Then yesterday, when doing some more online research, I found references to William Delaney in the Oakland Directory. As far as we can tell, 62nd Street (or, as it was then known, "Todd Street") was part of Oakland until about 1902. This seems appropriate to me: since both houses on the lot have moved at least once, it seems right that the street itself changed cities.
William Delaney is listed in the 1884 Oakland Directory as living on Todd at the corner of Paradise, in 1884. This makes sense: although the house on 62nd is not on the corner, prior to 1901 the Delaney lot went all the way to the corner of King (which was then called Paradise). The listing says "Delaney, Wm, miner, res cor Todd and Paradise, Temescal"
The 1884 Oakland Directory with Wm Delaney listed at the corner of Todd and Paradise
We know that William was married to Bridgett, and William died in 1899. In the 1900 book, Bridgett is listed as his widow, and she keeps showing up in the listings until about 1922. Bridgett must have been somewhat of a capitalist herself: she subdivided the lot and built two more houses in the first decade of the twentieth century (1636 and 1638). Two other Delaneys also appear, living at 1640 62nd (the third of the houses that was built on the Delaney's lot): John T Delaney, who was first listed as a clerk, then a bookkeeper. By 1924, he was listed as Deputy County Clerk.
Miss Annie Delaney also appears, starting in 1898 in the Delaney House (1634), and then later at 1640. Annie appears to have been the last surviving relative: John died in 1941 or '42, and Annie sold the original Delaney house to George Thomas in 1948.
We recently met someone who grew up in the house next to our house (1636), who remembered the day John Delaney died. Evidently, no one had heard from him for several days, and this man's father put a ladder up to the window of the house and climbed through to find John's body.
So now we have history of the house as far back as 1884. We checked out the 1880 Directory and did not find the Delaneys listed. So the question is: was the house built sometime between 1880 and 1884 for the Delaney family? Or was there another owner who had it built? Because of the style of the house, we've always felt it was an 1870s house. But maybe it's from the early 1880s.
More research to come.