Posted in Homes, Lake Merritt, People

Reign of Terror

Bomb Explodes

On March 18, 1919, Mrs.George D. Greenwood was killed instantly when a bomb exploded in the family home garden overlooking Lake Merritt. Her husband was the Vice-President of the Savings Union Bank of San Francisco.

Killed Instantly

It is believed that Mrs. Greenwood found the bomb and picked it up, causing it to explode.

Mrs. Greenwood’s body was torn apart and hurled ten-feet across the garden by the force of the explosion. Her clothing was stripped from her body and hung from the trees or was scattered on the lawn.

All windows on two sides of the Greenwood home were shattered.

Threats Sent to Other Families

The Greenwood family wasn’t the only Eastbay family to have received letters threatening death unless specific amounts of money were handed over.

Other families included:

  • Kenneth E. Lowden – 274 19th Street
  • Mrs. E.A. Julian – Piedmont

According to the police, a letter demanding $5,000 and threatening to destroy his home with dynamite was sent to Greenwood in January of 1918. The “C.C. of C” signed the letter, which stands for the Cat’s Claw of California.

Oakland Tribune March 21, 1919

The Greenwood explosion was the third in a series attributed to a gang supposed to have dynamited Governor William D. Stephens home and one other.

An unexploded bomb was found in the yard of N. Campagna of Berkeley the week before.

Society Leader

SF Examiner June 12, 1893

Mrs. George D. Greenwood was considered “society royal” in Oakland and San Francisco, where her parents and husbands were pioneers.

Tubbs Hotel

She was one of the Tubbs girls, the daughters of the late Hiram Tubbs, early capitalist, and owner of the famous old Tubbs Hotel.   

Oakland Tribune 1891

The daughters were Mrs. Greenwood, formerly Miss May Tubbs, Mrs. William G. Henshaw, Mrs. Grace Tubbs Henshaw, and Mrs. Edward M. Hall.

No Results

Oakland Tribune March 1919

Police investigations, which continued for more than a year after the tragedy, resulted in the clearing of the mystery surrounding the bomb.

Hanford Kings County Sentinel May 08, 1919

The police arrested many suspects, none were charged.  

New Wife

Oakland Tribune Sept 1922

Mr. Greenwood married Gertrude Vincent in late 1922.

Greenwood Home

The Greenwood home was located at the corner of 19th Street and Jackson at 1399 Jackson Street (later changed to 1899 Jackson). The Greenwoods lived there from about 1896 to 1920.

The Greenwood Home at the corner of Jackson and 19th Streets. Photo by Frank Rodolph
Oakland Tribune May 12, 1936

In 1936 the house was remodeled and became the new home of the Oakland University Club.

More Info:

The End

Posted in Buildings, Early Montclair, Montclair

Members Build Clubhouse

“We are building this clubhouse beyond our immediate requirement but with an eye to the future”   

Mrs. E.T. Jepson Nov 08, 1925

A New Clubhouse

Press release

“A very handsome $10,000 structure is planned for the Montclair Clubhouse. It will be 109 by 40 feet and will contain a large auditorium, stage, dressing room, dining room, kitchen, check room, restroom, and basement space, which will be utilized as billiard room.”

Oakland Tribune

Construction Started

The groundbreaking celebration was held in March of 1925 at the junction of Thorn Road (now Thornhill Drive) and Mountain Blvd.

Members of the Montclair Improvement Club in November of 1925 and began constructing the new clubhouse. 

New Clubhouse Opens

In March of 1926, the Montclair Improvement Club held the $ 20,000 Montclair Community clubhouse formal dedication.

The structure is one-story and is of Spanish architecture. Features included an auditorium with stage and fireplace, dining and reception rooms, an electrically equipped kitchen.

Montclarion

John Perona was the builder who donated his services. Contributions of labor from club members reduced the cost of construction.

They also planned to have tennis and handball courts, a playground for children, and a golf course.

In March of 1926, the Montclair Improvement Club held their first dance at the new clubhouse.

A Bit of History

The beginnings of the Montclair Improvement Club can be traced back to as early as 1923. 

Oakland Tribune March 1923

After a few years, it became the Montclair Bussiness Assoc.

Montclarion

Membership was made up of residents of Montclair, Merriewood, and Forest Park.

Copy of Newsletter

The Women’s Auxiliary to the Montclair Improvement Club was also formed in 1923. The name was changed to Montclair Women’s Club in 1925 when it became affiliated with the California Federation of Women’s Clubs

Montclair Women’s Clubhouse

In May of 1928, the women’s club purchased the clubhouse from Montclair Improvement Club.

Oakland Tribune 1928

They held their first dance in August of 1928.

Clubhouse Damaged in Fire

In November of 1928, a fire damaged the interior of the clubhouse. 

Oakland Tribune November 10, 1928

Clubhouse is Sold

In 1996 the Montclair Women’s Club was sold. From 1996 until 2015, it was an events center called the Montclair Women’s Cultural Arts Club.

Stunning Montclair Facility For Sale – website

It is now the KSS Immersion Preschool of Oakland.

The Clubhouse today

Google Maps
Google Maps

More Info:

Location: 1650 Mountain Blvd Oakland

Posted in Buildings, East Oakland, History, North Oakland, West Oakland

A Bygone Era

A bit of history of some of the mansions that once graced the streets of Oakland. More to come at a later date.

Burnham Mansion

Burnham Mansion was at the corner of Lakeside Drive and 17th Street. The three-story mansion was built in 1902 by John Russell Burnham.

Oakland Tribune 1955

The Burnham family selected the site on Lake Merritt’s edge because of its similarity to Lake Geneva.

The distinctive features of the house were the first stall shower in the city and an automobile garage. The Burnham’s were the owners of one of the first two automobiles in Oakland.

Oakland Tribune 1955

At the beginning of WWII, the mansion was turned over to the American Red Cross for a hospitality center. Alcoholics Anonymous occupied the home until 1955.

In 1956 construction was to begin on ne 60-unit apartment building. The new structure was expected to cost $2.5 million. Each of the 60 apartment ran completely through the building with views of Lake Merritt. Other features included parking on two levels, the elimination of corridors, extensive elevator system, individual patios, and a roof top garden.

Oakland Tribune 1964

Chabot Mansion

Lake Merritt – Anthony Chabot’s Home – circa 1886 – Photo by Frank B. Rodolph – http://www.oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt9d5nd40c/?order=1

The old home of Anthony Chabot, founder of Oakland’s modern water system, was torn down in 1952. The city declared the house a fire and health hazard.

Lake Merritt – Anthony Chabot’s Home – circa 1886

The Chabot family hadn’t lived there for some time. Ellen Chabot Bothin still owned it.

The building had been used as a rooming house for years, taking in enough money to pay the taxes.

The home was a modest one considering the owner was a millionaire. The house was two-stories with an attic, its rooms with high ceilings, marble mantels, and velvet embossed walls.

The Chabot’s name is a part of our history, with the following named after them.

  • Chabot Road
  • Chabot Observatory
  • Chabot School
  • Lake Chabot

Goodall Mansion

Edwin Goodall built an elaborate mansion in 1880. The house was located at 1537 Jackson Street.

Goodall home, courtesy Bahá’ís of the United States

The home had paneled walls, and a bed carved out of mahogany, a small theater with dressing rooms.

In 1918, Dr. M.M. Enos purchased the home, operated it as the St. Anthony Hospital until 1923, when it became the Jackson Lake Hospital.

Oakland Tribune 1960

In 1960 the hospital was razed to make room for an apartment building called the Jackson Lake Apartments.

Oakland Tribune Sept 23, 1960

 King Mansion  

Charles H. King built his mansion in about 1884.

King City a rural community in the Salinas Valley was named in 1886 for Oakland’s Charles H. King.

In 1971 the old and neglected King family Mansion still stood at 1029 Sixth Avenue and East 11th Street.  The home at one time had 38 rooms. Not sure exactly when the home was razed.

Mein Mansion

Oakland Tribune 1964

The mansion of Capt. Thomas Mein was located at the corner of Jackson and 15th Street.

Oakland Tribune 1964

The three-story 16-room Victorian was built in 1899, included a winding staircase and marble fireplaces.

Oakland Tribune 1964

In 1964 home was razed to make room for a new 34-unit apartment called the Delphian.

Oakland Tribune 1965

Palm Knoll

Oakland Tribune

Palm Knoll, was the home of Governor (later Senator) George C. Perkins (1839–1923). The 24-room mansion Vernon and Perkins Street, was built in 1890.

Palm Knoll was razed in 1947 to make room for apartments.

Oakland Tribune

Playter Home

Ely Welding Playter, a successful hardware merchant in San Francisco, built a mansion in 1879 at 14th and Castro Streets. The area was the center of Oakland’s elite.

Playter was the 24th Mayor of Oakland. He served two terms, 1885 and 1886, and was a Republican. 

In 1906, the house became a refuge for “working girls” after being purchased by the YWCA. 

It was a three-story structure with long narrow windows.

The house was torn down in 1948 to make room for a service station.

The hospital was Once a Mansion.

The original home of the Solomon Ellsworth Alden family, then the John Edgar McElrath family. It officially opened as the Baby Hospital in 1914.

Please read for more info:

Solomon E. Alden – Oakland Local Wiki

Oakland Tribune May 28, 1967

More Info:

The End

Posted in Buildings, Districts/Neighborhoods, East Oakland, Public Housing, Schools, Urban Renewal

Clinton Park Urban Renewal Project

The nation’s first federally assisted rehabilitation project.

Oakland Tribune

Federal Housing Act of 1954

In 1955 a 125 block area bounded by E. 21st Street, 14th Avenue, E. 12th Street, and Lake Merritt was chosen as the “study area” for urban renewal.

Clinton Park urban renewal plan (project no. Calif. R-2), City of Oakland, California -November 1957-HathiTrust

In October of 1955, Oakland applied to the Federal Government to formally designate an 80 block area of East Oakland bordering Lake Merritt as its first urban renewal project.

First in the West

The area was Oakland’s first concentrated action against blight and substandard housing.  

Clinton Park was a conservation project, the first of this type in the Western United States. 

When the project began in July 1958, the area covered 282 acres contained approximately 1,358 structures and 4,750 dwelling units. Clinton Park Project is bounded by Lake Merritt, 14th Avenue, East 21st. and East 14th Streets

The field office for the project was located at 1626 6th Avenue. The field office, an example of urban renewal in action –was a 50-year old house that was located at 1535 10th Avenue.

Oakland Gets U.S. Grant

In December of 1955, the Federal Government earmarked $1 210,000 for Oakland’s Clinton Park Urban Renewal Program. This amount was two-thirds of the anticipated total cost.

New School – Recreation Center

“heart of the Clinton Park urban renewal area.”

The new Franklin School served as an educational and recreational facility and the nucleus of the project. The revised plans for the site called for the additional area and a recreation center to be added. The school replaced the old school building condemned as an earthquake hazard.

Oakland acquired property to double the playgrounds of Franklin School.

The new school opened in September of 1956.

Oakland Tribune September 1956
Franklin School Today – 2020 by Littledots

Due to many problems in acquiring property for the expanded facility, the Recreation Center and Playground area’s completion was delayed until the summer of l 961.

Oakland Tribune October 1960
1010 East 15th – today

Our City Oakland

In 1956 the Oakland Junior Chamber Committee of the Chamber of Commerce produced a movie on Oakland’s urban renewal program.
The movie, entitled ” Our City Oakland.”

Our City Oakland – American City 
Dedicated to Oakland Urban Renewal program for the elevation of human and property values of its neighborhoods .

The film (in color with sound)shows examples of Oakland’s slum dwellings, and census figures at the time showed Oakland more than 15,000 such structures (Wow!)

The film also tells of the work in Clinton Park.

Project Launched

In July of 1957, a wrecking crew started the demolition of eight houses near the new Franklin School. This would be the location of the new recreation center.

Oakland Tribune July 1957
Oakland Tribune June 30, 1957

Older Home Gets New Life

In 1956, the Greater Eastbay Associated Homebuilders purchased a 50-year-old home at 1535 10th Avenue.

Oakland Tribune April 1956
Oakland Tribune April 1956

Home and Garden Show

The house was moved from its lot to become an exhibit at the Home and Garden Show.

Oakland Tribune April 1956

It was completely remodeled as a part of Oakland’s Operation Home Improvement Campaign.

Oakland Tribune April 1956

 Following the show, the home was moved to and used as the Clinton Park Project field office.

The office was located at 1621 6th Avenue.

Oakland Tribune 1963

Looks like the house was moved sometime in the mid 1960s. A church is there now.

A Rehab Project

The homes at 624 and 630 Foothill Blvd

Many New Apartment Buildings

From 1956 to 1962, 57 new apartment buildings were constructed. By 1960 $4,000,000 had been spent on new apartment construction.

First Project

The ground was broken in May of 1956 for the first significant construction project for Clinton Park.  

Robert A. Vandenbosch designed the 32-unit apartment building at 1844 7th Avenue and East 19th Street.

 The three-story structure was built around an inner court that has balconies overlooking the court from every apartment.

Now called Casa Simone –

New Apartment Project

A new 12-unit apartment building replaced a “dilapidated” single-family dwelling at 12th Avenue and East 18th Street. The structure costs $75.000 to build.

The old structure was located at 1755 12th Avenue, was built in 1900. It had been converted illegally to an eight-unit apartment.

Oakland Tribune
1133 East 18th Street

Garden Type Apartment

In 1958 a new $400,000 apartment was built at 1125 East 18th Street.

Oakland Tribune 1958

Two old homes and their outbuildings were razed to make room for the 40-unit two-story building with parking for the 24 cars on the ground floor.

1125 East 18th – Google Maps

An eight-unit apartment building at 645 Foothill Blvd was under construction at the same time.

Clinton Park Manor

Clinton Park Manor, a 144-unit complex, was built in 1958 at the cost of $1,400,000.  

  • 24 efficiency units
  • 50 one-bedroom units
  • 46 two-bedroom units
  • 24 three-bedroom units

Architect Cecil S. Moyer designed the four three-story structures with a landscaped courtyard in the middle.

It is now called Oakbrook Manor – 1229 East 19th Street

The complex is bounded by 12th and 13th Avenues and East 19th and East 20th Streets.

Google Maps

One of Oakland’s first schools, Brooklyn Grammar School, was built on the site in 1863. It was renamed Swett School in 1874, and in 1882 a new school Bella Vista was built there. Bella Vista School was razed in 1951.

The Valhalla Apartments

In March of 1960, a three-story 48-unit apartment building was built on the northeast corner of 12th Avenue and East 17th Street at the cost of $556,000.

Architect Cecil Moyer also designed this building. The new building contained (it might still have the same layout):

  • 3- bachelor apartments
  • 24- one-bedroom apartments
  • 11- two-bedroom apartments
  • 10- three-bedroom apartments

The courtyard had a swimming pool.

1720 12th Ave Google Maps

Six old homes, some dating back to the 1890s, were demolished to clear the site.

Today it is call Cambridge Terrace Apartments

Apartments

A partial list of the new apartment buildings

  • 2225-7th Avenue – 1957
  • 1618-6th Avenue – 1957
  • 1640 -6th Avenue -1957
  • 602 Foothill – remodeled
  • 1925-35 10th Avenue – 1960

New Supermarket

In 1960 Safeway Stores Inc. built a new 20,000 square foot building and a parking lot on 14th Avenue.

The Architects were Wurster, Bernardi, and Emmons of San Francisco.

1711 14th Avenue – Today – Google Maps

Loops’ for Traffic

To meet the problem of through traffic on a residential street, which caused neighborhood deterioration. Forty-seven intersections were marked to be altered, either to divert automobiles to through streets by way of traffic “loops.” or slow them down with curb extensions.

The traffic-diverting “loops” will be landscaped areas extending diagonally across intersections.

The result of these intersections was that through traffic in the project area is limited to 5th, 8th Avenues, north and south, East 21st Street, Foothill Blvd, and East 15th Street, east-west.

The Diverters -Google Maps

Diverters were placed at East 19th Street and 6th and 11th Avenues and East 20th Street at 7th and 10th Avenues. Also at East 20th Street and 12th Avenue.

Discouragers were also placed at East 20th Street and 13th Avenue and East 19th Street and 13th Avenue.

New Mercury Lights and Traffic Signals

Excerpts of articles from the Oakland Tribune 1960

Other features of the program included:

  • New Recreation Center
  • Widening of several streets and the installation of curbs and sewers.
  • Planting of 1,600 trees about 20 per block.
  • Construction of pedestrian overpasses over Foothill Blvd and East 15th Street for safe access to Franklin School.
  • Installation of new street lighting, street signs, and traffic signs.

Beautiful Homes of Clinton Park

Project Report

By March of 1962, 1,081 structures, containing 3,056 dwelling units have been repaired to eliminate all code. Violation. There have been ll7 structures demolished during the same period.   

Final report of Oakland Renewal Foundation, Inc. on Clinton Park Project, Oakland, California. – @HathiTrust

During this same period, 57 new apartment buildings were constructed within the project area, adding l,l08 new units to the existing housing supply. 

More Info:

Oakland (Calif.). Housing Division. (, 1962). Clinton Park: a historical report on neighborhood rehabilitation in Oakland, California. Oakland, Calif.: The Dept.

Clinton – Oakland Local Wiki

The End

Posted in Buildings, Real Estate, West Oakland

The Acorn Projects

The Acorn or Acorn Projects are a series of housing projects in the Acorn Redevelopment Project Area of West Oakland.

They were original three housing units, Acorn 1, Acorn 2, and Acorn 3. 

Acorn Housing Project model, April 7, 1966. – The Acorn Housing Project promised sleek, modern architecture — concrete-block units with sharp angles and crisp white exteriors

The project started in 1962. The first housing unit contained 479 units and cost $9 million; it was completed in 1969. A second 98-unit called Acorn II was completed in 1971 at the cost of $3.7 million.

Oakland Tribune 1959

Slum Clearance Project

Oakland’s first slum clearance undertaking will be called The Acorn Project.”

Oakland Tribune March 9, 1959

The Oakland Redevelopment Agency selected the name Acorn for the project area (about 45 Blocks) flanking the Nimitz Freeway between Union and Brush Streets.

Agency member Carl O. Olsen said the “Acorn is symbolical for the future and growth.”

Oakland Tribune February 24, 1965

Acorn’s Amazing Progress

It was reported that Project Acorn was shaping up as one of the most successful blight clearance projects in the nations’ history in 1964.

In 20 months, they had accomplished the following:

  • Purchased 90% of parcels
  • Relocated 83% of families
  • Demolished 75% of structures
  • Sold four lots for new plants
Oakland Tribune

Property Owners Sue

Thirteen West Oakland property owners sued to block the Acorn Project. They sued the Federal Redevelopment Agency and the City of Oakland, claiming that the Acorn Project “would deprive Negroes of their properties.”

They said the slum elimination project would, in effect, deprive them of homeownership because they have limited access to other residential areas. They told the court they have no objection to urban improvement, but object to being evicted from their homes without a place to go,

The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled against them in May of 1963.

Acorn: Acres of Vacancy

In the land cleared for the project, there were rats, ants, and sparrows lived. But no people.

Oakland Tribune 1967

The Oakland Redevelopment Agency had spent $ 13 million by 1967. But still no housing.

It was described as a slum clearance project, and it was a success. Some 4,300 people lost their homes as wrecking crews smashed aging buildings.  

Acorn SIte 1966  By the time this picture was taken, 90 percent of the Acorn project-area had been “cleared,” and 86 percent of residents had relocated — many to the neighborhood of East Oakland and the northern East Bay city of Richmond.*

It took from April 1962 to May 1965 to reduce all but 610 old structures to splinters. In their place was acre upon acre of empty fields in the area between 10th and First and Brush and Union Streets.

Thirty-two were set aside for industrial redevelopment, thirty-four acres for new, moderate-priced housing.

Since 1962 when the Acorns were approved, 12,000 rental units were built in other parts of Oakland.

Acorn Project Aims to Attract Whites

The Acorns, a middle-income development featuring sophisticated townhouses and apartments, was one of the nations’ first attempts at “reverse integration.”

To attract whites to the project, the Building Trades Council tried to put the finest housing it can afford into the project and charge the lowest rents possible.

Rents ranged from studios at $67 up to four-bedroom two-story townhouses at $145. (The upper limit on income was $11,225)

Remember Acorn? It’s Dedicated

After sitting empty for ten years, the Acorn Project was finally dedicated in 1967.

Groundbreaking ceremony for Acorn construction, November 10, 1967John B. Williams (kneeling) holds a sign for the Acorn Urban Renewal Project as it is hammered into the ground by Robert C. Weaver, Secretary of the newly founded Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

Construction did not begin in Acorn until five years after demolition was completed, leaving a giant barren area in the middle of West Oakland, about 50 blocks, including parts of the historic heart of black Oakland, 7th Street. By the mid 60s, the demolition policies of the Oakland Redevelopment Agency (ORA) would create deep scars in the black neighborhoods close to downtown.

Ready for the Public

The first units of Oakland’s $8 million modern apartment complex opened for inspection in September 1968.

Source: San Francisco Examiner 9/16/68 “Oakland’s Redevelopment Project Ready for Public” (available at Oakland History Room)
  • Studio – $67.00 a month
  • 4-bedrooms – $145.00 a month

By December of 1968, 106 families lived in the Acorns.

SF Examiner Sept 1968

Award for Acorn

 Architects Edmund Burger and Patricia Coplans won the 1970 Holiday Award for the design of the Acorn Projects.

The Acorns Today

SF Examiner May 1998

The property underwent extensive redevelopment in the 1990s due to four years of collaboration among HUD, The City of Oakland, BRIDGE, the Acorn Residents Council, and the West Oakland community.

SF Examiner May 1998

Like many other projects, Acorn was known as a dangerous place for residents and nearby neighbors. The new Acorn will have several safety features. Density was reduced by half from the 700 units that made up the old project, and a series of courtyards with locked gates to limit access.

  • Acorn 1 was demolished, and a small community of two-story single-family houses between Filbert and Market Streets was built in its place.
  • Acorn 2 and Acorn 3 were renamed “Town Center Apartments at Acorn” and “Courtyard Apartments. 

Acorn Town Center and Courtyards consist of 293 affordable studio, one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom apartments.

  • high-tech security system
  • gated property
  • recreational center
  • community building
  • tot lots
  • three basketball courts
  • swimming pool

Acorn Town Center and Courtyards – Bridge Housing

More Info:

The Acorn NeighborhoodOakland Local Wiki

Imagining a Past Future – Photographs from the Oakland Redevelopment Agency – Places Journal

Affordable Housing Today – Architecture California 2001

Acorn Oakland RenaissanceFacebook Page

Portraits of Progress and PainEastbay Yesterday

The Planning History of Oaklandwebsite

Tot Lot

The End

Posted in Black History, West Oakland

The Black Y’s of Oakland

The Linden Branch Y.W.C.A. and the Filbert Street Y.M.C.A. developed programs during the 1930s that helped the Black community survive the Depression years. They emerged at a time when the national Y’s both encouraged separate branches for Black members.

Oakland’s Black Y.W.C.A

In 1920 a small group of local black women, Mrs. Willie HenryMelba Stafford, and Hettie B. Tilghman, organized the Linden Center Y.W.C.A. with the central organization’s support and approval.

Linden branch of the YWCA in Oakland, California. circa 1940 Clubhouses–California-Oakland. Young Women’s Christian Associations–California–Oakland. Neighborhoods–California–Oakland–West Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

Linden Center got its name from its location at 828 Linden Street in West Oakland. It achieved the “branch” status in 1924 due to increase membership. It was then known as the Linden Branch Y.W.C.A or the Linden Y.

Young Women’s Christian Association Collection – African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)

The Linden Y functioned as a job placement center and welfare agency during the Depression years.

Linden Street Y.W.C.A. interest groups, clubs, classes
 Young Women’s Christian Association of Oakland.
African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)

The branch operated as a community center, offering members religious training, recreational activities, counseling, vocational training, and music and art programs.

 Linden Street Y.W.C.A. interest groups, clubs, classes
 Young Women’s Christian Association of Oakland.
African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
MS110_B01_F03_019

 Y.W.C.A. yearbook
Young Women’s Christian Association of the U.S.A.–History.
African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)

By 1938 the Linden St. Y had a membership of over 750.

For almost 25 years, the Linden Branch existed as a segregated facility. Following a national policy change, the board of the Oakland Y.W.C.A. integrated the Linden Street Y.

“to make its program available to all women and girls irrespective of race, creed or color”

The name was changed to West Oakland Center YWCA.


Group of men and women sitting on wall in front of Linden Branch Y.W.C.A – circa 1930s African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
Joseph, E. F. (Emmanuel Francis), 1900-1979
Group Photo 1940
African American Museum and Library at Oakland, MS189_0809

Linden Street was described as ” a two-story framed building with four club rooms, a reception hall, office for the business and industrial sections, and two rooms rented to accommodate working girls.”

The facility and the entire surrounding neighborhood were razed in the early 1960s to make room for the Acorn Projects.

Linden Street Y.W.C.A. 828 Linden Street circa 1940
 Young Women’s Christian Association of Oakland.
African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)

Oakland’s Black Y.M.C.A. 

Organized by Rev. L.A. Brown of the  First A.M.E. Church, opened on June 6, 1926. It was initially located at 3431 Market Street in West Oakland, and William E. Watkins, an attorney, was the first director. In 1927 the organization had a membership of 160, 134 seniors, and 26 boys.

3431 Market St -Today Google Maps

In 1929 they moved to 804 Filbert Street and became known as the Filbert Street Branch, Y.M.C.A. In 1935 they moved to 805 Linden Street and became the Eight and Linden Branch, Y.M.C.A.

The Filbert Street Y promoted a competitive sports program. Its annual track meet annual athletic contest attracted competitors from all over the Bay Area.

Oakland Tribune Mar 19, 1934

They sponsored a variety of classes and activities. Members could attend classes in Bible and woodworking. A boys’ orchestra, organized by C. E. Brown, preformed for the public. Some of the boys were invited to summer camp.

In 1936 Mr. Watkins resigned as the director and was replaced by R.T. Smith. The directory lists the BLACK YMCA at 836-36th Street. After the move to 36th Street it became known as the North Oakland Branch. It probably integrated about the same time as the Linden Branch.

Exterior of Y.M.C.A. building African Americans–California–Oakland–History–Pictorial works. source: Joseph (E. F.) Photograph Collection circa 1930s : MS126_2499
836 -36th Street today – Google Maps

804 Linden Street burned in 1960 and then was razed for the Acorn Projects.

More Info:

Oakland Heritage Alliance Newsletter – The Black Y’s of Oakland – Winter 1987-88

Oakland Heritage Alliance News Winter 2013 – Remembering the Linden Street Y

Linden Street Y.W.C.A. – Oakland Local WIki 

The End

Posted in Buildings, Lake Merritt, Parks, People

Edson Plaza and Conservatory

From 1911

The glass palace was once a part of the estate of A.K.P. Harmon in Oakland.

A.K.P. Harmon

Albion Keith Paris Harmon settled in Oakland in 1872 after making a fortune in the Comstock mines. He settled on 6.2 acres of land on the shores of Lake Merritt next to Sacred Heart College.

From the Map of the City of Oakland and Surroundings. Compiled from Official and Private Surveys. by J.C. Henkenius. 1888. Britton & Rey Lith., S.F. Cal. Entered…1887.

He soon after he built his house, conservatory, and magisterial carriage house.

In an 1882 biographical sketch on Mr. Harmon, the writer alluded that

“…greenhouse, which contains one of the most extensive collections of rare plants on the Pacific Coast.”

Harmon House and Conservatory from Webster Street, Oakland. ca. 1870
Gift of Miss Marietta Edwards
H68.10.6B
Harmons Greenhouse
Sf Examiner May 1, 1896

Mr. Harmon died in 1896, and his estate was subdivided and sold.

Sf Examine May 03, 1896

Edson Plaza

Mr. Edson F. Adams, son of one of the city founders, purchased the conservatory and had it moved to a two-acre park he had created at the head of Lake Merritt, known as Edson Plaza. The new park was called Edson Plaza and Conservatory or Adams Park.

The Adams heirs spent a large sum of money creating the park. The site was once a foul and unsightly marsh. It took about 18 months to complete the project.

The conservatory had to be moved intact, as it was constructed in a way it could not be disassembled. It was reported to have cost several thousand dollars to build in the 1880s. Walter J. Mathews, an architect, supervised the move.

The entire plaza was perfectly kept lawn with maple, poplar, birch, willow, and eucalyptus trees along the border. In the center was the conservatory in the shape of a cross 72 by 60 feet in size containing several thousand potted plants. John McLaren (Golden Gate Park) prepared plans for the conservatory and park’s upkeep and care.

New or greatly enlarged industrial establishments of Oakland and East Bay cities / by Oakland (Calif.) Chamber of Commerce. Cheney Photo Advertising Co. ; Wickham Havens, Inc.
circa 1917 Courtesy of Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Center
http://www.oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt7199q9d0/?order=87

The Oakland Hearld proudly announced, “Conservatory and Park Are Gift to Oakland’s People.”

In 1903 the Edson Heirs Donated the park to the city of Oakland.  

…gift is that the city shall forever maintain the plaza as a public park and keep up the handsome conservatory which stands in it.”

Oakland Tribune July 11, 1903
Oakland Tribune Aug 4, 1903

Relic of the Past

 “So, another landmark is destroyed.”

In September 1918, an official notice came from the park commissioners to sell the conservatory and its contents. It has was too costly for the city to keep up.

“Now its life is ended. There no further use for it.”

Auction Sale – September 10, 1918

Oakland Tribune Sept 8, 1918

The “Forever Park” is Gone

In 1926, Oakland’s city council opted to lease land that Edson Plaza (then called Adams Park) to the country for a new Veterans’ Memorial Building. Which meant the conservatory would have to be razed.

Gee, did the city forget they agreed to keep it a park with the conservatory FOREVER?

Deed Doesn’t Restrict

“The deed to the property, which became known as Adams Park in 1902 after Edson Adams had erected a conservatory on the site, places no restrictions on the use and its only dedication as a park is through the city’s naming it.”

Oakland Tribune Jan 27, 1927
Oakland Tribune July 19, 1927

Veterans’ Memorial Building

Veterans’ Memorial Building 200 Grand Ave – Oakland Local Wiki

More Info:

The End

Posted in East Oakland

Lion Statues at the Oakland Zoo

Oakland Tribune May 11. 1963

In 1962 a pair of lions statues were removed from their perch guarding the Alameda County Hall of Records since about 1875. The county board of supervisors agreed the statutes should be entrusted to Knowland State Park, where they were placed at the zoo entrance.

Oakland Tribune May 08, 1963

Thought to be Stone

“Most everyone believed they were stone or concrete underneath the paint,” Razeto said. “But tap them, and they ring…like a bell.”

Oakland Tribune May 11, 1963

Old photographs indicate the lions were an integral part of the original Victorian design, including two front lion wall plaques (removed before 1930)and a dozen bearded gargoyles at the eaves.

Oakland Tribune March 11, 1964

Old Hall of Records

The Hall of Records was erected in 1875. The hall sit had been the parade ground of the Oakland Guard from 1865. Architect Henry H. Meyers designed the ornate hall complete with entrance columns, leaded glass windows, and a grand rotunda.

Hall of Records updated Oakland History Room

A south wing was added in 1900 and a north wing in 1916. It was remodeled in 1945 when the welfare and school departments moved there.

In 1957 it was determined that nothing more could be added to the building without it collapsing.

In 1964 the Old Hall of Records was demolished to make room for the new $2.5 million Probation Center.

Today

For years the lions were greeting people as they entered the Zoo. I bet thousands of kids and adults had had a picture taken of them sitting on one the lions. I know I did. Sadly, the lions no longer greet people as they have been moved from their prominent perch to the exit area.

Lion Statues at the Oakland Zoo – Lion Statues on Waymarking.com
Lion Statues at the Oakland Zoo – Lion Statues on Waymarking.com
Lion Statues at the Oakland Zoo – Lion Statues on Waymarking.com

From the plaque:

original iron lions, which guarded the entrance to the County Hall of Records since 1880 placed here in 1963 by the Board of Supervisors of Alameda County.

More Info:

Lion Statues at the Oakland Zoo – Lion Statues on Waymarking.com

The End

Posted in Homes, Then and Now, Tract or Subdivisions, Uncategorized

Oak Knoll Homes

Rolling Hills, Pleasing Climate

Situated in eastern Oakland’s rolling hills, it enjoys a warm, balmy climate and provides ideal home sites with an unobstructed view, a perfect place for children

New Developer at Oak Knoll

David D Bohannon well-known subdivider and developer of San Francisco property, formed a new company called Oak Knoll Land Development Company.  The company was to sell and develop the Oak Knoll area.

300 Home Building Plan

In June of 1937, David D. Bohannon Organization announced a vast building program of 300 new homes for Oak Knoll.

“beautiful detached homes of distinctive and individual architectural design, all situated on lots of generous dimensions.”

said: Bohannon

The Plan

  • Distinctive Architecture
  • FHA Inspection
  • FHA Financing
  • Restrictions Guard Oak Knoll*

*In developing Oak Knoll, reasonable restrictions have been set up to maintain what Nature has already done so well. Oakland Tribune June 06, 1937

Photo taken 1929-1930 by Milton W. Molitor.

The building in the distance is either Holy Redeemer or Oak Knoll Country Club. If the photo is of Oak Knoll Ave (was Cabrillo Ave) then it would be Holy Redeemer.

3649 Oak Knoll in the late 20s Built by Milton W. Molitor.
Photo taken 1929-1930 by Milton W. Molitor.

The Plan in Action

This photo below shows progress of their building plan. This is from the Oakland Tribune 1937. You can see Molitor home in the bottom right hand corner

List of homes in the above photo.

  1. 3500 Calandria Ave
  2. 3514 Calandria Ave
  3. 3775 Margarita Ave
  4. 3478 Margarita Ave
  5. 3439 & 3442 Margarita
  6. 3448 Margarita Ave
  7. 3443 Mirasol Ave
  8. 3501 Mirasol Ave
  9. 3517 Mirasol Ave
  10. 3583 Mirasol Ave
  11. 3539 Granada Ave
  1. 9408 Granada Ave
  2. 3649 Oak Knoll Blvd
  3. 3641 Oak Knoll Blvd
  4. 3541 Mirasol Ave
  5. 3500 Mirasol Ave
  6. 3616 Mirasol Ave
  7. 3509 Oak Knoll Blvd
  8. 3517 Oak Knoll Blvd
  9. 9527 Granada Ave
  10. 3606 Oak Knoll Ave

New Oak Knoll Home – 3500 and 3501 Mirasol Ave

Oakland Tribune 1937 – Showing 3456 and 3500 Mirasol Ave

A two-story Early California Style home opened July 4, 1937.  

3500 Mirasol and 3456 Mirasol Google Maps
Oakland Tribune 1937
3500 Mirasol Avenue – google maps

Attractive Home in Oak Knoll

Oakland Tribune 1938
3443 Mirasol Avenue – google maps

Open in Oak Knoll

This home is located at 3533 Mirasol Avenue

Oakland Tribune
3533 Mirasol Avenue – Google Maps
Oakland Tribune

Activity in Oak Knoll

Oakland Tribune 1937
3501 Mirasol Avenue – Realtor.com
Oakland Tribune 1937
3517 Mirasol Ave – REDFIN

Oak Knoll Display Home

“The Home You’ve Read ad Dreamed of…Priced Lower Than You Dared to Hope.”

The first of the Oak Knoll Display Homes opened in June of 1937. The home was furnished by Breuner’s. ( I don’t know the location of this home)

Oakland Tribune June 1937

A spacious central living room with two bedrooms and a bath on one side, and inviting library-guest room with a bathroom and convenient, sunny kitchen on the other.

Oakland Tribune July 11, 1937
  • Beautifully designed electric fixtures in all rooms
  • Extra tile-top kitchen work table
  • Indirect lighting over the sink
  • Generous cupboard and drawer space…carefully planned.

Oakland Tribune July `18, 1937

One of Many New Oak Knoll Homes

OaKland Tribune July 11, 1937 I don’t know the location of this home.

Oak Knoll’s Exposition Home

The ‘Exposition’ home is located 9333 Murillo Ave opposite of Mirasol. The 1700 square foot house has beautiful view of the bay and bridges

  • Built-in bookcases
  • Peerless Kitchen
  • Breakfast Nook
Oakland Tribune 1939

The Golden Gate International Exposition was going happening on Treasure Island in 1939 and 1940. Hence the name Exposition Home and I can imagine they could see Treasure Island from the house.

Oakland Tribune 1939

One unique feature of the home was the 14 x 40 foot children’s playroom. In the backyard there was a fenced playground with recreation equipment. (I wish I had a picture of that!)

9333 Murillio Ave –
9333 Murillo AveGoogle maps

Unique Opportunity!

Oakland Tribune 1931
Oakland Tribune 1931
3465 Oak Knoll Avenue – REDFIN
3465 Oak Knoll Avenue – google maps

Bus Service in Oak Knoll

Oakland Tribune 1938
Oakland Tribune 1938
Oakland Tribune 1938

Open to View in Oak Knoll

Oakland Tribune 1940
3465 Calafia Avenue – google maps

More Info:

The End

Posted in East Oakland, Homes, Oakland Tracts, Real Estate

In Oak Knoll…

Oakland Tribune Oct 2, 1927

In 1926 it was announced that development of the Oak Knoll Country Club and the land surrounding it would handled by Carroll L. Post, the former president of Post Food Products Company. They began building the first group of model homes in April of 1926. Ezell-Phebus were the sales-agents.

Oakland Tribune 1926

Oak Knoll residential development was built around the new Oak Knoll golf course and Country Club .

Oakland Tribune 1927

E.B. Field Co. took developing the project in 1927.

5, 000 people standing on a hillside AGREED! That: Oak Knoll is Oakland’s finest Homeland!

Oakland Tribune Oct 02, 1927

Spanish Style Home

Oakland Tribune Fen 27, 1927

This six room Spanish style bungalow was built in 1927 and was designed by R.E. Neikirk of Oakland. You enter the home from a terraced entry to a large living room with chapel style ceiling. There are three sunny bedrooms, a kitchen and a dining room.

3558 Calafia Avenue – Google Maps

..Beautiful Oak Knoll – The Heart of Oakland’s Country Club Districts”

E.B. Field Co.

Casa De La Vista

I haven’t been able to find the location of this home.

Oakland Tribune March 1928

The attractive Spanish type residence opened in March of 1928. The architect was Harris Allen and the home was furnished by Whithone & Swan.

Oakland Tribune March 1928
Oakland Tribune March 1928

The Windsor House

Located on a spacious corner lot at Oak Knoll and Granada Avenues. The English style home was attractively adapted to the hillside setting. The house has five bedrooms and three bathrooms.

It was put on display to show how artistic a moderately priced can be with s comparetly small amount spent in furnishing it. Furnishing by Breuner’s of Oakland.

The Beautiful,Completely Furnished Windsor House”

Oakland Tribune

The home has beautiful hardwood floors and high coved ceilings. An expansive deck off the kitchen leads to a private back patio. A main-floor master suite makes for convenient living, with two more bedrooms and a playroom upstairs with the second full bathroom.

9527 Granada Avenue – Redefin.com

Calafia Avenue Home

Oakland Tribune 1930
 3610 Calafia Avenue Google Maps
3610 Calafia Avenue Google Maps

A Beautiful Home

Oakland Tribune Feb 09, 1930
9332 Granada Ave – REDFIN

Live in Oak Knoll and Play Golf at Home

Oakland Tribune Jan 20, 1927

Overlooking the Oak Knoll Clubhouse

In 1937 a new home overlooking the Oak Knoll golf course and clubhouse was completed. The home was built for Domino Merlino at an approx. cost of $20,000.

4001 Sequoyah Road – Google Maps
4001 Sequoyah Road – Google Maps

Calandria Avenue Home

Oakland Tribune April 1930

Construction of the new $13,000 home for Thomas King began in April of 1930. The outstanding feature of the home was the large living room window with a spectacular view of Oakland, San Francisco and the Bay.

3539 Calandria Ave

Panorama of Oak Knoll Home – Dorisa Avenue

Oakland Tribune Feb 01, 19313687 Dorisa

3687 Dorisa Ave – Today

3687 Dorisa Ave – Google Maps

New Developer at Oak Knoll

Oakland Tribune 1937

David D Bohannon well-known subdivider and developer of San Francisco property, formed a new company called Oak Knoll Land Development Company.  This was the third company sell and develop the Oak Knoll area. (Please see Oak Knoll Homes)

An Oak Knoll Home

Oakland Tribune December 1937

Freeway

In June of 1938, the Alameda-Contra Costa County joint highway district filed a lawsuit to condemn four parcels of land in the Oak Knoll Tract.

The suit was in preparation for when work would begin on the $3,000,000 traffic artery via Mountain Blvd.

The Defendants:

  • A.A. Thiel
  • James R. Pennycook
  • Raymond Cann
  • Irving M. Bossie

More Info:

The End