Posted in Advertisment, Early Montclair, History, Then and Now

“The Newspaper With The Hillside Slant”

Before “The Montclarion” newspaper rolled off the presses in 1944, there were two earlier editions of the paper.  The Montclair Garden Club published a newsletter called the Montclair Clarion in the early 1930s and then the Montclarion

Montclarion – Thanks to Chris Treadway

Montclair Clarion

In January of 1935, a small booklet of community news and poetry appeared in mailboxes in the Merriewood area. It was sponsored by the Merriewood-Pinewood Improvement Club.

The Montclair Clarion was distributed free of charge. It included poetry, stories, and community activities, advertisements, and a recipe for Pumpkin Chiffon Pie.

The cover was a pen and ink sketch by Schuler of two pines, grass, and a view of the hills beyond. The sketch tool on slight variations, reflecting the seasons.

Montclarion 1992

The editor was Margery Lane Schuler, who lived at 5646 Merriewood Drive. Schuler was also the advertising manager, copyreader, publisher, and art director.  

In her first editorial, Schuler wrote that she hopes the Montclair Clarion will “have a great many people become more aware of the beauty of the district of the district and promote a desire for our living amongst the trees and nature, living close to God, thereby establishing us to live richer fuller lives.” We want them to see our sunset, to breathe our pines; and everyone should hear our birds sing in the morning, they like it too, out here.”

Some news from the Clarion

  • Mrs. Emerson’s garden party with an entrance charge of 50 cents.
  • The Women’s club was booked solid.
  • Realtor Ione Jones had a pine lot available for $1,500.
  • Montclair Realty at 6466 Moraga announced the permit for the Hamilton Market.
  • New street sign at the blind corner of Merriewood and Sherwood Drives.

On the cover of the April 1935 edition, it boasted a circulation of 1000, and by September 1935, the little book was less than ten pages.

Montclair Clarion Feb-Mar 1935 Thanks Chris Treadway

You can look at the above issue here: Montclair Clarion – Oakland Local Wiki

Montclarion

In 1940, the first issue of the Monclairion still a typed, mimeographed newsletter appeared. Promising its readers, “a personal newssheet will keep you informed on the interesting and important events in your community.

July 13, 1940 –Thanks Chris Treadway

The area’s monthly news source was published by the Montclair Townsite Association, “of, by and for the people of Montclair from Piedmont to Skyline.” The yearly subscription price: $1.00.

Thanks Chris Treadway

The editor, realtor Beatrice Pause of the Montclair Realty Co., had a staff of three nurserymen Elmer Warren, local resident Damond Woodlee whose forte was “scandal,” and her sister Pierette DeVincenzi.

Vol 2 No 54 July 1941

A popular and controversial column, “Well What Do You Know” by Yehudi, reported the goings-on of hill residents and merchants. “Yehudi” kept things stirred up by tattling on everyone, even himself.

“What local golf wizard took what local scribe’s pants at what club?” began a column in July 1940. “Little did he suspect this local scribe had shed his longies.” (and editors’ note read: Yehudi to be released from local klink Monday)

Vol 2 Oct 1941 Thanks Chris Treadway

Five months after that first issue appeared, The Montclarion became a weekly, six to eight-page publication that included the “important events of the community” gossip, meetings, gardening and cooking tips, new neighbors, and help-wanted columns.

Four months later, the paper was delivered by carriers every Friday to 2,150 homes.

Advertisements on the letter-size news sheet reflected the hill area growth.

  • Charles Huenneke had taken over the Montclair Pharmacy at the corner of Moraga and La Salle. 
  • Gil’s Market opened at 6120 La Salle.
  • Edward’s Cleaners and Hatters opened.
Thanks Chris Treadway

The following year four days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, urged residents to enroll in civilian defense classes. 

Vol. 3 No 1 Jan 1942 – Thanks Chris Treadway

But despite its popularity 2000 papers every week, the Montclarion died quietly som time in 1942 a victim of wartime shortages and rising production costs.

For nearly two years, the Montclarion was nothing more than a copyrighted title.

The Montclarion

Fred and Micky Graeser bought the title for $100.00 and rented printing equipment and set up shop in their home on Sobrante Road. They sold the paper in 1977.

Montclarion

The first issue was on October 27, 1944, and started as a four-page semi-tabloid whose pages varied in size.

Over the years, The Montclarion moved their offices at least eight times.

Montclarion

Various Issues

Monntclarion June 1949 – Thanks to Chris Treadway
Montclarion March 1952 Thanks Chris Treadway
Montclarion August 1953
Montclarion Nov 17, 1955
Montclarion May 1957
Montclarion April 1957
Montclarion 1962

Thanks to The Montclarion for their history.

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.

17 thoughts on ““The Newspaper With The Hillside Slant”

  1. Bravo! Such wonderful memories! It was interesting to see a pre-war mention of Feather River Camp and Tuolumne Camp.Thank you, Oakland Dots!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was such a kick to follow! Especially since I started my life from day 1 at 5672 Merriewood Dr in 1952. I lived there until I was 19, but returned many, many times until I had to move my parents to lower ground in 1999. Lower ground…no they didn’t pass away then! I got my Mom into Rossmoor, but had to move my dad into a nursing home there. He wasn’t happy about leaving his Merriewood home, but with 55 stairs it was very much necessary! When I started doing their shopping and hauling them up those stairs….it was necessary for me too! Very bittersweet!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I walked past your old house many times going to and from school. I grew up on Capricorn right at the corner of Florence Terrace. We also lived on an uphill lot in a four-story house. My mom would honk and we would have to go down and get the groceries. My Dad wasn’t happy selling our home either after my Mom passed it was just too much for him. I’m glad you enjoyed the little trip down memory lane. Dorothy

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Dorothy! I’m trying to picture where you lived. Was that across the street from the Brigman’s, the piano teacher? Did you know them, or am I in the wrong place?
        I also wanted to ask you something about 7-11 story (I worked there after high school for awhile). Where’s the best place to write to you?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Dorothy…here is another part to the 7-11 story. I don’t remember the years, but before it was Speedee mart it was Mini mart. Clint and Bert were the proprietors, or maybe they just managed it. I just remember how nice they were! In my mind it seemed like they were there for awhile. Can you see what you can find out? That would be great, thanks!

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      3. You sure are fast! That’s the article that I was talking about. I read it from top to bottom. You lived there…you must remember Mini Mart? I didn’t see it mentioned.
        Thanks again!

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  3. Talk about a walk down Memory Lane! I loved the newspapers, a reflection of another time, which brought back many wonderful childhood memories of growing up in Montclair in the 40’s & 50’s. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks, so much, Dorothy! The Montclarion certainly brings great memories for all of us who grew up in the area and followed it over the years, it had a really interesting history. One of our Burdeck Drive neighbors, Alice Wygant, was the office manager for the Montclarion in the early 1950s. I love all the different headers it used over the years! The 1962 Christmas issue lists Helen Lore as one of the staff—she was the mother of my Skyline classmate Stan Lore and somewhat of a Montclair legend. I’m sure my dad’s family would have been mentioned in the Montclarion many times as they were in the village from the early 1930s to mid-1960s. Wonderful to see a photo of Rev. Robt Carley, who was at MPC when we started attending church there in the early 50s.

    I understand that there’s an archive of the Montclarion somewhere—is that true. It would be wonderful if it could be digitized and available online—such great Oakland history! I don’t suppose there’s much chance of that. Thanks again for all you do for Oakland history!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, your family is mentioned in the Oakland Tribune a lot, so I would assume they would also be in the Montclarion a lot. Reading the history of Montclair Presbyterian Church when I worked there in the 80s was another piece of the puzzle that pique my interest in history. Yes, the Lore family played a big part at the beginning of the women’s club and business district.

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