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.
Not all schools will be included in this series, and sometimes I might post a picture of the school.’
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.
Chabot Elementary School
The Board of Education in May of 1926 approved the plans for a new school to relieve the overcrowding at Claremont School.
The new school was on Chabot Road at Patton Street. The was to have seven rooms and coat $50,000 and was called The Annex.
The “Claremont” Annex was dedicated was on April 21, 1927. The school cost approx. $89,000.
The article below is about the dedication of The Annex or Chabot School .
In 1937 an addition was added funded by the Living New Deal.
Chabot is located at 6686 Chabot Road
School Dedicated – Oakland Tribune April 21, 1927
Claremont Middle School
The new school at the corner of College Avenue and Birch Street was to be named Claremont School, and it opened in August of 1913 as an elementary school. The school was designed by John J. Donovan and Walter D Reed.
By 1916 the school was so crowded that they were using the teacher’s lunchroom and the auditorium as classrooms. Portables were added.
List of Graduates 1921
In 1925 7th and 8th grades were added. The elementary grades were transferred to The Annex (Chabot School) when it opened in 1927. Claremont soon after 1927 became Claremont Junior High.
In the 1950s 28 classrooms were added to the Claremont campus, plus a cafeteria and gymnasium.
The historic gates are all that remain of the original school building that was demolished in 1976. The gates were moved to the corner of Birch and College Avenue.
Members of the Vernon-Rockridge Improvement Club had hoped that the school would be named Vernon-Rockridge.
- Claremont School Defects – Oakland Tribune Dec 10, 1913
- Defends Construction of Claremont – Oakland Tribune Dec 25, 1913
- Overcrowded Schools – Oakland Tribune Aug 13, 1916
- New GYM – Oakland Tribune Nov 19, 1950
- Claremont Middle School – Oakland Local wiki
Centennial Celebration 2013
Letters to the Editor
- Claremont Middle the need historical accuracy – Apr 04, 2013
- Claremont Middle Centennial will be Accurate- Apr 11, 2013
Crocker Highlands School
In 1922 the board of education authorized the purchase of land for a new school named Crocker Highlands School.
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held in April 1925.
The six-room structure costing $40,000 was built as part of the 1924 bond issue. The school was designed by Wythe,Blaine & Olson.
The school was dedicated in September of 1925.
Miss Bernice Baxter was the first principal of the school. There were 61 students enrolled that first year and by 1929 there were 485 students enrolled.
In 1929 plans were approved a new $95,000 addition of 11 classrooms and an auditorium. Blaine & Olson were the architects.
In 1937 another addition was added.
In 1971 the original building from 1924 was declared unsafe in an earthquake and was to be replaced.
In 1976 when the school was upgraded for earthquake safety. They added a two-story with a basement, 10 classrooms, 2 special education rooms, a multipurpose room, a library/resource center, music room, teachers’ lounge, computer lab, kitchen, storage, and custodial rooms.
Crocker Highlands Today
- School Site – Oakland Tribune July 07, 1922
- Groundbreaking – Oakland Tribune April 07, 1925
- School Dedicated – Oakland Tribune Sept 23, 1925
- Crocker School – Oakland Tribune June 14, 1925
- Plans Accepted – Oakland Tribune Apr 17, 1929
- Parents Aid In School Refurbishing – Oakland Tribune Sep 07, 1970
Grass Valley School
In 1953 Oakland’s newest school was officially known as Grass Valley School. The name was chosen by parents of the children attending the school after it temporarily known as the Toler Heights Annex. Meadow View and Rancho Benito came in 2nd and 3rd.
On December 11, 1952 the school was dedicated. For the first 3 or 4 years the school consisted of three portables and 100 students.
New School Building
In October of 1957 plans were submitted to build a new school with eight classrooms. a kindergarten, a special education room, a library, multipurpose room and admin. offices. The new school was to house 362 students, cost about $350,000 and was expected to be completed by August of 1958.
First Day of School 1958
Grass Valley Today
The is located at 4720 Dunkirk Avenue
- The Name is Grass Valley – Oakland Tribune Nov 04, 1953
- Temporary School Dedicated – Oakland Tribune Dec 11, 1953
- Grass Valley Bids – Oakland Tribune Oct 30, 1957
Grass Valley Website – OUSD
Note: I wasn’t able to find any earlier photos of the school. Will update if I do.
Construction on the new Rockridge Highlands school began in 1950.
The new school housed 210 children in six classrooms, a kindergarten and a library.
It was designed by Anderson and Simonds and cost $218,697.
The school was dedicated on January 19, 1951, and was the 27th school building to be built as the result of the $15 million bond issue voted in 1945.
Name Changed to Hillcrest
In May of 1951 Rockridge Highlands School name was changed to Hillcrest School.
Hillcrest was spared during the 1991 Oakland Hills fire.
Forty-six Hillcrest families , including 59 of the school’s 236 students, lost their homes in the fire.
The school is located at 30 Marguerite Drive
- Work to start – Oakland Tribune Jan 12, 1950
- Student Share Toys After Fire – SF Examiner Oct 26, 1991
Note: I could not locate any pictures of the first school. I will update if I find some.
The school opened in February 1922. It cost $75,000.
They built a Spanish colonial renaissance style two-story structure with cement stucco and a tile roof. The exterior was painted coral with windows green-blue and tiles bright red.
They built it on a triangle piece of property on Broadway Terrace adjoining the Claremont Country club facing Broadway. The school was strictly elementary, teaching only the first six grades.
Large Play Space
“The kindergarten is one of the best in the west.”Oakland Tribune
The kindergarten contained ample play space, a fireplace and various nooks with a glass porch.
The rooms of all the grades opened upon a terrace which sloped down to a garden.
Ventilation in the new building was by windows and not by a fan, and there was a warm bench for drying wet shoes.
New addition planned in 1927.
Plans were approved for a new addition consisting of an assembly hall and 3 classrooms .
From Aunt Elsie’s Column in 1938
Condemned Building 1953 and 1971
In 1953 the auditorium was condemned and closed. Preliminary plans for a new one were drawn up in 1957.
The old building from 1922 was deemed unsafe in an earthquake in 1971.
In 1978-1979, the school building was torn down and portable classrooms were placed on the grounds.
The school closed after the 1988-89 school year, and later became Far West High School, which closed in 2011.
The school is located at 5263 Broadway Terrace.
- Rockridge to Open Soon – Oakland Tribune Feb 05, 1922