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, I got started, and I was off and running. It 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 strayed 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 see 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.
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. When looking up the house, I am curious as to who the house was 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 “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 are 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.
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.
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.
In accordance with Alameda County’s order for residents to ‘shelter in place’ for the well-being of public and staff related to COVID-19 precautionary measures, Oakland Zoo will be closed Tuesday, March 17 and remain closed until the order is lifted.
Henry A. Snow, a naturalist, collector, and African big game hunter, established the Oakland Zoo in downtown Oakland. The first Zoo was located at 19th and Harrison. The area is now known as Snow Park.
In February of 1923, the city of Oakland accepted Snow’s collection of wild animals. The collection was valued from $30,000 to $80,000.
“On behalf of the city of Oakland, we are delighted to accept this valuable collection.”
Oakland Tribune Feb 1923
Two lion cubs and a boa-constrictor formed the nucleus, with various monkeys, bobcats, a cinnamon bear, a mountain lion, and a badger completed the menagerie.
After many complaints were filed with the city council and the park board from the neighborhood residents around the Zoo, who said the collection of animals were a nuisance.
The new location was in Sequoia Mountain Park (now a part of Joaquin Miller Park.)
In 1926 Henry Snow had a stroke and died in July of 1927. Snow’s son Sidney Snow continued in father’s footsteps.
In 1936, Snow established the nonprofit organization East Bay Zoological Society, which was incorporated as the Alameda County Botanical and Zoological Society.
The new Society was seeking to move the animals to the 500-acre Durant Park.
In 1939 the Zoo moved from Joaquin Miller Park to Durant Park.
Durant Park was once the home to R.C. Durant, the President of Durant Motors. Before that, the land from owned by F.C. Talbot. The park is located at the top of 98th Avenue.
Knowland State Arboretum and Park and Zoo
Visitors enter the Oakland Zoo in Knowland Park through the landscape of the Historical Park and Arboretum. The trees throughout this area are the remnants of the Frederick Talbot estate (see Edenvale.)
A row of Canary Island Palm marks the park entry. There are Mexican Fan Palms, Chilean Palms, and exotic Bunya Bunya Trees from Australia in the meadow and picnic grounds. These trees were all planted early part of the 1900s.
Knowland Park consists of approximately 443 acres, of which 350 acres are in the undeveloped Upper Knowland Park. The Zoo (in 1996) had 56 acres within the Historical Park, and 37 acres are in the Zoological Park.
Under a contract with the City of Oakland, the East Bay Zoological Society (EBZS) has full responsibility for the operation, maintenance, and development of the 37-acre Zoo and the 443 acres of Knowland Park.
The first significant addition was the construction enclosure for Miss Effie, the elephant, at the cost of $15,000. The move from the lower park to the upper area began. Video of Miss Effie in 1965 can be seen here: website
There was a 60-foot cylindrical gibbon tower at the entrance to the Zoo. The baby zoo was located in the lower area of the new Zoo.
“The Zoo, when completed, will be the most modern and beautiful one in the country.”
Oakland Tribune 1960
By 1967 the Zoo had relocated entirely to a canyon rising to a mountain overlooking the entire East Bay Area.
The Skyline Daylight a miniature train complete with a “Vista Dome” coach.
The Baby Zoo was completed in 1965 and totally rebuilt in 2005.
When completed, the Zoo would be 100 acres.
Sidney Snow Dies
People Came to See
Zoo Under Fire
In 1983 the Zoo was listed as number six of the “The 10 ‘worst’ zoos.’
The Humane Society of the United States said the conditions at the Zoo were so adverse that the elephants might be better off “serving five to ten years in Leavenworth.”
The Zoo was “a random collection of animals maintained in amateurish fashion and failed to meet even one criterion of an acceptable zoological garden.
They called the Zoo “concrete oasis.”
The report noted that there were no signs of cruelty to the animals, and they were generally healthy.
The Zoo’s response was, “it will be a first-class zoo in a few years.”
Since 1988, Oakland Zoo has been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the national organization that sets the highest standards for animal welfare for zoos and aquariums.
New and Improved Zoo
In his tenure, Dr. Parrott has turned the Zoo entirely around, making it one of the best in the country.
Many new exhibits have been created, including those for the hamadryas baboons and the chimpanzees. A new, spacious elephant exhibit was built in 1987.
The current sun bear exhibit was finished in 1995 and was featured on Animal Planet “Ultimate Zoos.” The white-handed gibbons now live on a lush island in the heart of the Rainforest. The African Savannah, with camels, lions, elephants, meerkats, hyenas and more, was completed in 1998.
The Zoo Today
In the summer of 2005 the 3-acre Valley Children’s Zoo opened with spacious new animal exhibits along with plenty of interactive play-structures for children. The ring-tailed lemurs, century old Aldabra tortoises, the interactive Goat and Sheep Contact Yard along with the river otters can be found in the Children’s Zoo. The popular American alligators, the bats, the pot-bellied pigs, the Old-World rabbits along with the Bug Room, and the Reptile and Amphibian Discovery Room are also in the Children’s Zoo.
June 20, 2018 – Almost three years since breaking ground and more than two decades in the making, Oakland Zoo’s highly anticipated California Trail opens. The expansion more than doubles the Zoo’s current size from 45 acres to 100 acres.
The California Trail also includes the interactive California Conservation Habitarium, Conservation Action Tent, California Wilds! Playground based on California’s diverse eco-zones, and Clorox Overnight Experience ‘safari-style’ campground.
Timeline of the Zoo
1936– Snow established the nonprofit organization East Bay Zoological Society, which was incorporated as the Alameda County Botanical and Zoological Society.
1939-moved from Joaquin Miller Park to Durant Park.
1948 – Became a State Park
1949: State Park property is leased to the City of Oakland for 50 years, and the City of Oakland subleased the zoo property to the East Bay Zoological Society.
1950: -The zoo property changed its name Joseph Knowland State Arboretum and Park.
1964 –City Parks Dept and Society run zoo
1965 – The baby Zoo opened
1975 Knowland State Park was conveyed to the City of Oakland.
1982 –East Bay Zoological Society took over the maintenance, operation, and development of the city-run Zoo. The 10-year lease agreement saved the city almost $315,880 a year. The Society signed a ten-year contract.
1985 – Joel Parrott was appointed the Executive Director. A 20-year renovation plan was put in place,
1994- Renews 10-year lease.
Timeline of Major Developments
Hamadryas Baboon Exhibit 1982
Chimpanzee Exhibit – 1988
African Elephant Exhibit – 1989
African Lion Exhibit – 1992
Siamang Island Exhibit – 1993
Malayan Sun Bear Exhibit – 1996
African Savanna – 1998
Maddie’s Center – 1999
Warthog Exhibit -2000
Mahali Pa Tembo – Elephant Exhibit 2004
Wayne & Gladys Valley Children Zoo Opened 2005
Baboon Cliffs – 2009
Wild Australia – 20110
Veterinary Hospital – 2012
The East Bay Zoological Society has operated and managed the Zoo for the City of Oakland from 1982 until August 2017, when it was renamed the Conservation Society of California to reflect better Zoo’s evolving purpose mission in its commitment to conservation.
In 1980 the Mckinley family of Oakland was one of seven Oakland families that were approved for a construction loan of $45,000 to participate in the Owner-Built Housing Program of Oakland Neighborhood Housing Services (ONHS).
The homes are located on 73rd Avenue between International Blvd and Holly Street.
The families were trained in construction techniques and were supervised by professional construction personnel. They took classes at the Owner Builder Center in Berkeley. The highly technical and most finish work was subcontracted out.
Each family was obligated to provide 40 hours of labor week on the construction of their home.
The couples had to have incomes of between $21,000 and $31,000. They had to be Oakland residents for a year and be first-time homeowners.
Architects at the University of California, Berkeley, contributed to the beginning design stages of the project and made the model used in the presentation to the City of Oakland.
The three-bedroom, two-bath homes were designed by Architect Richard McCarty of Morro Bay.
The project took about a year to develop, arrange for the money, and purchase the lots.
The City of Oakland purchased the lots for $3000 each.
The first seven homes took about ten months to build. In all I believe there were 14 homes built.
Before “The Montclarion” newspaper rolled off the presses in 1944, there were two earlier editions of the paper. The Montclair Garden Club published a newsletter called the Montclair Clarion in the early 1930s and then the Montclarion.
In January of 1935, a small booklet of community news and poetry appeared in mailboxes in the Merriewood area. It was sponsored by the Merriewood-Pinewood Improvement Club.
The Montclair Clarion was distributed free of charge. It included poetry, stories, and community activities, advertisements, and a recipe for Pumpkin Chiffon Pie.
The cover was a pen and ink sketch by Schuler of two pines, grass, and a view of the hills beyond. The sketch tool on slight variations, reflecting the seasons.
The editor was Margery Lane Schuler, who lived at 5646 Merriewood Drive. Schuler was also the advertising manager, copyreader, publisher, and art director.
In her first editorial, Schuler wrote that she hopes the Montclair Clarion will “have a great many people become more aware of the beauty of the district of the district and promote a desire for our living amongst the trees and nature, living close to God, thereby establishing us to live richer fuller lives.” We want them to see our sunset, to breathe our pines; and everyone should hear our birds sing in the morning, they like it too, out here.”
Some news from the Clarion
Mrs. Emerson’s garden party with an entrance charge of 50 cents.
The Women’s club was booked solid.
Realtor Ione Jones had a pine lot available for $1,500.
Montclair Realty at 6466 Moraga announced the permit for the Hamilton Market.
New street sign at the blind corner of Merriewood and Sherwood Drives.
On the cover of the April 1935 edition, it boasted a circulation of 1000, and by September 1935, the little book was less than ten pages.
In 1940, the first issue of the Monclairion still a typed, mimeographed newsletter appeared. Promising its readers, “a personal newssheet will keep you informed on the interesting and important events in your community.
The area’s monthly news source was published by the Montclair Townsite Association, “of, by and for the people of Montclair from Piedmont to Skyline.” The yearly subscription price: $1.00.
The editor, realtor Beatrice Pause of the Montclair Realty Co., had a staff of three nurserymen Elmer Warren, local resident Damond Woodlee whose forte was “scandal,” and her sister Pierette DeVincenzi.
A popular and controversial column, “Well What Do You Know” by Yehudi, reported the goings-on of hill residents and merchants. “Yehudi” kept things stirred up by tattling on everyone, even himself.
“What local golf wizard took what local scribe’s pants at what club?” began a column in July 1940. “Little did he suspect this local scribe had shed his longies.” (and editors’ note read: Yehudi to be released from local klink Monday)
Five months after that first issue appeared, The Montclarion became a weekly, six to eight-page publication that included the “important events of the community” gossip, meetings, gardening and cooking tips, new neighbors, and help-wanted columns.
Four months later, the paper was delivered by carriers every Friday to 2,150 homes.
Advertisements on the letter-size news sheet reflected the hill area growth.
Charles Huenneke had taken over the Montclair Pharmacy at the corner of Moraga and La Salle.
Gil’s Market opened at 6120 La Salle.
Edward’s Cleaners and Hatters opened.
The following year four days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, urged residents to enroll in civilian defense classes.
But despite its popularity 2000 papers every week, the Montclarion died quietly som time in 1942 a victim of wartime shortages and rising production costs.
For nearly two years, the Montclarion was nothing more than a copyrighted title.
Fred and Micky Graeser bought the title for $100.00 and rented printing equipment and set up shop in their home on Sobrante Road. They sold the paper in 1977.
The first issue was on October 27, 1944, and started as a four-page semi-tabloid whose pages varied in size.
Over the years, The Montclarion moved their offices at least eight times.
The name Lockwood has been a part Oakland for a long time. I am still looking into where the name came from. In 1875 the Lockwood School District reported the following. Lockwood was (is) considered a part of the Elmhurst District.
The site of Lockwood Gardens was once the extensive estate of William Cluff Jr. a wholesale grocer of some prominence in the early days.
Lockwood Gardens is located between 64th and 66th Avenues on the southside of East 14th Street on 2 1/2 acres of land that was occupied by a golf practice range and one house.
The proposed housing development that would become Lockwood Gardens was met with protest. The major complaints were as follows.
One the provisions in the funding of government housing the city was to carry out “equilievant demolition” program. Under the provision for every new housing unit built a substandard dwelling not with in the project area must be demolished. The city had not met the requirements the projects that were built in West Oakland. Lockwood was 372 housing units. Over 500 hundred homes would have to be demolished.
The cost of building the projects was about $1,175,525. Lockwood was ready for occupancy in 1942.
The Early Years
Lockwood opened in August of 1942. Originally designed for low-income families regardless of employment, they were converted for the use of families the defense industry only.
this metropolitan area’s answer to Govenment housing officials prayers”
Oakland Tribune 1944
In the 1944 the Lockwood had a population of 1600, which included 372 family units and a total of 800 children. An all volunteer Community Council. A very active Improvement Club, with the purpose to promote unity among the residents and to expand social and sports programs for adults and children.
There were two newspapers, two orchestras which provided music for the semi-monthly adult dances and the weekly teen dances. There was a community victory garden.
Organized girls’ and boys’ clubs carried out a full program of social and sports activities under the direction of volunteers.
There was an auxiliary police force of 40 members who provided their own uniforms served under Chief of Police James Rouse.
Race and Housing
In a letter to the editor of the Oakland Tribune Mrs. Mollie Thorner wrote the following:
Editor: Only recently has our whole neighborhood become fully aware of the shocking policies at Lockwood Gardens Federal Housing Projects. (65th Avenue). The neighborhood surrounding Lockwood Gardens is a fine democratic community where all peoples, regardless of race, creed, or color, live side by side and to the enrichment of all. The policy of Lockwood Gardens, however, is: No admittance to any minority groups. Please note that this is a Federal Housing Project for GI families of low income. All Americans are asked to fight on the battlefield, regardless of race, creed, or color. What do the good people of Oakland think of a policy where, if the GI lives to come home, he finds a Federal Project closed to him because of the color of his skin? These projects are partly paid for by the Federal. Government, but the policy is left in the hands of each city. And since one poison always breeds another, it has now been learned that hundreds of families live in Lockwood Gardens whose income is was above the maximum ser for Federal Housing tenents. We believe that the housing authorities shut their eyes to this to keep up the discrimination policy. We say with great pride, now that our community did at last find all these things out, it will leave no stone unturned to have these policies changed. The citizens of all Oakland have a duty in this.
Lockwood is also known as the “6-5 Vill” (Village), and is one half of the “Vill.” The other half of the “Vill” is the recently torn down 69th San Antonio Villas housing project, where infamous drug kingpin Felix Mitchell is from. The 69th San Antonio Villas has since been remodeled into condominiums. Once an extremely unattractive housing project, the Oakland housing authority also remodeled Lockwood Gardens. However, unlike the 69th Vill, whose crime rate dropped after remodeling, these efforts have done little to thwart the crime that still plagues the 65th Vill.
The Oakland Housing Authority received five federal HOPE VI grants totaling $83 million, enabling it to revitalize four large public housing sites and four small scattered sites. OHA’s first HOPE grant was used to renovate one of OHA’s original “war housing” developments, the 372-unit Lockwood Gardens, constructed in 1943. This was in 1994, 1998, 1999 and 2000
Lockwood Gardens was rehabilitated in the early 2000s.
Ostrich farming was promoted as a sound investment over a century ago. The farms, well documented on postcards, and were tourist attractions.
Ostriches were brought to the United States in the early 1880s from Africa. In the wild, they lived in warm, dry climates. Southern California seemed to have conditions similar to their natural African environment. By the late 1890s, there were eight locations in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Deigo counties.
The popularity of feathers in women’s fashion made raising the birds an attractive investment.
Farm in Oakland
In the fall of 1907, San Francisco newspapers ran an ad campaign for stock investment in an ostrich farm in Oakland.
In July of 1908, W.H.” Harvey” Bentley of the Bentley Ostrich Farm in San Diego County announced the opening of a branch in the Elmhurst District (sometimes Fruitvale) of Oakland at East 14th and High Street.
It opened on August 30th of 1908. It featured birds named Mr. and Mrs “George Dewey” (Admiral at the battle of Manila Bay) and the other Spanish American War hero from the Cuba campaign, “Fighting Bob” Evans commander of the Great White Fleet.
Forty-six birds compromised the original herd.
In 1910 it was announced that the addition of a factory to their local salesroom and yards. Which meant the hats were made in Oakland and not San Diego. For the years 1907 to 1911, ostrich plumage on women’s hats was at its peak and all the rage.
In January of 1912, the owner of the Bently Ostrich Farm, was killed in an auto accident near the San Diego farm.
His son sold the farm to a group of Oakland investors.
The name was changed to Golden State Ostrich Farm in 1913.
The farm had spacious ground floor offices and salesroom. In the sales there was a magnificent display of plumes in all sizes, prices and colors.
With the coming of World War I, as American and European women entered the workforce, utilitarian clothing replaced the flamboyant fashions of the early 1900s. Broader hats were pinned up with a broach or artificial flower.
Plucking is Painless”
Oakland Tribune May 01, 1952
The bird is shoved into a corner by several men. A hood is placed over the birds head. The plume is cut leaving about an inch of quill in the flesh. The quill would soon fall out.
Golden State Ostrich Farm in Oakland filed for bankruptcy in early 1915.
“Whole Ostrich for the Price of a Feather”
The press announcement said it was now cheaper to buy the entire ostrich than the amount once paid for the feathers to adorn a hat.
The ostrich farms in northern California had all but failed by 1915. The “industry” had a brief heyday, and in the end, defeat by war and a significant fashion change in hats.
The schools were a single-story building with integrated gardens, and pavilion-like classrooms increased children’s access to the outdoors, fresh air, and sunlight. They were mostly built in areas away from city centers, sometimes in rural locations, to provide a space free from pollution and overcrowding.
New School House
Free education and fresh air has interested educators from as far away as Paris, France“
The first open-air school in Oakland was established at the Fruitvale School No. 2 (now Hawthorne School) on Tallent Street (now East 17th). When it opened, there were forty students enrolled, from grades third through seventh. Miss Lulu Beeler was selected as the teacher because she had prior experience working in an open-air school in the East.
The school designed to help cure ill and tubercular children. The focus was on improving physical health through the infusion of fresh air in the classrooms and into the children’s lungs. The school was established as a medical experiment. The school reserved for children judged to be of “weak” disposition.
The Fruitvale school is decidedly a health school”
It was constructed at the rear of the playground, one hundred feet from the existing main building.
The square, the wood-framed building was raised to prevent underfloor dampness.
Each of the sides had a different treatment to reflect the sun. The southern side had tall windows that, when open, didn’t seem to be enclosed. The east side was opened to the elements with only half of a wall. A screen protected them from insects. In case of storms awnings can be pulled down to protect the students.
The school was to be the first in a series of open-air schools installed on the grounds of Oakland’s existing city schools.
There was some objection in opening the school, from the parents of the selected children and the children themselves. The parents did not want their children singled out; the children worried they would be teased as being “sick.” These fears were realized, and the teachers struggled with how to deal with the repeated taunts
The idea of the open-air classroom was incorporated in many of the new schools built in the 1920s. I don’t know how long the Fruitvale Open Air school was open. I will update if I find more information.
The Fremont Tract opened in 1911. The tract is located at the intersection of MacArthur and High Street with frontage on MacArthur, High, Masterson, Quigley and Porter Streets. The Realty Syndicate handled the sales.
“The tract is near Mills College and commands a beautiful view of the hills.”
Every lot in the Fremont Tract was a full 35-front -foot lot. The prices ranged from $10 to $18 a front foot – the terms from $35 to $85 for the first payment. The balance paid at $5 or $10 per month.
“Natural beauty and delightful surroundings, combined with even temperature, make this a delightful spot to build a home and enjoy living every day in the year. Every lot is high and well-drained.“
The eastern side of Quigley Street is now the High Street freeway exit, and Redding Street is part of the freeway.
This photo was most likely taken from the hill behind the present-day Walgreens on High and Redding Streets.
3315 Vale Street
3333 Vale Street
St. Lawrence O’Toole
Location of Walgreens today
Freeway exit ramp
Macarthur Blvd and High Street
Kanning Street is now Masterson Street, and Franklin Avenue is now 39th Avenue, and Hopkins Street is now MacArthur Blvd.
3651 39th Avenue
3625 Patterson Avenue
3840 MacArthur Blvd
St. Lawrence O’Toole
St. Lawrence O’Toole Catholic Church at the corner of Porter and High Street opened in 1911, in time for Christmas Eve Mass. The church was dedicated on August 25, 1912.
In March of 1956, the Diocese of Oakland broke ground for a new church just three blocks up High Street. They held the first mass on Thanksgiving Day in 1957.
A bit of history of 2062 Mountain Blvd. According to the OHA, the building was constructed in 1946 for Klee’s and designed byFrederick Dyer-Bennet. An addition was made in 1951, designed by John Carl Warnecke. The building was divided and the facade changed c.1990.
I could only could find one photo of the Equinox.
Johnnie Lee Jackson was the chef in 1948-1949. Johnny Radell was chef in 1949
In 1951, the restaurant was purchased by A. J. Flagg and John S. Flagg, who already owned Pland’s Restaurant. A. J. spent considerable time and money remodeling the restaurant before opening it in March 1952. Joe Kiklas was manager, and famed maitre d’hotel, Jerome DeFelice was host.
In 1953, the restaurant was sold to Sanford Cohn. Sanford’s closed in 1972.
Oakland’s oldest flatiron building resides at the juncture of Peralta, Center, and 17th Streets in West Oakland. Built in 1879 for William Walsh, the two-story redwood structure initially housed the Center Junction Exchange Saloon with apartments above.
A native of Ireland, Mr. Walsh purchased the Peralta Street lot in 1877. Peralta Street was one of the main avenues to Berkeley.
By 1877 the saloon had evolved into the Junction Cash Grocery and Liquor Store. In 1894 Mr. Walsh partnered with Austin O’Brien. The firm of Walsh & O’Brien was described as:
“importers selling direct to families, groceries, wines, cigars, home furnishing goods, hay, feed, and grain.”
Mr. Walsh bought out O’Brien’s share of the company in 1901 and changed the name to Walsh & Co.
Most who grew up in the Montclair District of Oakland have fond memories of Mort’s Drive-in on the corner of Moraga and Medau. My memories of Mort’s are from when it was on Thornhill Drive next to the 7-11. The smell of french fries (the best!)wafting through the air and into our classrooms would make our mouths water. I can still remember how good they smelled and tasted. Yum!
Long before Mort’s opened at the corner of Moraga Avenue and Medau Place, the land was part of the Medau Dairy. (read about the Medau’s here).
FYI – I don’t know why McKeen’s was sold. I am thinking the owner’s political life was taking up a lot of his time. But that is just my opinion.
The Corner of Moraga and Medau – 6420 Moraga
Here is how the corner looked like in 1954.
McKeen’s Charcoal Broiler
On a shakedown run, they sold three hundred “Big Mac’s” in four hours.
“Big Mac” & “Little Mac”
In 1958 Robert “Bob” Mckeen, a local realtor, opened a delightful contemporary style barbecue restaurant. The ex-Cal basketball star planned on eventually having a chain of them, and Montclair was the first one. It offered both take home and on the site dining.
“Montclair claims Big Bob and his natty new spot.”
Morton “Mort” and Gertrude Saunders bought McKeen’s in 1961 and reopened it as Mort’s Drive-In.
In April of 1966, fire swept through Mort’s Drive-In, causing several thousand dollars in damage.
The building was broken into through a rear window. Police believe the intruders were disappointed in not finding any cash on the premises. Papers and rubbish were piled in the middle of the room and set on fire.
Mort Sauders, the owner, offered a reward of $100 for information.
Going, going gone!
Crown Liquors and Cleaners
In 1967 a new building replaced the Drive-In.. Crown has been there ever since.
A special thanks to Chris Treadway for the clippings from the Montclarion.