Posted in History, Model/Display Homes

The Ward-Way – Homes by Montgomery Wards

In the 1940’s Montgomery Wards through it’s building services department sold pre-fab homes to be built by local contractors.  They would supply everything necessary to build your home.Oakland_Tribune_Sun__Apr_28__1940_

“The Ward Way method of building and furnishing is a simplified system of obtaining built to order home,”  states Ralph Jarvis  Ward-Way representative – Oakland Tribune Oct 27, 1940

I was able to find information 10 or so homes built “The Ward-Way”.   I am basing this solely on what find in the Oakland Tribune.  So, with that in mind, my list might not be perfect due to errors in the paper.  I am not perfect either.   If possible I have included a picture of the house as it is today.  All these homes were built in 1940.

Oakland’s Home Built The Ward Way

    • 4225 Lincoln Ave – Lincoln Highlands
    • 4215 Lincoln Ave – Lincoln Highlands
    • 3598 Lincoln Ave – Upper Dimond
    • 3917 Whittle Ave – Upper Dimond
    • 3001 Logan – Meadow Brook Fruitvale
    • 1991 Magellan Dr. – Montclair Highlands
    • 6024 Leona St – Leona Heights
    • 9909 Murillio Ave – Oak Knoll
    • 7879 Michigan Ave – Eastmont Hills
    • 2227 85th Ave – Castlemont
    • 1615 82nd Ave  – Webster

Here are a few:

4225 Lincoln Ave

4225 Lincoln Oakland_Tribune_Sun__Jun_9__1940_

3917 Whittle Ave

 

1991 Magellan

 

 

9909 Murillo Ave

Oakland_Tribune_Sun__Oct_27__1940_

7879 Michigan Ave

 

 

2227 85th Ave

 

 

1615 82nd Ave

1615 82nd ave

6024 Leona St

 

 

 

 

Posted in Model/Display Homes, Montclair Tracts

Display Homes

Narragansett House

Narragansett House is a New England Colonial-style home in the Montclair Highlands Section on Balboa Drive, built as a model home in 1937.

The home opened in February 1937, by the end of the first week, 3500 toured the home and by the end of April 1937 over 25,000 had toured the home.

Oakland Tribune February 1937

  • Narragansett House
  •  Montclair Highlands
  • Colonial style
  • Emge and Stockman – Developer
  • Earl R McDonald – Architect
  • HC Capwells – Decorator
  • Opened February 1937
  • 5546 Balboa Drive

Tomorrow’s Home Today

Tomorrow’s Home Today was the first Oakland Home constructed under the Precision Built system and it opened December 1939.  It is located at the corner lot at  Balboa and Colton Blvd in Montclair Highlands, with a sweeping view of the San Francisco Bay.

The home was sold by Montclair Realty Co.

“The walls and ceilings were built with Homasote, the oldest and strongest insulating and building board on the market.  The walls were prefabricated by the Precision-Built process in the shop of a local mill under standards of exacting accuracy which ensure tight joints, freedom from sagging and permanently crack-proof walls and ceilings”.  Oakland Tribune Jan 21, 1940

Oakland Tribune Dec 1939 and Jan 1940

  • Tomorrow’s Home Today
  • Montclair Highlands
  • Montclair Realty
  • John Wagenet – Architect
  • Mac Jordon – Builder
  • Arthur Cobbledick – Landscaper
  • Opened December 1939
  • 5500 Balboa Drive –
5500 Balboa Drive

The End

Posted in History, Montclair Tracts

Merriewood

Merriewood is a section or neighborhood of Montclair District of Oakland.   The Realty Syndicate were the exclusive agents selling the tract.  It first went on sale in 1924.

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Oakland Tribune Yearbook 1926

Oakland Tribune stated that:

no other tract in Oakland can offer such a “combination of magnificent view and comfortable home”   The ad went on to say  “it is so pleasant and healthful with trees all around and birds singing away –Great for youngsters”  October 1925

Lots in Merriewood were selling for as little as $1750 and as much as $2450 for a completely finished home.  Payments $30 dollars a month with interest.

 What your money bought in the 1920’s:

  • Large lot wooded and clear
  • Well built roomy house
  • Variety of floor plans
  • Gas, lights, water, paved streets
  • Fast local and San Francisco transportation

Public Stairways

The Merriewood Stairs are divided into two sections the Lower Merriewood stairs (from Thornhill Drive to Marden Lane to Merriewood) and the Upper Merriewood stairs (from Merriewood Drive to Valley View Road to Merriewood again). Merriewood Stairs _ Oakland Local Wiki.

Street Names

In Merriewood there is a group of streets named for the signs of the Zodiac. The streets are Aquarius Way, Capricorn Ave, Leo Way, Taurus Ave, Uranus Ave, and Virgo Rd.  There are small cluster streets named in honor of Robin Hood. They are Nottingham Dr., Robin Hood Way, and Sherwood Dr. Street Names Oakland Local Wiki

Various Clippings from the Oakland Tribune

From the Oakland Tribune 1924

First Model Home

The first model home was located on Thornhill Drive and Grisborne Ave.  The address was 5815 Thorn Road (now Thornhill Drive).  It served as the model home and tract office for Merriewood.  Later it was the offices of  Phil Hearty who sold real estate in Montclair for years, he also was involved in the development of many tracts in Oakland.

It is now the home of Montclair Community Play Center, which has served Oakland since 1933. Montclair Community Play Center

Model Home 5815 Thorn Road Oakland Tribune Sep-Oct 1924

Various Homes in Merriewood Oakland Tribune 1924-1927

Many of the early houses on Merriewood Drive were built as vacation cabins, and several retain their original clapboard siding: 5574 (1924), 5826 (1925), 5844 (1925), 5857 (1925), and 5876 (1926). An Architectural Guidebook to San Francisco and the Bay Area

Posted in History, Montclair Tracts, Uncategorized

Montclair Observation Tower

The Montclair Observation Tower was a two-story tower built by the Realty Syndicate in 1925 to help sell homes in the newly opened area of  Montclair Highlands.

Montclair Observation Tower 1925 - Oakland History Room
Montclair Observation Tower – Montclair Highlands 1923 –  Oakland History Room

The new observation tower in Montclair Highlands is open to the entire public of the San Francisco Bay district .. With the aid of the telescope and field glasses you could view the entire panorama.”  On a clear day, it is said you could see points as far away as the Farallon Islands.  Oakland Tribune June 25, 1925

 

 

Oakland_Tribune_Sun__Jun_21__1925_
Oakland Tribune  June 25, 1925

 

Oakland Tribune July 1929

 

Oakland_Tribune_Sun__Jun_21__1925_ (1)
Oakland Tribune June 21, 1925

 

Location of the tower

The tower (yellow arrow) is seen in this 1929 aerial By Fairchild

Montclair in 1928 Fairchild Aerial with arrow jpg

Near the intersection of Asilomar Drive and Aztec Way.

observation tower

 

Upcoming

1928 Model View home in Montclair Highlands

 

Posted in Early Montclair, Montclair Tracts, Uncategorized

Montclair Highlands – Top of the World

Oakland_Tribune_Sat__May_16__1925_ (1)
Oakland Tribune May 17, 1925

Montclair Highlands was one the earlier subdivisions in Montclair.  Located in the hills back of Piedmont and just above Montclair’s Business district or the “Townsite” as locals called it in 1925.

“Montclair Business Center as the name indicates is the tract opened as a community trading district”.   Oakland Tribune May 17, 1925

“Montclair Highlands is separated by the Business Center from the original Montclair” (more on that later).  Oakland Tribune May 17, 1925

Montclair Highlands fronts out overlooking the bay and beyond.

“It is said that the elevation of Montclair highlands affords a view which surpasses anything from any other point in Oakland”.  Oakland Tribune May 17, 1925

Montclair Highlands is soon called the “Top of the World”.

The wonderful panorama afforded from the “Top of the World” is available to you all today – to be framed permanently by the windows of the home you will build”   C P Murdock  Vice President of the Realty Syndicate – Oakland Tribune May 31, 1925.

“Skyline Blvd, which runs through Montclair Highlands has for years been the great scenic drive of the Eastbay”.  Oakland Tribune Tribune May 31, 1925

Oakland Tribune May 1925

 

Oakland_Tribune_Sun__May_31__1925_ (2)
Oakland Tribune May 31, 1925

 

Oakland_Tribune_Sun__Jun_7__1925_
Oakland Tribune June 7, 1925

 

Oakland_Tribune_Sun__Jun_14__1925_ (4)
Oakland Tribune June 14, 1925

 

Coming soon:

  • Observation Tower – Top of the World
  • The Model Homes of Montclair Highlands
  • Bus Service to Montclair Highlands