Posted in Buildings, East Oakland, Fruitvale, Homes, Lake Merritt

More Mansions

More on the mansions that once graced the streets of Oakland

Koa Hall – Bailey Mansion

W. H. Bailey, who owned plantations in Hawaii, hired W.J. Mathews to designed his home and cost $70,000 to build circa 1889.

Bailey Mansion on Jackson Street – 1898 Oliver Family Photograph Collections Bancroft Library http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt0n39q1p1

The woodwork of the main hall was the beautiful koa from the Hawaiian Islands. By the main staircase, there were carvings of koa. The woodwork in the reception-room on one side of the hall was bird’s- eye maple. Antique oak was used in the library and the dining room.

Oakland Tribune May 31, 1891
Oakland Tribune May 31, 1891

It was converted into a rooming or boarding house’

Oakland Tribune March 11, 1916

Sometime in the late 1920s the old mansion was razed and the Hotel Lakehurst was built.

Oakland Tribune Feb 02, 1930

It is now called Lakehurst Hall.

Location: 1369 Jackson St now 1569 Jackson Street at the corner of 17th Street.

More Info:

The Old Brown Home

The three-story, five-bedroom home was built in 1872 by Dr. Samuel Merritt.

In 1874 Roland Geir Brown purchased the home.

Mr. Brown sold sewing machines for Grover and Baker. The Oakland Tribune reports that Brown was one of the wealthiest men in 19th Century Oakland.

 Roland G. Brown, with two other adults, in carriage. – Courtesy of UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library – http://www.oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt409nc89b/?order=1

The Brown home was less than a block from Lake Merritt. This was before the lake shore was filled in.

Brown House

When President William McKinley was in the Bay Area for a week in May 1901, he visited the Brown home.

Oakland Tribune July 25, 1956

The old Brown home at 1889 Jackson Street was demolished in 1956 to make room for a parking lot.

Location: 1889 Jackson – between 17th and 19th Streets

More Info:

The Other Brown Mansion

Albert Brown came to Oakland in 1887 from New Jersey. He was an undertaker and a prominent lodge man.

Albert Brown Home on Alice Street

Boarding Home

Sometime after Brown’s’ death, the mansion was converted into a boarding house. The Alice-Lake Apartments are now located in the spot.

Location: 1387 Alice Street

More Info:

Alexander Mansion

“Aloha, nui,” or “Love be unto you.”  Is carved above one of the entrances

Samuel T. Alexander came to Oakland from Hawaii in the early 1880s. He was one of the founders of Alexander & Baldwin, an American company that cultivated sugar cane. 

Oakland Tribune

In 1882 Alexander purchased a lot on the northwest corner of Sixteenth and Filbert for $6,000.

Artistic Homes of California
Artistic Homes of California

The three-story Queen Anne style home was designed by Clinton Day was completed in 1883 at the cost of $20.000

Move to Piedmont 

The family lived there until 1912 when Mrs. Alexander moved to Piedmont to be closer to her son, Wallace Alexander. 

Rooming House

Sometime after 1912, the mansion was converted to a rooming house renting out rooms until the mid -1960s.

Oakland Tribune 1919
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Oakland, Alameda County, CaliforniaVol 1 1903

New Life for Old Mansion

In 1967 the once venerable mansion stood deserted and in despair, its windows boarded or broken was scheduled to be demolished.

Members of the Oak Center Neighborhood Association decided the old mansion could receive a face lift and become a community “Neighborhood House.” The demolition was halted.

Oakland Tribune 1967

The visualized the rehabilted building comprising of office space for the Oak Center Association, a children’s library and study hall, an adult library and reading room, a large all-purpose room for meetings and socials and room for individual and group counseling.

Vandals Strike

The group succeeded in saving the old mansion from the wreckers only to have it nearly demolished anyway –by vandals. The house was broken into and ruined beyond repair and was finally demolished in 1968.

Quinn Home

To make room for Highway 980 the William H. Quinn Home at 1425 Castro Street was moved to 1004-06 16th Street.

William H. Quinn House, 1425 Castro Street, Oakland, Alameda County, CA – Library of Congress – https://www.loc.gov/item/ca0017/

Location: 1006 – 16th Street

More Info:

Hush Mansion – Etnemere

It was built in 1865, the 14-room house of rococo architecture. The barn had room for ten horses and room for 20 tons of hay.

Oakland Tribune

The house had 14 rooms made of redwood. The barn had room for 10 horses

Oakland Tribune

The mansion had a wood and coal furnace, and the radiators are believed to have been the earliest models of that kind in the country. The rooms were paneled with massives doors 9 feet high. Beautiful mirrors adorned the wall.

Oakland Tribune

It was reported that Susan B. Anthony once slept there.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Oakland, Alameda County, CaliforniaVol 2 1903

The house and barn property was purchase by Marston Campbell, Jr, as an investment. It was torn down in 1948.

The Hush Mansion Today – google maps

Location: 1401 28th Avenue on East 14th.

More Info:

Once owned by Merritt

In 1877 Dr. Samuel Merritt built a three-story home on Jackson Street. The house had bay windows, a front porch, and cone-shaped peaked.

The lot is part of the 45-acre parcel, which Merritt paid $4,000 in 1852.

Oakland Tribune 1963

The house was purchased from Dr. Merritt in 1880 for $12,050 by John A. Stanley as a wedding gift for his daughter and her husband, Thomas Coghill.

The Coghill family lived there until 1920 when they sold it to John C. Money. After Mr. Money died in 1944, it served as a rooming house.

By 1963 it was the last of the old mansions on the block and was demolished to make room for a 32-unit apartment building.

Oakland Tribune Jan 05, 1964

Location: 1514 Jackson Street

More Info:

Orange Street Mansion

Edward P. Flint, a land developer, and San Francisco businessman, moved to Oakland in 1860. He lived at 13th and Clay before moving to this house.

Oakland Tribune 1964

The site where he built the house at 447 Orange Street was a part of a larger parcel he subdivided in Adams Point.

After Flint died, Admiral Thomas S. Phelps purchased the property. Phelps was a veteran of the Spanish American War.   In 1939 the property was purchased by M.A. Marquard, and lived in the house until 1964.

The house was demolished in 1964 and replaced with a “modern 28-unit apartment building.

The new structure has 15 two-bedroom and 12 one-bedroom apartments, plus a penthouse. The building was designed by Al Colossi. and is located at 447 Orange Street.

 Mr. and Mrs. Marquard lived in the penthouse of the new apartment.

More Info:

The End

Posted in East Oakland, Homes

Rock Blown from Quarry

The heavy missile, which neighbors said had hurled through the air like a

“shell from a cannon.”

Oakland Tribune October 28, 1931

A 40-pound rock, blasted from the hills above Millsmont, was hurled half a mile and crashed through the roof and dining room ceiling at the home of Fred Bailey, 4017 Altamont Avenue.

The rock was blasted from the nearby Heafey-Moore quarry.

“There is little doubt the rock came from the quarry, where men were blasting.”

John Heafey, President of the Heafey-Moore
Oakland Tribune October 28, 1931

A “strange-urge” told Mrs. Bailey to leave their home, and she did go. She left the house at 4:30 with her daughter and went downtown.

“every time I went into the dining room, something told me I shouldn’t be there.” Mrs. Bailey said

Oakland Tribune October 28, 1931

They returned home to find it in shambles. There was an eight-foot hole in the ceiling of the dining room. The rock landed on the couch/bed that their daughter used.

4017 Altamont Avenue – Today – Google Maps
4017 Altamont Ave and the Quarry – google maps

The End

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 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

Posted in Homes, Model/Display Homes, Oakland Tracts, Uncategorized

Fairway Estates in Oak Knoll

When this are was first built up in mid 1920s it was part of Oak Knoll. Now it is Considered to part of Sequoyah

Fairway Estates is in the heart of the country club district and consists of a group of estates with building sites of generous size.” Oakland Tribune, August 18. 1929

Fairway Estates and Country Club Fairway Estates and Oak Knoll Unit C are all in the area known as  Oak Knoll. Sequoyah Hills on three sides surround Oak Knoll. 

The Oak Knoll Land Corporation handled the development.

In Fairway Estates

Oakland Tribune November 10, 1929

There are two large bedrooms with a sewing room and bathroom and a large dressing room with many different built-in fixtures and cabinets. On the lower are the maids’ quarters, with separate shower and billiard room. The bathrooms and kitchen are beautifully finished in colored tile.

3968 Turnley Avenue Google Maps

In Fairway Estates

Oakland Tribune August 18, 1929
4050 Sequoyah Rd – Google Maps
4050 Sequoyah Rd – Google Maps

The Jefferson Home

Oakland Tribune 1930

The Jefferson home is a seven-room, two-story residence of Spanish design. With a large living room and a massive oak stairway leading to a balcony overlooking the Oak Knoll golf course and country club.

3643 Califia Avenue – Google maps

“Another reason is the beautiful setting of Fairway Estates – overlooking the Oak Knoll Country club and golf course and views of wooded hills, the harbor, the bay cities, and the Golden Gate.” Oakland Tribune, August 18. 1929

Oak Knoll Country Club District

The Nine room Spanish Style home.

Oakland Tribune Oct 12, 1930
3845 Twin Oaks Way
3845 Twin Oaks Way

In Fairway Estates

Model Homes in Fairway Estates

Oakland Tribune June 30m 1930

Spanish Type Model Home

Spanish in architecture.

Oakland Tribune March 1930

The Fairway Estates model home opened in March of 1930. The home was designed by Watson Vernon to fit the lot-on which it stands, to utilize the view possibilities of the property to the best advantage.

Fairway Avenue – Google maps

Model Country Club Residence

Oakland Tribune June 08, 1930

The Spanish home takes greatest advantage of the two way view the wooded hillside on one side and the bay on the other. This six room home has a spacious master bedroom with a sunroom on the upper floor. The dining room window overlooks the golf course.

Oakland Tribune March 1930
Oakland Tribune June 08, 1930
3900 Fairway Avenue

Beautiful Spanish Model Home

Oakland Tribune Mar 1930

The Spni

Fairway Estates Home

3549 Calafia Avenue –

La Casa Bella

Oakland Tribune November 30, 1930

Artistic in the extreme…”

Oakland Tribune Nov 1930

La Casa Bella opened in November of 1930. The home is of Spanish architecture showing the Moorish influence.

A master bedroom that will lull you to sleep after a gallon of coffee…”

Oakland Tribune Nov 16, 1930
Oakland Tribune March 30, 1930

A living room almost large enough for a country dance…”

Oakland Tribune Nov 16, 1930
3978 Turnley Avenue – Google Maps

Spanish Home at Oak Knoll

“…with the liquid silver of the moon lying in the pools of mystery the patio will coax you out of doors all hours of the day or night” – Oakland Tribune May 04, 1930

Oakland Tribune

More Info:

The End

Posted in Homes, Model/Display Homes, Oakland, Real Estate

Claremont Pines Model Home

Claremont Pines was formally the P.E. Bowels estate “The Pines.”  It is bounded by Broadway Terrace, Country Club Drive, Acacia Drive, and Romany Road.

Oakland Tribune

Palatial Home to be Built

In July of 1928, a palatial residence was to be built in the new subdivision Claremont Pines developed by York Company Inc. The home was known as the Tribune-Schlesinger Home.

Oakland Tribune 1928

The Spanish-Mediterranean style home was sponsored by the Oakland Tribune and was furnished by B.F. Schlesinger and Sons 

The house was designed by Frederick H. Reimers, an Oakland architect, and was constructed by C. Dudley de Velbiss, a well-known builder.

Drive Out Today

Each phase of the construction was fully described in columns in the Oakland Tribune. During construction, the site was open to the public.

Great care was taken in the selection for the residence, which occupies a prominent corner overlooking the Claremont golf course and facing the Golden Gate.

“The Mediterranean type of architecture was selected to conform to the contour of the site and to the general rolling nature of the terrain.”

Frederick Reimers July 29, 1928

The house has sixteen rooms, each with an individual style. It has a ballroom, library and a smoking room.  

The halls and library have floors of colored, hand-made tile, and doorways are arched.  

Ground Floor – Oakland Tribune 1928

It is further enhanced by a series of walled-in courts and terraces. 

The landscaping was done under the supervision of Johannes Reimers a local landscaper and artist. He was also the Father of Frederick.

Tribune-Schlesinger Home Breaks Ground

On August 09, 1928, the official groundbreaking was held in the presence of a large group of Eastbay notables.

Oakland Tribune August 1928

Home is Near Completion

“Plastering is now ready to start.”

Oakland Tribune 1928

$55,000 was invested in the project exclusive of the furniture and furnishings.

Unique Feature of Home

“a haven of rest and peace from the busy world.”

Frederick H. Reimers Architect

The exterior brick fireplace and terrace brick walls leading to the entrance are the same color as the stucco.

A Firm Foundation

Another feature was the concrete foundation installed by J.H Fitzmaurice, Inc., a local concrete contractor. The quality of the material used in the foundation is the very best at that time. 

All bearing walls are twelve inches in thickness.

Shows Rapid Progress

Significant progress was reported on November 04, 1928. It was expected to open on December 02, 1928.

Oakland Tribune November 1928

A rare harmony of late Renaissance furnishings promised to make the home of exceptional interest, under the guidance of A.L. Abrott of the B.F. Schlesinger & Sons.

The upper floors followed the lighter moods of the seventeenth century when Venice was still at the height of her glory.

The ballroom or social hall on the ground floor was decorated in the spirit of modern jazz and twentieth-century amusement.

Magnificent Vestibule

Upon entering the vestibule, one is impressed by the tremendous Castillian effect of the entrance, and the monumental stairway—the curving staircase with artistic hand-wrought iron railing.

Oakland Tribune October 28 1928

The main stairway leads to a secondary vestibule, which in turn gives access to four bedrooms.

New Type of Telephones

Convenience was the new type of telephone installation by Pacific Bell. Each telephone placed to obtain the highest possible comfort and privacy for the users and blend in with the decor.

Two main lines were installed: one for the use of the family and the second primarily for the servants’ use.

A hand telephone with a key box was installed in the master bedroom. The keys could cut off the servant’s phone for privacy.

Oakland Tribune 1928

A wall telephone connected to the servants’ line was placed in the garage.

Formally Opened

The formal opening was held on Sunday, December 30, 1928.  Lucile Webster Gleason of the Dufwin Theater, star in “The Shannons of Broadway,” formally opened the doors.

Large Crowds

Ten thousand visitors viewed the home in the first week it was opened. Of this number, seven thousand attended the opening day.

Oakland Tribune Feb 1929

Tribune-Schlesinger Home Claremont Pines

Tribune-Schlesinger Home Claremont Pines Cheney Photo Advertising 1928

Claremont Pines Homes

Oakland Tribune 1929

More Info:

Claremont Pines – Oakland Local Wiki

Today

Google
  •  2 Westminster Drive
  • Frederick H. Reimers architect
  • C. Dudley de Velbiss – builder
  • York Company Inc. – Developers
  • Built in 1928
  • Sold for $2,3 million in 2008

The End

Posted in Buildings, East Oakland, Homes, Tract or Subdivisions, Uncategorized

Mills Gardens

Mills Gardens is bounded by 55th and Seminary Avenues, Mills College, and the Nelson Estate.

Mills Gardens, the centrally-located subdivision, was placed on sale on May 03, 1924. The Fred T. Wood Co. were the owners and developers.

The land that Mills Gardens was once a part of Mills College and was known as the “old meadow.”

Oakland Tribune Feb 03, 1924

“Fine Home Tract Adjoins Mills College Campus; Many Improvements”

Oakland Tribune May 11, 1924
Oakland Tribune May 04, 1924

“In Mills Gardens, we have the finest home subdivision in East Oakland.”  

Fred T. Wood – May 11, 1924

 

A Big Demand for Mills Gardens Lots

The opening sales in Mills Gardens established a record for 1924, with transactions totaling $139,500. 

Sf Examiner 1924

“Beautiful Level Lots that are 40 feet and 120 feet deep for $900 to $1250 each.”  

“The lowest prices ever asked for high-class, fully-improved homesites.”

New Homes in Mills Gardens

5624 Morse Ave – Google Maps

Brann Avenue

5859 Brann Ave –

55tth Avenue

Oakland Tribune Oct 24, 1924
2886 55th Avenue
2938 55th Ave – today google maps

Roberts Avenue

Oakland Tribune
5801 Roberts – today google maps
Oakland Tribune
5615 Roberts today google maps

More Info:

Mills Gardens

The End

Posted in Early Montclair, Estates, Homes

A Hermits Companion

Updated July 25, 2020

Oakland Tribune

“One month before his death, Charles Kruse was leaving for the county hospital, which he never expected to return.” Kruse gave G.W. Brusseau a package with a few in intimate belongings, the key to his house, and the note.

Oakland, March 15 (?)

“This is my gift of Deed all is in my possession to Mr. G.W. Brusseau after my daet”

“Chas. Kruse”

Only Man He Trusted

Kruse only had one friend whom he trusted, according to Brusseau’s attorney. Kruse helped care for the hermit for 13 years, he never had the money to pay Brusseau for his labor but intended to see that he ultimately receive the his property.

Brusseau saved the 10-acre plot from being sold for taxes and the paid off the mortgage. It was claimed.

In March of 1923, Kruse applied for admission to the county infirmary on the grounds he was penniless. He had cancer.

Oakland Tribune 1923


Following Kruse’s death at the county hospital, preparations were being made to bury him in the potter’s field. Brusseau stepped in and said he would pay for his funeral.

Mountain View Cemetery – plot 48 Photo by REHM – Find A Grave

Brusseau purchase plot in Mountain View cemetery with bordered on his property.

He could see the grave from his porch.

Oakland Tribune 1923

Fight for Estate

The case was brought to the attention of Judge George Samuels when Brusseau filed a petition for probate of the paper as the last will Kruse.

 Because of the omission of the completed date, Judge Samuels refused probate and granted administration letters to Albert E. Hill, a Public Administrator.

Thrown Out As A Will Upheld As Deed

In June 1923, a petition was submitted to the Almeda superior to record the scrap of paper as a gift deed. In this claim, Judge James G. Quinn decided that Kruse never intended the piece of paper as a will but intended to constitute an immediate conveyance of land as a deed.

In the meantime, Brusseau had lost a third suit filed against the estate for reimbursement for his unpaid labor.

The Recorder 1927

The public administrator appealed to the California Supreme court for a decision on the title to the property.

Dying Hermit’s Note Valid

In May of 1927 the Supreme court affirmed the decision of Judge JG Quinn that the note given to Brusseau from Kruse constituted a deed to the 10-acres of land.

Oakland Tribune 1926

A Bit of History

Hays Canyon

David Rumsey Historical Map Collection -William J. Dingee’s Map of Oakland and vicinity. Compiled from Official Surveys and Records 1899 https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~275209~90048562

Charles Kruse owned and lived on 10-acres of land in Hayes Canyon since 1888.s.

Oakland Tribune 1888

 The property bordered on William J. Dingee’s land, and in 1888 Dingee sued Kruse for $93 to cover the cost of a fence.  

Kruse, for many years, peddled flowers to florists’ shops in the Eastbay.

After his death, it was discovered that he was the owner of one of the largest nurseries in Alameda county. Hidden behind a high fence and tall cypress hedges were the nursery and the tiny shack he lived.

Oakland Tribune Apr 10, 1923

The 10-acres was valued at more than $10,000 in 1923.

In about 1898, George Washington Brusseau purchases a 2-acre lot at 3200 Edith Street (now 4901 Harbord Drive).

Oakland Tribune 1895
Oakland Tribune 1895
Oakland Tribune 1896
1910 Directory

In 1926 Brusseau lived in a cottage known as the “Bat House” because of the number of animal skins tanned and nailed to the outside walls.

Oakland Tribune 1926

He farmed the land with the help of Jimmy, his faithful plow horse. He also had many dogs.

He intended to restore the rose gardens, which brought fame to his friend Charles Kruse and Oakland.

Oakland Tribune 1940

Brusseau lived there until his death in 1953

Oakland Tribune Apr 1953
1953 Directory

And now this…

Oakland Tribune Apr 15, 1948

This changes the whole story or it is just wrong?

Oakland Tribune Apr 15, 1948

Please Note: The dates and addresses vary from article to article. I tried my best to get it right. Oh well…

More Info:

The End

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