In this series of posts, I hope to show Then and Now images Oakland Schools. Along with a bit of history of each school, I highlight. Some of the photos are in the form of drawings or postcards, or from the pages of 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.
Bids were in to build a new school at the corner of West Street. The bid of $5000 made by J.J. Chapplain was the winner. The new school was called the Durant School in honor of the Rev. Henry J. Durant, who the 16th Mayor of Oakland (1873–January 22, 1875) and one of the founders of the University of California.
Durant School opened in August of 1875. It was reported by the Board of Education that all grades were formed and that they had over 400 pupils with 8 teachers.
In 1878 a 6-room addition was added.
Durant Elementary School
Plans for a new Durant School to be built were accepted in 1912. The old school was sold. The new building built at the corner of 29th and West Street and was to exceed $160,000.
In 1971 (probably before), it was determined that the school was structurally unsafe in the event of an earthquake. Bids were requested for the construction of a new school. Don’t know what happened with that. I couldn’t locate any pictures of a newer Durant School.
Location 2820 West St Oakland CA
- Bids Accepted for Durant School – Oakland Evening Tribune Jun 04, 1875
- Durant School Almost Ready – Oakland Evening Tribune Jul 21, 1875
- The principal of Durant School Suspended – Oakland Evening Tribune Aug 26, 1881
- Bomb Explodes in Yard – SF Examiner Nov 02, 1950
Lafayette Grammar School
Lafayette School was located at 17th and West Street and was built in the late 1860s.
The Lafayette Grammar School was one of the first schools built in Oakland. Lafayette even housed Oakland High School in 1869.
Lafayette Grammar School was named in honor of Marquis de Lafayette, a French military leader and statesman who fought on the side of the colonists during a part in the American Revolution.
Lafayette Grammar School later changed its name to Lafayette Elementary School.
A brand new school was dedicated in October of 1949. Constructed at the cost of $594,825, the new school has 22 classrooms, a kindergarten, and an auditorium.
The school today
- New Lafayette School Dedication – Oakland Tribune Oct 28, 1949
Lakeview Elementary School
The School was established in 1909 as an annex of Grant School, which was over-crowded. The Board of Education built a temporary structure of two rooms at the corner of Van Buren and Perry Streets. They called the school the Grant Annex.
With the rapid growth of the surrounding area, it soon became necessary to build a permanent school.
In 1913 a large red brick building was built in a modern style of architecture opposite of the Grant Annex at the corner of Grand Avenue and Perry Street. The new school was called Lakeview.
John J. Donovan was the architect of Lakeview Elementary. The estimated cost of building the school was $75,000.
Lakeview was situated on a high terrace with ivy-covered banks. Two flights of broad steps lead from the main building to Grand Avenue.
Lakeview School is situated at the head of Lake Merritt and surround by the beautiful Piedmont Hills. In one of the most attractive districts of Oakland.
Oakland Tribune Oct 1917
Across the street from the main building were two attractive smaller buildings that could not be seen from Grand Avenue.
There were manual art portables and a playground complete with equipment.
It appears that Julia Morgan designed an addition to Lakeview in 1915
By 1917 Lakeview had an enrollment of 768.
Fire at the Lakeview School Annex – May 1937
MacArthur Freeway –
In 1926 a group of Lakeview district residents appeared before the Board of Education to advocate steps to protect the area behind the school from future development. See below
They should see it now!
Lakeview School will soon be an island, completely surrounded by traffic”.
Oakland Tribune Jan 03, 1962
The school is located at 746 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA, 94619
It is now a charter school
American Indian Public High School –AIMS COLLEGE PREP HIGH SCHOOL
746 GRAND AVE, OAKLAND, CA 94610 | TEL: 510-220-5044
- AIMS – website
- Pupils write about Lakeview School – Oakland Tribune October 14, 1917
- Freeway Turns School into a Traffic Snarl – Oakland Tribune Jan 05, 1962
- Fire at Lakeview School Annex – Oakland Tribune May 1937
Updated Oct 2019