When Oakland became a city in 1852, there was no free public school. There was a private school at the corner of 2nd and Broadway run by Mrs. Monroe.
The town trustees saw the need for a school, so they rented a room at the rear of a dance hall called a Fandango House at 2nd and Washington. The room furnished with half a dozen wooden benches, a table for the teacher, a blackboard, a map of the world, and a rawhide whip. 12 to 15 children attended this school.
For control of the area around the harbor, Horace W. Carpentier donated a school building to the city. Oxen teams from the hills brought redwood lumber, and a small structure was erected at 4th and Clay Streets. It was 30 x 20 feet with a 12-foot ceiling and a shingled roof. A belfry with a little bell. Carpentier called the building, “substantial, elegant, and commodious.”
In June of 1853, when the school opened, the citizens held a parade, and 16 students carried a banner that read, “Our Duty to Our Country, First, Last, and Always.”
In 1853, the First Presbyterian Church used the building for services. The current sanctuary of the church (built-in 1914) memorializes the schoolhouse in one of its stained glass windows showing church history.
By 1855 there were 155 children of school age in Oakland. The little schoolhouse could not house them all.
The old Carpentier school was replaced by a slightly larger building between Jefferson and Grove ( now Martin Luther King) 11th and 12th Streets.
The city continued to grow, and so did the need for schools. By 1873 there were 13 buildings with more than 2000 children receiving instruction. By 1875 there were 3,225 attending school an increase of 1000 in 2 years.
First A.M.E. Church
The First A.M.E. Church of Oakland began in 1858 by a small group of Oakland residents and is the oldest African American church in Oakland. The church founders purchased the Carpenter School House in 1863, which became the first church building.
According to the article below the building was still there in 1921
In 1943 the school district celebrated its 90th Anniversary with nearly 2000 teachers, 75 schools with almost 45,000 students.