Then & Now – Oakland Schools Part 12

In this series of posts, I hope to show Then and Now images Oakland Schoolsand 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 March 2, 2020 – see Highland School

Edison Elementary School

In 1927 the Old Grant school at 29th and Broadway was closed, and two new schools were built to replace it, one on each side of Broadway.

Grant School No. 1 was at Kempton Ave and Fairmount Avenue and, Grant School No. 2 was at Summit and 29th Street.

Oakland Tribune Dec 11, 1927

Edison School 3239 Kempton Ave circa 1940

Edison Now

The school was closed in 1975 because it was not up to earthquake standards. The school was later sold to developers, and the classrooms were converted into expensive condos.

The playground turned into a city park called  Oak Park.

Edison Today –CC SA-BY Our Oakland

More Info:

The school was located at 3239 Kempton Avenue, Oakland

Highland School

Highland School – circa 1910-12
Photo by Cheney Photo Advertising

Oakland Tribune Dec 28, 1907

Highland School was established as part of the Highland School District in 1908 and was annexed into the Oakland School district in 1909.

New School

The school was dedicated on November 14, 1908. There were 250 pupils had enrolled in the new Highland Grammar School. The Mission-style building was built at the cost of $23,000. There were 8 classrooms with the possibility of adding more.

Oakland Tribune 1908

1923 a one-story 8 classroom addition was built, and in 1924, they added an auditorium for $44,200.

New School

In 1957 the old school building was demolished. Plans were approved for a new school to house 644 pupils. The new school was designed by Andrew P. Anderson and Irwin M. Johnson.

Oakland Tribune Jan 29, 1958

In 1958 a new school was built to replace the one from 1908. The new building has 9 classrooms, a special classroom, administrative offices, a library, and a multi-purpose room. The total cost was $411,999. The 1923 addition was retained.

 8521 A Street, Oakland, CA
Highland School Today – google maps

More Info:

The school is located at 8521 – A Street Oakland, CA

Today the school is called the New Highland Academy. The vision for New Highland is that our students become creative thinkers, effective communicators, and compassionate members of their community.

Grant School

Oakland Tribune Jul 28, 1885

Grant School was built in 1885 and was located on Broadway at the corner of 29th Street, then called Prospect Avenue. The Grocery Outlet is now where the school was originally.

Grant School in 1891
Gift of Miss Marietta Edwards

Oakland Tribune 1892

New School

Oakland Tribune 1905

A new school was approved in 1904. The plans were drawn up by San Francisco Architects Stone & Smith.

Another New School

The last day of school in the “old Grant School” building was January 9th, 1928. The 500 grammar school children would march in a parade to the new school buildings that were built. The two new buildings were constructed to replace Grant School. At that time they were called

  • Grant School No. 1 – Edison Elementary School (see above)
  • Grant School No. 2 – Grant School at 29th and Summit

Oakland Tribune May 30, 1928

The Front entrance in 1928

Building Abandoned

The old school building was abandoned and demolished. The land was sold for $350,000, and the money was used to pay for the new schools and property.

Oakland Tribune Jan 1928

Continuation School

In 1966 Grant became a continuation school.

Grant School Today

It is now the site of the Oakland Emiliano Zapata Street Academy.

The vision of Oakland Emiliano Zapata Street Academy (OEZSA/Street Academy) is to provide students a small, safe, high school with a social justice-focused college-preparatory education.

More Info:

Toler Heights School

In December of 1925, Toler Heights School was just one portable classroom, where 40 students attended school. There were six grades in one room under the guidance of two teachers.

New School

In 1927 a new school was built. The school had four classrooms and was Spanish in design. The new school’s capacity was 180 students and cost about $36,000.


Oakland Tribune May 1928

The new school building was dedicated on May 24, 1928.

Oakland Tribune May 1928
Shared in the Oakland History Group on Facebook

Toler Today

The school is located at 9736 Lawlor St.

In 2007 the school became known as the Alternative Learning Community, a middle school.

In March of 2009, it became notable as the first, middle school in the United States to be officially named or renamed after US President Barack Obama.

It is now the Francophone Charter School. It opened in 2015 as Transitional Kindergarten through third grade, which offers a French language immersion program.

More Info:

The End

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