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 at home and online — some are a work in progress. I have been updating my posts when I find something new. Let me know of any mistakes or additions.
Bella Vista Elementary School
“Bella Vista was a name once given to a two-teacher school of the primary standing.’ This school will become an annex of the new “Bella Vista School.”
In 1924 the Bella Vista School moved to the “Old” Intermediate School No. 1 at 1930 12th Avenue.
The Old Bella Vista school was located at 13th Avenue and East 19th Street. The building that was being torn down in 1951 traced its lineage back to 1863 when the first school on the site was built by the Brooklyn school district. When the Brooklyn school was annexed by the Oakland system, the school became the Franklin school formally but was known by the residents as the East Oakland school. Later it was renamed the A.W. Swett School (see Then & Now Oakland Schools Part 2)
The building in the above clipping was built in 1892. It was described as a “well-planned building of nine-rooms.” The building cost $52,952 and was designed by Howard Burns. In the 1912 Swett School was renamed the Intermediate School Number One, and 12 years later, in 1924, it became the Bella Vista School, and the name is held at the time it was condemned in 1934.
After the condemnation, only part of the building was in use until the new school was built in 1951.
New School and Location
The new school building is located on East 28th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues a few blocks from the old site.
In October of 1949, construction began on the new $538,213 Bella Vista School.
Reynolds and Chamberlain designed the building.
The new building has:
- 17 Classrooms
- A kindergarten
Built for a capacity of 630 and is a two-story structure of concrete and steel.
The dedication was held on February 7th, 1951.
Bella Vista Today
The school is located at 1025 East 28th Street.
- Work to Start on New School – Oakland Tribune Oct 7, 1949
- Dedication of New School – Oakland Tribune Feb 7, 1951
- Old Bella Vista Schoolhouse – Oakland Tribune Oct 2, 1951
- Relics of 1897 found at Old School Site – Oakland Tribune Jun 10, 1959
Glenview Elementary School
Glenview started as McChesney Annex School and was located at 13th Avenue and East 38th Avenue.
In 1924 the board approved a new school on a new site in the upper part of the district.
The laying of the cornerstone was in January of 1927. The two-story mission-style building was ready in April of 1927.
- Eleven Classrooms
- Assembly Hall
- Administration Offices
Locker-RoomsThe McChesney Annex name was changed to Glenview Elementary School in October of 1927.
Glenview Elementary school was formally dedicated in a ceremony with the Native Sons of California in November of 1927. The school cost about $110,000 and was designed by architects Williams & Wastell
In 1938 the students were moved to portables while the main school building was reconstructed.
The school was ready for occupation in March of 1939.
The school is located at 4215 La Cresta Avenue
New Campus: August 2020
The new classroom building will also feature:
- New Multipurpose room with a new stage
- Storage under the step for chairs
- Folding cafeteria tables
- Striping for basketball for indoor physical Education
- Modern and efficient plumbing, electric HVAC, and WiFi systems
Students at Glenview Elementary are currently being housed at the Santa Fe school site. At the same time, their new state-of-the-art facility is being built at its permanent location (4215 La Cresta Avenue) in the Glenview neighborhood.
- New McChesney Annex – Oakland Tribune Apr 25, 1925
- Plans APPROVED – Oakland Tribune Mar 01, 1927
- Plans Drawn – Oakland Tribune July 1927
- CornerStone Put in School – Oakland Tribune Jan 16, 1927
- Glenview Ready March 1st – Oakland Tribune Jan 22, 1939
- New School Project – OUSD Project Page
- Rebuild or Keep Art Deco Style – SF Chronicle Mar 07, 2014
- Problems and Long Delays – SF Chronicle Nov 27, 2017
Harbor Homes School
No pictures of Harbor Homes School
Harbor Homes School was located in the Harbor Homes Housing Project. Harbor Homes Housing Project was a temporary housing project built by the federal government in 1943 during WWII.
When the war ended, the temporary housing remained. The board of Education decided there was a need for a temporary school for the children living there.
A school was constructed for $85,000, and 266 students enrolled for classes on Mar 9, 1948. In the beginning, the ten portables were heated by a pot-bellied coal-burning stove.
In 1951 Benjamin Hargrave was the first-ever African American principal of an Oakland Public school.
The school reached its peak enrollment in February of 1961 with 456 students. Over 4000 students passed through its doors in the 15 years it was opened.
The final day was Friday, February 8th, 1963. Mrs. Lillian Clancy held a class with just five students; Stanley Watts, 11; Earl Watts, 10; Steven Watts, 9; Lee Jones, 10; and Jackie Jones, 6. Charles Cline was the Principal
By June of 1963, all of the Harbor Homes buildings were gone, including the school.
The address of the school was 1740 Ferro St
- Oakland Local Wiki – Harbor Homes Projects
- Oakland Local Wike – Harbor Homes School
- New Harbor Homes School – Oakland Tribune Sep 7, 1947
- Authority for New School – Oakland Tribune Nov 18, 1947
- Harbor Homes Skating Champs – Oakland Tribune Dec 29, 1960
- School Closes – Oakland Tribune Feb 8, 1963
In February of 1905, F.H. Danke’s bid of $3,100 for laying the cement foundation of the new Washington School was accepted by the board of Education.
Awards Contracts for Work
The Board of Education awarded contracts for the building of the Washington School to a variety of bidders. The list is as follows.
|Brick and Stone Work||P.J.Walker||$20,799|
|Structural Steel Work||Judson Manufacturing||$5,551|
|Fire Proofing||Roebling Const.||$8,845|
|Galvanized Iron/Roof||Pacific Ref. Roofing Co.||$794|
|Plaster Work||William Mehady||$3,681|
|Tile Work||Columbus Marble Co.||$369.94|
|Plumbing||Ingram Hardware Co.||$1,507|
|Carpentry||H.E. Brown & Co.||$15,821|
They started building the school on Aug 31, 1905.
The new school was a ten-room two-story building, fire-proof throughout, constructed of red brick and terra cotta. The building was designed so that later additions can be made at either end, and when it was completed, it was to contain twenty-two class-rooms.
The school still under construction sustained considerable damage in the 1906 earthquake.
In June of 1906, the school board reported they needed $100,000 to repair the damage and make the school earthquake-proof.
Judson Construction Company was re-awarded the contract to rebuild the ironwork and E.J. Walker for the brickwork.
In April of 1908, it was reported that the school would be ready in August.
In 1927 a new $45,000 assembly hall was built.
Principal C.E. Hudspeth
C.E. Hudspeth was the principal of the school from 1905 until his retirement in 1942.
For recognition of his service, the auditorium was named Hudspeth Hall.
The Washington School Alumni Association was formed in 1939. They held annual get-togethers to discuss the old days.
A new two-story reinforced concrete structure designed by William E. Schirmer was built in 1952, costing $634,000.
- Fourteen Classrooms
The school is located at 581 61st Street, Oakland, CA.
The school is called Kaiser-Sankofa.
Kaiser and Sankofa are two Oakland elementary schools that will be merging together into one school on the Sankofa campus starting in August 2020. To learn more about the two existing schools, you can visit the following sites.
- New Foundation – Oakland Tribune Feb 07, 1905
- Gives Land for Street – Oakland Tribune Apr 11. 1905
- Bid to Build Washington School – Oakland Tribune May 30, 1905
- Awards Contracts – Oakland Tribune Jun 03, 1905
- Work Starts – Oakland Tribune Aug 31, 1905
- Washington School Repair – Oakland Tribune Jun 26, 1906
- Judson Construction to Rebuild – Oakland Tribune Dec 18, 1906
- School is Ready – Oakland Tribune Apr 26, 1908
- Architects to Blame – Oakland Tribune Nov 24, 1908
- New Assembly Hall – Oakland Tribune Aug 23, 1927
- Bids For New School – Oakland Tribune May 21, 1952
- Groundbreaking – Oakland Tribune Jun 09, 1952
- Six Bids – Oakland Tribune May 21, 1952