On March 2, 1931 Mayor John Davie turned the gold key that opened the doors to the new I. Magnin department store on Broadway and 20th street in uptown Oakland. Its arched windows framed mannequins in fur coats, smart shoes and fine jewelry. More than seven decades later, the building rises up in a perfect jade cube. It belongs in the Emerald City; it tells a story of style. Isaac and Mary Ann Magnin, Dutch-born Jews, immigrated to San Francisco from England in the early 1870s. Isaac worked as a guilder for Gump’s, a local high-end furniture company, applying gold leaf to ceilings around the city. Fearful that Isaac would fall to his death perched on a ladder plying his trade, Mary Ann convinced him to open a small store on Market Street. He sold frames in the front room, and she sewed lace-trimmed baby clothes and lingerie in the back. As word of her considerable talent circulated San Francisco’s elite communities, carriages transported posh ladies intent on buying their chemises and their trousseaux from Mary Ann’s small shop. Business blossomed and San Francisco women began to rely on Mary Ann for her impeccable fashion sense and Parisian connections. Soon, Mary Ann had parlayed a back room business into a chain of haute couture department stores. Acting in accordance with the Victorian time-period, Mary Ann named the business after Isaac, though he had little if anything to do with its operation. He preferred to spend his days sipping coffee and discussing Socialism. It was her empire to rule. The I. Magnin chain is long gone, sold to Bullock’s in 1944 which was then sold to Macy’s in 1988. The viridian giant remains an anchoring presence in the neighborhood —housing a coffee shop, a call center and a host of tech companies — a glittering monument to one of the Bay Area’s first female entrepreneurs.