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.
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.
The estimated cost of the school was $1,638,445. The school was designed by the firm of Confer and Wills.
- Twenty-six classrooms
- 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.
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
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.
- Oakland Hills Residents want Schools Gone – East Bay Times Nov 2006
- Joint Purchase of 46-acre Tract – Oakland Tribune Apr 04, 1956
- Purchasing the Land – Oakland Tribune Sept 05, 1956
- Plans Ok’d for King Jr. High – Oakland Tribune June 19, 1958
- Bids for King Estates Junior High – Oakland Tribune Jan 21, 1959
- Named King Junior High – Oakland Tribune Oct 26, 1960
- Mother of 3 Slain By Sniper – Oakland Tribune Mar 18, 1973
- Mother of 3 Slain Pt 2 – Oakland Tribune Mar 18, 1972
- 2 Arrested in School Shooting – Oakland Tribune Mar 20, 1973
- 2 Arrested – Pg 2 – Oakland Tribune Mar 20, 1973
Ralph J. Bunche Elementary
No early pictures of Bunche Elementary
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 1966Ralph 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.
Ralph Bunche died on December 9, 1971.
As good as anyone”
Shirley Coleman, 5th grader
Shirley Coleman, 5th graderShirley Coleman, 5th grader
Bunche School Today
Ralph J. Bunche Continuation School – 9-12
The school is located at 1240 18th Street
- School Named for Bunche – Oakland Tribune May 30, 1962
- School Dedicated – Oakland Tribune Dec 13, 1963
- Bunche at School that Bears his Name – Oakland Tribune Feb 12, 1966
- Bunche’s Death – Oakland Tribune Dec 11, 1971
- Preschoolers Learn About Black History – Oakland Tribune Dec 04, 1972
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.
The school was closed in the early 1960s because it was in the way of the New Post Office in West Oakland
- School is Open – Oakland Tribune Sep 14,1 947
- School Named For – Oakland Tribune Jun 13,1971
- Home Relocation Problem Faces City – Oakland Tribune Aug 27, 1959
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.
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 Today
4401 39th Ave, Oakland, CA 94619
- School is Organized – Oakland Tribune May 16, 1935
- Name Change – Oakland Tribune Jun 12, 1935
- Teacher in Charge – Oakland Tribune Jun 21, 1935
- Ground Broken for New School –Oakland Tribune Feb 02, 1949
- Formal Dedication – Oakland Tribune – Jan 19, 1950
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.
Westlake Junior High was known as Lakeview Junior High.
The formal dedication of the school was held on March 14, 1928.
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.”
2629 Harrison Street, Oakland, California 94612
- Westlake Middle School website – OUSD
- Plans Approved for Lakeview. – Oakland Tribune February 02, 1927
- Dedication – Oakland Tribune March 15, 1928
- Lakeview School is Ready – Oakland Tribune March 25, 1928
- Board Refuses School Name – Oakland Tribune May 02, 1929