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Posted in Uncategorized

The Rabbit Hole

I started this blog because I have collected so much information on the history of Oakland that I couldn’t wait to share.  Posting in Facebook groups really isn’t the best outlet for me.  I love sharing what I know and reading what others share.  But things get lost on Facebook.

So with the help of my dear friend Phil (setup and how to), I got started and I was off running, well sort of.  This should be easy I say to myself because, in my mind, I had already laid out actual pages and everything I wanted to say.

Wow, it really wasn’t that easy for me.  I tend to get bogged down in the details.  I worry about not getting my facts correct.  It is hard for me to find a happy medium between too much and too little.  So, this is a work in progress, so bear with me.

Down the hole, I Go

But I have digressed from the topic of this post.  Often when researching one thing you find something else that has nothing to do with what you are looking for, but it piques your interest.  That happens to me a lot.

You might know this as the “Internet rabbit hole”  you know when you try to research one thing, and then accidentally go to Wikipedia, and then you are trying to find out what really happened to Jimmy Hoffa?   That is it in a nutshell.

One rabbit hole I get sucked into often is I will see a picture like this one and want to know more about it.

Oakland_Tribune_Sun__Apr_2__1911_ (1)
Oakland Tribune Apr. 02, 1911
  1. Location
  2. Is it still there?

Those two things can be very hard as sometimes the location is very vague and wrong.  Sometimes the location is correct in the form of an address right below the picture.  When looking up the location I am also curious as to who the house was being built for, were they famous or rich, maybe both?

I have compiled a lot of these pictures of newly built houses. I decided to create a map using Google Maps.  The map I have created is called  “What was there or still is… Oakland California”.  I have already added lots of the homes that I have found while down in the rabbit hole.

What was there or still is… Oakland California

Description of the Map

Some from long ago and long gone, but some still there.  Based on clippings, newspapers, and photos.  May not be totally accurate as address numbers have changed and locations were often vague.

Maroon – Still there
Black – Gone
Yellow – Landmark
Green – Berkeley
Purple – Piedmont
Red – Questions – researching

Here is a link to the map.  Click on it to see.  Please feel free to share it.

 

 

I still have lots of pages in the works just have to get myself out of this hole.

This might help explain Rabbit Hole.

 

 

 

Featured
Posted in Uncategorized

The History Bug Strikes

I grew up in the Montclair District in Oakland.  I moved there in early 1972 after my Mom remarried.  We moved into a four-story home that my step-father had built pretty much by himself.

494 Capricorn
Our house in Montclair

In 1983 my ex-husband and I were hired by the Montclair Presbyterian Church (where I went as a young child) as custodians.  We moved into the house the church owned next to the Sanctuary.  It was at church I started to get the history bug.  I found out that the church had celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 1980.   I was amazed that the church had been there so long, the same as the house we lived in which was built in about 1927.

In about 1985 or so I went on a walking tour of the Fernwood neighborhood put on by the Oakland Heritage Alliance.  From then on it was my mission to find out more about the history of Montclair and Oakland.

First blog post

Posted in History, Oakland Tracts

Sather Park – Photos from 1914

Sather Park – 1917

Sather Park Tract is now known as Lakeshore Highlands and Trestle Glen.

I have shared a few of the photos from an album entitled “Lakeshore Highlands” that was prepared for Frederick Law Olmsted who was hired by Walter H. Leimert .

The album is from the archives of Olmsted at the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site and Courtesy of the United States Department of the Interior,
National Park Service.

Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) is recognized as the founder of American landscape architecture and the nation’s foremost parkmaker. Olmsted moved his home to suburban Boston in 1883 and established the world’s first full-scale professional office for the practice of landscape design. During the next century, his sons and successors perpetuated Olmsted’s design ideals, philosophy, and influence.

I believe the photos were taken by Cheney Photo Advertising Company.

The album can be viewed here: Album 1 – Lakeshore Highlands Job #5945 –

Sather Park – June 1914

Now Lakeshore Highlands and Trestle Glen

C 1914
Courtesy of the United States Department of the Interior,
National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site

Sather Park – June 1914

Now Lakeshore Highlands and Trestle Glen – The “Glen” (a.k.a. Indian Gulch)

C 1914
Courtesy of the United States Department of the Interior,
National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.

View Southwest from between Wesley Avenue and Radnor Road – June 1914

Looking at Wesley Avenue and Lakeshore Blvd, Lake Merritt and downtown.

C 1914
Courtesy of the United States Department of the Interior,
National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.

View North Between Excelsior and Beacon Avenues – June 1914

C 1914
Courtesy of the United States Department of the Interior,
National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.

View Northwest from Between Hillgirt Circle and Haddon Road – June 1914

C 1914
Courtesy of the United States Department of the Interior,
National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.

View Southwest towards Haddon Hill – June 1914

You can the see what is now the corner of Lake Park Ave and Grand Avenue. The future home of the Grand Lake Theater.

Looking North from Hillgirt Circle North and Hillgirt Circle South – Haddon Hill – Today Prospect Avenue and Hillgirt Circle – June 1914 –

You can see Santa Clara Avenue, Grand Lake Avenue . The future location of the Grand Lake Theater , Lakeview School and the MacArthur Freeway

C 1914
Courtesy of the United States Department of the Interior,
National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.

Looking Northwest from Haddon Hill Towards Sather Tract Entrance – June 1914

Looking towards the Trader Joe’s parking lot and the Trestle Glen Road. You can see Rand Avenue and Mandana Blvd.

C 1914
Courtesy of the United States Department of the Interior,
National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.
LAKESHORE HIGHLANDS OAKLAND,
c 1918
Lake Shore Highlands; Wickham Havens –Sather Tract, formerly –Leimert, Walter H
Courtesy of the United States Department of the Interior,
National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.
Map of HADDON HILL
c1914

Courtesy of the United States Department of the Interior,
National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.

I will talk more about Sather Park later.

The End

Posted in Model/Display Homes, Montclair

Silver Windows – Piedmont Pines

Oakland Tribune Jan 1937

“Silver Windows” was a display home in the Piedmont Pines section of Montclair. The home opened for public to see in 1936. The home was designed by F. Harvey Slocombe. It is on Darnby Drive.

Windows, from which one glimpses the bay through lofty pines are not the only feature of this new show home.

Oakland Tribune Dec 06, 1936
Oakland Tribune Dec 06, 1936

Sunlight through “Silver Windows”

Oakland Tribune Dec 13, 1936
Oakland Tribune Dec 13, 1936
Oakland Tribune Dec 1936

From the curved window in the living room you could see all of Oakland , plus two bridges,

Oakland Tribune Dec 1936
Oakland Tribune Dec 1936

The kitchen with its floors curving into the wall, eliminating dust gathering corners was of special interest to the women visitors. The kitchen was “all-metal” with a gleaming sink, drain board, work board and cabinets. Oakland Tribune Mar 19, 1937

Oakland Tribune Feb 14, 1937
Oakland Tribune Dec 1936

Silver Windows Today

Google maps

Links and More:

Posted in Montclair

Playhouse at Montclair Park

Most anyone who grew up in Montclair played at the park. The park was always full of kids.

If you played in the park during the 1960-1980s you will remember the two story playhouse. It was built in 1960 and was located by the swing-sets.

It was demolished after a couple of fires in the mid to late 1980s. It is rumored that the fires were caused by teens or someone smoking in the house.

I really enjoyed playing in small playhouse. I would pretend I lived there and that best friend lived next door.

Built in 1960

In 1960 the Montclair Junior Women’s Club of Montclair held fundraisers and worked with the Oakland Recreation Department to finance a playhouse for the park in Montclair.

Oakland Tribune Apr 1960
Oakland Tribune 1960

Opening Day – September 1960

The 120 square foot playhouse incorporated such features as kitchenettes with running water and toy stoves and refrigerators It had a living room with built-in play television sets and a circular metal stairway leading up to the sleeping balcony and sundeck in each unit.

The exterior of the structure was covered with heavy wire to create the illusion of a closed building. Bright colored squares of orange, yellow, turquoise and white decorate the front of the playhouse.

Oakland Tribune Sep 1960

The playhouse was designed and constructed by members of the Oakland Parks and Recreation Department

  • Bert Trubody
  • Robert Savattone
  • Paul Mortensen

They name is “Merrivilla”

Oakland Tribune Sep 19, 1960
Montclarion 1960
Montclarion 1960
From Beth Reynolds
March 1964 from Mary Jo Losso
Jan 1973 from Mike Shuken

Not to be confused with a Dollhouse for Diane

The was also a playhouse located in Pinto Park/Carl B. Munck School play yard. It was built in honor who Diane “Dede” Dobson who lost her life during the Columbus Day Storms of 1962

Swiss Chalet at Pinto Park
Oakland Tribune Apr 1963
Oakland Tribune Apr 1963
Oakland Tribune August 1964

I will add more photos as I find them

The End

Posted in Buildings, History, Oakland, People, Streets

Alden Farm

Official and historical atlas map of Alameda County, California. Compiled, drawn and published from personal examinations and surveys by Thompson & West. Oakland, Cala. 1878.
Res. & farm of P.A. Finigan, Brooklyn Tp.

The Alden Farm (Alder Farm) once stood on the land where Holy Names University is located today.

In 1874 Charles Low owned the property. A barn was located where Tobin Halls and the university’s gymnasium are today. He built a house for his family on the site where Brennan Hall stands today. You can see a map of the campus here.

Oakland Tribune May 1877
Oakland Tribune Nov 28, 1877

In 1877 Peter A. Finigan (Finnegan) purchased the property from Low and built a second house near where Cushing Library is today.

SF Examiner Jun 30, 1877

In 1884 Thomas Magee of Thomas Magee & Sons Real Estate Firm purchase the farm. I bet Magee Avenue was named after him.

Magee added a second story to the house that Finigan built.

During the early years the Magee’s would spend winter at their home in San Francisco and summer on Alden Farm. After the 1906 earthquake and fire they made their home permanently at Alden Farm.

Alden Farm was considered one of the premiere showplaces in Oakland. Many social event and weddings were held there over the years.

Oakland Tribune Jul 04, 1900
Oakland Tribune Jun 04, 1911
Oakland Tribune Jul 08,1922
Oakland Tribune Aug 10, 1924
Oakland Tribune Apr 24, 1932

Many Fires

Oakland Tribune Sep 08 1904
Oakland Tribune 19, 1931
Oakland Tribune Aug 1945

Fire Destroys Alden Farm

Oakland Tribune Mar 01, 1953
Oakland Tribune Mar 01, 1953
Oakland Tribune Sep 16, 1953

Holy Names University

Oakland Tribune Feb 04, 1955
Oakland Tribune Oct 06, 1955

Deaths of the Magee’s

More Info
Posted in East Oakland, Elmhurst, Oakland Tracts, Tract or Subdivisions

Toler Heights

Toler Ranch

William Pinkney Toler (1829-1899) and his wife Maria Antonia (1836-1926) owned 330 (349) acres of land in the foothills of Elmhurst. Maria was the daughter of  Hermenegildo “Ignacio” Peralta. William and Maria were married in 1853.

The Ranch was on the foothills road between Elmhurst and San Leandro , later known as Foothill Blvd and is now MacArthur Blvd. The ranch was close to both the Talbot Farm and the Dunsmuir Home.

Oakland Tribune Oct 08, 1888

Toler Ranch Sold

After her husband’s death Mrs. Toler sold the ranch to the Realty Syndicate for $110,000-$120,000. The land was then subdivided and placed on the market.

Oakland Tribune Mar 26, 1906
SF Call July 30, 1906
Oakland Tribune Jan 1906

Map of Toler Heights – 1907

Shows block and lot numbers, measurements, land ownership, etc. Covers area bounded generally by Stanley Rd. [i.e. Ave.], Wise [i.e. 99th] Ave., Foothill [i.e. MacArthur] Blvd., and Hillcrest Ave. [i.e. Seneca St.]. Panel title: Map of Toler Heights, Elmhurst, Oakland. Oriented with north toward left. Cadastral map. http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b11188562~S1 c1907

Opening Day 1907

Toler Heights went on sale in 1907. A group of Investors owned the property and it the Southwest Securities Company was handling the sales for them.

SF Examine 1907
SF Examiner Oct 27, 1907
S F Examiner Oct 18, 1907

Change of Ownership

In 1910 the Henderson & Tapscotts Company purchased Toler Heights. The made a lot of improvements to the tract. Opening day in was held on May 22, 1910

Looking towards Thermal Street and 90th Avenue
Cheney Photo Advertising Company c1910
Previously sold on eBay

The photo above might be showing the Silva Ranch on Foothill Blvd

Oakland Tribune Oct 31, 1920

Opening day was on of the most successful day in residential property sold. Oakland Tribune May 24, 1910

Oakland Tribune May 24, 1910
Oakland Tribune May 22, 1910
The corner of MacArthur and 90th Avenue
Cheney Photo Advertising Company c1912
Previously sold on eBay

The Piedmont of East Oakland

SF Examiner
SF Examiner Aug 30, 1914
SF Examiner Aug 30, 1914
Oakland Tribune Mar 19, 1916

Another change in ownership

In the 1922 the property is for sale via an auction. Sales way down. Oakland Tribune May 28, 1922

Oakland Tribune May 28, 1922
Along Foothill Blvd
Oakland Tribune June 04, 1922
Oakland Tribune June 08 1922
Oakland Tribune 1923

New School – May 1928 – Now Barack Obama Academy

Oakland Tribune May 23, 1929
Oakland Tribune May 23, 1929
Toler Heights School – Now Barack Obama Academy
9736 Lawlor Street

Location

Toler Heights Google Maps

More Information on Toler Heights


More to come – Toler Heights Homes

The End

Posted in Home Building, Montclair, People

On Moraga Avenue

An Enterprising Family and Their New Home in the Montclair District.

Oakland Tribune

Mr. and Mrs. John W Martinsen’s like many others in the area took on the task of building their own home.

Mrs. Martinsen would serve a hot lunch for them from a cabin they had built in the back of the lot.

The home is located on the corner of Moraga Avenue and Estates Drive.

1923
1930
From the 1943 Directory

They lived there until sometime in the mid-1940s.

She dresses in a regulation feminine hiking costume, and is able and effective assistant to her husband

Oakland Tribune

Photos

Intersection with Estates Drive c 1950
Public Works Photo,
Oakland Cultural Heritage Survey, Oakland City Planning Department
intersection with Estates Drive, this east image from 1951
Public Works Photo,
Oakland Cultural Heritage Survey, Oakland City Planning Department
From Google Maps

Location

The Martinsen Home – Google Maps
  • 5901 Moraga Avenue at the corner of Estates Drive
  • John W. Martinsen – builder and owner
  • $10,000
  • 1922

More…

Oakland Tribune Nov 03, 1930

The End

Posted in Dimond District, Laurel District, Oakland Tracts

Hopkins Town – in the Dimond District

In Hopkinstown every lot is practically level, all lots are big and deep with sewer, water, gas and electricity in front of every lot.

Oakland Tribune Aug 15, 1922

Hopkins Town was a small subdivision in the Dimond District.

HopkinsTown was located at Hopkins St (now MacArthur Blvd) Georgia, Maple and Peralta Ave (now Coolidge) and Carmel and Morgan Streets.

California Subdivision Company handled to the sales. It opened in September 1922.

Was the Josiah Rose Farm

Hopkinstown was once the farm of Josiah Rose, who settled there in 1864. When Rose lived on his farm the Antonia Mario Peralta was his neighbor.

Rose Farm 1877 Map
From the 1894 Directory
Oakland Tribune Dec 13, 1884

In 1922 Rose’s daughter Mary Mulrooney (Mulroony) and her son James still lived on a small piece of the farm on Peralta Street (now Coolidge). I found in 1933 Mary lived at 2844 Georgia Street which is part of small commercial area that Loard’s Ice Cream is today. Mary died in 1933.

From 1933 Directory
2844 Georgia St – Google Maps

Hopkinstown Like City Within a City ;In Oakland

Oakland Tribune
Oakland Tribune Aug 14, 1922

Get a Home — Your Own Buy — Build –Live In Hopkinstown All for $49 First Payment

Oakland Tribune Aug 17, 1922

The fastest growing “small home” community in the state.

Oakland Tribune 1922

Every lot is a GOOD lot, and NO HILLSIDES!

“HopkinsTown” Is the Latest

Oakland Tribune Aug 20, 1922
His home was on Georgia Street

NO MISTAKE! FREE Home Plans

Oakland Tribune Sept 1922
Oakland Tribune Sept 07, 1922
Oakland Tribune Sep 07, 1922

From Bare Ground to Housekeeping in Two Days

Oakland Tribune Sept 14, 1922

Church for Hopkinstown

Oakland Tribune Sept 14, 1922
Oakland Tribune Oct 1922

I didn’t find many homes that were built in Hopkins Town, at least they weren’t advertised. This is area I live in now so I drove around the area trying to locate some of the homes. I did notice a number of small homes on deep lots.

In the late 1950s the unsold Hopkins Town lots were being rezoned for duplexes or apartment building. The large lots zoned for single family homes has long caused the planning department problems.

Oakland Tribune 1959

Today I noticed on Morgan Street there is lots of building going on. They are converting a few of the Hopkins Town Tract “lots’ into duplexes or triplexes.

The End