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.
Updated Jan 12, 2020
Manzanita Grammar School
In 1909 the Board of Education annexed the Fruitvale and Melrose School Districts. More on the history of annexation in Oakland.
The first school to open was Manzanita Grammar School, located on 26th Street between 24th and 25th.
The 2-story building with 8 classrooms, a principal’s office, teachers’ locker room, library, and a kitchen was designed by F.D. Voorhees and cost $23,000.
In 1920 there was a gas explosion in the basement of the school.
In January of 1926, the board of education accepted the plans for an annex to be added to the building already on the site. The new structure will cost $70,000.
In September of 1926, it was determined that the (new) Manzanita Annex that was more than halfway done was unsafe. The concrete work was entirely defective, and to make the building safe for occupancy, they had to remove the entire structure above the foundation.
The Alameda County Grand Jury was asked to investigate the faulty construction of the $70,000 school building.
New School Dedicated
A dedication ceremony was held in January of 1927 for the new $70,000 Manzanita School Annex at 24th Avenue and E.26th. The Mission style edifice had 8 classrooms and kindergarten and a restroom for teachers.
The new building adjoined the old school building.
In 1956 it was proposed that the 46-year-old 3-story building would be replaced with a new school building.
In 1958 bids were accepted to demolish the old school built-in 1909.
The new building was designed by Donald S. Mackey architect, and it contained 15 classrooms, 1 kindergarten, 1 special education room, a cafeteria, a library, and offices.
The new building was dedicated in September 1958
Manzanita is located at 2409 East 27th Street, Oakland.
Manzanita Community School (MCS) is a small school located in the heart of the Fruitvale neighborhood. Our bilingual program is K-3. We are one of the most diverse schools in OUSD.
Manzanita Community School – website
- Taking Over District – Oakland Tribune Jan 02, 1910
- Manzanita Grammar School to Open – Oakland Tribune Jan 1910
- Gas Explosion – Oakland Tribune 1920
- New School Unsafe – Oakland Tribune Sept 04, 1926
- Builder of School to Blame – Oakland Tribune Sept 04, 1926
- Grand Jury Probe – Oakland Tribune Sept 15, 1926
- Bidding Open for new School – Oakland Tribune May 27, 1957
Maxwell Park School
I am sorry to say I haven’t been too lucky with finding pictures of the first school or older pictures of the present school. Hopefully, someone might have some to share.
Maxwell Park School was established in August of 1924, in a single portable shack. It was then a part of Horace Mann School. There were 108 students registered that first year.
In April 1925, preliminarily plans for a new Maxwell Park school were approved.
In 1925 it became a separate school, with Miss. Sue Dunbar as the principal and a faculty of four teachers.
In January of 1926, a new six-room structure was dedicated.
I haven’t found any picture of the first school.
Additions are added
The new addition was complete, and they eliminated the need for the portables, for now.
More construction in 1936
The school is located at 4730 Fleming Avenue, Oakland
Maxwell Park Now
Melrose Leadership Academy now uses the school. It is a dual immersion school in the form of bilingual education; Website
Elizabeth Sherman Elementary School
Sherman Elementary School is located in Maxwell Park The site close to Mills College.
In 1931 a new auditorium was dedicated. The auditorium was called “Little Theater,” and it consisted of two portables joined together to make one. There was a stage built at one end.
Sherman Elementary was named after Elizabeth Sherman (September 5, 1859 – June 27, 1937) was a long-time educator in Oakland in 1931.
In 1887 she was teaching at Lafayette Elementary School By 1907, she was the principal of the school. She retired from teaching in 1928.
In 1956 architects Foulkes and Dennis drew up the plans for a structure to serve 325 students.
The new unit included an administration office, library, eight classrooms, one kindergarten, one special ed classroom, and a music room. They continued to use the auditorium built-in 1936.
The ground was broken for the new school in May of 1957, and the students moved in February 1958. A formal dedication was in April 1958.
The school is located at 5328 Brann St.
Today Melrose Leadership Academy and Urban Montessori share the campuses at Maxwell Park and Sherman.
Urban Montessori Charter School (UMCS) opened in the fall of 2012 and became Oakland’s first public Montessori school.
- Urban Montessori Charter School – website
Melrose Leadership Academy (MLA) is a public school that emphasizes leadership development and focuses on social justice in partnership with our families
- Melrose Leadership – website
- Elizabeth Sherman – Oakland Local Wiki
- Site cleared -Ground Breaking – Oakland Tribune May 26, 1957
- Moving Day – Oakland Tribune Feb 09, 1958
Webster Elementary School
The Daniel Webster School is located at the large lot bounded by Plymouth, Olive, and 81st and 82ns Streets in East Oakland. The school over the years shorten the name to just Webster School.
The school opened in 1922 with just 4 classrooms, 200 students, and plenty of room to grow.
The construction of a 14 room addition and an auditorium to the school was to begin in July of 1925.
Below is how the school looked in 1925.
The school is located at 8000 Birch St.
The Webster Elementary School site hosts the East Oakland Pride Elementary. A TK-5 school in the Arroyo Viejo neighborhood, situated on the old Webster Academy campus. We offer both Spanish-English bilingual and English-only programs in K-2; upper grades are taught in English.
- School Dedicated – Oakland Tribune Jan 25, 1922
- School Addition – Oakland Tribune June 1925
- East Oakland Pride – Website