Posted in History, Montclair

Sunalta or Montclair?

The Sunalta District – was almost the name given to Montclair.

Back in 1919, the Oakland Real Estate Board advertised in Oakland Tribune, “$50 cash Prize” to come with a name for the area now called Montclair.

Oakland Tribune 1919

The deadline was Jan 1, 1920.

On Jan 11, 1920, the Tribune reported that the received about 2000 suggestions and decided on Sunalta.

Sunalta Wins

Oakland Tribune 1920

Sunalta was proposed by C.S. Rice of Oakland.

But for some reason, they felt there was yet a better name.

They extended the contest until Feb 15, 1920.

I have yet to find out the winner of that contest. I assume someone came up with Montclair. Thank you!

I do wonder what other names people came up it. With 2000 entries, there had to be something better than Sunalta.

The End


I grew up in the Montclair District of Oakland, CA. I attended Thornhill Elementary School, Montera Junior High, Skyline High School, and spent some time at Merritt College.

2 thoughts on “Sunalta or Montclair?

  1. What did they observe to name it Montclair? I remember the train used to run behind Montclair school as a kid, then went across Moutain Blvd where tennis courts now sit on a trestle, then behind village on west uphill side, crossed Snake Road with a bridge and then ran through Shepard Canyon where it went through tunnel out to Moraga and through Lafayette.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The only info I found was the paper and was very little. Some say it was named after Montclair New Jersey. Maybe it is because Montclair means “clear mountain” in French, I don’t know.


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