farm about 1915 for 14 years, spent the last 2 years in the town. Then he moved to Vancouver with Charlie in 1928 and on to Saskatchewan in 1929 where he died in 1938, I remember him on grandfather JJS's farm, blind and reverted to only Icelandic. JSO and Charlie had the quarter section of Crescent Beach east of the Park, as per survey maps of 1910 and 1924 in the Surrey Registry; they lost it to taxes as far as I can gather.

... The picture in Crescent Beach put me in mind of photos taken at the same time by Charlie, Thorkjell, Oddstad, brother of my grandfather.  I will attach some of them which establish the link between our families.  Not in order in the attachments are Kristjan Anderson, his wife Freda, daughter Emma, and daughter of Charlie after her mother died there of TB; Andres and a group which certainly includes Stonesons and maybe Sig Christopherson; some of same people in a military style camp; Jon Sveinbjornsson Oddstad with Gudni, Thorunna, second wife of Charlie and Charlie's sons by Jonina Anderson, sister of Kristjan; the JSO house in Crescent east of the park; visiting card of Andres; a forest group on a Crescent slope; Andres, Charlie and his sons in San Francisco in late 1940's.  Can you compare your photos with the two group photos, for Stonesons and Sig?
See Oddstad Photos under Reports here.

Some more emails from Sandy
" my mom was Clara Ella Byler. She has quite an old family––someone did a Byler family tree. Her ancestors go back to the original settlers of the US. My mom's grandmother, Adelle (Or Adella) Clemens, was married to Mark Twain's (Samuel Clemens) brother. For a long time, we thought we had a blood relationship to Mark Twain, but no, only by marriage. The Bylers I know are all in Missouri. Tall, very good looking people. (My mom was a beauty.)

My dad never took over the Stoneson firm. Donald Stoneson eventually was the Stoneson president or CEO; don't know if he took it over immediately after Henry and Ellis died or exactly when.

Andy Oddstad's company was independent from the Stonesons from the beginning, though the Stoneson brothers did guarantee a note or something like that for my dad at the start. (And my dad had great respect and admiration for his uncles.) My dad was partners with Chris Finson, another Icelander, at the beginning. The first firm they established was called Homes by Sterling. They built all over the SF Bay Area. Palo Alto, I remember.  My dad later bought out Chris Finson and established Oddstad Homes, which was wholly owned by my parents. That's when they really got big.

So, Andy Oddstad had no connection with the Stoneson firm, but great personal connection with his uncles.

About my grandfather. Seeing those dates (of his death), reminds me of the event so much. He had a heart attack in his sleep, and never work up. My grandmother called my parents. When I woke up in the morning, they weren't at home. It was weird and unexplained, but became clear soon enough. "

Here are some articles by The Reactor in Pacifica regarding Andy.
February 9, 2000

October 1, 2003

The Reactor, May 7, 2007

Large PDF on history of San Pedro which mentions Oddstads 37 times starting on Pg 53.

View Andy's Photo Page

Andres Fjeldsted Oddstad Jr.
Son of Andres Fjeldsted Oddstad Sr. and
Stephania Ingibjorg Maria 'Emma' Stoneson Oddstad

Andy Oddstad
Andres Fjeldsted Oddstad Jr.

Married Clara Byler

1. Andres Fjeldsted Oddstad Jr., b. 24 Jun 1918
2. Elma Oddstad Mendola
3. Leona Oddstad Gordon
4. Sylvia Oddstad Haskins

1, Sandy Nathan
2. David Oddstad

First Cousin, 1x Removed
of Roy Christopherson



180 Fan Chart of Andy's family
For more photos see Stoneson Clan page

Back Row: Andy Oddstad, Boy 2, Boy 3, Helg.- Ben and Runa Thordarson's eldest boy
FT. Row: Pearl, Mrs. Emma (Stoneson) Oddstad, Baby, possibly Groa Simundson, Margret Thordarson, Helgi's sister, and positive confimation from Pauline at the PT. Roberts Historical Society, Mrs. Runa Thordarson, close friend of Roy's grandmother, Gudrun.
Image Courtesy of the Sig & Hank Christopherson Collection


This is just one of the many developments
done by Andy Oddstad and his company.
Supplied by Marlo Prehn 2009

Image 3398
Andy's sister, Pearl

That is definitely Nana, thank you for sending this!"
Girl on the right is Auntie Elma, on the left is Aunt Sylvia,
and the girl in the front I am guessing is Aunt Leona.

Courtesy of the Sig & Hank Christopherson Collection

View more photos go HERE