Montclair East

Oakland Tribune June 9, 1964

Montclair East is a shopping center with business offices located at 2220 Mountain Blvd. It is now called Village Square.

James Fernhoff, a local real estate broker, was the initial developer.

The Site

Sidney Chown owned the 2 1/2 acre plot before the building of Montclair East.

 California Department of Transportation 1956

Sidney Chown was one of Northern California’s best-known horsemen when he died in 1961. He owned and operated grocery stores in Oakland and Berkeley.

 California Department of Transportation 1957

The Chown’s purchased the land in approximately 1920. They were considered some of the founding residents in Montclair.

 California Department of Transportation 1956

Chown and his friends organized Piedmont Trails Club. He built up his ranch to include 12 stalls and an arena for horses.

 California Department of Transportation 1960

After his death, his wife Lucille sold the property.

Project Approved

 During an Oakland City Planning Commission public hearing where Lucille A. Chown was asking for her property at 2220 Andrews St (the site) to be rezoned as commercial.

Fernhoff stated “the project would include parking for 110 cars, rustic architecture with shake roofs and no bowling alleys, drive-ins, car washed or super markets.” He said only ‘high class” businesses would be permitted.

Opponents, including several business owners, complained it would “spilt the business district” and isn’t needed. Apartments would be better, some said.

In August 1963, the city council approved the $750,000 project after the planning commission spilt 3-3 on its recommendation.

Montclair East Fought

 In October 1963, a group of twelve property owners near the site brought a suit against the City of Oakland. 

They charged that a new shopping center was unnecessary, would create traffic problems, and damage residential property values.

The Montclarion Oct 1963

James Fernhoff contended that the site is unsuitable for residential development because it was the site of the future interchange of the Warren and Shepherd Canyon(unbuilt) Freeways.

Now Leasing

Oakland Tribune Jan 09, 1964


The Montclarion Feb 17, 1965

The groundbreaking was held in February of 1965. A gold-plated shovel was used to break the hard old ground.

The Montclarion Feb 17, 1965

Construction and Design

Truck hauling dirt down the hill at a construction site on the north west corner of Scout Road and Mountain Boulevard in the Montclair district of Oakland, California. Circa 1960s Oakland History Room.

Construction for Montclair East, a 1.2 million dollar shopping center, began in May of 1965.

The Montclarion 1966

The plans called for a 28,000 square foot building with 20,000 feet on the ground floor devoted to a restaurant and 12 shops and 7,600 feet on the second floor to eight offices. The parking lot would accommodate 111 cars.

The Montclarion 1966

The center was designed by Robert B. Liles, an architect from San Francisco.

First Store to Open

Fox’s Market

The Montclarion Sept 21, 1966

Jim Fox opened his fourth supermarket located in Montclair East on September 21, 1966.

From Bill Fiset Column Sept 16. 1966

The new store featuring wall-to-wall carpeting was the first to open at the shopping center. The store occupied 6,000 square feet

Captain Satellite made an appearance at the formal ceremony held the following weekend.

Other Tenants

Oakland Tribune Nov 30, 1967


The Village Square – 2220 Mountain Blvd

More Info:

The End

20 thoughts on “Montclair East

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  1. Now I know how Fernhoff Drive across from Skyline High school got it’s name. I remember being at Foxes’s market when it opened. It was an upscale market with carpeted floors. I think we shopped there once and that was it. As I recall it went out of business not too long after it opened as did several other businesses. Not sure if it was due to Safeway or the awkward entrance and drive up the hill. It wasn’t going to get any foot traffic either as it was too far to walk from “Montclair” and people were not inclined to walk up the hill. As I recall many of the stores sat vacant for most of by end of the 60s, 70s and into the 80s. The place was a white elephant of sorts. Not sure what turned it around as by the 90s is was hard to find a parking space. Nice pictures of Mountain and Park before the freeway. And Captain Satellite of KTVU fame.

    Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful research on Sidney Chown’s history and his ranch that was turned into the Village Square. His octogenarian granddaughter Heather told me that after he and his first wife, Heather’s mother, divorced, he set the mother up with a small grocery store on Mountain Boulevard at the lower level of the two-acre ranch.

    We are still trying to figue out who Charles Tate was – he was a member of the Piedmont Trails Club with Sid Chown and the namesake for the Tate Trail.

    James Fernhoff, the real estate broker, was also a horseman and member of the Metropolitan Horsemen’s Association. Fernhoff Road is south of Redwood Road and Skyline Boulevard.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a few snapshots of the Andrews Avenue house from various angles, but nothing with the horse stalls or the log entry portal shown in the CalTrans photos, Have you tried the history feature in GoogleEarth?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I think this might be the Charles Tate you are looking for - and this You have probably seen this (page 7)


    1. Wait a second, I think thee’s a mistake with the date on the second DOT picture with the yellow arrow. The photo is dated 1956, it couldn’t be Montera wasn’t built yet. Take a look at the photo. You can see Scout Road and cars parked in the parking lot where the wood and metal shops are/were. These are wonderful posts and pictures. Thanks for posting and sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. oaklanddots glad I could help you with the date. You posts on the Oakland Schools are wonderful, thank you. Do you take requests? Could you do some research on Pinto Field/Playground on Redwood Road next to Carl Munk school? I seem to remember reading somewhere Pinto was a singing cowboy who purchased the land where the school and baseball field are today. He built a large home and horses with stables and a riding area. He then made it big time spending most of his time in Southern California and never really lived in the home. (My facts need to be verified.) Then there was a kids playground build on the hill beyond center field. A swiss chalet playhouse was built in memory of a little girl who died as the result of a mud side at 101 Kimberlin Heights Drive. A river of mud from across the street flooded the house and the mother was trying to save her daughter without success.
        Thanks again for all of your research.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The Pinto Ranch was built by cowboy singer Dude Martin. Harold Cummins, a trick rider, and his silent partner, impresario Stanley Cosca, were the second owners. Cosca also built Skyline Ranch, where the Oakland A’s original mascot, “Charlie-O” the Missouri mule, was stabled.

        A street-wide banner announcing a WWII-era Dude Martin show in Richmond is on display at the Rosie The Riveter museum.

        For more info and pictures, see out book _Oakland’s Equestrian Heritage_. I have recently found some more photos of the Pinto Ranch that I will scan and make available,.

        Is there a nearby memorial for the little girl who died in the Crestmont construction mudslide? I have heard of such a thing but have not gone looking for it.

        Amelia Sue Marshall

        Liked by 1 person

      3. @dougspindler – you are correct with your memory of Pinto Park. Pinto Ranch was built by cowboy singer Dude Martin in the early 1940s. I covered the Swiss Chalet house “Dollhouse for Diane” here - I have been thinking about doing something on the old dairies and riding clubs, which would include Pinto Ranch.
        Thank you for your kind words.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. @dougspindler – we should talk! I am very eager to do more research on the Piedmont Trails Club, the Frontier Boys, and the Aahmes Shrine Rangers mounted patrol. My number is five one zero, four eight two, nine seven one eight.


        Liked by 2 people

      5. @Amelia oaklanddots covered the Crestmont area mud slide and building of the swiss chalet kids size doll house at Pinto Field. If you look on Google maps/earth you can see where the mudslide occurred, the house is still standing. As for Pinto field and Carl Muck school it appears that was quite a place. Turns out Lou Abbott of Abbott and Costello fame owned or was part owner if the ranch. I’m still trying to get the connection between Pinto and cowboy singer Dude Martin, If found Dude Martin had a morning show on KGO AM and FM radio. back in the 30s. If you ever want to know why country and western music became so popular I have the answer. It’s an unbelievable story. .
        In the did you know department, did you know there was a large horse rink/stadium off Seminary near Mills College? I read a book several years about about the MHA in Oakland, and had no idea of Oakland’s history with horse show and trail riding.

        oaklanddots is doing an incredible job researching and sharing Oakland’s history. The story of the schools, especially Montera being a former scout camp, (Scout Road, duhhh) and Skyline…. Priceless.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. @dougspindler you are absolutely right that @oaklanddots is the our best Oakland history blogger. Her rigor and accuracy in research is the topic of high praise from Dennis Evanosky and others.

    I think you are referring to our book _Oakland’s Equestrian Heritage_ that has sections about the Mills College e

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Amelia for your kind words. I trying to get back into things it has been a hard summer in my home. My husband has just been home from the hospital for 2 weeks. I have lots of things in the works to post here.


      1. Glad to hear that your husband is recovering.
        I will put together a collage of the stuff you have posted for Chef Alan Carlson of Italian Colors, who will be delighted to know more history of the site.
        Your correspondent Doug Spindler talked to me at length yesterday about the history of the Woodminster area..


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