Open to the public (again) in June of 1940 “Maison Normandie” represented France’s famous Normandy style of architecture, both exterior and interior. The house is located a large corner lot high up in the hills of Oakland.
The large living room with a large window affording a view of the Golden Gate, the bridges and Treasure Island. Double french doors open onto a large tiled terrace in the rear with a built in barbecue.
It cost more than $20,000 to build and was advertised at $16,500.
With three bedrooms with two tiled baths, and a maids room with a bathroom. The large basement with laundry room and large storage closets. Two doors gave access to both the front and rear of the house, a short passageway leads into the two-car garage with a large area suitable as a workshop.
The “Coronation House,” a display home for the Mitchell & Austin, opened on May 2, 1937, in the Le Mon Parksection of Piedmont Pines. It is located on Castle Drive. The display home was furnished by Breuner’s with the Coronation theme (King George’s Coronation May 1937.)
“English architectural riches have been transplanted to Piedmont Pines in Coronation House” the ad goes on the say ” Coronation House “fit for a king” in the beautiful Le Mon tract… the crowning achievement of the season”
Oakland Tribune May 2, 1937
“this six-room home with three bedrooms and a bath, with gorgeous living room and un-impaired view, delightful recreation room and kitchen.”
Oakland Tribune May 1937
“the coronation motif is carried out throughout, the crown drapes furnishing a fitting background for pieces following the English provincial motif ”
Oakland Tribune May 1937
6301 Castle Drive
Le Mon Park – Piedmont Pines
Mitchell & Austin Real Estate
When General John C. Fremont hiked to a vantage point in the vicinity of Piedmont Pines in time to the setting sun.
“That we shall call the Golden Gate.”
General Fremont – Oakland Tribune Aug 8, 1938
From the windows of Fremont House you can see the Golden Gate.
Style – Early California
Le Mon Park – Piedmont Pines
Mitchell & Austin
Villidor – House of Gold
Commanding a sweeping panorama of the bay and the hills, it offers magnificent views of sunrises and sunsets.”
Oakland Tribune Jun 20, 1937
Villador, the house of gold opened to the public in June of 1937.
Fannie Wall Children’s Home and Day Nursery, an orphanage and daycare center, established in 1918 by African-American clubwomen in West Oakland. Sometimes it is called the Fanny Wall Home.
Charity is the Golden Chain that reaches from heaven to earth.”
from the letterhead
Care for the Orphans
Shelters the Half Orphans
Keeps the Children of Day Workers.”
Oakland Tribune April 1920
In 1914 the Northern Federation of California Colored Women’s Clubs President Fanny Wall and Financial Secretary Hettie Tilghman began working on a children’s home and day nursery to support black working mothers and care for orphaned black children. After years of planning and fundraising, the home opened in 1918 on Peralta Street in West Oakland.
Initially, the home was called the“Northern Federation Home and Day Nursery.” It was subsequently renamed to honor Fannie Wall who was the first woman to run the charity on a daily basis.
The Fannie Wall Children’s Homeand Day Nursery was open to children of all races, ethnicities, and religions, it was the first facility in Northern California to provide various services including housing, boarding and daycare for black orphans.
It was located at 1215 Peralta Street in West Oakland from 1918-1928.
Who was Fannie Wall?
Fannie Wall ( 1860-1944) came to Oakland with her family in the early 1900s. She was born in Gallatin Tennessee in 1860. She was married to Archey(Archy) H. Wall (18??-1931), a staff sergeant in the US Army. They had two daughters, Lillian (Williams) and Florence (Murray) and one son Clifton. Archey was transferred to the Presidio in San Francisco and they ultimately ended up in Oakland.
Wall was an early community activist who participated several organizations that promoted African American economic empowerment.
She served several terms as the president of the California Federation of Colored Women’s Club’s.
She co-founded the Art and Industrial Club of Oakland in 1906. Under her presidency the club joined the Child Welfare League. Wall also help establish the “Colored Y” of Oakland.
In 1936 Archie Williams her grandson (Lillian)won a gold medal in the 400-meter run in Berlin.
Fannie Wall died on April 14, 1944 in her home on Telegraph Avenue. She is buried in the same plot as her husband in the San Francisco National Cemetery.
Linden Street Site
In 1928, having outgrown its original location they moved to a new one on Linden Street.
The handsome house at 815 Linden Street was purchased $5000. The upper middle-class house was designed by Charle Man in the 1880s. It was one of five buildings built by Frances Reichling a surveyor, who subdivided his property at the corner of Linden Street and Eighth Street. The largest of the buildings became the family home and the others were rentals.
The home could accommodate up to 20 resident children and 8-15 children for day care services and was operated by a professional staff of over ten employees that included social workers and a volunteer psychiatrist.
The house was considered step up from the one on Peralta Street and was across the street from the “Colored Y.”
The Linden Street site was given a face-lift in 1953. The “new look,” a two room addition to be used as the administrative offices, releasing the old offices and reception room for nursery classes and a future library. The provided room for 47 children.
In 1962 the Oakland Redevelopment Agency purchased the property at 815 Linden St. in order to demolish the building for the Acorn Project.
Fannie Wall is Calling”
From the annual report
The Northern Federation of Colored Women Clubs operated the Fannie Wall Home until 1941. The home was then incorporated as an independent organization. At that time it was the only home in California that primarily cared for African-American children.
The home was admitted as an agency of the Community Chest-United crusade in 1923
Fannie Wall was elected as the first president and served more than 20 years as the head of the 21 board of directors. She was succeeded by Mrs. Lydia Smith Ward who in turn was followed by Mrs. Chlora Hayes Sledge in the 1940s.
The home was managed by a Board of Directors, which largely consisted of members of the Northern Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs, a community advisory committee, and an executive director who oversaw the home’s day-to-day operations.
The home received funding from a variety of sources including rent from an apartment in Berkeley donated by Josephine Sutton, Community Chest, the Dreiser Trust, and through fundraising events coordinated by the home.
The third charity ball was held on January 19, 1948 at the Oakland Auditorium.
In 1959 a fashion show was held at Slim Jenkins to raise money for the building fund. Models showed the latest styles.
A Haven For Children
In 1949 the Fannie Wall home had 30 children who received day care while parents worked. Ranging in age from 3 to 14 years.During the summer months the children took swimming lessons at the de Fremery Park pool: the enjoyed story hours at the West Oakland Branch Library, and they had special excursions to other city parks and playgrounds.
Monthly parties were held to honor the children whose birthday occurred during the month. They would dress up for special dinner or an afternoon party.
The Final Location
In 1964 they purchased a house at 647 55th Street for $19,000. They initially struggled to obtain a license from the Social Welfare Department, and the home was not re-opened until 1967 as part of a placement program for the Alameda County Welfare Department.
The home was forced to close again in 1970 for remodeling and reopened in 1978 as a child daycare facility and Head Start Center. It is now called Fannie Wall Head Start.
Under Siege: Construction and Care at the Fannie Wall Children’s Home and Day Nursery – Marta Gutman – Researchgate.net
In 1968, Tanya Dennis was crowned Miss Oakland, becoming the first African-American to wear the crown. She then became one of the early African-American to compete for the title of Miss California.
Miss Dennis was the first of three (in a row) African-American Miss Oakland’s.
In June of 1969, Miss Dennis competed with 36 other girls from throughout the state for Miss California.
Miss Dennis won the talent division with an exotic African ballet.
Miss Dennis was the third runner-up in the Miss California pageant.
Miss Oakland 1969
In 1969, Laomia McCoy was crowned Miss Oakland, becoming the second African – American to wear the crown and compete for Miss California’s title.
Miss McCoy sang a selection from “Porgy and Bess” to win the talent category in preliminary judging and Miss Redlands, Susan Anton took the swimsuit honor.
Susan Anton won the title of Miss California and Miss McCoy was one of the runner-ups.
Miss McCoy was 19 at the time of the competition and student at Merritt College.
Miss Oakland 1970
In 1970 Theresa Smith was crowned Miss Oakland becoming the third African-American to wear the crown and compete for Miss California’s title.
Smith competed alongside 35 contestants for the title of Miss California.
The Miss Congeniality, an award voted by the contestants was awarded to Miss Oakland, Theresa Smith, she was also honored for being the most talented non-finalist dancer in the competition.
Miss Smith was 20 years old at the time of the competition and a student at the University of California.
The officials at the Miss California State pageant refused to allow Miss Smith to perform unless she dropped the “offensive” word, “Black,” from her recitation. It hadn’t been offensive in Oakland.
Black Beauty Queens Denied Rewards
Laomia McCoy and Theresa Smith, Miss Oakland of 1969 and 1970, held a press conference to discuss that they were treated unfairly and racially discriminated against by the Miss Oakland beauty pageant’s sponsors.
“if they had it to do all over again they wouldn’t have competed in the annual pageant.”
Theresa Smith and Laoma McCoy Sept 19, 1970
The Oakland Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) was the pageant’s sponsor for the previous 24 years before 1970.
“I feel that they (the Jaycees) have been negligent in communicating with me and supporting me and have failed to bestow upon me the full benefits of my title said, Miss Smith.
Miss Smith charged that she was promised a $1000.00 scholarship but only received $100, was invited to appear at hardly any civic events, and was denied pay for personal appearances.
The Jaycees president said her complaints were just a misunderstanding about what the title involves and that she received the same as previous winners.
Theresa ended up getting only a $100 scholarship which was promised before the start of school. The money arrived after final registration at UC, forcing her “to be faced with an additional fee for be late” in registering.
The Jaycees decided to drop their sponsorship of the pageant after 24 years in 1970, they said they were over budget by $1500.
Delilah Beasley was a columnist for the Oakland Tribune and was the first African American woman to be published regularly in a major U.S. newspaper.
She is most known for her book “The Negro Trail-Blazers of California,” published in 1919 and reprinted in 1968.
Delilah Leontium Beasley was born Cincinnati, Ohio, just after the Civil War on September 9, 1871 (some report 1867) to Daniel Beasley, an engineer, and Margaret Harris.
Beasley began her newspaper career in 1887, writing for the black newspaper, the Cleveland Gazetteon church and social activities.
After her parents’ death, she went to Chicago and took a position to learn massage: she desired to become a nurse, which she became a few years later.
She traveled to California to nurse a former patient and stayed.
After moving to Oakland in 1910 at the age of 39, she wrote for the Oakland Sunshine and the Western Outlook.
In 1910 3,055 African Americans were living in Oakland.
To help her race; to open doors into the arts and sciences for the negro boys and girls, has been the impelling force for Delilah Beasley”
Los Angeles Times Jul 13, 1919
Beasley spent the first nine years in Oakland researching Black Americans’ history in the west at the University of California at Berkeley. She also would give presentations at local churches.
In 1919 she self-published a book called The Negro Trail Blazers of California. The book chronicled African American “firsts” and notable achievements in early California. The book includes diaries, biographical sketches, poetry, photographs, old papers, conversations with old pioneers, and a comprehensive history of early legislation and court cases.
Activities Among Negroes
Her book paved the way for Beasley to become the first African American women in California to write regularly for a major metropolitan newspaper. She worked for the Oakland Tribune from 1923 to 1934 and wrote a weekly column entitled “Activities Among Negroes.” The column carriedcivic and religious news of the black community
Beasley was determined to advance the rights of African Americans and women; she joined many civic clubs. These included the NAACP, the Alameda County League of Women Voters, the National Association of Colored Women, the Oakland Council of Church Women, and the Linden Center Young Women’s Christian Association.
She was an honorary member of the League of Nations Association of Northern California.
This is one of those posts where I had no writing intention, let alone knowing it existed. Two examples are my most popular post, “The Forgotten Tunnel” or “The Backyard Fence War” I stumbled across articles on both while researching another post. Sometimes they pan out, and I find lots of exciting things to share. I wasn’t so lucky with this post, and it ended up being kind of a dud. I thought I would share it anyway
A groundbreaking celebration was held in November of 1956 for the new Bancroft Avenue Parkway, and construction began soon after.
Bancroft Avenue was to become a major thoroughfare linking San Leandro and Oakland, relieving the traffic on MacArthur, Foothill, and East 14th (now International)
Oakland Mayor Clifford E. Rishell and Alameda County Supervisor were at the controls of an enormous earthmover, lifting the first load of earth.
They symbolized the joint city-county participation.
The project’s estimated cost was $4,000,000 and was financed jointly from Oakland and Alameda County allocations of state gas tax funds.
The need for this arterial was foreseen as early as 1927 when the major street plan of the City was formulated. Uncontrolled subdivision in East Oakland in the early history of the city had left a large area with no provision for the important east-west movement
The parkway was to provide the much needed relief of Foothill Boulevard, MacArthur Boulevard and East 14th Street (now international), as well as a direct connection to an existing major city street, Bancroft Avenue in San Leandro.
Studies for this thoroughfare were commenced in 1941 and protection of the right-of-way started.
The Bancroft Parkway
The parkway was to extend from the San Leandro city limits to East 14th Street(now International) and 46th Avenue.
“The project will convert Bancroft from a rundown noncontinuous street and railroad right-of-way to a major intercity thoroughfare and railroad parkway.”
The parkway had a two-lane section on each side with room for parking. In the center divider was the Southern Pacific railroad spur line to the Chevrolet Assembly Plant. It was concealed with trees and shrubbery.
The first unit was 1.17 miles and was from the San Leandro border to 90th avenue.
The second unit was between 90th to 79th Avenues. – June 1957
The third unit was 79th Avenue to Havenscourt Blvd – Spring 1958
Total Length: 4.25 miles
Removal of Buildings
The City of Oakland acquired property along the route.
The east side of Church Street and 68th Avenue.
Between 90th Avenue and Parker Street.
The western side of Church Street and 73rd Avenue
The south side of Bancroft Avenue east of 74th Avenue.
The north side of Bancroft Avenue between 96th and 98th Avenues.
The following is a list of structures that were removed for the extension of the Bancroft Parkway.
A miscellaneous collection of buildings along Bancroft Avenue between 73rd Avenue and Havenscourt Blvd. were offered for sale by the City of Oakland.
The assortment included duplexes, a store, several homes, and garages. They had to be moved or demolished. The minimum bid was $2,850 for the entire group.
The Final Destinatination
Today Bancroft Avenue is down to one lane in each direction with bike lanes.
In early 1926 J.B. Peepin announced that his company would be building approximately thirty-one in the High Street Park Tract on Culver Street. Prices averaged $5950 for five rooms, with a down payment of only 10% and 1% of the balance.
Peepin was already well known in Oakland and San Leandro as a builder of Bungalows.
Living rooms have studio ceilings, and the newest wall treatments. Hooded fireplaces, in latest designs. Each house has a breakfast room, with a hand decorated breakfast set, included in the purchased price.”
Oakland Tribune July 26, 1926
Charming hand stenciled kitchens, with linoleums, and every built-in convenience including kitchen cabinets and refrigerators.”
Oakland Tribune July 26, 1926
Gardens are laid out to suit each home, with lawns, shrubs, patio entrances and fish ponds.”
Oakland Tribune July 26, 1926
4100 Culver Street
Casa Linda opened on July 18, 1926. The home was entirely furnished by Montgomery Wards & Company.
“The Home Beautiful”
Casa Linda,as the name implies is an unusually beautiful Spanish home, and embodies in its design and ornamentation new and pleasing innovations by our architectural service. Oakland Tribune July 18, 1926
Orange was the kitchen tile color, the hand-decorated furniture, and wall-paper in the breakfast room. Spanish galleons are the motif of parchment shades.
The exterior of “Casa Linda” was enhanced by the patio entrance with stepping stones and a fish pond.
Casa Palomar or Palomares
4150 Culver Street
Opened in September of 1926 and was furnished by Montgomery Wards and Company.
4157 Culver Street
Casa Novia opened to the public on December 5, 1926 it was furnished by Lachman Brothers of San Francisco.
Display Home Is Especially Designed for Newly-Weds, Builder Says”
Oakland Tribune Dec 5, 1926
An arched doorway opens into the front hall affording a glimpse of a large living room with arched windows. The dining room and breakfast room are separated by columns and the kitchen is decorated with orange tiles.
Sold in 2020
In August of 2020 “Casa Novia” was put on the market for $789,000 and sold for $820,000 in October of 2020.
4132 Culver Street
The furnished home went on display on April 24, 1927.
Large rooms, with plenty of sunshine make this home appeal to the housewife.”
Oakland Tribune Apr 24, 1927
Sold in 2020
The was listed for $889,000 in November of 2020 and sold for $955,000 in December.
4145 Culver Street
Villa Romancia opened to the public in January of 1927.
“Castles in Sunny Spain”
ROMANCE! MYSTERY! That is what you think of when you see Villa Romanica.”
Oakland Tribune Feb 13, 1927
Open House 2021
In January of 1921 Villa Romancia is for sale. The listed price is $699,000. An open house was held on January 3, 2021.
On Facebook, I have been sharing photos of holiday-themed AC Transit Coaches (Bus). In researching the tradition, I learned that Nickolas P. Alevizos played Santa Claus for more than 40 years. A bit of history here.
Santa Claus – St Nick
In December of 1960, AC Transit’s new streamlined “Transit Liners” went into service on Christmas Day.
A colorful parade called the “Travelcade of Progress” was held on the streets of downtown Oakland to introduce the new buses. The parade included all forms of East Bay public transportation since the horse and cable cars.
Alevizos led the parade as Santa Claus .
Alevizos became a legend by dressing as Santa Claus at wheeling through the East Bay in an AC-Transit holiday-themed decorated bus.
He started playing Santa Claus in 1933 for the Shrine, Richmond Kiwanis Club, and at the Division 3 Christmas parties.
He also played the roles of Abraham Lincoln, Christopher Columbus, and Uncle Sam on the year’s appropriate dates. But Santa Claus remained his most extended running role, beginning in 1933.
Oakland’s Early ‘Jitney King’
A transportation pioneer in the East Bay, Nichols P. Alevizos, in 1921 started a jitney bus service. The major Oakland Jitney route was 7th Street from Pine Street to Clay Street. There were 16 jitneys and 16 drivers on the run, with 15 in use each day and the 16th taking the day off.
Alevizos organized a jitney association in 1924 and became its first and only president. In 1928 the association bought 8 Model A Ford buses. The association was named West Oakland Motor Bus Lines.
In 1935 Alevizos sold the company to the Key System. Part of the deal made by Alfred J. Lundberg, Key System president, was for Alevizos to have a lifetime supervisor job with the company.
He served as superintendent of the Key System and later AC Transits Richmond Division. His career spanned 56 years.
Alevizos retired at the end of 1977, his career spanned over 56 years. He continued as Santa for 2 more years . He passed away in April of 2000.
History of the Holiday Bus
In 1963, AC Transit launched its first holiday-themed bus. The “Candy Cane Express” was painted white and tied with big red bows.
In the years that followed, the Holiday Bus became more elaborate, with the vehicles being custom-painted and decorated with handmade wooden ornaments. By the mid-1960s, a full-size sleigh was installed on the roof, in which “Santa” would ride.
There have been many versions of the Holiday Bus throughout the years. Decals and full custom vinyl wrap have replaced the custom paint jobs and bolted on decorations.
This year’s (2020) theme is “Holidays Always Keep Their Sparkle.”
A news cinema or newsreel theatre is a cinema specializing in short films, shown continuously. They also occasionally show feature films.
Newsreel Theatre on Broadway
It was announced in July of 1941 that Oakland was to have a Newsreel Theater, a sister to the one in San Francisco.
The 300 seat theater had spacious lounge rooms which provided accommodations for writing a letter, holding a business conference, reading the latest newspapers, magazines, etc.
Was Regent Theater
The building first housed the Regent Theater later the Regent Photo Theater.
In the mid-1950s, the Regent was renamed the Peerlex. The Peerlex offered three action hits for 50 cents.
By 1972 the Regent was rechristened the Pussycat Theater showing XXX adult movies.
The city of Oakland acquired the theater by eminent domain in 1987.
The theater located at 1518 Franklin opened as the Bishop Theater in 1916 and then became the Fulton Playhouse in 1918. The building was designed by Edward T. Foulkes
In 1935 the Fulton reopened as the Franklin, taking its name from the previous Franklin Theater which had closed.
The Franklin Theater closed and was reopened as the Newsreel Theater in October of 1939.
Telenews Theater at the Franklin Theater
The Newsreel Theater closed and transformed into the Telenews Theatre at Franklin and 15th opened July 18, 1941
The theatre was the first to include local newsreel stories as part of the regular week’s program. Each program or show comprised some fifty news events, including the “Ringside Seat to World War Two” series with Regan McCrary.
During the opening week, they showed a “Salute to Oakland,” a film on Oakland’s industrial, civic, and community life. The film showed the new Woodminster Amphitheater, Lake Merritt, Mills College, Oakland’s High Schools, and City Hall.
The lobby included a large “Progressive War Map,” which was updated daily. Twelve clocks, showing the current time in cities throughout Europe, American, and Asia, and a teletype machine was also in the lobby.
Franklin Theater Once Again
When Telenews took over the Fox News Theater’s operation on Broadway in 1943, this theater became the Franklin once again and showed first-run movies.
Closed and Demolished
The theater went dark in 1951.
Fox News Theater on Broadway
Located at 1906 Broadway, the 552-seat Fox News Theatre opened on July 3, 1942.
Fox Offers Timely Topics in Modern Show House.” – Oakland Tribune July 5, 1942
The Fox News Theater had a broadcasting studio in the downstairs lounge. Vital news programs, topics of the day were broadcasted on the KQW CBS outlet.
Telenews took over the operation on April 30, 1943. The theater was renamed The Broadway Telenews Theater.
On April 16, 1954, it was renamed Globe Theater and went over to screening feature films, with Dinah Sheridan in “Genevieve.” The latest newsreels were also shown.