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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 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.

But it wasn’t.

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 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 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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The History Bug Strikes

I grew up in the Montclair District in Oakland. I went to Thornhill Elementary School and Montera Junior High and Skyline High School.

We lived on Capricorn Ave. My parents sold our home in 2001.

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 the church had been there so long.

In about 1985, I went on the Fernwood Walking Tour by the Oakland Heritage Alliance, and from that point on, I was on a mission to find out more about the history of Montclair and Oakland.

First blog post

Posted in Uncategorized

Fountain of Serenity

Oakland Tribune Aug 31, 1958

Fountain of Serenity in Knowland State Arboretum and Park. “Serena,” the statue which tops the fountain, inspires calm and courage in the face of worldly troubles.   Oakland Tribune 

Oakland Tribune Aug 31, 1958
Oakland Tribune Aug 31, 1958

Previous Location

Oakland Tribune April 29, 1962

The fountain once graced the gardens of the home of James H. Latham. Latham purchased the land in 1878 from Samuel B. Merritt.

Latham sold the home to Horace H. Seaton in 1885, who sold it S. Murray in 1892, who then sold it to  Edward G. Lukens  in 1897. Lukens son was state Senator George R. Lukens.

Oakland Tribune 1898

In its heyday, the old Mansion was a showplace. The home was a three-story structure with 25 rooms, a billiard room, a glass conservatory, and a bowling alley in the rear. There was also an ornate two-story barn with a hayloft and with horse stalls.

Undated – the fountain in closer to the right side of the photo.

The Lukens family lived there until the death of Mrs. Emma Lukens in 1925.

Sometime after the death of Mrs. Lukens, the mansion was purchased by Edger L. Buttnera civic leader, and electrical contractor.

Barn/Livery Stable

In about 1938, Raoul Pause, a leading Oakland ballet teacher, converted part of the old two-story barn into a ballet studio. Many of the Oakland Ballet’s first dancers were students of Raoul Pause., he was the brother of Paul Pause of Montclair Reality.

In October of 1948, the building was damaged in a fire.

In 1952 the same building was destroyed by another fire.  At the time of the fire the building was being used by the Hotel Senator (a boarding house) as a garage.

In 1957 the mansion was demolished to make room for an apartment complex.

Oakland Tribune May 17, 1957

The Fountain Today

The Latham-Ducel Fountain is the centerpiece of Preservation Park. It’s more popularly known as the Diana Fountain. The fountain is cast iron, and was forged in Paris in the 1870s.

Latham-Ducel fountain
photo CC-A from Our Oakland
Latham-Ducel fountain
photo CC-A from Our Oakland

My question is that Serena or Diana on the top of the fountain?

More Info:

Western Fuse Company Explosion

E.G. Lukens was the owner of  Western Fuse and Explosives Company.  See Oakland Local Wiki – 

Oakland Tribune July 19, 1898

Latham Square Fountain

The Latham Square Fountain is located at the intersection of Telegraph and Broadway in downtown Oakland. It was erected in 1913 as a memorial for James H. Latham and Henrietta Latham  by their children and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

SF Call 1913

The End.

Posted in History, Oakland, Schools

School War Work in 1918

Oakland Tribune Oct 15, 1918

War work in the Oakland Public Schools during 1918 was considered one of the most important items in the curriculum by both the school administration and the teachers.

They felt the first duty of the schools was to aid the national government in winning the war to the best of their ability.

Service became the keynote of all work. Oakland’s boys and girls realized that they had a particular part to play in making the world a safe place to live in.

Sewing and Knitting Classes

Oakland Tribune Jul 07, 1918

During the summer vacation, thousands of garments for refugees were made by the children as part of their regular classwork.

Sewing Classes
Board of Education 1919

Boys and girls of all ages learned to knit, and tireless little hands were busy every spare moment making garments for sailors, soldiers, and people of stricken countries.

Berkeley Schools also helped
Oakland Tribune Aug 25, 1918
Oakland Tribune August 25, 1918

School and Home Garden Army

The urgent need for higher food production led to the organization of the School and Home Garden Army in Oakland. Fifteen thousand children enlisted, and 6,00 brought their gardens to successful harvests.

Oakland Tribune Apr 18, 1918
Gardens
Board of Education 1919

Jackson Furniture Company offered two silver loving cups as prizes, one for the school having the best school garden, and one for the best home garden.

Oakland Tribune Apr 18, 1918

Luther Burbank visited Oakland and personally inspected many of the war gardens.

Oakland Tribune May 15, 1918

Jefferson School won the School Garden Cup, and Lakeview School won the Home Garden School Cup.

Oakland Tribune Oct 4, 1918

The Art Department devoted its time propaganda of publicity of the was needs through posters. 

The Manual Training shops worked closely with the Red Cross. They created items needed for hospitals.

Liberty Loans

The schools helped raised money through the various Liberty Bond/Loan Campaigns.

Board of Education 1919

More Info

Looking back at a 1918 parade that helped spread a deadly flu, leaving nearly 13,000 dead – SF Gate – September 22, 2019

1918 Flu Pandemic – Oakland Local Wiki

The End

Posted in Fruitvale, Homes, Oakland Tracts, Then and Now

Attractive Lynn Homes

Lynn Homes on Nicol Avenue

Eight charming five-room homes of Spanish and Mission architecture were built by Willis F. Lynn on Nicol Avenue. Five of the homes were sold before they were completed. The last three went on sale June 14, 1925.

Oakland Tribune June 14, 1925

Each house has:

  • Breakfast room or nook
  • Dining room with built-in buffet
  • laundry room
  • Hardwood floors throughout
  • Automatic water heaters
  • Seperate garage

Priced at $5950.00 in 1925.

Oakland Tribune June 14 , 1925
Lynn Homes Nicol Ave today – Google Mpas
Nicole Avenue today – Google maps
2639 Nicol Avenue – today Google Maps

Lynn Homes on Best Avenue

Oakland Tribune Nov 15, 1925

Another group of homes went on sale November 15, 1925. Located on Best Avenue between Brookdale and Trask. The homes have an attractive and varied style of architecture.

Each of homes has six-rooms, garage and laundry room.

  • Large living room windows
  • Large convertible breakfast rooms
  • Wards heating system and Trojan water heaters
  • Bathrooms with tile floors
  • Base plugs throughout the house
  • Lawns and shrubs and fences

Priced at $6950.00 each in 1925

Best Avenue today – Google Maps
2506 Best Avenue today – Google maps
2495 Best Avenue today – Google Maps
2462 Best Avenue – google maps
Oakland Tribune Dec 1926

Two Beautiful Lakeshore Highlands Homes

Lynn also built two homes in the Lakeshore Highlands (Trestle Glen) neighborhood. One at 983 Longridge Road and the other at 957 Sunnyhills Road.

983 Longridge Road

  • Immense living room
  • Social Hall with cheerful fireplace
  • Large dining room
  • Master bedroom with sleeping porches and dressing room
  • Maid’s room
  • Radio wiring to living room

Priced at $30,000 in 1928

983 Longridge Road today – Google maps

957 Sunnyhills Road

  • Large living room
  • Breakfast room with built in cabinets
  • 3 bedrooms with porches
  • 3 bathrooms
  • Maid’s room
  • Full basement

Priced at $18,500 in 1928

957 Sunnyhills Road Google Maps

Another home

Oakland Tribune 1926

The End

Posted in Buildings, History, Oakland, Schools

The Oakland’s First School House

Oakland Tribune Feb 08, 1970

When Oakland was organized in 1852 there was no free public school. There was a private school at the corner of 2nd and Broadway run by Mrs. Monroe.

Old Fandango House
Oakland Tribune May 01, 1952
Sketch of Oakland’s first school building
African American Museum & Library at Oakland Photograph Collection

The town trustees saw the need for a school so the rented a room at the rear of a dance hall called a Fandango House at 2nd and Washington. The room was furnished with half a dozen wooden benches, a table for the teacher, a blackboard, a map of the world and a rawhide whip. 12 to 15 children attended this school.

Oakland’s FIrst School House – Oakland Tribune Jun 12, 1921

For control of the area around the harbor, Horace W. Carpentier donated a school building to the city. Redwood lumber was brought by oxen teams from the hills and a small structure was built at 4th and Clay Streets. It was 30 x 20 feet with a 12-foot ceiling and a shingled roof. A belfry with a small bell. Carpentier called the building, “substantial, elegant, and commodious”

from A Steeple Among the Oaks 

In June of 1853 when the school opened the citizens held a parade and 16 students carried a banner that read, “Our Duty to Our Country, First, Last, and Always”

Oakland History Room at Oakland Public Library

The first teacher of the school was Miss Hannah Jayne.  She taught until 1856 when she resigned to marry Edson Adams, one of Oakland’s pioneers.

Oakland Tribune 1936
Oakland History Group

In 1853, the First Presbyterian Church used the building for services. The current sanctuary of the church (built-in 1914) memorializes the schoolhouse in one of its stained glass windows showing church history.

Stained Glass showing Church History
CC SA-BY Our Oakland

By 1855 there were 155 children of school age in Oakland. The little schoolhouse could not house them all.

The old Carpentier school was replaced by a slightly larger building between Jefferson and Grove ( now Martin Luther King) 11th and 12th Streets.

The city continued to grow and so did the need for schools. By 1873 there were 13 buildings with more than 2000 children receiving instruction. By 1875 there were 3,225 attending school an increase of 1000 in 2 years.

First A.M.E. Church

The First A.M.E. Church of Oakland began in 1858 by a small group of Oakland residents, and is the oldest African American church in Oakland. The church founders purchased the Carpenter School House in 1863, which became the first church building. 

Oakland Tribune 1883

According to the article below the building was still there in 1921

Oakland Tribune 1921
Oakland Tribune May 1952
Oakland Tribune Sep 12, 1943

In 1943 the school district celebrated their 90th Anniversary with nearly 2000 teachers, 75 schools with nearly 45,000 students.

More Info

Posted in Buildings, History, Streets, West Oakland

Then & Now – Oakland Schools Part 10

This is the tenth in a series of posts on Oakland Schools. I hope to show Then and Now pictures of most of the schools, along with a bit of history of each school I show. Some of the pictures are in the form of drawings, postcards or from the pages in history books. 

Not all schools will be included in this series and sometimes I might just post a picture of the school.

Note: Piecing together the history of some of the older schools is sometimes difficult. I do this all at home and online. A work in progress for some. I have been updating my posts when I find something new. Let me know of any mistakes or additions.

Golden Gate Elementary/Junior High School

Bay Public School was the first school in the Bay School District which is now the Golden Gate neighborhood. The 2-room schoolhouse was built in about 1875.

Bay Public School. Built-in 1875.
glass plate negative
ca. 1890
Gift of Fred L. Klinkner
H77.57.43

In 1885 two more rooms were added. In 1892 the school was replaced

Oakland Tribune Nov 19, 1892
New Bay Public School (built 1892)
Gift of Fred L. Klinkner
H76.295.65A

In 1922 a new red brick building was built.

Oakland Tribune

The School Today

CC SA-BY Our Oakland

The Berkley Maynard Academy is a charter school. The school is named after publishers Thomas L. Berkley and Robert Maynard.

Berkley Maynard Academy – Website

Herbert Hoover Junior High School

Herbert Hoover Junior High School (1929–1974) was located at 3263 West Street.

Plans for the new Clawson-Longfellow Junior High School were drawn in 1928. It was the last school to be built using the 1924 bond issue of $9,600,000.

Oakland Tribune Aug 29, 1928

The school’s cornerstone was laid on March 4, 1929, the same date as President Hoovers inauguration as the nation’s 31st president.

Oakland Tribune March 05, 1929

It was designed by John I. Easterly. 

The official dedication events for the school held during American Book Week, November 11-17, 1929

Oakland Tribune November 07, 1929

School Unsafe –

In 1972 the School board approved the replacement of 3 schools. The schools deemed unsafe in an earthquake.

The schools were Clawson and Durant Elementary and Hoover Jr. High. A new k-4th Grade was to be built on the Hoover site and a 5th – 8th at the Durant site.

The school was demolished in 1974, to be replaced with a more earthquake-safe lower school.

The School Today

The school is located at  890 Brockhurst Street, Oakland, CA

Hoover Today – Google Maps
Hoover Today – Google Maps
  • Hoover Elementary School – Website

More Info

Longfellow Elementary School

I haven’t had much luck with finding any photos of the old Longfellow School.

Oakland Tribune Nov 29, 1904

Longfellow Elementary school was opened in 1907 and was located at 39th and Market Street.

In March of 1907, a couple of the school board members questioned the name of Longfellow for the school. One thought it was too close to the Berkeley school with the same name. The other questioned the school being named after a dead poet who never did anything for the city. The name stayed with only one dissent.

New School

In 1957 plans were drawn up by the firm of Alexander and Mackenzie. The plans call for 16 classrooms, kindergarten, library, special education room, multipurpose room, and administrative offices at a cost of $623, 600.

The new Longfellow Elementary School was formally dedicated in November of 1959. The new school replaced the multi-storied building built after the 1906 earthquake. It Cost $595,000.

Just Say No to Drugs!

First Lady Nancy Reagan met with a group of elementary school students and their parents Wednesday to talk about ways to fight drug abuse, one of the biggest problems facing the city of Oakland. UPI – July 1984

Today

Longfellow Today – Google Maps

Today the Longfellow School site is being used by the Oakland Military Institute.

Oakland Military Institute – website

Located at 3877 Lusk Street

More Info:

Lowell Junior High School

Lowell Junior High that most people will remember opened in January of 1928.

Oakland Tribune 1927

The new building cost between $288,000 and $ 320,000 (depending on what I read). The building fronted on Myrtle Street at 14th Street.

  • Groundbreaking – 1927
  • Cornerstone laid – 1927
  • Dedicated Jan 1928

 Howard Schroder noted Oakland architect designed the school.

Oakland Tribune 1928

Name Change

Prior to Lowell opening in 1928, the school was called Market Street Junior High.

Oakland Tribune 1924
Oakland Tribune 1927
Oakland Tribune Jun 10, 1926

In 1937 when the old McCymonds High School was abandoned, its students joined Lowell and then it was known as Lowell-McClymonds. A year later the name was switched to McClymonds-Lowell. The Lowell students were switched to Prescot Junior High in 1938.

Oakland Tribune Oct 1955

When McClymonds new school was built on Myrtle Street the name was changed back to Lowell Junior High School;

Historic Site

The new building replaced an old historic wood-framed building that had the distinction of being the “most named” school.

Oakland Tribune Oct 1955

Earthquake – 1955

Oakland Tribune Oct 1955
Oakland Tribune Oct 1955
Oakland Tribune Oct 1955

The building was damaged during an earthquake on October 23, 1955.

Oakland Tribune October 1955

The formal dedication for the new Lowell Junior High was in November 1959.

Oakland Tribune Nov 1959

The new school located at 1330 Filbert Street cost $1,656,083 and was designed by Warnecke and Warnecke.  

The new building had 18 general classrooms, 5 special Ed, 3 Art rooms, 3 homemaking rooms, 2 

More Info:

Peralta School

I haven’t found any early photos of Peralta. Does anyone have any?

April 1886
Oakland Tribune 1897
Oakland Tribune Nov 30, 1913

Peralta Today

Peralta Today

More Info

Posted in Black History, Business, People, West Oakland

Slim Jenkins Supper- Market

Harold “Slim” Jenkins was an African American entrepreneur and owner of the renowned Slim Jenkins Supper Club on 7th Street in West Oakland.

The exterior of Slim Jenkins nightclub
 E. F. Joseph Photograph Collection
Exterior entrance of Slim Jenkins nightclub and coffee shop.
 E. F. Joseph Photograph Collection

Liquor Store and Market

SF Examiner

Slim Jenkins saw the economic opportunity in the business district and opened a liquor store on December 5, 1933, the same day as the repeal of Prohibition. Soon the business expanded a cafe.

1934
The exterior of Slim Jenkins Super-Market
 E. F. Joseph Photograph Collection

The exterior of Slim Jenkins Super-Market
 E. F. Joseph Photograph Collection

Coffee shop opens in April of 1938. The rest is history.

SF Examiner 1938
The exterior of Slim Jenkins nightclub and Super-Market
 E. F. Joseph Photograph Collection

More Info:

The End

Posted in Buildings, Oakland, People, Uncategorized, West Oakland

Thomas Mahoney House

As I take a little break from my series on the schools in Oakland, I thought I would share this little bit of history with you.

These photos have popped up many times over the years and I didn’t give them much thought. They popped up again yesterday. I decided to look into them and see what I could find.

Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator. Thomas Mahoney House, 69 Eighth Street, Oakland, Alameda County, CA
. Documentation Compiled After. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/ca0013/>.
Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator. Thomas Mahoney House, 69 Eighth Street, Oakland, Alameda County, CA
. Documentation Compiled After. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/ca0013/>.

Both photos are online at the Library of Congress. Please note there is a typo in the LOC description the address is 669 Eighth Street.

  • Thomas Mahoney House – LOC

I don’t know what became of the house after these photos were taken. I will let you know if I find out anything.

Early Pioneer

So, I started looking into Thomas Mahoney (sometimes spelled Mahony) Wow, I was amazed to find a Thomas Mahoney living at 669 Eighth Street in 1870 The census reports he lives there with his wife and four children.

!8718 Directory
1888 Directory

Mahoney came to California in the 1850s. He mined for awhile in Tuolumne county before retiring on his ranch in Hills of Oakland. In 1863 he sold his ranch and moved to the home on Eighth Street next the St. John’s Episcopal He was married in 1863 and raised four children in the home. His wife died in 1891 and he died in 1900.

His obituary

Oakland Tribune Jan 29 1900

Thomas Mahoney a well known pioneer of this city, died at his home, 660
Eighth Street, last evening, in the 71st year of his age.

The deceased was a native of Ireland and came to this State many years ago, where he engaged in ranching. He owned a large quantity of land to the north of the present city limits, from which the sites now comprising Mountain View, St. Mary’s and the Jewish Cemeteries was purposed by the managers of those several burial places.

The deceased was a widower, his wife having died a number of years ago. He was the father of Mrs. Laura J. Bassett, Louise H., Emma E. and George Mahoney.

The funeral services will be held next Wednesday in St. John’s Episcopal
Church. Interment will take place in St. Mary’s Cemetery

Oakland Tribune Jan 1900

Family members continued to live in the home until around 1913.

St Mary’s Cemetery

In 1863 Archbishop Alemany purchased 36 acres of land known as the ” Mahoney Ranch” from Thomas Mahoney. The land is now known as St. Mary’s Cemetery next to Mountain View Cemetery. Thomas Mahoney was buried there in 1900.

Find A Grave – St. Mary’s Cemetery – Thomas Mahoney

Past and Present of Alameda County, California
Book by Joseph Eugene Baker
Oakland Tribune May 22, 1922

The Knave

Laura Mahoney Bassett was well known for her reminiscences in the Sunday Knave in the Oakland Tribune. She was the oldest daughter of Thomas Mahoney and she was born in Oakland in 1866 where she lived most of her 80 years. She died in 1950.

Oakland Tribune Jue 23, 1950

Sunday Knave

Some of her “reminiscences” in the Sunday Knave.

Oakland Tribune 1944
Oakland Tribune June 29, 1947
Oakland Tribune July 6, 1947
Oakland Tribune Aug 10, 1947

Go here to read the clip above. Oakland Tribune

The End