Then & Now – Oakland Schools Part 1 – A

My 100th post!

This is the first in a series of posts on Oakland Schools.

I hope to show Then and Now images of most of the schools, along with a bit of history of each school I show. Some of the photos are in the form of drawings, postcards, or from the pages in history books.

Note: Piecing together the history of some of the older schools is sometimes tricky. I do this all at home and online — a work in progress for some. I have been updating my posts when I find something new. Let me know of any mistakes or additions

Updated September 20, 2020

Castlemont High School

In 1863 Frank Silva purchased 73-acres of land for a farm. Castlemont High now stands on his land.

What was there before – Oakland Tribune Oct 10. 1965

Castlemont High School is in Oakland, California, United States, formerly 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 was designed by Chester Miller and Carl Warneke, Oakland architects. Oakland Local WIki – Castlemont High.

Pouring the Foundation


Castlemont Under Construction
CAstlemont Under Construction
Castlemont Under Construction
Oakland Tribune July 07, 1929

On August 12th, 1929, East Oakland High School opened at the cost of $670,000. Still, the name was short-lived, by a vote of the students and faculty in 1930 the name Castlemont was officially brought to prominence before being nationally designated the most beautiful school structure in the country.

Castlemont Entrance – Reflecting Pond


Castlemont Shops

The buildings’ main entrance accessed from Foothill Blvd down six steps to the reflection pool then ascends six steps to the extended terrace and the four entry solid redwood doors.  The full length of Castlemonts grounds adjacent to Foothill having been magnificently landscaped.

Castlemont High circa 1929

Castlemont High circa the 1930s

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

Castlemont is demolished
Castlemont is gone.

Castlemont Today


Castlemont Today
OUSD Today

Castlemont High Today

For eight years, 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.

Dewey School
38th Avenue and East 12th Street
Circa 1919 – Cheney Photo Advertising


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 the cost of $5,000.

Oakland Evening Tribune Jan 20, 1887

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 the 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 steelwork were done, and the building was ready for the roof. When the school was finally done, the total cost was $204,343,45.

Screen Shot 2020-01-28 at 12.41.39 AM

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 an old report card from 1875.

Oakland_Tribune_Sun__Mar_27__1960_ (1)


Oakland Tribune Dec 20, 1956Oakland Tribune Mar 27, 1960



Franklin Elementary – today

More Info:

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.


Oakland Tribune 1910

John C Fremont High School

Cheney Photo Advertising Company circa 1910

Preview(opens in a new tab)

The old building was destroyed in an arson fire on the night of January 1, 1930.


Oakland Tribune Jan 2, 1930


Oakland Tribune Jan 3m 1930

New School


Oakland Tribune Jul 29, 1931
Oakland Tribune Jan 10,1932
Fremont High School Cornerstone CeremonyFruitvale Masons Aug 22 1931 looking north Foothill school officials and civic leaders Photo by Blake, Orville T.
California Hist. Room (CALIF)

The school reopened on April 19, 1932. It was constructed with the assistance of the federal Public Works Administration (P.W.A.) funds.

Fremont Today

Fremont School Today –

More Info:

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 first 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 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 an 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

More Info:

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

More Info:

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

More Info:

Sequoia Elementary School

Sequoia Elementary School is located 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

More Info:

Please see Part 1 B for University High School

The End

8 thoughts on “Then & Now – Oakland Schools Part 1 – A

Add yours

  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

  2. I went to Horace Mann and Fremont High when they were beautiful architectural gems. It was sad to see them razed and to see that this was called progress…just plain ugly now.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My late friend, Phil Chesnutt was an alumnus of Castlemont High School in 1944. He loved the old “castle.” He would have been especially proud to know the original was once considered the most beautiful school in the Union. Thank you for your research and presentation. M. Engel, Tech ’45

        Liked by 1 person

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