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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.

 

 

 

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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 Architecture, Oakland Tracts

Cameron Built

Beautiful Homes in Oakland’s Warm Belt

Fifty “Cameron Built”  Modern Spanish Home in the Fruitvale  District. True Spanish Type Stucco. Priced at $5500 to $65.00. Built to CAMERON standards. (whatever that means). Each home contains five rooms and breakfast room, hardwood floors throughout, tile bath, tile sink , Hoyt water heater, fireplace for coal, wood or gas, latest style electric fixtures, base plugs in every room. Russwin solid brass hardware with glass knobs. All of large lots with fences, garage and cement walks.

The tract was designed by W. A. Doctor and built by H.C. Cameron with furnishings provided by Lachman Brothers.  Chas. A Neal was the exclusive agent for “Cameron Built Homes” on Maple and School Streets. The tract office was located at Pleitner and School streets

The 1st unit started in 1923 on Maple and School Streets.

The 2nd unit was started in 1925 at Texas and Pleitner Streets. 

Oakland Tribune Nov 25, 1923

The first ten homes were completed and ready in November 1923. 

By October 1924 twenty-two homes were complete

Oakland Tribune Nov 16, 1924
Oakland Tribune Nov 24, 1924
The corner of Texas Street and Curran Ave – Google Maps
Oakland Tribune Nov 24, 1924
3039 Texas Street – Present Day Google Maps
Present Day Maple Street
Posted in Architecture, Model/Display Homes

26 Ascot Court – Piedmont Pines

Model Home Opens –

26 Ascot Court is on a quiet cul-de-sac in Piedmont Pines and it opened for inspection in October 1935.

Oakland Tribune – Oct 07 1934
See here
in 2019 from Realtor.Com

The French regency designed home was a joint effort of Frederick L. Confer and his father F.W. Confer.

The house was built on slopping lot  among the pine trees with a picturesque view of the bay and the Golden Gate . The lot is just under 1/2 acre in size.

The home was sold before it was completed. The buyer was R.F.D. Le Mon of New York, who was planning on making Oakland his home.

R.F.D Le Mon was the developer of the Le Mon Park section of Piedmont Pines.

Mitchell & Austin were the realtors in charge of the property.

Featured in Architectural Magazine

October 1936

The house featured in an article called ” Homes – They Are Building Them Now” in the October 1936 edition of The Architect and the Engineer.

Architect and Engineer October 1936
Architect and Engineer October 1936
Architect and Engineer October 1936
Architect and Engineer October 1936
Architect and Engineer October 1936 –

Frederick L. Confer has designed many homes in the Oakland. Including the Style House which was discussed in a previous post.

In 1937 he designed another home for R.F.D. Le Mon at 14 Cornwall Court .

Putting down roots in Montclair

In 1944 Admiral Thomas Sprague and his family moved into 26 Ascot Court . But his life in the Navy took off and the traveled around the world. In 1951 Sprague retired from the Navy and they settled in after only living in the for 2 weeks in the 8 years they owned it.

The Sprague Family lived there until about 1963 after Mrs. Sprague passed away.

A Montclair Treasure – March 2019

In March of 2019 the house was put on the market for $ 1,249, 000 and it sold for April of 2019 for $1,300,000.

From Realtor.com
Realtor.Com
Realtor.Com

Links:

The End

Posted in Early Montclair, Home Building, Montclair Tracts

How to Build a Log Cabin

Oakland Tribune April 1922

In 1922 few people outside the hikers of the Contra Costa Hills Club, knew much about Pinehaven and its beautiful canyon. Pinehaven has all the characteristics of the most picturesque parts of Marin County. Roads have now been opened up. The property was originally laid out to be known as Upper Piedmont, but the owners changed the plans and decided to put it on the market for those who want summer home cabins close to downtown and transportation.

Pinehaven is located in Montclair

Oakland Tribune Feb 1922
Oakland Tribune April 1922

Lawrence Block of the Villa Site Sales Company was in changed with the sale of the property and Block said:

Pinehaven is a summer home colony with its pretty cottages and cabin homes nestling in the side-hills, overlooking canyons and with in twenty minutes from City Hall. You awaken in the morning to the song of the birds refreshed and full of vigor and imagine you have traveled a hundred miles to the wilds of some distant state.

Oakland Tribune April 1922

This was Villa Site Sales Company first big sale and they were offering it at mortgage prices. The sale price was as low as $175.00. More than 50 cabins and cottages were being planned.

Oakland Tribune April 1922 – Road Work in Pinehaven

Lots of building going on…

Oakland Tribune May 1922

Simple Plans for a Log Cabin –

Oakland Tribune May 1922
Oakland Tribune May 1922

Building Bungalows in Foothill Canyons

Oakland Tribune Jun 1922

Pinehaven Is Building Up

Oakland Tribune June 1922

Pitch Your Teepee or build an log cabin in the woods of Pinehaven.

Oakland Tribune May 1922
Oakland Tribune July 1922
Oakland Tribune 1922
Oakland Tribune Sep 1922
Oakland Tribune Sep 1922
Oakland Tribune May 1922

The End

Posted in Early Montclair, History

Early Photos of Montclair

Some early photos of the Montclair District of Oakland – all are from the Oakland Public Library History Room.

When I can I will show the area now.

I will start off with one of the earliest photos of Montclair that I have seen. This is circa 1886. I hope that there are more like this.

Then

Students and teachers at Hays School front of the school.
Circa 1886
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

Now

Montclair Fire House – Google Maps

Another photo of the Montclair Firehouse

Storybook firehouse on Moraga Avenue in the Montclair
Circa 1934
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

The photo below is overlooking the area that is now Montclair Elementary School and in the distance you can see the intersection of Thornhill and Mountain Blvd and the Women’s Club.

Tracks for the Oakland, Antioch and Eastern Railway
(later Sacramento Northern Railway) in Montclair
Circa 1925
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

Then

LaSalle Avenue looking down the hill towards Mountain Boulevard
Montclair Real estate offices and trolley depot in view.
circa 1927
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

Now

Looking down LaSalle Ave towards HWY 13 – Google maps

The photo below is probably on LaSalle Ave from Mountain Blvd. the small building are where Highway 13 is now.

Sales offices of real estate broker and home builder Cos Williams in Montclair –
circa 1925 Eston Cheney, photographer.
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

The photo below is probably taken from where Highway 13 is now. Off in the distance is the Sacramento Northern Station located at what is now the top of LaSalle Ave as seen in the above photos.

Graded and staked lots in the undeveloped Montclair
Signs for the Cos Williams Montclair sales offices
circa 1925
Eston Cheney, photographer.
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room

Then

North east corner of Mountain Boulevard and Medau Place
Fred F. Chopin on Montclair Realty Co.
circa 1950
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

Now

Corner of Mountain Blvd and Medau Place – Google Maps

Then

Sidewalk construction on Mountain Boulevard near Antioch Street Montclair
Cica 1958
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

Now

Looking Up Mountain Blvd. Google Maps

Then

Construction Scout Road and Mountain Boulevard in the Montclair
circa 1955
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

Now

Scout Road and Mountain Blvd – Google Maps

The photo below is overlooking the area that is now the intersection of Oakwood and Thornhill Drives. Showing houses on Oakwood Drive

Looking out towards the bay from near the ridge-line above the Montclair
Several winding dirt roads and homes in view.
circa 1930
Eston Cheney, photographer
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

The End

Posted in Architecture, Montclair Tracts

Drake Drive – Montclair Highlands

In 1937 Frederick L. Confer designed a “modernistic’ (now art deco) home for Mr and Mrs George H. Everest and their two daughters. The Everest family had been living at 1760 Mountain Blvd prior to moving into their new Montclair Highlands home at 1831 Drake Drive.

The home was developed by Emge and Stockman and was built by James H. Anderson who has worked with the architect before.

Oakland Tribune Oct 11, 1936
Oakland Tribune Mar 1937
Oakland Tribune Mar 1937 – 1831 Drake Drive

The house has four bedrooms upstairs with two bath rooms. The lower floor has one bedroom with bathroom and a private entrance.

The view at sunset

Behold the amazing views from all upstairs bedrooms, dining room, living room and patio. The large corner lot also a large yard

The house is completed in June 1937

Oakland Tribune June 1937

The House has been on the market many times since 1937.

Oakland Tribune 1946
Oakland Tribune – 1949

1955 – it listed for $24,500

Oakland Tribune 1955

In 1969 it listed for $46,500

Oakland Tribune 1969

In March of 2019 it is listed for sale at $1,695,000.

More on 1831 Drake Drive

The End

Posted in Architecture, Model/Display Homes, Montclair Tracts

Style House – Piedmont Pines

Oakland_Tribune_Sun__May_26__1935_

Oakland_Tribune_Sun__May_19__1935_Screen Shot 2019-03-28 at 8.29.14 PM

The Tribune Jackson Style House – 5739 Chelton Drive

The “Style House” opened to the public in April of 1935. Over 1500 visitors passed through the home that first weekend.

The home was designed by local architect Frederick L. Confer with James H. Anderson and the builder was James Armstrong.

The agents for the house were Mitchell & Austin with Harry Stockman the agent in charge.

The house was completely furnished by the Jackson Furniture Company.

Oakland Tribune April 1935
Oakland Tribune April 07, 1935

The View then and Now

Oakland Tribune March 1935
From Google Maps

Award Winning

The house is a modified Regency type design. It won an award for the distinguished “house of seven rooms or less” in the fourth Biennial Exhibition of American Architects. The house has also been called Monterey Style. Color is used abundantly in the house, the exterior is painted whited with mustard color shutters.

Oakland Tribune May 1935

Unique Home and Cozy Interior

The living room with vaulted ceiling has French doors to the delightful front patio as well as the rear deck with SF and Bay views.

The floor plan has a full bath and generous bedroom on the main level with French doors to the patio. There are two more large rooms up, one with a deck for enjoying the views! The lower features a bedroom which would be ideal for a family/rumpus room, half bath, a generous laundry/craft room with work station and storage area. Two car garage.

Oakland Tribune May 1935

On opening day a local Ford Dealer had a brand new Ford V8 parked outside the house.

Oakland Mar 31, 1935
Oakland Mar 31, 1935

Style house in 2018 – Realtor.com

Oakland Tribune 1944
Oakland Tribune 1955
Oakland Tribune 1969

More on the Style House –

The End

Posted in Fruitvale, History, Oakland

Homes near Fruitvale…

Sometime ago I found this picture on the Oakland History Room online site.

Homes near Fruitvale Avenue and Hopkins Street (later MacArthur Boulevard) in the Dimond district of Oakland, California. A large vegetable garden dominates the foreground and Higgins Church on Hopkins Street is in view towards the back. DATE: [circa 1905] Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

I love to try and figure out the who, what and where. I would rather try to figure it out all by myself before asking for help. That is the fun part for me. Sometimes it is very easy. Other times it is not.

The biggest clue to this photo was the Higgins Church on Hopkins which is now MacArthur Blvd. I started there.

I started looking into the Higgins Church. The church in 1898 was located near Fruitvale Ave and Hopkins in the old Fruitvale School building. It had some connection to the Fred Finch Orphanage

Oakland Tribune Mar 1896
Oakland Tribune Mar 1896

In 1907 the laid the corner stone for a new church at the corner of School St and Boston. The church was renamed Fruitvale ME Church. Joaquin Miller read a poem at the ground breaking. The church building was dedicated in 1908. The church building is still there with a few additions or modifications and is located at 3111 Boston. It now called the First Samoan Congregation Christian Church

Oakland Tribune May 1907
Oakland Tribune 1907
San Francisco Call July 1908

A couple days ago I found a Knave article “Memories linger for Dimond District Pioneers” in the Oakland Tribune November 1970 the 2nd page of the article included this same picture with some new clues.

Oakland Tribune Nov 1970

I now have clues for the house and a different church. So off I went to find out more.

The house is located at 3231 Boston Ave at Harold St
The church is located at 2464 Palmetto St. While it is no longer a church I believe this is the same building. See below
From Google maps – 3231 Boston Ave today
From Goggle maps -2460 Palmetto – today

I think the location has been solved. I thought the house was moved or demolished due to building the freeway and it almost was. I am so glad it is still there.

From Google maps – The area today– Thanks Morgan!

The End