Posted in Black History, Buildings, East Oakland, Laurel, Schools, Then and Now, West Oakland

Then & Now – Oakland School Part 16

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 from home and online — a work in progress for some.  I have been updating my posts with new information or corrections.

Let me know of any mistakes or additions.

King Estates Junior High School

In 1956 the city of Oakland and the Board of Education (OUSD) agreed to purchase a 46-acre tract on Mountain Blvd. near the Oak Knoll for future development as a combined school and recreation area.

Central National Savings Bank Map 1923

They purchased the land from the heirs of Arthur Dale King a Hillsborough millionaire, who died in 1952.

Under the agreement, 19 acres of the total 46 were for the two new schools.

In June of 1958, the Board of Education approved the plans for the new King Junior High School on Fontaine Street.

Groundbreaking Oakland Tribune Feb 1959

The estimated cost of the school was $1,638,445. The school was designed by the firm of Confer and Wills.

Oakland Tribune Jun 1958
 

Oakland Tribune Jun 1958
  • Twenty-six classrooms
  • Gymnasium
  • Library
  • Multipurpose room
  • Administrative Offices
  • 800 Students

In October of 1960, the board ok’d the name “King Junior High” for the new school in King Estates.

 

Oakland Tribune Sept 06, 1960

School Shooting

 

Oakland Tribune March 18, 19

Oakland Tribune March 1973

In March of 1973, 15-year-old Leonard Key watched his mother die by a sniper’s bullet outside the school gym. Leonard’s mother, Mrs. Kay Key, and two sisters had just seen him play in an all-star basketball game.

Police arrested two 15-year-old boys who confessed to firing random shots onto the campus with a sawed-off shotgun and a .22-caliber pistol.

King Junior High Today

 

Google Maps
 

Google Maps
 

OUSD Photo
 

Google Maps
 

OUSD Photo

In 2005 two small highs schools opened at the campus; they are the Youth Empowerment School and East Oakland Community High School.

Now Rudsdale Continuation School and Sojourner Truth School are there.

More Info:

Ralph J. Bunche Elementary

No early pictures of Bunche Elementary

 

Oakland Tribune

Named in Honor of

The school named for Ralph Johnson Bunche (1903-1971). He taught Political Science at Howard University and was the first African American to get a Ph.D. in political science from an American university. He worked with helped Martin Luther King Jr. He was the first African American to be honored with the Nobel Peace Prize. He helped form the United Nations and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President John F. Kennedy.

Bunche Visits the School

In 1966 Ralph Bunche paid a visit to the school that bears his name.

“I have been waiting to come and see you since the school was established. I’ll try not to do anything that would anything that will embarrass you.”

Ralph K. Bunche 1966

Ralph K. Bunche 1966

Ralph K. Bunche 1966

He spoke to the 450 students in the play yard of the school. He then spent about an hour shaking hands with all the children and signing autographs.

After the event, some of the children said:

“He’s real nice, I liked the way he talked,” said Claudia Mason age 10

“He’s an intelligent man,” “He’s a real fine gentleman “
said Wayne Jackson age 10

Tribute to Bunche

Ralph Bunche Day was held on November 19, 1971. The children of the school paid tribute to the man the school is named after.

Oakland Tribune Dec 11, 1971
 

Oakland Tribune Dec 11, 1971

Ralph Bunche died on December 9, 1971.

As good as anyone”

Shirley Coleman, 5th grader

Shirley Coleman, 5th grader

Shirley Coleman, 5th grader

Bunche School Today

Ralph J. Bunche Continuation School – 9-12

The school is located at 1240 18th Street

 

Ralph J Bunche Today _ OUSD
 

Ralph J Bunche Today _ OUSD
  • Ralph J. Bunche website – OUSD
  • Who is Ralph J. Bunche – OUSD

More Info:

McFeely School

No early pictures of McFeely School

McFeely elementary school opened in Sept pf 1947. The school was located at the corner of Fifth and Peralta Streets.

 

Oakland Tribune 1947
 

Oakland Tribune
 

Oakland Tribune 1949

The school was closed in the early 1960s because it was in the way of the New Post Office in West Oakland

More Info:

Redwood Heights Elementary School

No early photos of Redwood Heights

The school was called the Laurel Annex School and was organized in May of 1935.

The name officially changed to Redwood Heights School in June of 1935.

 

Location of the first School

The first school was located at 4359 Bennett Place.  Avenue Terrace Park is there now.

New School and location

The Oakland Board of Education officially broke ground on the site of the new school at Mountain Blvd and 39th Avenue. The new school was the tenth building as part of the 1948 tax election.

The two-story building had 11 classrooms, a kindergarten, an auditorium, and a library. Donovan and Kerr were the architects.
4401 39th Ave, Oakland, CA 94619

 

Redwood Heights Construction 1959
Oakland History Room Photo

Redwood Heights Today

4401 39th Ave, Oakland, CA 94619

 

Redwood Heights Home – OUSD
 

Redwood Heights Home – OUSD
 

Redwood Heights Home – OUSD
 

Redwood Heights Home – OUSD

Westlake Junior High School

No early photos

The Board of Education approved plans for the new school in February of 1927.

The plans called for a two-story steel and concrete structure at an estimated cost of $260, 000. The “Spanish type” building constructed in the form of an L and had 35 classrooms, a gymnasium, shops, and an auditorium.

 

Oakland Tribune 1928

Westlake Junior High was known as Lakeview Junior High.

Dedication Ceremony

The formal dedication of the school was held on March 14, 1928.

Name Change

Renaming the school became necessary to avoid conflict with Lakeview elementary school.

The students wanted the school named after Col. Charles Lindbergh. The board decided against that. Lakeview Junior High became West Lake Junior High in May of 1929

One hundred sixty-two students graduated from West Lake Junior High on June 06, 1929. “The Biggest Class Ever.”

Oakland Tribune June 1928
 

Oakland, CA December 13, 1953 – Heralds from Westlake Junior High School opens the Christmas Pageant at the Oakland Auditorium. (Russ Reed / Oakland Tribune Photographer) (Photo by MediaNews Group/Oakland Tribune via Getty Images)

Westlake Today

2629 Harrison Street, Oakland, California 94612

  • Westlake Middle School website – OUSD
 

Westlake Today – OUSD
 

Westlake Today – OUSD
 

Westlake Today – OUSD
 

Westlake Today – OUSD

More Info:

The End

Author:

II have been an Oakland history buff since going on an Oakland Heritage Alliance Tour of the Fernwood Neighborhood in the Montclair District of Oakland, in the mid-'80s. On that tour, I learned that there use to be a train (Sacramento Northern) that ran through Montclair in the early 1900s and that people lived the area as early as 1860s — been hooked ever since. Since then, I have spent a lot of time looking into the history of Montclair, and I have learned a lot. I feel this will be the best way to get it out of my head and onto paper.

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