Posted in Buildings, East Oakland, Laurel, Schools, Then and Now, West Oakland

Then & Now – Oakland Schools Part 1

My 100th post!

This is the first in a series of posts on Oakland Schools. I intend to show Then and Now pictures of the schools, along with a bit of history of each school if. Some of the pictures are in the form of drawings, postcards or from pages in historical books.

Not all schools will be included in this series. Sometimes I might just post a picture of the school.

Castlemont High School

Castlemont High School is in Oakland, California, United States, originally known as East Oakland High School. The Castlemont name was selected by a vote of the students. Castlemont High School was founded in 1929 in a medieval-style building. The school is located at 8601 MacArthur Boulevard.

Castlemont High circa 1920s

 Castlemont High was designed by Chester Miller and Carl Warneke, Oakland architects. Oakland Local WIki – Castlemont High

Castlemont High circa 1930s

The building was replaced in 1961 as the old one was not earthquake safe.

Castlemont High Today

For an eight-year period, from 2004 to 2012, the large school housed three separate smaller schools called the Castlemont Community of Small Schools. The smaller schools were known by the names:

  1. Castlemont Leadership Preparatory High (10-12)
  2. Castlemont Business and Information Technology School (10-12) (CBITIS)
  3. East Oakland School of the Arts (10-12)

Dewey School

Dewey School was established as an elementary school at 38th avenue and East 12th Street in 1899. It was a part of the Fruitvale School District.

It was named after Admiral George Dewey who was a hero in the Spanish-American War that was being fought at that time. 

Oakland Tribune April 28, 1899

In 1964 Dewey became the first continuation high school in Oakland. Below is how Dewey looked in 1964. In 1913 an addition was added to the original school and it was still in use in 1964.

Oakland Tribune June 12, 1964

Dewey is now located at 1111 2nd Ave, Oakland, CA, 94606

Dewey Today

Franklin School

Oakland Tribune March 1928

The Brooklyn School was a two-story building built in 1863-64 at a cost of $5,000.

Brooklyn was annexed into Oakland in 1872. After the annexation the nine year old school was renamed Franklin Grammar and Primary School.

Dec 30 , 1874

An addition to the school was added in 1879 at a cost of $3,217.

Oakland Tribune Dec 30 1902

On December 02, 1902 the school was destroyed by fire.

Oakland Tribune 1904
Oakland Tribune April 18, 1906

When the SF earthquake of 1906 struck the new school building was almost complete. The brick and steel work was done and the building was ready for the roof. When the school was finally complete the total cost was $204,343,45.

Franklin Grammar School – Cheney Photo Advertising Circa 1912

Franklin School

In 1923 an oblong shaped assembly hall was built at the rear of the school on 10th Ave and E16th. The cost $40,000.

Oakland Tribune 1926

In 1943 the schools address was 1530 Ninth Avenue.

In 1953, the 1906 brick building was declared unsafe. In 1955, it was demolished to make way for a new building. The new school was a principal part of the Clinton Park Urban Renewal Project. The school opened in Sept 1956 and was dedicated in Jan of 1957. The new school cost $467,000 .

In 1956 a man while remodeling his store found a old report card from 1875.

Franklin Elementary – today

The school is located at 915 Foothill Blvd

Fremont High School

The John. C. Fremont High School was the successor of Fruitvale High School, and was organized in 1905 by Frank Stuart Rosseter. The old building was destroyed in an arson fire on the night of January 1, 1930. The school has been located at 4610 Foothill Boulevard since 1905.

John C Fremont High School

Cheney Photo Advertising Company circa 1910

The old building was destroyed in an arson fire on the night of January 1, 1930. The school reopened on April 19, 1932.

Fremont School Today –

Frick Junior High

Frick was built on the Boulevard between Baker and Bay View (now Foothill and 62nd) . The school takes its name from W.P. Frick who donated the lot the school is to be built on. It was then part of the Lockwood District. The school was dedicated on March 17, 1909.

W.P Frick School

circa 1913 Photographer: Cheney Photo Advertising Company

The original school was kindergarten through the seventh grade. The building had 8 rooms. With the rapid growth of the area around Frick School it was decided to make Frick school a junior high in 1923.

New School

Oakland Tribune May 30, 1926

In a 1927 a new school was built on adjoining land and was called Frick Jr. High School. The style of the new building Spanish and Moorish architecture.

Oakland Tribune Jun 05, 1927

Another New School

In 1953 it was determined that the 1927 building was a poor earthquake risk. In 1957 the was broken for a new school fronting Brann Street. The old building was razed during the summer of 1960. The present school has been in use since 1960-61.

Frick Middle School Today

Frick School today – Google Maps

It is now called Frick Impact Academy

Hamilton Junior High School

Alexander Hamilton Junior High was built in 1922. The school is located at 2101 35th Avenue.

Athletic Festival at Hamilton Junior High

It was named after Calvin Simmons sometime in the early to mid-1980s. The school was renamed United for Success Academy in 2006.

The school today. Google Maps

Horace Mann Grammar School

Horace Mann was built in about 1910-1912. The school is located at 5222 Ygnacio Avenue. It was known as Melrose Heights School first.

Horace Mann Grammar School
Ygnacio and Vicksburg Avenue

Cheney Photo Advertising Company circa 1912

Groundbreaking for the new Horace Mann school after it was determined to be not earthquake safe was in 1959. The new school was formally dedicated in 1961.

Oakland Tribune May 11, 1959

Horace Mann today – Google Maps

Sequoia Elementary School

Sequoia Elementary School is located at on Lincoln Avenue at Scenic Avenue. It was built in 1910. Ida M. Hammond was the first principal. The building below is facing Scenic Avenue. The address of the school is 3730 Lincoln Avenue.

Original Sequoia School
Lincoln Avenue and Scenic Street

Cheney Photo Advertising Company circa 1910

In 1926 a new school building was built adjoining the original. The new building will have 13 to 14 rooms and an auditorium, it will face Lincoln Avenue as seen below.

The original building is razed to make room for a new $235,880 addition. The addition added seven classrooms and a cafeteria.

Oakland Tribune Nov 28, 1958

Sequoia School today. Google maps

University High School

University High School, which was built in 1922 and opened in 1923 and was designed by Charles W. Dickey.  The school is located at 5714 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, (the original street name was Grove Street, but became MLK, Jr. Way in 1984)

University High School circa 1920s

It originally opened in 1923 at what was 5714 Grove Street. Due to the proximity of the campus to the City of Berkeley, “UNI” gained the reputation of the “feeder” high school of Oakland of students directly to the University of California. The high school was closed following World War II in 1948.

n 1954, the campus was converted into first location of Oakland City College, which later became Merritt College. Merritt College moved to its new campus in 1967. In the early 1970s the location temporarily became a high school again, as Oakland Technical High School moved its students into the campus while its normal location was retrofitted for earthquake safety. At the time, many called this site “Old Tech,” although Oakland Tech was actually opened at its current location in 1914, before University High School.

The school is now used by the North Oakland Senior Center. Annual events at the Center include holiday dances, birthday parties, and flea markets. There are weekly salsa, swing and line dancing classes, along with activities such as Tai Chi and blood pressure screening.

University High School – today

his site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992

The End

Updated Oct 20, 2019

Updated Nov 08 , 2019

Updated Nov 13, 2019


I have been an Oakland history buff since going on an Oakland Heritage Alliance Tour of the Fernwood Neighborhood in the Montclair District of Oakland, in the mid-80's. On that tour, I learned that there use to be a train (Sacramento Northern) that ran through Montclair, in the early 1900's and that people lived the area as early as 1860's. I have been hooked ever since. Since then I have spent a lot of time looking into the history of Montclair and I have learned a lot. I feel this will be the best way to get it out of my head and onto paper.

One thought on “Then & Now – Oakland Schools Part 1

  1. Dave, check this “blog” out. Read about Castlemont High School, and maybe send it on to Frank Kite.

    A deal?

    Did you get a kick out of those track & field programs? TG.


    Liked by 1 person

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