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..

Posted in Buildings, History, Oakland, Then and Now

Oakland and Surroundings – Then and Now

A few of the illustrations from the 1885 Oakland and Surrounding compared to modern day or an earlier date.

Nichol Block

The Nichol Block was built in 1878 and is now a part of “Old Oakland”. Is located at the northeast corner of 9th Street and Washington.

Northeast corner of 9th and Washington Streets. Arlington Hotel in circa 1937
Downtown Property Owner’s Association.
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

Galindo Hotel

  • Built 1877
  • 8th and Franklin
  • B. Wright Proprietor
  • J.C. Matthews & Sons Architects
  • 1972 Destroyed by fire
Galindo Hotel
Date after 1933
Historic American Building Survey
Survey No
HABS CA-1898

Cole School

  • Built circa 1885 to circa 1923
  • 10th Street between Union and Poplar
  • Named for Rector E. Cole
  • Jack London attended the school
Circa 1885
Front doors of the Cole School building
with several children standing on sidewalk.
Date 1908
Huntington Library Jack London Collection

Pacific Press Publishing House

Under the direction of James White, the leader of the Seventh Day Adventists, the Pacific Press building was erected in 1875 as a publishing and printing firm. It was destroyed by fire in 1977, arson was suspected. The building was in the way the of of the Grove -Shafter Freeway (980). 

Circa 1885
Pacific Press Building
Circa 1975
Images from the Ellen G. White estate http://ellenwhite.org/
Pacific Press Building
Circa 1977
Images from the Ellen G. White estate http://ellenwhite.org/

More Info:

Posted in Buildings, Early Montclair, History

Hays School in Montclair

ohrphoto.districts.034
Hays Schoolhouse
Students and teachers pose in front of the School
c 1886 Oakland History Room

In March of 1886, the Board of Supervisors created a new school district.  That took from portions of the Piedmont, Peralta, and Fruitvale districts and representing about 44 children. The new district was called the Hays district, in honor of the late Colonel John Coffee Hays.  The superintendent appointed the following residents of the area as trustees:

  • W.H. Mead
  • J H Medau
  • Susan Hays (widow of Colonel Hays)
Oakland_Tribune_Tue__Mar_16__1886_
Oakland Tribune Mar 1886

The land for the school was given to the district from Hetty S. Henshaw.   The Montclair Firehouse was built in the spot in 1927, using the front part of the lot. 

Oakland_Tribune_Fri__Jul_16__1886_
Oakland Tribune Jul 1886

New School Built

Requests for bids to build the school were made in July of 1886.

Oakland_Tribune_Wed__May_19__1886_

The completed school was small at only 32×36 feet,  with just one classroom.  It was Gothic in design with a graceful looking bell tower.  It had two entrances, one for the boys and the other for the girls each entrance having a 6×6 vestibule.  The sash bars of the windows are all horizontal, after the style of the school buildings in Europe.  The building cost about $2,500 and took about two months to build. The architects were

Oakland_Tribune_Wed__Jul_7__1886_
Oakland Tribune July 1886

The building was designed by Goodrich & Newton

Oakland Tribune 1887

Dedication

The dedication of the school was held in October 1886.  It was attended most of the families that lived in the area.  Opening remarks were made by Judge EM Gibson and W.H Mead.  Some of the families in attendance:

Entertainment provided by the students from the school under the direction of their teacher Miss Lucy Law.  The following students performed:

  • Clara Gibson
  • Gussie Gibson
  • Carrie Mead
  • Daisy Mead
  • Susie Mead
  • Mattie Mead
  • Edith Medau
  • Louise Medau
Oakland_Tribune_Sat__Oct_16__1886_
Oakland Tribune October 1886
Oakland Tribune Feb 11, 1888
Oakland Tribune Mar 16, 1888

Graduation 1901

Oakland Tribune June 1901

Attendance for the year ending 1911 for the Hays School was 11 students.

Oakland TRibune Aug 01, 1911

The school was closed in around 1913 and the building was demolished.  It was probably due to construction of the Oakland, Antioch and Eastern Railway later known as the Sacramento Northern.   For more on the Sacramento Northern please go here. The East Bay Hills Project

Montclair Firehouse

The Montclair firehouse was built in 1927 on the same site. The story book style building was designed by Eldred E. Edwards of the Oakland Public Works Department.

Storybook firehouse on Moraga Avenue in the
Montclair district of Oakland, California. 1934, ohrphoto.districts.031.
Oakland. Buildings Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

Misc Articles

The_San_Francisco_Call_Sat__Sep_12__1891_
Oakland Tribune 1891
Oakland_Tribune_Wed__Nov_20__1889_
Oakland Tribune Nov 1889

A little controversy. From 1891 and 1895

For More on Hays Canyon

The End