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.
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.
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.
You can look at the above issue here: Montclair Clarion – Oakland Local Wiki
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
The following year four days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, urged residents to enroll in civilian defense classes.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks to The Montclarion for their history.