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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 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 History, Oakland Tracts

Ardsley Heights

Ardsley Heights is part of Bella Park and is now considered part of Ivy Hill. The streets of Ardsley Heights are Park Blvd, East 28th Street, Bay View Avenue, Lake View Avenue Elliot Street and East 34th Street.

Ardsley Heights Tract Map
Blocks G&H of Bella Vista Park
1912

From Earth Sciences and Map Library, University of California, Berkeley

Ardsley Heights went on sale October 1912 by the Realty Syndicate.

  • Adjoining F.M. Smith’s home
  • Directly across from the Home Club
  • Twelve Minutes by car from Broadway
Oakland Tribune Oct 12, 1912
Oakland Tribune Sep 1912
A sign advertising the Ardsley Heights tract Circa 1915
Cheney Photo Adv. Co., photographers.

Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.
ohrphoto.districts.148

The above photo shows the house at 1011 Bay View Ave . I was built in 1915.

1011 Bay View DriveGoogle maps
Bayview Avenue between East 28th and Elliot Streets
in the Ardsley Heights tract, circa 1915

Cheney Photo Adv. Co., photographers.
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.
ohrphoto.districts.147.

The above photo shows the house at 985 Bay View Avenue –

985 Bay View Ave – Google Map
Park Boulevard in Ardsley Heights
c 1915
Cheney Photo Adv. Co., photographers.
Previously sold on ebay

View from Ardsley Heights

Showing the Home Club (later the German Pioneer Home) and the Smith Cottages (Home for Friendless Girls). The German Pioneer Home was demolished to make room for Oakland High School.

Home Club and Smith Cottages from Ardsley Heights
C 1915
Cheney Photo Adv. Co., photographers
Previously sold on ebay
Oakland Tribune Dec 28, 1919

I couldn’t find much on Ardsley Heights. I will update if I find more.

The End

Posted in Early Montclair, History

A Murder in Hays Canyon

Hays Canyon or sometimes called “Jack Hayes Canyon” was the area in hills behind Piedmont. Now known as Thornhill Canyon, Thornhill Drive and Moraga Avenue. For more info please see here – Oakland Local Wiki – Hays Canyon

On June 6th, 1894 Manuel Souza Quadros was murdered on the old Thorn Road in the “Jack Hayes Canyon” (Hays Canyon) by an unknown man while returning home. “The assassin did his work well and left no trace behind him”. Quadros had a wife and three children. He had a very “good reputation as a sober and industrious fellow”. He was returning home after delivering milk to the Oakland Creamery.

In order to reach the Moss Ranch (not sure where this was will have to research more) he had to pass through the canyon pass Blair Park. When found he was lying on the seat of his wagon “in a lonely place” in the canyon. He was shot in the breast . He was killed instantly by a 44 caliber pistol.

Theodore Medau , a rancher gives the only clue to the murder. He says “a middle- aged man, who was very excited” stopped him and said that a man was dead down the road. The man said he had 15 miles to drive and he was in a hurry. Medau went down the road a few hundred yards and found the deceased. San Francisco Chronicle June 07, 1984

Was He Assassinated?

Suspected in Murder

Quadros Suspected Slayer – Before Grand Jury

Oakland Tribune July 19, 1894

Miller Indicted

San Francisco Examiner July 26, 1894

Miller Trial to Start

San Francisco Call Sep 03, 1894
San Francisco Call Sep 03, 1894

Miller does not seem to be frightened at the prospect of a noose.

San Francisco Call Nov 14, 1894

Acquitted of Murder

Frank Miller Will Not Have to Stand a Trial

The moment Miller walked out of the courtroom he said was going to “start to walk East at once”.

San Francisco Chronicle Nov 21, 1894

Discharged and Rearrested

San Francisco Chronicle Nov 21, 1894

Murdered Man’s Estate

San Francisco Chronicle Nov 24, 1894

Now the question is who murdered Manuel Quadros? I can’t find anything on it…yet.

Is this considered a “cold case” ?

Is it still on the books?

Does the modern day Oakland Police Department even know about this murder?

Was he murdered for his estate?

Inquiring minds want to know.

More to come I hope.

Update –

In January of 1886 a man by the name of John Schneider (the name he gave them) was arrested for a stage coach robbery in Ukiah. When he was arrested the SF Call published a picture of him. See Below

San Francisco Call – Jan 29 1896

Attorney Tom Garrity recognized the man as Frank Miller. Garrity was Miller’s attorney during Manuel Quadros murder case. Two other men also identified Schneider as Miller.

April 18, 1886
San Francisco Examiner Feb 01, 1896
Posted in History, Oakland, Streets

Gold Star Streets

In my curiosity about the street names I noticed the phrase “gold star streets” come up. With further research I found that many of the streets of Oakland are named after and in honor of soldiers who lost their lives in World War I and lived in Oakland. The streets were called  “gold star streets”. The name came from the custom of families of servicemen hanging a Service Flag in the window of their homes. Living servicemen were represented by a blue star, and those who had lost their lives were represented by a gold star.

From the Oakland Local Wiki
Gold Star Streets

In 1919, an article in the Oakland Tribune entitled “170 Names on Oakland Honor Roll” listed all the Oakland men who lost their lives in the World War. See below

Oakland Tribune Nov 26, 1927

Oakland’s street commissioner W.H. Parker was quoted in a 1928 Oakland Tribune article as saying, “Veterans who died during the World War and whose home had been Oakland are honored in the naming of many streets, and a special street sign has been designed with red, white and blue colors and a gold star for use on streets named for these veterans.” Oakland Tribune May 20, 1928

Oakland Tribune May 20, 1928

By 1932 the street department reported that there were “101 gold star streets named in honor of Oakland soldiers who died in France.” A total of 170 soldiers from Oakland were lost in battle. The names of 69 soldiers are still on the list of available street names . Oakland Tribune Feb 15, 1932

Oakland Tribune Feb 15, 1932
Oakland Tribune June 15, 1944

Montclair’s Krohn Lane is the only street named for a Korean War casualty; it is named for Second Lt. Jered Krohn, killed in Korea in 1951. Oakland Tribune Nov 23, 1955

Oakland Tribune Nov 23, 1955

This is was just brought to my attention. Pfc Donald R. Colgett died on March 2, 1951 while serving with a machine gun squad with the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Marine Division at Hoensong. This street is a part f the Crestmont Subdivision.

Oakland Tribune May 08, 1957

Sample Gold Star Streets Signs

photo © Micheal Fishkin
From Oakland Local Wiki
photo © Micheal Fishkin
From Oakland Local Wiki

Gold Star Streets Map

In 2016 I created a Google Map of the streets based on list of 170 that was printed in the Oakland Tribune . From what I have determined not all the names were used. According to one article it was left up to the “Street Numberer” in the Department of Streets. The list was given to the department in alphabetical order, but the names were evidently picked at random. Some names were too difficult to spell , whenever possible a veterans name was used.

I also started an Oakland Local Wiki Page – Gold Star Streets

Gold Star Street in Oakland CA

Posted in Early Montclair, East Oakland, Oakland, Streets, West Oakland

Naming Our City Streets

Growing up in Montclair (for me) Thornhill Drive was always just Thornhill Drive. But come to find out it was once called Thorn Road (sometimes Thorne Road). Thornhill is a nicer sounding name than Thorn. But there is a perfectly good reason as to why it was called Thorn Road.

Thorn Road

From the 1878 Map of Oakland,

William J. Dingee 1878 Map of Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda . David Rumsey Map Collection –

The name goes back to 1856 when man named Hiram Thorn (Hiram Thorne) built the road at a heavy expense. Thorn’s road brought redwood logs to Oakland out of the vast forest known as the Moraga Redwoods where he ran a lumber mill on Pinehurst Road. Thorn was later given a franchise to run and collect tolls for the road, it was one of 3 toll roads in Oakland. In 1933 Thorn Road officially became Thornhill Drive.

From the 1870 Oakland City Directory

Since I found out about Thornhill Drive I have been very curious about the names of our city streets. If you are interested you can read more at the Oakland Local Wiki page Street Names.

Oakland had lots of streets that seemed to be name for tress. Like Acacia Avenue Beech Street, Birch Street, Holly Street, Linden Street, Locust Street, Palmetto Street, Pine Street, Poplar Street, Plymouth Street, Redwood Road, Sequoyah Road, Spruce Street, Walnut Street and Willow Street. To name a few.

In the Laurel District there are streets named for the states. The streets are Maine, Vermont, Jersey, Montana, Texas, Ohio (now Dakota) Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas. California and Wisconsin Streets. Maine, Vermont and Jersey are no longer due to the construction of the MacArthur Freeway . I happen to live on Georgia Street.

In Sequoyah Hills, which located in the Oakland Hills above 580, off of Keller Avenue, directly below Skyline Blvd. The streets are named Hansom, coach, chariot, phaeton, shay and surrey are varieties of horse-drawn carriages. Better yet, the theme is a pun, considering the wheel-like arrangement of Shay, Phaeton and Coach streets radiating from Hansom.

View Post

In Montclair there is group of street possibly named for early explorers. The streets are Balboa Drive, Cabrillo Drive, Cabot Drive, Drake Drive, Gasper Drive, Magellan Drive and Mendoza Drive. Another group of streets seem to be named after WW I Generals. They are Liggett Drive, Pershing Drive, Sims Drive and Wood Drive.

The following is a group of articles by Albert E. Norman from the Oakland Tribune in 1960-1960.

Oakland Tribune Jan 1960
Oakland Tribune June 12, 1960
Oakland Tribune June 19, 1960
Oakland Tribune June 26, 1960
Oakland Tribune July 03, 1960
Oakland Tribune Julu 10, 1960
Oakland Tribune July 17,1960
Oakland Tribune July 24, 1960
Oakland Tribune July 31, 1960
Oakland Tribune August 07, 1960
Oakland Tribune August 14, 1960
Oakland Tribune August 28, 1960
Oakland Tribune Sept 04, 1960
Oakland Tribune Sept 11, 1960
Oakland Tribune Sept 18, 1960
Oakland Tribune Sept 24, 1960
Oakland Tribune October 02, 1960
Oakland Tribune October 09, 1960
Oakland Tribune October 16, 1960
Oakland Tribune October 23, 1960
Oakland Tribune Nov 06, 1960
Oakland Tribune Dec 11, 1960
Oakland Tribune Dec 18, 1960
Oakland Tribune Dec 25, 1960
Oakland Tribune Jan 15, 1961
Oakland Tribune Feb 1961

If you have wondered about the name of your street, leave message below and I will check it out.

Links

Oakland related links:

Misc Street Links:

Coming soon Gold Star Streets

The End

Posted in History, Home Building, Oakland Tracts

State Rifle Range at Leona Heights

Updated with new map – May 11, 2019

Everyday while taking my kids to school we would pass a street call Rifle Lane. I thought that was a weird name for street. I wondered why? (they named it that), as I do a lot things as I drive around Oakland (or anywhere).

From Google maps – go here to see more of the map

Fast forward a few years later. I was looking up the history of the area I lived in off of Keller Ave. The area is now called the Eastmont Hills (kind of boring). The area goes back to 1925 when the C.P Murdock Company put it on the market and they called it Melrose Highlands. The area is just up the hill from the new Chevrolet Assembly Plant (now Eastmont Town Center). They sold the area as good place to live if you work at the plant.

Oakland Tribune Jul 25, 1925

In my research I came across the following article from July of 1925. The Upper San Leandro filter plant (7700 Greenly Drive) and the State Rifle Range are adjacent to Melrose Highlands. I thought wow there was a rifle range right about where Rifle Lane is now. Solved that one. Well not really but…close.

Maybe now some the smart people who read this blog can help me in figuring out where the range was located. Maybe someone remembers it.

Oakland Tribune Jul 19 1925

From the Oakland Tribune Oct 29, 1929 – Major fire in the Oakland Hills – threatens the rifle range. Map of the fire below –

Oakland Tribune Oct 29, 1929

What I know

The range has been called the following:

  • National Guard rifle Range
  • California National Guard rifle range
  • State Rifle Range at Leona Heights
  • Leona Heights Rifle Range
Oakland Tribune Apr 11, 1917

In 1917 the National Guard rifle range was transferred from Marin County to Leona Heights in Oakland. They had purchased “140 acres of land directly back of the quarry for the purpose”. The land was formally the property of the Realty Syndicate. The range opened in 1920. The location varies. Close to Mills College, 2 miles from Mills College, a the top of Seminary Drive and the back of the Leona Quarry.

San Francisco Examiner Mar 1921

In July 1921 a major fire destroyed most of the range. For more on the fire – Oakland Tribune Jul 04, 1921

Oakland Tribune Jul 04, 1921

It may have also been the location of the stables of the 143rd Field Artillery Regiment. I know there were horse stables there.

Oakland Tribune Mar 10, 1927

The California Guardmans highlighted the rifle range in their Feb-March 1925 issue. You can see it here. From the Military Museum site. “A California National Guard range and local training area located in the Oakland Hills of Alameda County. It may have also been the location of the stables of the 143rd Field Artillery Regiment. The site was developed approximately 1919 and was actively used until at least 1941. The site supported elements of the 143rd Field Artillery, 159th Infantry and 250th Coast Artillery Regiments. The April 1919 edition of The American Rifleman, stated that there were 60 firing points for rifles with targets placed between 200 and 600 yards. There was also a pistol range with 14 firing points. The range was described as one of the finest ranges west of Camp Perry, Ohio.”

Military Museum
Military Museum
From the Report of the Adjutant-General of the State of California – 1921
Oakland Tribune Dec 10, 1923

The End

Posted in Oakland Tracts, Tract or Subdivisions

Highlands of Oakland

The “Highlands of Oakland” went on sale in November of 1925. It is located area of of Tunnel Road and behind what is now the Parkwoods Condominiums. The area was burned during the 1991 Oakland Firestorm and I assume there are no original homes left.

The “Highlands of Oakland” includes the following streets Bristol Drive, Buckingham Blvd, Charing Cross Road, Devin Way Marlborough Terrace, Norfolk Road, , Sherwick Drive and Westmoreland Drive. The area is right on the border of Berkeley. The area is now called the Claremont Hills.

Cheney Photo Advertising c 1925
Showing the “Highlands of Oakland” of in the distance

The Highlands of Oakland faces on Tunnel Road and is 20 minutes from the business district of Oakland. It consisted of 300 large parcels for a low price of $225. 

Fred T. Wood Co. developed this beautiful scenic tract high in the hills of Oakland.

Oakland Tribune November 29, 1925

 “Highlands of Oakland Entrance to our tract from Tunnel Road. A week day average of over 6000 automobiles pass this point.”
Cheney Photo Advertising
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Howard-Gibbon
OMCA H89.64.15

In the months prior to the opening of the “Highlands of Oakland” a large force of men had been actively building streets.  The winding roads cover some of the finest scenic property in the San Francisco Bay – 

Highlands of Oakland
The steam shovel, an unfailing sign of progress.
Cheney Photo Advertising
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Howard-Gibbon
OMCA H89.64.15

More pictures of the Highlands of Oakland can be seen here – OMCA

Oakland Tribune Oct 1926

The Oakland Hills have been compared to the Seven Hills of Rome“.

Oakland Tribune Nov 29, 1925

Oakland Tribune May 1926
Oakland Tribune June 1926
Oakland Tribune May 1926
Oakland Tribune April 11, 1926

“Miss Australia” Beryl Mills visits the “Highlands of Oakland” after touring UC Berkeley.

Oakland Tribune Aug 22, 1926

The End

Posted in Home Building, Model/Display Homes, Montclair Tracts

Forest Park – Homes

Just a few of the homes of Forest Park – I will update if I find more.

Oakland Tribune May 1927 – 6415 Oakwood Drive
Oakland Tribune May 1927 – 6415 Oakwood Drive
Oakland Tribune Feb 28, 1928
6415 Oakwood Drive
6415 Oakwood Drive – Present Day – Google maps
6415 Oakwood Drive – Google maps
The Forest Park Home of Benjamin Locket
Built in 1927
Original address was Box 411 Idlewild Drive
Now 7087 Thornhill Drive
7087 Thornhill Drive Present Day – Google Maps

Forest Park Mansion known as the Castle

The castle was the home of Col. Leonard Dunkel. Dunkel lived at 6708 Thornhill from about 1932 until his death in 1974.

Oakland Tribune Aug 12, 1928
Located at 6708 Thornhill Drive
Oakland Tribune Jun 26, 1955
6708 Thornhill Drive – Present Day – Google maps
Casa Bonita – Oakland Tribune May 1929
6760 Thornhill Drive – Google Maps

The End