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).
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.
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.
From the Oakland Tribune Oct 29, 1929 – Major fire in the Oakland Hills – threatens the rifle range. Map of the fire below –
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
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.
In July 1921 a major fire destroyed most of the range. For more on the fire – 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.
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.”
- Leona Heights Rifle Range to Open – Oakland Tribune Mar 14, 1921
- Youth Shot at Rifle Range – Oakland Tribune April 24, 1921
- Good Scores at Target Range – Oakland Tribune August 21, 1921
- Google search – Leona Height State Range