Posted in Districts/Neighborhoods, Elmhurst, Homes

Sweat-Equity Down Payment

Owner-Built Housing 

SF Examiner April 1980

In 1980 the Mckinley family of Oakland was one of seven Oakland families that were approved for a construction loan of $45,000 to participate in the Owner-Built Housing Program of Oakland Neighborhood Housing Services (ONHS).

The homes are located on 73rd Avenue between International Blvd and Holly Street.

Building Training

SF Examiner

The families were trained in construction techniques and were supervised by professional construction personnel. They took classes at the Owner Builder Center in Berkeley. The highly technical and most finish work was subcontracted out.

SF Examiner

Each family was obligated to provide 40 hours of labor week on the construction of their home.  

SF Examiner

 The couples had to have incomes of between $21,000 and $31,000. They had to be Oakland residents for a year and be first-time homeowners.

Sf Examiner

Project Design

Architects at the University of California, Berkeley, contributed to the beginning design stages of the project and made the model used in the presentation to the City of Oakland.

“Elmhurst Community Design Center,” Environmental Design Archives Exhibitions, accessed June 19, 2020, http://exhibits.ced.berkeley.edu/items/show/3213.

The three-bedroom, two-bath homes were designed by Architect Richard McCarty of Morro Bay.

The project took about a year to develop, arrange for the money, and purchase the lots. 

The City of Oakland purchased the lots for $3000 each.

The first seven homes took about ten months to build. In all I believe there were 14 homes built.

The Families:

  • Charles and Yolanda Bird – 1808 73rd Ave
  • James Davis
  • Jake and Pauline Evans
  • Bariwynn and Mary Jane Howard – 1616 73rd Ave
  • Stanley and Mary Mckinley – 1468 73rd Ave
  • Tony Stevens
  • Willie and Denise Sumtter
Yolanda Bird
1808 73rd Avenue
1606 73rd Avenue

More Info:

Building a Dream – PBS 

Posted in Buildings, East Oakland, Elmhurst

Lockwood Gardens

The name Lockwood has been a part Oakland for a long time. I am still looking into where the name came from. In 1875 the Lockwood School District reported the following. Lockwood was (is) considered a part of the Elmhurst District.

Oakland Tribune June 28, 1875

The site of Lockwood Gardens was once the extensive estate of William Cluff Jr. a wholesale grocer of some prominence in the early days.

The Site

Lockwood Gardens is located between 64th and 66th Avenues on the southside of East 14th Street on 2 1/2 acres of land that was occupied by a golf practice range and one house.

project plans by Carl Warnecke, OHR 

Planning Stages

The proposed housing development that would become Lockwood Gardens was met with protest. The major complaints were as follows.

Oakland Tribune April 10, 1941

One the provisions in the funding of government housing the city was to carry out “equilievant demolition” program. Under the provision for every new housing unit built a substandard dwelling not with in the project area must be demolished. The city had not met the requirements the projects that were built in West Oakland. Lockwood was 372 housing units. Over 500 hundred homes would have to be demolished.

Oakland Tribune Mar 06, 1941
Newly constructed Lockwood Gardens public housing development in the Havenscourt district of Oakland,

The cost of building the projects was about $1,175,525. Lockwood was ready for occupancy in 1942.

The Early Years

Lockwood opened in August of 1942. Originally designed for low-income families regardless of employment, they were converted for the use of families the defense industry only.

this metropolitan area’s answer to Govenment housing officials prayers”

Oakland Tribune 1944

In the 1944 the Lockwood had a population of 1600, which included 372 family units and a total of 800 children. An all volunteer Community Council. A very active Improvement Club, with the purpose to promote unity among the residents and to expand social and sports programs for adults and children.

Oakland Tribune Feb 03, 1944

There were two newspapers, two orchestras which provided music for the semi-monthly adult dances and the weekly teen dances. There was a community victory garden.

Oakland Tribune Feb 03, 1944

Organized girls’ and boys’ clubs carried out a full program of social and sports activities under the direction of volunteers.

There was an auxiliary police force of 40 members who provided their own uniforms served under Chief of Police James Rouse.

Oakland Tribune Feb 03, 1944

Race and Housing

In a letter to the editor of the Oakland Tribune Mrs. Mollie Thorner wrote the following:

Editor: Only recently has our whole neighborhood become fully aware of the shocking policies at Lockwood Gardens Federal Housing Projects. (65th Avenue). The neighborhood surrounding Lockwood Gardens is a fine democratic community where all peoples, regardless of race, creed, or color, live side by side and to the enrichment of all. The policy of Lockwood Gardens, however, is: No admittance to any minority groups. Please note that this is a Federal Housing Project for GI families of low income. All Americans are asked to fight on the battlefield, regardless of race, creed, or color. What do the good people of Oakland think of a policy where, if the GI lives to come home, he finds a Federal Project closed to him because of the color of his skin? These projects are partly paid for by the Federal. Government, but the policy is left in the hands of each city. And since one poison always breeds another, it has now been learned that hundreds of families live in Lockwood Gardens whose income is was above the maximum ser for Federal Housing tenents. We believe that the housing authorities shut their eyes to this to keep up the discrimination policy.
We say with great pride, now that our community did at last find all these things out, it will leave no stone unturned to have these policies changed. The citizens of all Oakland have a duty in this.

Neighborhood Tenants Committees
Mrs. Mollie Thorner, Secretary

The Later Years

Oakland Tribune Jul 16, 1968
Oakland Tribune Jul 16, 1968
Oakland Tribune Dec 25, 1970

Even Later

Lockwood is also known as the “6-5 Vill” (Village), and is one half of the “Vill.” The other half of the “Vill” is the recently torn down 69th San Antonio Villas housing project, where infamous drug kingpin Felix Mitchell is from. The 69th San Antonio Villas has since been remodeled into condominiums. Once an extremely unattractive housing project, the Oakland housing authority also remodeled Lockwood Gardens. However, unlike the 69th Vill, whose crime rate dropped after remodeling, these efforts have done little to thwart the crime that still plagues the 65th Vill.

Rappers such as G-Stack, Tuffy, Yukmouth and the late Rap-A-Lot Records artist Seagram Miller all claim The Vill home. World Heritage Encyclopedia

Demolish or Rehabilitation

The Oakland Housing Authority received five federal HOPE VI grants totaling $83 million, enabling it to revitalize four large public housing sites and four small scattered sites. OHA’s first HOPE grant was used to renovate one of OHA’s original “war housing” developments, the 372-unit Lockwood Gardens, constructed in 1943. This was in 1994, 1998, 1999 and 2000

Lockwood Gardens was rehabilitated in the early 2000s.

Lockwood Gardens Today
Lockwood Gardens – Google Maps

More Info:


The End

Posted in Buildings, Fruitvale, Schools, Uncategorized

Fruitvale Open-Air School

About Open-Air Schools

The schools were a single-story building with integrated gardens, and pavilion-like classrooms increased children’s access to the outdoors, fresh air, and sunlight. They were mostly built in areas away from city centers, sometimes in rural locations, to provide a space free from pollution and overcrowding. 

New School House

School Children Enjoy the Open Air – SF Chronicle July 15, 1910

Free education and fresh air has interested educators from as far away as Paris, France

Oakland Tribune – May 13, 1913

The first open-air school in Oakland was established at the Fruitvale School No. 2 (now Hawthorne School) on Tallent Street (now East 17th). When it opened, there were forty students enrolled, from grades third through seventh. Miss Lulu Beeler was selected as the teacher because she had prior experience working in an open-air school in the East.

 The school designed to help cure ill and tubercular children. The focus was on improving physical health through the infusion of fresh air in the classrooms and into the children’s lungs. The school was established as a medical experiment. The school reserved for children judged to be of “weak” disposition.

The Fruitvale school is decidedly a health school”

Oakland Tribune May 13, 1913

It was constructed at the rear of the playground, one hundred feet from the existing main building.

“Fruitvale School. The fresh air school, 5-18-13.” Negative shows a group of children, boys and girls, posing in front of what looks like an enclosed porch on the back of the building. Two adult women and a man are standing with the children on a set of stairs leading up to this room.
OMCA

The square, the wood-framed building was raised to prevent underfloor dampness.

Fruitvale School. Saluting the flag, 5-18-13.” Negative shows a group of children with their right hands to their foreheads. One girl is standing in front of them holding an American flag on a pole.
OMCA

Each of the sides had a different treatment to reflect the sun. The southern side had tall windows that, when open, didn’t seem to be enclosed. The east side was opened to the elements with only half of a wall. A screen protected them from insects.  In case of storms awnings can be pulled down to protect the students.

Fruitvale School.” Negative shows school children hanging out the windows of the school, posing for the photo. A male teacher is standing on the ground outside the windows looking up at the first floor windows filled with the students.
OMCA

The school was to be the first in a series of open-air schools installed on the grounds of Oakland’s existing city schools.

Objections

Fruitvale School. The outdoors brought indoors 5-18-13.” 
OMCA

There was some objection in opening the school, from the parents of the selected children and the children themselves. The parents did not want their children singled out; the children worried they would be teased as being “sick.” These fears were realized, and the teachers struggled with how to deal with the repeated taunts

Oakland Tribune May 13, 1913

The idea of the open-air classroom was incorporated in many of the new schools built in the 1920s. I don’t know how long the Fruitvale Open Air school was open. I will update if I find more information.

More Info:

Growing Children Out of Doors: California’s Open-Air Schools and Children’s Health, 1907-1917 – Camille Shamble Los Gatos, California – May 2017

Open air school – Wikipedia

Collection of Photos – OMCA 

The End

Posted in Buildings, Montclair, Then and Now

Four Restaurants and a Bagel Shop

A bit of history of 2062 Mountain Blvd. According to the OHA, the building was constructed in 1946 for Klee’s and designed by Frederick Dyer-Bennet. An addition was made in 1951, designed by John Carl Warnecke. The building was divided and the facade changed c.1990.

I could only could find one photo of the Equinox.

Klee’s Smorgasbord

From the collection of Dorothy Londagin

Johnnie Lee Jackson was the chef in 1948-1949. Johnny Radell was chef in 1949

From the collection of Dorothy Londagin

Flagg’s Restaurant

Forgotten Montclair Group

In 1951, the restaurant was purchased by A. J. Flagg and John S. Flagg, who already owned Pland’s Restaurant. A. J. spent considerable time and money remodeling the restaurant before opening it in March 1952. Joe Kiklas was manager, and famed maitre d’hotel, Jerome DeFelice was host. 

Montclarion
Flickriver –View on black
From the collection of Dorothy Londagin
Oakland Tribune 1952

Sanford’s Restaurant

In 1953, the restaurant was sold to Sanford Cohn. Sanford’s closed in 1972.

1964 Telephone Book
Oakland Tribune Jun 04, 1953
Montclarion
Oakland Tribune 1972

Equinox

The Equinox opened in 1972 and closed in 1990.

Forgotten Montclair Group
Sf Examiner 1990

Today

Google Maps

More Info:

The End

Posted in Buildings, People, Then and Now, Uncategorized, West Oakland

Walsh’s Flatiron

Walsh & O’Brien’s Store, junction 18th, Peralta & Center Sts., Oakland, CA, ca. 1898″
OMCA – Gift of Mrs. Brent Howard
H26.1429
Oakland Tribune Dec 21, 1901

Oakland’s oldest flatiron building resides at the juncture of Peralta, Center, and 17th Streets in West Oakland. Built in 1879 for William Walsh, the two-story redwood structure initially housed the Center Junction Exchange Saloon with apartments above.

Oakland Tribune Feb 11, 1884

A native of Ireland, Mr. Walsh purchased the Peralta Street lot in 1877. Peralta Street was one of the main avenues to Berkeley. 

Oakland Tribune Dec 21, 1901

By 1877 the saloon had evolved into the Junction Cash Grocery and Liquor Store.  In 1894 Mr. Walsh partnered with Austin O’Brien.  The  firm of Walsh & O’Brien was described as:

importers selling direct to families, groceries, wines, cigars, home furnishing goods, hay, feed, and grain.” 

Mr. Walsh bought out O’Brien’s share of the company in 1901 and changed the name to Walsh & Co.

Oakland Tribune Apr 18, 1901
Plate 100

From Oakland 1902 Vol 1, California
Published by Sanborn Map Company in 1902

The Flatiron Today

1615 CENTER ST OAKLAND 94607

Google Maps – 1615 Center
Google Maps – 1615 Center
Google Maps

More Info:

Oakland Heritage Alliance News, Winter 1996-97, by William W. Sturm

Posted in Buildings, Montclair, Then and Now

Hamburger Joints in Montclair

Most who grew up in the Montclair District of Oakland have fond memories of Mort’s Drive-in on the corner of Moraga and Medau. My memories of Mort’s are from when it was on Thornhill Drive next to the 7-11. The smell of french fries (the best!)wafting through the air and into our classrooms would make our mouths water. I can still remember how good they smelled and tasted. Yum!

Long before Mort’s opened at the corner of Moraga Avenue and Medau Place, the land was part of the Medau Dairy. (read about the Medau’s here).

FYI – I don’t know why McKeen’s was sold. I am thinking the owner’s political life was taking up a lot of his time. But that is just my opinion.

The Corner of Moraga and Medau – 6420 Moraga

Here is how the corner looked like in 1954. 

Moraga and Medau in 1954
Public Works Photos, Oakland Cultural Heritage Survey

McKeen’s Charcoal Broiler

McKeen’s in 1958
Montclarion

On a shakedown run, they sold three hundred “Big Mac’s” in four hours.

“Big Mac” & “Little Mac”

Montclarion July 1958

In 1958 Robert “Bob” Mckeen, a local realtor, opened a delightful contemporary style barbecue restaurant. The ex-Cal basketball star planned on eventually having a chain of them, and Montclair was the first one. It offered both take home and on the site dining.

Bob McKeen 1958

“Montclair claims Big Bob and his natty new spot.”

Oakland Tribune July 1958

Mort’s Drive-In

Montclarion March 1961

Morton “Mort” and Gertrude Saunders bought McKeen’s in 1961 and reopened it as Mort’s Drive-In.

Montclarion March 1961
Montclarion March 1961

Arson Suspected!

In April of 1966, fire swept through Mort’s Drive-In, causing several thousand dollars in damage.

The building was broken into through a rear window. Police believe the intruders were disappointed in not finding any cash on the premises. Papers and rubbish were piled in the middle of the room and set on fire.

Mort Sauders, the owner, offered a reward of $100 for information.

Montclarion April 13, 1966
Montclarion April 13, 1966
Montclarion April 13, 1966

Going, going gone!

Crown Liquors and Cleaners

In 1967 a new building replaced the Drive-In.. Crown has been there ever since.

Oakland Tribune 1967
Oakland Tribune 1968

More Info:

A special thanks to Chris Treadway for the clippings from the Montclarion.

The End

Posted in Buildings, History, Then and Now

Downtown Modernization Program

In the summer of 1931, a group of property owners in the central downtown section formed an association called the Downtown Property Owners Associations.

One of the first projects they took on was the modernization some of the “elderly buildings” in the downtown area. They were losing tenants to the new modern buildings going up in the downtown area.

The association took care of all the details of the program.  

Just try to find a vacancy!”

D. Frost
Oakland Tribune 1933

Jonas Building – 1932 Northwest corner of Broadway and 11th Street in downtown Oakland, California. Abraham Jonas owned the building. He ran a clothing store for men.

The Jones building was the first to be remodeled and modernized.

Jonas building, northwest corner of Broadway and 11th Street in
downtown Oakland, California. Three Star Cafe, Normal Pharmacy, Broadway Theater in view.
1932 Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room and Maps Division (Oakland, Calif.)
Jonas building, northwest corner of Broadway and 11th Street in downtown Oakland, California
1934 – Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room and Maps Division (Oakland, Calif.)

The Abrahamson Building – Southwest corner of 13th and Washington streets. Opened in 1893 as Abrahamson’s Dry Goods. Owned by Jules and Hugo Abrahamson.

Abrahamson Building – circa 1931
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room and Maps Division (Oakland, Calif.)
Oakland Tribune 1931

A five-story structure at the southeast corner of 13th and Washington Streets was the second project in the modernization program.  J.H. King supervised the transformation of the building, and E.T. Foulkes was the architect.

The facelift was complete in March of 1934 with the opening of the Union Furniture Company.  The firm occupied all five floors of the building.

Abrahamson building, southeast corner of Washington and 13th Streets in downtown Oakland, California.
1932 – Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room and Maps Division (Oakland, Calif.)
Oakland Tribune 1934

Over the years, other businesses occupied the building.

Abrahamson building, southeast corner of Washington and 13th Streets in
downtown Oakland, California. Darling Shop in view.
1942 -Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room and Maps Division (Oakland, Calif.)

Delger Building – northwest corner of thirteenth and Broadway

Delger building, northwest corner of 13th Street and Broadway in downtown Oakland, California. 
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room and Maps Division (Oakland, Calif.)
Delger building, northwest corner of 13th Street and Broadway in downtown Oakland, California. 

M.K. Blake Building. – A four-story store and office structure at the southwest corner of 12th and Washington Streets.

The building was stripped of the bay windows, cornices, and other ornamentation removed. New tile was placed on the exterior walls.

M. K. Blake building (the Blake Block), southwest corner of Washington and 12th Streets
in downtown Oakland, California. Money Back Smith in view. 1935
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room and Maps Division (Oakland, Calif.)
M. K. Blake Estate Co. building (the Blake Block), southwest corner of 12th and Washington Streets in downtown Oakland, California. Smith’s in view. 1949
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room and Maps Division (Oakland, Calif.)

Glenn Building – 1308 Broadway

According to the Oakland Tribune, the Glenn Family had owned the building for 50 years.

Glenn building, east side of Broadway between 13th and 14th Streets in
downtown Oakland, California. Margaret Burnham’s Cottage Candies,
Leighton, Kay Jewelry Company in view. 1935
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room and Maps Division (Oakland, Calif.)

In 1937 work began on the Glenn Building at 1308 Broadway as part of a modernization program of the Downtown Property Association.

The improvements to the two-story cost $5,000 and included all new tiles on the front of the building.   Edward T. Foulkes was the architect on the project.

Most people will recognize the building as the home of De lauer’s Newsstand.

Glenn building, east side of Broadway between 13th and 14th Streets in downtown Oakland, California. Margaret Burnham’s Cottage Candies, Leighton, Kay Jewelry Company in view. 1935
Zukor’s, Inc. building, west side of Washington Street between 13th and 14th Streets
in downtown Oakland, California. 1932
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room and Maps Division (Oakland, Calif.)
Zukor’s, Inc. building, west side of Washington Street between 13th and 14th Streets
in downtown Oakland, California. 1934
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room and Maps Division (Oakland, Calif.)

More Buildings

In total, 31 buildings were rebuilt or given a “facelift.” The program was a success, buildings were filled with stores, and the stores were filled with people who were shopping.

  • Plaza Building at 15th and Washington Streets
  • Farmers & Merchants Savings Bank Building at 13th and Franklin
  • S.H. Cress Company on 14th and Broadway.
  • Federal Telegraph Building at 12th and Washington streets
  • Fuller-Sparks Building on 14th Streets.
  • Masonic Temple Building on 12th Street for the new Lerner Store
Oakland Tribune 1939
Oakland Tribune 1939

More Info:

Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room and Maps Division (Oakland, Calif.)

Posted in Buildings, Montclair, Schools, Then and Now

Then & Now – Oakland Schools – Part 20

In this series of posts, I hope to show Then and Now images Oakland Schools.   Along with a bit of history of each school, I highlight.  

Note: Piecing together the history of some of the older schools is sometimes tricky. I do this all at home and online — a work in progress for some. I have been updating my posts when I find something new. Let me know of any mistakes or additions.  

Montera Junior High

Montera and Joaquin Miller Schools are located where Camp Dimond owned by the Boy Scouts once was. The camp opened in 1919 and closed in 1949 when the land purchased by the board of education.

Groundbreaking

The groundbreaking ceremony was held in December of 1957. The school was next to Joaquin Miller Elementary School.  Speakers at the event were Peter C. Jurs, member of the board, Mrs. Robert Hithcock, President of the Joaquin Miller PTA, Zoe Kenton, eighth-grade student, Jim Ida seventh grade student, and Supt Selmer Berg. Rev Robert H. Carley led the invocation.

Malcolm D. Reynolds and Loy Chamberlain designed the school. The new school featured: Administration Offices.

Construction

Jan 1958
1958
Parking Lot – November 1958
Gymnasium
June 1958
Russ Reed Photo

Naming the School

Montera Junior High – Nov 1959

The school was temporarily called Joaquin Miller Junior High that was because it is adjacent to Joaquin Miller Elementary School.  

As is the case of all new Oakland School, the students, faculty, and community help choose the name of the school. 

Recommendations to the school board from the school’s parent -facility club were as follows:

  1. Jack London Junior High
  2. Montera Junior High
  3. Pineview Junior High

They were set to vote on the name at the next board meeting. Before they could vote, they received a second letter from the parent-faculty club at the school withdrawing the recommendation of Jack London Junior High.

The parents said that

London was not a fit person for the honor.

Parent – Faculty
SF Chronicle – Oct 1959

 A student representative said, “Montera Junior High” was the top choice for those attending the school. The area was known historically as the Montera District.

Oakland Tribune Nov 23, 1924

School Dedication

The school was formally dedicated as Montera Junior High on November 10, 1959

November 10, 1959
November 10, 1959
November 10, 1959
November 10, 1959

Film Festival

Oakland Tribune 1971

Montera Today

Montera is located at 5555 Ascot Drive.  

Montera Toros
Montera-OUSD Photo
Montera – OUSD Photo

In 2011, Montera became a California Distinguished School. The woodshop is another source of school pride, having celebrated over 50 years of teaching children the arts of woodcraft. It is the only remaining woodshop in an Oakland middle school.

More Info:

Posted in Buildings, East Oakland, Schools, Then and Now, Uncategorized

Then & Now – Oakland Public Schools – No. 19

In this series of posts, I hope to show Then and Now images Oakland Schools.   Along with a bit of history of each school, I highlight.  

Note: Piecing together the history of some of the older schools is sometimes tricky. I do this all at home and online — a work in progress for some. I have been updating my posts when I find something new. Let me know of any mistakes or additions.  

Skyline High School

Skyline High School is located on a 45-acre ) campus at the crest of the Oakland hills. The school is near the Redwood Regional Park and has a panoramic (through the trees)view of the San Francisco Bay Area on one side and Contra Costa on the other.

My School Id

Hill Area High School

Where will Oakland’s proposed new hill-area school be located”

Oakland Tribune Sep 05, 1956

Talks about a new “Hill-Area High School began in the early to mid-1950s. After weeks of field trips and meetings the possible sites for the new school were reduced from eight to three.

They finally they decided on a 31-acres site at Skyline Blvd and Fernhoff Road – No 1 above and below.

The new hill area high school costs were expected to be almost $4,000,000, with nearly $3,000,000 earmarked for site development and construction.

Oakland Tribune May 21, 1958

For 1,500 students, the plans called for fifty-four classrooms, a library, a cafeteria, a gymnasium, an auditorium, and administrative offices. The number of classrooms would be increased to 67 for 2,000 students.

The Oakland architectural firm of Warnecke and Warnecke were hired to design the new school.

Construction

The grading and excavation was complete by July of 1959 at a cost of $182,000

Montclarion 1961

Architects Warnecke and Warnecke estimated the school building would cost $3,650,600 in addition to the money already spent on the site, and development would bring the total to $4,623,301.

Some of the suggestions to cut the cost was.

  • Omit a $500,000 auditorium
  • Omit the covered walkways for a savings of $97,000
  • Substitute 13 portables classrooms for permanent buildings to save $266,800
Oakland Tribune Jan 25, 1959

The contract to build the Hill Area High School was awarded to Branagh and Son, at a cost of $4,140,500 for 50 classrooms.

Construction was set to begin in November of 1959

The school was set to open in the fall of 1961.

Oakland Tribune Jan 25, 1961

Loud protests that the “tentative” boundaries for the new Hill Area High School would keep low income and minority groups prompted the Board of Education to request further study on the matter in January of 1961.` 

Representatives of the NAACP told the board members that keeping attendance boundaries in hill area would make the new facility a

“private prep school supported by public funds.”

The existing boundaries of the four high schools in Oakland then had lines extending to the eastern limits of the city allowed for a wide divergence of racial and economic backgrounds.

The proposed boundary for the new school stretched along the top lines of the hills would only allow for “horizontal mobility.”

David P. McCullum, president of the Oakland NAACP, stressed that “Negros would not be the only ones deprived of a chance to attend the new school but that all races in the lower economic group would be cut out.

” It is not just a color problem-it is a total problem.”

Henry J. Kaiser Jr was the chairman of PACE (Oakland’s Public Advisory Committee on Education), and he wrote in a letter to the board of education that. 

“This is the time when all of us-the Negro people and the white people-should face common problems together and work them out to our mutual satisfaction, to the end that the community is strengthened and our school children are given the maximum opportunities for development.”

McCullum said:

Skyline boundaries don’t just shut out Negroes, but create general “economic” segregation which also affects many white people.

The new attendance boundaries brought charges of gerrymandering.

The Segregation unintentional School Official Decries”

April 03, 1962

But today there are many Negro children in junior highs which feed into Skyline High School”

Selmer Berg Apr 1962

The discussion on Skyline’s borders went on for a few more years. In 1964 an ‘Open” enrollment plan was proposed, and eventually, it was accepted.

Oakland Tribune Feb 26, 1961

The new boundary did the best job of following present junior high attendance lines, and in giving relief to Castlemont, Fremont, Oakland High and Technical High.

The Name Skyline Wins!

In January of 1961, Dr. George C. Bliss was appointed the first principal of Skyline. Dr. Bliss had with the Oakland schools for 36 years most recently as the principal of Technical High School.

School board members received suggestions that the new Hill Area High school be named Sequoia or Skyline High.

Montclarion 1961

In February of 1961, Oakland’s newest high school had an official name.

The board voted at the regular meeting to call the $4.5 million school “Skyline High School”.

Athletic Shakeup

To fill Skyline, they planned on taking the following students from:

  • 700 from Oakland
  • 400 from Fremont
  • 200 from Castlemont
  • 125 from Technical

Seniors could stay at their present school and graduate with their class, and junior within the new boundaries also had that choice. Sophomores had no choice. They must go to Skyline.

This meant that some of the star athletes would be leaving their school for Skyline.

Oakland’s starting basketball guard and the best high jumper in track and field were bound for Skyline. 

Oakland High was set to lose Paul Berger, their coach of nine years.

Ben Francis was the sophomore starting basketball guard at Oakland High, who must switch to Skyline. Others were Craig Breschi,Glen Fuller, Jim Ida, and Ed Huddleson.

Oakland Tribune Nov 03, 1962

Ben Haywood Oakland’s best high jumper was bound for Skyline.

JUNIOR BEN HAYWOOD WIND FOUR EVENTS

Oakland Tribune Mar 03, 1962

It was announced in April of 1961 that no varsity football would be played the first year at Skyline, by principal Dr. George Bliss.

“Football depends a great deal on size and weight.” the principal said, ” and we’ll be outnumbered two and three to one in seniors by the other schools.”

Skyline High circa 1963

Dedication

Sky’s the limit

All we have to do is develop the finest school that’s possible-one that everybody can look up to”

Dr. George Bliss – Aug 1961

The formal dedication for the school was held in November of 1961. The ceremony was held in the auditorium, with music provided by the Skyline Concert Band and Choir.

Oakland Tribune Dec 04, 1961

The formal presentation was made by Selmer Berg the Sup. of the Schools with Arch W. Host and Leroy D. Smith accepting on behalf of the students and faculty.

In a surprise feature to the program the auditorium was named the Selmer H. Berg Hall in his hoor.

The school newspaper is the Skyline Oracle and the yearbook is the Olympian. These publications have existed since the early decades of Skyline High history. The participants of each publication are involved by taking the offered courses. The Skyline Oracle has won numerous honors over the years for the quality of its publication.

Skyline Mascot

Arson Fire

From Chris Treadway

In January of 1973, an ex-student of Skyline who at the time was AWOL from Fort Ord broke into the 20 Building in search of food or money. He said he threw a lighted match into a can of cleaning fluid. He said he tried to put the fire out but fled and pulled the fire alarm. When the fire department responded, they were unable to find it. Neighbors later saw the flames and called the fire department by this time the 20 Building was gone.

From the Skyline Yearbook

After leaving Skyline, he broke into a church down the hill and was arrested by the police; he had set off the silent alarm. While in police custody, he confessed to starting a fire at Skyline.

Oakland Tribune Jan 31, 1973
Oakland Tribune Feb 1973

Skyline High Today

Skyline High is located at 12250 Skyline Blvd.

More Info:

Skyline Website – OUSD

Posted in Buildings, East Oakland, Schools, Then and Now, West Oakland

Then & Now – Oakland Schools Part 18

In this series of posts, I hope to show Then and Now images Oakland Schools.  Along with a bit of history of each school, I highlight. Some of the photos are in the form of drawings or postcards, or from the pages of history books.

Note: Piecing together the history of some of the older schools is sometimes tricky. I do this all at home and online — a work in progress for some. I have been updating my posts when I find something new. Let me know of any mistakes or additions.

Dag Hammarskjöld School

Sorry I wasn’t able to find any pictures of the school. Let me know if you have any.

The new Columbia Gardens school on Empire Road was a temporary school that was established in 1961 as a “bonus” project from the 1956 bond issue.

The school was officially named Dag hammarskjöld School after the late secretary-general of the United Nations in October of 1961.

Dedication

The school was dedicated in March of 1962.

Oakland Tribune Mar 21, 1962

More Info:

  1. Dag hammarskjöld – Wikipedia
  2. $40 Million School Program Ends – Oakland Tribune Feb 02, 1964

Lincoln Elementary School

Lincoln Elementary School is one of the oldest schools in the Oakland Unified School District. The school had several incarnations before becoming Lincoln Elementary School.

Lincoln School history goes back to 1865 when the Board of Education established Primary School No. 2 “the Alice Street School” at Alice and 6th Streets.

The school was moved to Harrison Street and renamed Harrison Primary.

The lot for the first school cost $875, and the two-room school cost $1324. There were 60 students registered that first year.

In 1872 (1878), Lincoln Grammar School was built on its present site at Alice and 10th Streets. They paid $7, 791 for the land, and the building complete with “modern speaking tubes for communication” (??) cost $20,000.

Lincoln School in 1887

Lincoln School in 1898

1906 Earthquake

Drawing of the New Lincoln School

The 1906 Earthquake interrupted the construction of a new school building with 22 classrooms that was replacing the school from 1872. New plans were drawn to make an earthquake-proof structure. There were many delays, but the school was finally open in the fall of 1909.

Oakland Tribune Aug 31, 1907

New Lincoln School ended up costing between $150,000-$175,000.

Lincoln School offered the first manual training and homemaking classes in the city. During the flu epidemic of 1918 meals for prepared for and served to 200 daily.

New School

Preliminary plans for a new two-story concrete building were authorized in October of 1957. The cost was estimated at $535, 000.

The 1906 building was demolished in 1961 due to seismic safety concerns.

Oakland Tribune October 06, 1959

A new building was erected in 1962. The cost of the building was $617,000 and had 16 classrooms, offices, an auditorium, a library, and a kindergarten.

A bronze plaque of the Gettysburg Address was presented to the school.

Oakland Tribune Apr 18, 1961

The school grew in size and began to use portable classrooms to accommodate the new students.

Lincoln Today

The school is at 225 11th St. in Oakland.

The school has a long history of serving families in the Oakland Chinatown neighborhood as well as children from other parts of Oakland. Today, the majority of the children at Lincoln come from immigrant families from across the globe. To learn more about the history of Lincoln Elementary, please visit the Oakland Chinatown Oral History Project.

Lincoln Today

In 2004 the new annex building was built to replace eleven portable buildings.

Lincoln’s alumni include famous Oaklanders: Raymond Eng (first Chinese-American elected to Oakland’s city council), James Yimm Lee (author and student of Bruce Lee), and Benjamin Fong-Torres (famous rock journalist and author).

Distinguished School

  1. 2006: Lincoln Elementary wins a Title 1 Academic Achievement Award
  2. 2007: Lincoln Elementary wins a Title 1 Academic Achievement Award
  3. 2008: Lincoln Elementary is named a California Distinguished School and wins a Title 1 Academic Achievement Award
  4. 2009: Lincoln Elementary wins a Title 1 Academic Achievement Award
  5. 2010: Lincoln Elementary wins a Title 1 Academic Achievement Award and named a National Blue Ribbon School
  6. 2011: Lincoln Elementary wins a Title 1 Academic Achievement Award
  7. 2012: Lincoln Elementary wins a Title 1 Academic Achievement Award
  8. 2019: Today, Lincoln Elementary serves over 700 TK-5 students.

Lincoln School Website – OUSD

More Info:

  1. Chinese Children”Yellow Peril” – Oakland Tribune Aug 21, 1906
  1. The steel framework of new Lincoln Grammar – Oakland Tribune Jul 06, 1907
  2. The Disgraceful Record of the New Lincoln School – Oakland Tribune Mar 16, 1909
  3. Lincoln School is Dedicated – Oakland Tribune Oct 15, 1909
  4. The End of Old Lincoln School – Oakland Tribune Aug 08, 1909
  5. Preliminary Plans for New School – Oakland Tribune Oct 31, 1957
  6. Groundbreaking for New Lincoln School – Oakland Tribune Oct 06, 1959
  7. Old Lincoln School Goes and New Rises – Oakland Tribune Apr 16, 1961

The End