I 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-80's. On that tour, I learned that there use to be a train (Sacramento Northern) that ran through Montclair, in the early 1900's and that people lived the area as early as 1860's. I have 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.
Ardsley Heights is part of Bella Park and is now considered part of Ivy Hill. The streets of Ardsley Heights are Park Blvd, East 28th Street, Bay View Avenue, Lake View Avenue Elliot Street and East 34th Street.
Ardsley Heights went on sale October 1912 by the Realty Syndicate.
Adjoining F.M. Smith’s home
Directly across from the Home Club
Twelve Minutes by car from Broadway
The above photo shows the house at 1011 Bay View Ave . I was built in 1915.
The above photo shows the house at 985 Bay View Avenue –
View from Ardsley Heights
Showing the Home Club (later the German Pioneer Home) and the Smith Cottages (Home for Friendless Girls). The German Pioneer Home was demolished to make room for Oakland High School.
I couldn’t find much on Ardsley Heights. I will update if I find more.
Hays Canyon or sometimes called “Jack Hayes Canyon” was the area in hills behind Piedmont. Now known as Thornhill Canyon, Thornhill Drive and Moraga Avenue. For more info please see here – Oakland Local Wiki – Hays Canyon
On June 6th, 1894 Manuel Souza Quadros was murdered on the old Thorn Road in the “Jack Hayes Canyon” (Hays Canyon) by an unknown man while returning home. “The assassin did his work well and left no trace behind him”. Quadros had a wife and three children. He had a very “good reputation as a sober and industrious fellow”. He was returning home after delivering milk to the Oakland Creamery.
In order to reach the Moss Ranch (not sure where this was will have to research more) he had to pass through the canyon pass Blair Park. When found he was lying on the seat of his wagon “in a lonely place” in the canyon. He was shot in the breast . He was killed instantly by a 44 caliber pistol.
Theodore Medau , a rancher gives the only clue to the murder. He says “a middle- aged man, who was very excited” stopped him and said that a man was dead down the road. The man said he had 15 miles to drive and he was in a hurry. Medau went down the road a few hundred yards and found the deceased. San Francisco Chronicle June 07, 1984
Was He Assassinated?
Suspected in Murder
Quadros Suspected Slayer – Before Grand Jury
Miller Trial to Start
Miller does not seem to be frightened at the prospect of a noose.
Acquitted of Murder
Frank Miller Will Not Have to Stand a Trial
The moment Miller walked out of the courtroom he said was going to “start to walk East at once”.
Discharged and Rearrested
Murdered Man’s Estate
Now the question is who murdered Manuel Quadros? I can’t find anything on it…yet.
Is this considered a “cold case” ?
Is it still on the books?
Does the modern day Oakland Police Department even know about this murder?
Was he murdered for his estate?
Inquiring minds want to know.
More to come I hope.
In January of 1886 a man by the name of John Schneider (the name he gave them) was arrested for a stage coach robbery in Ukiah. When he was arrested the SF Call published a picture of him. See Below
Attorney Tom Garrity recognized the man as Frank Miller. Garrity was Miller’s attorney during Manuel Quadros murder case. Two other men also identified Schneider as Miller.
In my curiosity about the street names I noticed the phrase “gold star streets” come up. With further research I found that many of the streets of Oakland are named after and in honor of soldiers who lost their lives in World War I and lived in Oakland. The streets were called “gold star streets”. The name came from the custom of families of servicemen hanging a Service Flag in the window of their homes. Living servicemen were represented by a blue star, and those who had lost their lives were represented by a gold star.
In 1919, an article in the Oakland Tribune entitled “170 Names on Oakland Honor Roll” listed all the Oakland men who lost their lives in the World War. See below
Oakland’s street commissioner W.H. Parker was quoted in a 1928 Oakland Tribune article as saying, “Veterans who died during the World War and whose home had been Oakland are honored in the naming of many streets, and a special street sign has been designed with red, white and blue colors and a gold star for use on streets named for these veterans.” Oakland Tribune May 20, 1928
By 1932 the street department reported that there were “101 gold star streets named in honor of Oakland soldiers who died in France.” A total of 170 soldiers from Oakland were lost in battle. The names of 69 soldiers are still on the list of available street names . Oakland Tribune Feb 15, 1932
Montclair’s Krohn Lane is the only street named for a Korean War casualty; it is named for Second Lt. Jered Krohn, killed in Korea in 1951. Oakland Tribune Nov 23, 1955
This is was just brought to my attention. Pfc Donald R. Colgett died on March 2, 1951 while serving with a machine gun squad with the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Marine Division at Hoensong. This street is a part f the Crestmont Subdivision.
Sample Gold Star Streets Signs
Gold Star Streets Map
In 2016 I created a Google Map of the streets based on list of 170 that was printed in the Oakland Tribune . From what I have determined not all the names were used. According to one article it was left up to the “Street Numberer” in the Department of Streets. The list was given to the department in alphabetical order, but the names were evidently picked at random. Some names were too difficult to spell , whenever possible a veterans name was used.
I also started an Oakland Local Wiki Page – Gold Star Streets
Growing up in Montclair (for me) Thornhill Drive was always just Thornhill Drive. But come to find out it was once called Thorn Road (sometimes Thorne Road). Thornhill is a nicer sounding name than Thorn. But there is a perfectly good reason as to why it was called Thorn Road.
The name goes back to 1856 when man named Hiram Thorn (Hiram Thorne) built the road at a heavy expense. Thorn’s road brought redwood logs to Oakland out of the vast forest known as the Moraga Redwoods where he ran a lumber mill on Pinehurst Road. Thorn was later given a franchise to run and collect tolls for the road, it was one of 3 toll roads in Oakland. In 1933 Thorn Road officially became Thornhill Drive.
Since I found out about Thornhill Drive I have been very curious about the names of our city streets. If you are interested you can read more at the Oakland Local Wiki page Street Names.
Oakland had lots of streets that seemed to be name for tress. Like Acacia Avenue Beech Street, Birch Street, Holly Street, Linden Street, Locust Street, Palmetto Street, Pine Street, Poplar Street, Plymouth Street, Redwood Road, Sequoyah Road, Spruce Street, Walnut Street and Willow Street. To name a few.
In the Laurel District there are streets named for the states. The streets are Maine, Vermont, Jersey, Montana, Texas, Ohio (now Dakota) Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas. California and Wisconsin Streets. Maine, Vermont and Jersey are no longer due to the construction of the MacArthur Freeway . I happen to live on Georgia Street.
In Sequoyah Hills, which located in the Oakland Hills above 580, off of Keller Avenue, directly below Skyline Blvd. The streets are named Hansom, coach, chariot, phaeton, shay and surrey are varieties of horse-drawn carriages. Better yet, the theme is a pun, considering the wheel-like arrangement of Shay, Phaeton and Coach streets radiating from Hansom.
In Montclair there is group of street possibly named for early explorers. The streets are Balboa Drive, Cabrillo Drive, Cabot Drive, Drake Drive, Gasper Drive, Magellan Drive and Mendoza Drive. Another group of streets seem to be named after WW I Generals. They are Liggett Drive, Pershing Drive, Sims Drive and Wood Drive.
The following is a group of articles by Albert E. Norman from the Oakland Tribune in 1960-1960.
If you have wondered about the name of your street, leave message below and I will check it out.
Everyday while taking my kids to school we would pass a street call Rifle Lane. I thought that was a weird name for street. I wondered why? (they named it that), as I do a lot things as I drive around Oakland (or anywhere).
Fast forward a few years later. I was looking up the history of the area I lived in off of Keller Ave. The area is now called the Eastmont Hills (kind of boring). The area goes back to 1925 when the C.P Murdock Company put it on the market and they called it Melrose Highlands. The area is just up the hill from the new Chevrolet Assembly Plant (now Eastmont Town Center). They sold the area as good place to live if you work at the plant.
In my research I came across the following article from July of 1925. The Upper San Leandro filter plant (7700 Greenly Drive) and the State Rifle Range are adjacent to Melrose Highlands. I thought wow there was a rifle range right about where Rifle Lane is now. Solved that one. Well not really but…close.
Maybe now some the smart people who read this blog can help me in figuring out where the range waslocated.Maybe someone remembers it.
From the Oakland Tribune Oct 29, 1929 – Major fire in the Oakland Hills – threatens the rifle range. Map of the fire below –
What I know
The range has been called the following:
National Guard rifle Range
California National Guard rifle range
State Rifle Range at Leona Heights
Leona Heights Rifle Range
In 1917 the National Guard rifle range was transferred from Marin County to Leona Heights in Oakland. They had purchased “140 acres of land directly back of the quarry for the purpose”. The land was formally the property of the Realty Syndicate. The range opened in 1920. The location varies. Close to Mills College, 2 miles from Mills College, a the top of Seminary Drive and the back of the Leona Quarry.
It may have also been the location of the stables of the 143rd Field Artillery Regiment. I know there were horse stables there.
The California Guardmans highlighted the rifle range in their Feb-March 1925 issue. You can see it here. From the Military Museum site. “A California National Guard range and local training area located in the Oakland Hills of Alameda County. It may have also been the location of the stables of the 143rd Field Artillery Regiment. The site was developed approximately 1919 and was actively used until at least 1941. The site supported elements of the 143rd Field Artillery, 159th Infantry and 250th Coast Artillery Regiments. The April 1919 edition of The American Rifleman, stated that there were 60 firing points for rifles with targets placed between 200 and 600 yards. There was also a pistol range with 14 firing points. The range was described as one of the finest ranges west of Camp Perry, Ohio.”
The “Highlands of Oakland” went on sale in November of 1925. It is located area of of Tunnel Road and behind what is now the Parkwoods Condominiums. The area was burned during the 1991 Oakland Firestorm and I assume there are no original homes left.
The “Highlands of Oakland” includes the following streets Bristol Drive, Buckingham Blvd, Charing Cross Road, Devin Way Marlborough Terrace, Norfolk Road, , Sherwick Drive and Westmoreland Drive. The area is right on the border of Berkeley. The area is now called the Claremont Hills.
The Highlands of Oakland faces on Tunnel Road and is 20 minutes from the business district of Oakland. It consisted of 300 large parcels for a low price of $225.
Fred T. Wood Co. developed this beautiful scenic tract high in the hills of Oakland.
In the months prior to the opening of the “Highlands of Oakland” a large force of men had been actively building streets. The winding roads cover some of the finest scenic property in the San Francisco Bay –
More pictures of the Highlands of Oakland can be seen here – OMCA
“The Oakland Hills have been compared to the Seven Hills of Rome“.
Oakland Tribune Nov 29, 1925
“Miss Australia” Beryl Mills visits the “Highlands of Oakland” after touring UC Berkeley.