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

Then & Now – Oakland Schools Part 8

 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 September 21, 2020

Fruit vale Public School” Fruitvale No. 1

The Fruit vale (as it was sometimes spelled) School district was formed in 1889 to build a new schoolhouse.

Fruit Vale Public School
Fruitvale School, the early 1880s situated on ‘the field
Standing in front of the school are the female teachers and the children 
OMCA Collection

San Francisco Examiner Jun 04, 1989
Oakland Tribune Jan 07, 1889
Oakland Tribune July 26, 1889

From what I can tell is the school was in the same general location of where Fruitvale Elementary school is today, at the corner of Boston Street and School Street.

New Life as Church

In 1896 after the Fruitvale No. 1 was built, the old school was moved and remodeled for use as a church. It was re-dedicated as the Higgins Methodist Episcopal Church in Mar of 1896.

SF Call Mar 09, 1896

SF Examiner Mar 1896

Fruitvale No. 1 – Fruitvale School Elementary

SF Call – Aug 27, 1895

In 1894 the  Fruitvale School district, the trustees were forced to meet the demand and take steps to build a larger school. The new school replaced the old Fruitvale School building from the 1880s.

The present quarters a ramshackle shanty, will be moved and a new building will be erected in its place.

SF Examiner Mar 29, 1895

SF Examiner Mar 29, 1895

The pastures of the Empire Dairy surrounded the school from 1880-1901

Oakland Tribune 1970

Back in 1885, the site at Boston and School Streets overlooked the city of Oakland and the Bay of San Francisco.

Fruitvale School circa 1901

The style of the new building was the Italian Renaissance. The architects were Cunningham Bros. of Oakland.

The plans called for a $13,000 2-story building with a concrete basement. Each floor was to have four large classrooms and lunchrooms for the teachers. The principal’s office was on the first floor, and space was reserved for a library. In the basement, there were separate playrooms for the boys and girls, janitor rooms, and a heating apparatus.

In 1913 Fruitvale School No. 1 was changed to just Fruitvale School.

New School Built

Oakland Tribune Nov 1949

The new Fruitvale School was dedicated on December 1, 1950. The new school has 14 classrooms, a library, a cafeteria, a kindergarten, and an auditorium. The school was designed by Ponsford and Price Architects and cost $497,700. The school has room for 569 students.

The dedication was attended by William Taylor, a long-time resident of the Fruitvale District, he was a student at the “old Fruitvale School “in the 1880s. Oakland Tribune June 1962

  • Fruitvale School website – OUSD

More on Fruitvale Elementary

Fruitvale School No. 2 Hawthorne School

Oakland Tribune July 1903
Hawthorne School
Fruitvale Avenue and Tallant Street circa 1919 Cheney Photo Advertising

In 1905 an addition to the school added 9 more rooms.

In 1913 Fruitvale School No. 2 name was changed to Hawthorne School. The school was on Fruitvale at East 17th (Tallant Street)

In 1923 a concrete culvert was built, and Sausal Creek was filled in.

School Destroyed by Fire in 1923

New School Built

The district purchased the property fronting on East 17th Street, adjoining the playground. The new school was built away from the noise and traffic of Fruitvale Ave.

Oakland Tribune Sept 1924

In September of 1924, they laid the cornerstone of the new school building. The school was designed by John J Donovan.

The new school is located at 28th Avenue at East 17th Street across the street from where the old Fruitvale School No 2 was located. The old school building was destroyed by fire the year before.

Oakland Tribune Sept 1924

The following items were put into the sealed cornerstone:

  • Minutes of Board of Education May 1924
  • Minutes of Board of Education June 1924
  • Outline of the school plans
  • Program from Cornerstone ceremony
  • History of the PTA
  • Names of all the pupils enrolled
  • Group photos of all the classes.
  • School Directory

The new school opened in January of 1925.

Oakland Tribune Jan 1925

The school is located at 1700 28th Ave, Oakland, CA 94601

Hawthorne Now

Today Hawthorne is the home of the Achieve Academy.

Achieve Academy (TK-5) serves students in the Fruitvale neighborhood and is one of the highest performing elementary campuses in Oakland.

Google Maps –

Google Maps –

Google Map – today

Fruitvale No. 3 – Allendale School

Fruitvale School No. 3 was built in the Allendale neighborhood in 1904.

Before 1904 children living along High Street had to make the long walk to Fruitvale School No. 1 on School Street in Boston. Allendale was chosen because of its central location to the children from Laurel Grove District (Laurel District) to High Street and down to Foothill Blvd, then known as Old County Road.

The 1904 school building cost $107,437 to build. The first years’ enrollment was 809. A four-room addition in 1910 and another four-rooms costing $49,458 were added in 1928.

Oakland Tribune July 1910

Miss Alice V. Baxley was the first principal of Allendale School from 1904-1913.

Fruitvale No 3 –
Renamed Allendale 1913

In 1913 Fruitvale No. 5 was renamed Allendale School.

Oakland Tribune Mar 19113

Oakland Tribune Mar 1914

Dangerous and a Hazard –

The school was deemed unsafe and closed in 1953. At the time, it was one of the oldest school buildings, there were 2 others from the pre-1906 era still standing. The old school building withstood the 1906 earthquake.

San Francisco Examiner Dec 1953
SF Examiner Dec 20, 1953

17 portables were placed on the site to house the students until the fall of 1959.

Old Allendale School Just Prior To Being Demolished – circa 1957 From the Family of Doss Welsh

Oakland Tribune 1957

The day of reckoning has come for the old Allendale School building which has been razed”

Oakland Tribune Jul 14, 1957

Oakland Tribune 1957

Oakland Tribune 1957

New School Built –

Plans for a new school were drawn up by architects George E. Ellinger and Roland Gibbs to cost $363,250.

Oakland Tribune June 18, 1958

Bids for a new school with 13 classrooms, library, multipurpose room, one kindergarten, and administration offices opened in 1958.

The school was completed in the fall of 1959.

Moving Day June 1959

Oakland Tribune Nov 8, 1959

Allendale Today

  • Allendale School Website – OUSD

Fruitvale – Allendale Junior High

A new Fruitvale School to be built in the Rhoda Tract at Hopkins Blvd ( MacArthur Blvd). The school to cost $100,000.”

Oakland Tribune 1909

Oakland Tribune 1909

The new school was called the Allendale – Fruitvale Junior High and was constructed at the Hopkins (MacArthur Blvd) and Coolidge Avenue.

Oakland Tribune 1928
Oakland Tribune Nov 09, 1928

The name of the Allendale – Fruitvale Junior High was changed to Bret Harte Junior High at a school board meeting in 1929; the other name under consideration was Dimond Junior High.

The school was named after  Bret Harte, who was an American author and poet and best known for his somewhat romanticized accounts of pioneer life in California. He lived in Oakland from about 1854 to 1857 at the home of his stepfather, Colonel Andrew F. Williams, who was later Oakland’s fourth mayor.

The school was the last to the new school to be built out of the 1924 Bond issue. It was constructed at the cost of $120,000.

The building contained 22 classrooms and had 699 pupils enrolled on opening day in 1930. The school took graduates from Fruitvale, Allendale, Sequoia, and Laurel Schools.

The school opened in 1930.

The school’s auditorium gymnasium building was constructed in 1950.

In 1957 the school district opened bids for a new building at Bret Harte.

The new building was built on the campus in 1959, another major expansion took place in 1979.

The 1930 time capsule in a copper box found during the 1979 construction was never opened and was since lost.

The school is located at 3700 Coolidge Avenue Oakland, CA 94602

Bret Harte Middle SchoolToday

Google Maps
  • Bret Harte Middle School – website

More Info:

The End

Author:

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.

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