Posted in Buildings, East Oakland, Schools

Then & Now – Oakland Schools Part 2

This is the second part of a series of post I intend to do showing past and present pictures of Oakland Public Schools. Some of the pictures are in the form of drawings, postcards or from pages in historical books. Not all schools will be included in this series. Sometimes I might just post the before.

Campbell School

The school was built in 1869 as the Grove Street School. The name was changed in 1906 to Campbell School when it was named after Fred Campbell superintendent of Oakland schools from 1870-1870 and 1886-1890. He was state superintendent of schools 1880-1883.

Oakland Tribune Jun 09, 1926

Campbell’s daughter Mary was the principal of the school from 1898-1926.

In 1907 a new school was built . The Mission Style school was designed by Architect F.E. Voorhees. It contained seven classroom and office for the principal. It cost about $38,000 to build.

Oakland Tribune Mar 1907

In 1954 due the the school not being earthquake safe it was closed and the students were sent to Tompkins School. The school was sold and demolished in 1954. A commercial building was in built on the site.

The school was located at 416 Grove Street.

Cleveland School

The first drawing – Oakland Tribune Jul 09, 1912

In 1912 the first drawing for a new Peralta Heights school was submitted to the school board. John J. Donovan was the architect. Donovan designed many schools for the district.

Peralta Heights is a small neighborhood in what is now known as Cleveland Heights.

Bids to build the school were submitted in 1912, based on the below photo. They held a formal opening of the school in Jan of 1914.

Sometime during the late 50s or early 60s the old school was removed and a new replaced it.

Cleveland School Today – Google Maps

Cleveland Elementary School is located at 745 Cleveland Street.

Cole Grammar School

Cole Grammar School was opened in 1885 in West Oakland on 10th Street between Union and Poplar Streets.

Oakland and Surroundings 1885
Oakland Local wiki

 It was named for Rector E. Cole an early Oakland dentist and member of the city council, and member and then president of the Oakland Board of Education.

Jack London attended Cole starting in 1887. He graduated 8th grade in 1891

Cole School was located at 1011 Union Street.

As of 2013 Cole School is the headquarters of the Chief of Police.

Cole School Today – Google Maps

Piedmont Avenue School

The Piedmont Avenue School as seen below was built in 1891. It was located on Piedmont Avenue at John Street and across the street from where the school is now located.

Oakland Tribune Feb 13, 1892

Prior to that there was a two room schoolhouse up closer to the Mountain View Cemetery. Classes we held for a time at the home of G.W. Hume who lived in large estate where the school is located now.

The school at that time was used by both children from Piedmont and Oakland. The building was designed by William Kirk and cost about $10,000 to build. The school had bell tower with a 350 pound bell. There was a large assembly room, a library, a hothouse for plants, classrooms on both floors and a large lighted basement where the children could play during wet weather.

Oakland Tribune Feb 20, 1892

The school was dedicated on Washington’s Birthday in 1892.

Engraving of the Piedmont District School at Webster Avenue in Oakland, Alameda County, California, from the book “Illustrated album of Alameda County, California” by Jos, 1893. Alex Colquhoun. Courtesy Internet Archive. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

In July of 1938 while the students were on summer break the school was destroyed by fire that was considered arson. Ten fireman were injured four of them seriously.

Oakland Tribune July 25, 1938
Oakland Tribune July 25, 1938
Oakland Tribune July 25, 1938

The new school was dedicated in March of 1941.

Piedmont Avenue School – Google Maps

Prescott School

Prescott School started in 1866 as a one room primary school. It was located at Ninth and Campbell Streets which was dirt roads surrounded by woods. In 1869 a new two-story building with four classrooms on each floor opened the largest and it was the most up to date school in Oakland.

Exterior Prescott Grammar School
Oakland History Room
Prescott School with damage from 1906 earthquake
UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library
Permalink: https://calisphere.org/item/ark:/13030/hb1m3nb284/
Prescott School, 9th & Campbell 1906
Owning Institution: UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library
Permalink: https://calisphere.org/item/ark:/13030/hb6d5nb5w4/

Ida Louise Jackson, Oakland’s first African-American teacher, taught there starting in 1925 — 13 years before any other school hired a black teacher.

Exterior of Prescott School circa 1918
Towns (Royal E.) Papers
Oakland Public Library, African American Museum

In 1954 Prescott Junior High (somewhere in time it was changed?) was condemned for being unsafe and a hazard to the students. At that time there was no money in the budget to replaced it.

Prescott is located at 920 Campbell St.

Prescott School Today – Google Maps

The school has been operating under the name PLACE @ Prescott (Preparatory Literary Academy of Cultural Excellence @ Prescott) since 2006, serving Kindergarten through 5th grade children

  • 150 Years of Prescott OUSD
  • Prescott website- OUSD
  • Place@Prescott website – OUSD

Swett Grammar School

Swett School was located at 12th Avenue and East 19th Street.

Views of Oakland 1893
Swett School – 1906 earthquake damage
Owning Institution: UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library
Permalink: https://calisphere.org/item/ark:/13030/hb9199p3sm/

Woodrow Wilson Junior High

Woodrow Wilson Junior High started out as Mosswood Junior High in August of 1923. It was located at the corner of 48th and Webster Streets. In 1924 the schools name was changed.

In 1926 they laid the cornerstone for a new school.

Oakland Tribune October 26, 1926
Oakland Tribune Oakland Tribune Nov 14, 1926
Woodrow Wilson Junior circa 1970s

In the early 1970s Woodrow Wilson Junior High School was demolished and a new school was built. Sometime in the mid 1970s the school was renamed the Verdese Carter Middle School.

Demolition of Woodrow Wilson School in the 1970s
from Adrienne Broach
Demolition of Woodrow Wilson School in the 1970s
from Adrienne Broach
The School Today – Google Maps

In 2007 the Oakland Unified school district opened its first school that enrolls only immigrant students. Called the Oakland International High School, it is modeled after international high schools in New York City for newcomers to the United States. The school is still open in 2019.

The school is located at 4521 Webster St.

  • Oakland International High School – OUSD
  • West Coast District Uses East Coast Model – August 2007

The End

Posted in Black History, Buildings, Business, West Oakland

Wrecker Uses Sherman Tank To…

Project Gateway – West Oakland

The world’s largest and fully mechanized mail handling facility designed to serve central California and the Pacific ocean area

Postmaster General – Aug 1959

It was announce the facility would be built on a 12-block site in West Oakland bounded by Peralta, 7th and Wood Streets and the Southern Pacific railroad yards.

Oakland Tribune Aug 26, 1959

The postmaster general officially named the Oakland project “Project Gateway”

Oakland Tribune Aug 26, 19

Major Problems –

City officials were excited that construction will begin in about one year. They expected an Oakland payroll of some 750 workers and the clearing of some 20 acres of sub-standard homes for a major redevelopment project.

Oakland Mayor Clifford E Rishell noted that the post office project presents some major problems – chiefly the relocation of some 300 families (about 1000 people) in the project area.

The Oakland Redevelopment Agency was in charge of the relocation. A survey at the time determined that half of the 300 families had moderate incomes that will permit them to rent or purchase home in other sections of the city. The other half will probably require public housing.

The job we face isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible

Arthur Hoff – Oakland Redevelopment Agency

One of West Oakland’s most revered landmarks was lost with the razing of the New Century Recreation Center and adjoining school property at Atlantic, Pacific and Peralta Avenues.

Also lost in the project would be a junkyard ,few businesses and McFeely School which opened in 1949.

Evictions

In a March 1960 special meeting of city officials and postal officials were told that 34 families had already received eviction notices. The families lived in homes already sold the government by Southern Pacific. 21 families had already found new homes.

August 1 1960 was when the were to begin clearing the site,

Oakland Tribune Jul 19 1960

A squadron of bulldozers was set to plow into the 12-block site of buildings. All put 12 parcels of the 187 total had been acquired in negotiation. Commendation orders were entered for the holdouts.

Sherman Tank

The postal officials were perplexed when building wrecker Aldo S. Allen submitted a low bid of $64,000 to clear the 20-acre site for Project Gateway. He was $10,000 lower than the next lowest bid and $50,000 lower than the highest bid.

I got an idea” Allen a one time midget car racer explained.

Aldo S. Allen – 81st Ave Oakland CA

His idea consisted for $2,000 purchasing a surplus Sherman Tank of World War II vintage, a 73,000- pound dreadnaught powered by a 500 horsepower engine. The tank would be much more powerful, faster and safer.

He was Right!

Aldo climbed into the tank which was in front of a row of six houses. He first practiced on a tree,

SNAP! Down went the tree.

Without pausing he went towards the first house and bore a tunnel through the house. The second story remained intact. Again he aimed for house, there was a roar and the second story came down burying the tank for a moment.

10 Minutes Flat! The time to clear the first house

Oakland Tribune Aug 16, 1960

It took 90 minutes to flatten and clear all 6 houses

Oakland Tribune Aug 16, 1960
Oakland Tribune Aug 16, 1960
Oakland Tribune Aug 16, 1960
Oakland Tribune Aug 16, 1960
Oakland Tribune Aug 16, 1960
Oakland Tribune Aug 16, 1960
The Daily Texan Aug 16, 1960
More on Project Gateway in west Oakland

The End

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

Then & Now – Oakland Schools Part 1

My 100th post!

I thought I would share then and now pictures of the schools in Oakland as I find them . Some of the pictures are in the form of drawings, postcards or from pages in historical books. Not all schools will be included in this series. Sometimes I might just post the before.

Castlemont High School

Castlemont High School is in Oakland, California, United States, originally known as East Oakland High School. The Castlemont name was selected by a vote of the students. Castlemont High School was founded in 1929 in a medieval-style building. The school is located at 8601 MacArthur Boulevard.

Castlemont High circa 1920s

 Castlemont High was designed by Chester Miller and Carl Warneke, Oakland architects. Oakland Local WIki – Castlemont High

Castlemont High circa 1930s

The building was replaced in 1961 as the old one was not earthquake safe.

Castlemont High Today

For an eight-year period, from 2004 to 2012, the large school housed three separate smaller schools called the Castlemont Community of Small Schools. The smaller schools were known by the names:

  1. Castlemont Leadership Preparatory High (10-12)
  2. Castlemont Business and Information Technology School (10-12) (CBITIS)
  3. East Oakland School of the Arts (10-12)

Dewey School

Dewey began as an Oakland elementary school at 38th avenue and East 12th Street in 1899. It was named after Admiral George Dewey who was a hero in the Spanish-American War that was being fought at that time. 

In 1963 Dewey became the first continuation high school in Oakland.

Dewey is now located at 1111 2nd Ave, Oakland, CA, 94606

Dewey High School – OUSD

Franklin School

In 1877, it was known as Franklin Grammar School. The Franklin School building as seen in the photo below was built in 1906. The school is located at 915 Foothill Blvd

Franklin Grammar School – Cheney Photo Advertising Circa 1912

Franklin School

In 1953, the brick building was declared unsafe. In 1955, it was demolished to make way for a new building. Franklin Elementary School is located at 915 Foothill Blvd

Franklin Elementary – today

Fremont High School

The John. C. Fremont High School was the successor of Fruitvale High School, and was organized in 1905 by Frank Stuart Rosseter. The old building was destroyed in an arson fire on the night of January 1, 1930. The school has been located at 4610 Foothill Boulevard since 1905.

John C Fremont High School

Cheney Photo Advertising Company circa 1910

The old building was destroyed in an arson fire on the night of January 1, 1930. The school reopened on April 19, 1932.

Fremont School Today –

Frick Junior High

Frick was built on the Boulevard between Baker and Bay View (now Foothill and 62nd) . The school takes its name from W.P. Frick who donated the lot the school is to be built on. It was then part of the Lockwood District. The school was dedicated on March 17, 1909.

W.P Frick School

circa 1913 Photographer: Cheney Photo Advertising Company

The original school was kindergarten through the seventh grade. The building had 8 rooms. With the rapid growth of the area around Frick School it was decided to make Frick school a junior high in 1923.

New School

Oakland Tribune May 30, 1926

In a 1927 a new school was built on adjoining land and was called Frick Jr. High School. The style of the new building Spanish and Moorish architecture.

Oakland Tribune Jun 05, 1927

Another New School

In 1953 it was determined that the 1927 building was a poor earthquake risk. In 1957 the was broken for a new school fronting Brann Street. The old building was razed during the summer of 1960. The present school has been in use since 1960-61.

Frick School today – Google Maps

It is now called Frick Impact Academy

Hamilton Junior High School

Alexander Hamilton Junior High was built in 1922. The school is located at 2101 35th Avenue.

Athletic Festival at Hamilton Junior High

It was named after Calvin Simmons sometime in the early to mid-1980s. The school was renamed United for Success Academy in 2006.

The school today. Google Maps

Horace Mann Grammar School

Horace Mann was built in about 1910-1912. The school is located at 5222 Ygnacio Avenue.

Horace Mann Grammar School
Ygnacio and Vicksburg Avenue

Cheney Photo Advertising Company circa 1912

Groundbreaking for the new Horace Mann school after it was determined to be not earthquake safe was in 1959. The new school was formally dedicated in 1961.

Oakland Tribune May 11, 1959

Horace Mann today – Google Maps

Sequoia Elementary School

Sequoia Elementary School is located at on Lincoln Avenue at Scenic Avenue. It was built in 1910. Ida M. Hammond was the first principal. The building below is facing Scenic Avenue. The address of the school is 3730 Lincoln Avenue.

Original Sequoia School
Lincoln Avenue and Scenic Street

Cheney Photo Advertising Company circa 1910

In 1926 a new school building was built adjoining the original. The new building will have 13 to 14 rooms and an auditorium, it will face Lincoln Avenue as seen below.

In 1960 the original 1909 building was replaced.

Sequoia School today. Google maps

University High School

University High School, which was built in 1922 and opened in 1923 and was designed by Charles W. Dickey.  The school is located at 5714 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, (the original street name was Grove Street, but became MLK, Jr. Way in 1984)

University High School circa 1920s

The school is now used by the North Oakland Senior Center. Annual events at the Center include holiday dances, birthday parties, and flea markets. There are weekly salsa, swing and line dancing classes, along with activities such as Tai Chi and blood pressure screening.

University High School – today

The End

Posted in Buildings, Oakland, People

First Framed House in Oakland

Oakland in the Days When Oaks Were Here and the Peralta’s Owned all the Land

Oakland Tribune Feb 1891

The house was located at N. E. corner east Eighth Street and Fourth Avenue, East Oakland. The address was first 202 East Ninth Street. East Ninth Street was later renamed East Eight Street and house was renumbered from 202 to 404. The final address was 404 East Eight Street.

From the 1884 directory
From the 1912 Directory
Oakland Tribune May 01, 1932
Okland Tribune Nov 13, 1949

In Search of Gold

The lure of the gold drew Moses Chase and his son George to California in 1849. They sailed from Boston on aboard the Capitol on a 176-day voyage. He hoped to make his fortune panning for gold, then return home to marry Mary Ellen Clinton. They had no luck at finding gold and soon they found themselves back on the coast.

Chase then became the first white man to settle in Oakland and he first camped at the foot of what is now Broadway, in 1849.

He then leased land from the Peralta Family just east of what is now Lake Merritt. the land later became part of Township of Clinton which later became a part of Oakland.

The Cabin

It was on this land he built a small cabin of 14 feet wide and 24 feet, from ship timbers, driftwood and rough boards.  He intended to bring his new bride back to California from Boston and live in the cabin. But she died before he arrived back home to marry her. The Township of Clinton was named in her honor.

Showing the original home

In 1856 the front part was added.  This would become the main section of the house. Over the years other alternations and additions expanded the cabin into a two-story building of 17 rooms during its 86-year occupancy by Chase, his son and his grandson. The original section, after standing intact until 1936 when it was cut in half and became the laundry room.

Bancroft Library – Jesse Brown Cooke Scrapbook
http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/tf7k40107n 
BANC PIC 1996.003:Volume 27:089–fALB 
I0051808a.tif 

As you see in the photograph, the house is in first class condition today, October 5, 1928. Photo taken by Jesse B. Cook and Joseph A. Murray. 

Bancroft Library – Jesse Brown Cooke Scrapbook
http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/tf3f59p0hs 
BANC PIC 1996.003:Volume 27:090–fALB 
I0051809a.tif 

See: While Oakland was Finding its Place on the Map of the World – Oakland Tribune May 01, 1932

First Settler Laid to Rest

The Oldest Inhabitant has Gone to Rest

 Chase spent the later years of his life a near recluse on Bay Farm Island, but he died in the family home February 17, 1891 at the age of 84. He was laid to rest at the Mountain View Cemetery.

A Wedding Takes Place

Another view of the home

In May of 1925 Albert B. Chase was married in the same room he was born in 45 years before. Albert was the son of George Chase (1841-1919) the only child of Moses Chase.

At the time of his wedding Albert was the only surviving member of the Chase family. His older brother had died in 1924 and his sister in 1925.

Oakland 80th Birthday

In honor of Oakland’s 80th Birthday in May of 1932 the Clinton Improvement Association erected a sign on the home noting its historical significance. Oakland Tribune Apr 07, 1932

Razing the Old Home

Oakland Tribune July 02, 1946
Oakland Tribune 1948

In 1946 workman from the Symon Brothers Wrecking Company started razing the “old Chase home”  a small rear portion of which was the original cabin to which Chase built in 1849.

Through three generations the old home continued at the family residence, until in 1936 Albert died. Albert’s widow sold the home to Guido Pacini, a trucking contractor.   Pacini graded the adjoining lot for his trucking business.  The old home was completing renovated and was use as a residence, most recently the home of Picini’s daughter and her husband.

Cook Brothers Equipment Distributors began a 10 year lease of old homestead after it was cleared.   Oakland Tribune July 02, 1946

Oakland Tribune 1948
Showing the 404 East 8th Street in 1951 – Sanborn Map

More on Moses Chase

The End

Posted in Buildings, Early Montclair, History, Montclair, Real Estate

One of the Oldest Buildings in Montclair…or is it?

A while back I was doing a simple search on buildings in Montclair. I came across this article (posted below) from 1962, with the attached photo. It was about the destruction of building that was to be replaced with a new $125,000 building. The new building was called the Eberhart Building.

The Eberhart Building today – Google Maps

The Eberhart Building is still standing and is located at 2070 Mountain Blvd.

Oakland Tribune Jan 30, 1962

Of course I needed to find out more about the building that was now just a pile of rubbish as seen in the photo above.

The photo above shows the building as it looks today. In researching the address I find that the real estate firm Winder and Gahan first occupied the site in 1938.

According the article from 1962 – In 1921 a group of real estate men stood with “high hopes” in front of a small spanish style stucco building that looked completely out of place in the open fields of the Montclair DIstrict.

There was just a building with a sign “tract office” on it, the open fields and a dusty, narrow road in in front of it.

Oakland Tribune Jan 30, 1962

Montclair in 1921

This is probably how Montclair looked when that group of men stood in from of the building “with high hopes”. I just don’t think they were standing in front of the same building that was demolished in 1962, as noted in the article. Unless it is the one on the right and they moved it and changed the style of it?

Sales offices of real estate broker and home builder
Cos Williams 6501 Moraga
Photo c1921 by Cheney Photo Advertising F-2830
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

The small building on the left of the above picture is the office of home builder Cos Williams. The street going up hill is La Salle Avenue. The address was 6501 Moraga Avenue.

Oakland Tribune 1925

New Real Estate Firm in Montclair

New Winder Offices in Montclair
6500 Moraga Avenue
Oakland Tribune Sep 24,1933

In 1933 A.H. WInder opened an office at the corner of Moraga Avenue and La Salle Avenue. The address was 6500 Moraga Avenue.

Winder was the exclusive sales agent for the Forest Park extension and Shepherd Canyon Park.

I bet you are wondering what this has to do with the building at 2070 Mountain Blvd. Trust me it will all make sense soon.

Oakland Tribune

In 1936 A.H. WInder and J. J. Gahan formed a new firm called “Winder & Gahan Corporation”.

Winder & Gahan Offices
6500 Moraga Ave
Oakland Tribune 1936

New Location Announced

With the expiration of their present lease at 6500 Moraga Avenue,” states A.H.Winder, “we will build a new office on the on the recently -acquired site, using a frontage of 72 feet on Mountain Boulevard”

Oakland Tribune Oct 1937
Oakland Tribune Oct 24, 1937

In 1937 the real estate firm of Winder and Gahan announced the recent purchase by the firm a piece of land (Block “H”) in the heart of the business district, near the intersection of Moraga Avenue and Mountain Boulevard.

Block H” 2070 Mountain Blvd
Alameda County Parcel Map

The Heart of Montclair Business Center

Winder & Gahan moved into their new office at 2070 Mountain Boulevard in November of 1938.

The new building at 2070 Mountain Blvd.

It would eventually be the home of Eberhart Realty. I am not sure exactly when they moved to 2070 Mountain Boulevard .

My Research

Montclair from 1935
L84-20-HJW Geospatial Inc,
Pacific Aerial Surveys, Oakland CA,
Courtesy East Bay Regional Park District.

The above picture shows “Block H” is a an empty piece of land. In 1938 Winder & Gahan would build their new offices there. That small building would be there until 1962 it was destroyed by a bulldozer as noted in the first article I posted above. That would make the building only 24 years old.

Maybe they moved the other building that is in the photo from 1921 and updated and enlarged and added stucco. What do you think?

Google Maps – 6466 Moraga Ave

I think the building on the right is the oldest building in Montclair. It is in the photos from the 1920s. It was the first home of the Montclair Realty Company. More on that later

The End

Posted in Buildings, History, Oakland, People, Streets

Alden Farm

Official and historical atlas map of Alameda County, California. Compiled, drawn and published from personal examinations and surveys by Thompson & West. Oakland, Cala. 1878.
Res. & farm of P.A. Finigan, Brooklyn Tp.

The Alden Farm (Alder Farm) once stood on the land where Holy Names University is located today.

In 1874 Charles Low owned the property. A barn was located where Tobin Halls and the university’s gymnasium are today. He built a house for his family on the site where Brennan Hall stands today. You can see a map of the campus here.

Oakland Tribune May 1877
Oakland Tribune Nov 28, 1877

In 1877 Peter A. Finigan (Finnegan) purchased the property from Low and built a second house near where Cushing Library is today.

SF Examiner Jun 30, 1877

In 1884 Thomas Magee of Thomas Magee & Sons Real Estate Firm purchase the farm. I bet Magee Avenue was named after him.

Magee added a second story to the house that Finigan built.

During the early years the Magee’s would spend winter at their home in San Francisco and summer on Alden Farm. After the 1906 earthquake and fire they made their home permanently at Alden Farm.

Alden Farm was considered one of the premiere showplaces in Oakland. Many social event and weddings were held there over the years.

Oakland Tribune Jul 04, 1900
Oakland Tribune Jun 04, 1911
Oakland Tribune Jul 08,1922
Oakland Tribune Aug 10, 1924
Oakland Tribune Apr 24, 1932

Many Fires

Oakland Tribune Sep 08 1904
Oakland Tribune 19, 1931
Oakland Tribune Aug 1945

Fire Destroys Alden Farm

Oakland Tribune Mar 01, 1953
Oakland Tribune Mar 01, 1953
Oakland Tribune Sep 16, 1953

Holy Names University

Oakland Tribune Feb 04, 1955
Oakland Tribune Oct 06, 1955

Deaths of the Magee’s

More Info
Posted in Buildings, East Oakland, History, Oakland, People, Uncategorized

Edenvale – The Talbot Estate

From Eden of the Pacific, Oakland Tribune 1898

1857 – 1888:  Ellis A Haines  purchased the property from the Peralta’s

In 1888,  Frederick C. Talbot of the San Francisco lumber firm of Pope & Talbot purchased 133- acres from  Ellis A. Haines in Elmhurst near San Leandro and adjacent to the Souhter Farm ( now the Dunsmuir Home) for $15,000. 

San Francisco Chronicle Jul 28, 1888
Oakland Tribune Jul 30,1888

Depending on who wrote it or what you read the total acreage seems to change. Above you will see in one clipping has the total acreage as 133- acres and in the other it as 153 -acres. It has been as high as 453 acres. I have always understood it to be the same land that both the Oakland Zoo and Knowland Park, but who really knows?

Oakland Tribune aug 08, 1890
Oakland Tribune Sept 14, 1888

Edenvale –

Nestled in the hills surrounded by the choicest fruits and flowers, “Edenvale” as the name suggests is a veritable paradise.

The estate was 140-acres (different acreage) of rich land used for farming and orchards. 60 acres were planted with almonds, cherries, oranges, walnuts, lemons, prunes, apricots, peaches and olives. 80 acres of choice farming land.

Talbot Home –
Cheney Photo Advertising
C 1915
View of Edenvale from the hillside
Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History 
OutWest
A Magazine – Of The Old Pacific and The New
Page 125 -July 1907


In the picture you can see the caretakers home in back (the taller one). This house is still standing today.

The garden was laid out with rare trees and a variety of plants and lighted pathways. There was a large pond with a bridge the crossed it. The pond was large enough for a small rowboat.

The main house was a modern elegant colonial structure of 12 rooms, with 4 baths running water and gas throughout. It Burned down in 1921.

There was a large modern stable, a greenhouse, servants quarters. There was a home for the caretaker which is still standing today. A brooder for chickens and pen for pigs. Oakland Tribune Mar 22, 1902

Unknown Talbot Family Members at EdenVale c 189?
Photo by I.W. Taber
Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History 

Barn Burns –

San Francisco Dec 21, 1901
Oakland Tribune May 18,1900

Talbot Farm for Sale

Oakland Tribune March 10, 1902
Town Talk March 22, 1902
Note it is 140 acres

Meanwhile…

R.C. “Cliff” Durant Purchases Estate

Durant purchases the Talbot estate “Edenvale” . The estate comprises of 470-acres (different acreage) and sold for $200,000.

Oakland Tribune Nov 25 1919
San Francisco Examiner Feb 08, 1920

The above says 478-acres and below says 200-acres. They are dated a year apart.

Oakland Tribune Nov 23, 1919
Oakland Tribune Dec 21, 1921

A Map showing the location of R.C Durants/F.C. Talbots Mansion

Oakland Tribune 1921

The Estate Becomes A Park

In 1929 the city of Oakland council voted to purchase the the former country estate of the late F.C. Talbot from the Park Commission. The 350-acres ( different acreage) would cost the city approximately $662,000. That deal fell through. The whole story is confusing . Durant Park opens to the public in 1932.

Oakland Tribune April 19, 1929

In 1935 Sidney Snow took possession of the 475-acre (different acreage) Durant Park and started building the zoo. He ran it with a some help from the city of Oakland. – From A History as Told by the Founder’s Daughter”

In 1937 Durant Park is now called the Zoological Gardens and Arboretum of Metropolitan Oakland. I bet they still call it Durant Park.

Oakland Tribune May 22, 1950
To read the entire article go here

In 1950 Durant park is dedicated as the “East Bay State Park” under the California park system. In a dedication speech it was noted the there were many trees and plants from F.C Talbot estate and they were included in the Historical Arboretum which is separate park from the Oakland Zoo.

Oakland Tribune 1957
The row of Canary Island Palms

A row of mature Canary Island Date Palms mark the part entry. Stately Mexican Fan Palms, Chilean Palms and exotic Bunya Bunya frees from Australia dot the formal meadows of the existing picnic grounds. These Arboretum’s specimens were planted at the turn of last century (I bet before that) as part of the Talbot Estate grounds. There is also collection of 8 species of palms, native and exotic oaks, redwoods and many other specimens from North Africa, the Himalayas, Chile and the Canary Islands. – From the Zoo Master Plan 1996

In 1951 the park was renamed “Joseph Knowland State Arboretum and Park . Now called Knowland State Arboretum and Park and the Oakland Zoo.

In 1962 a fire destroyed building that had been home to Effie the elephant until 1959. The building had been marked unsafe. The building was built in 1890, was part of the Talbot Estate.

The Estate Today

On the below map the large red square shows where most of the estate was . The smaller green box shows the location of caretaker home that was apart of the Talbot Estate. When Sidney Snow ran the zoo he and his family lived there. Now is it used by zoo employees . The meadow by the main gate still has some of trees planted by Talbot over 100 years ago. They are part of the Knowland State Arboretum and Park. I need to check this out.

From the Zoo Master Plan 1996
Sidney Snow’s Home
Circa 1939
Google Map 2019 showing the caretakers home still standing in Knowland Park

Links :

A couple of things:

I am working on getting copies of the real photos as opposed to copies of copies. I am also checking on the what’s up with the Knowland State Arboretum and Park. Does it still exist. I know on real crowded days they allow parking on the meadow, where some of the historic trees are.

The End for now..