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.
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.
Each family was obligated to provide 40 hours of labor week on the construction of their home.
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.
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.
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.
Latham sold the home to Horace H. Seaton in 1885, who sold it, S. Murray, in 1892, who then sold it to Edward G. Lukens in 1897. Lukens, son, was state Senator George R. Lukens.
In its heyday, the old mansion was a showplace. The home was a three-story structure with 25 rooms, a billiard room, a glass conservatory, and a bowling alley in the rear. There was also an ornate two-story barn with a hayloft and with horse stalls.
The Lukens family lived there until the death of Mrs. Emma Lukens in 1925.
Sometime after the death of Mrs. Lukens, the mansion was purchased by Edger L. Buttner, a civic leader, and electrical contractor.
Oakland Tribune Jan 22, 1928
In about 1938, Raoul Pause, a leading Oakland ballet teacher, converted part of the old two-story barn into a ballet studio. Many of the Oakland Ballet’s first dancers were students of Raoul Pause., he was the brother of Paul Pause of Montclair Reality.
In October of 1948, the building was damaged in a fire.
In 1952 the same building was destroyed by another fire. At the time of the fire, the building was being used by the Hotel Senator (a boarding house) as a garage.
In 1957 the mansion was demolished to make room for an apartment complex.
TheLatham Square Fountain is located at the intersection of Telegraph and Broadway in downtown Oakland. It was erected in 1913 as a memorial for James H. Latham and Henrietta Latham by their children and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
Eight charming five-room homes of Spanish and Mission architecture were built by Willis F. Lynn on Nicol Avenue. Five of the houses were sold before they were completed. The last three went on sale on June 14, 1925.
Each house has:
Breakfast room or nook
Dining room with built-in buffet
Hardwood floors throughout
Automatic water heaters
Priced at $5950.00 in 1925.
Lynn Homes on Best Avenue
Another group of homes went on sale on November 15, 1925. Located on Best Avenue between Brookdale and Trask. The houses have an attractive and varied style of architecture.
Each of the homes has six-rooms, a garage, and a laundry room.
Oriental (now we would say Asian) theme in a small home. The five-room home is located at 10 Overlake Courtabove the Montclair Pool(Swim and Racquet Club).
It was designed with both far Eastern ideas and California architecture. Oil finished wood in a natural color, accented with Chinese red in finish and outside trim, grasscloth wallpaper, and bamboo moldings were some of the Eastern ideas.
The living room opens onto a private garden with beautiful oak trees. The house is somewhat like a modern ‘farmhouse’ with an exterior of oiled, heart redwood, and an off-white limestone finished roof with wide overhanging eaves.
With many red brick window boxes and large glass areas of windows that are divided into horizontal panes, creating a streamlined effect that is unusual in residential construction. A large circular grille in the garage door was also new and different.
Montclair’s Most Talked-of Home
I don’t know who designed the home, but it was built by Robert Darmsted of Pinehaven Road. The Darmsted’s moved to Montclair in about 1920.
Another local Montclarion F.A. Christopherson, who lived on Abbott Drive in theMerriewood area, did the brickwork.
Modern with “oriental touch.” Delightful patio. Price at $6450.00 in 1940.
It is priced in the low 30’s! – 1964
A true hideaway on a secluded cul-de-sac with a gorgeous living room in Japanese style. Price $289,000 in 1992.
In June of 1925, preliminary construction work on a new track, called Melrose Highlands, was nearly finished and ready to open.
Melrose Highlands is a part of the ‘old Houston ranch” (have to find out more about Houston), and a portion of the property was used by the National Guard as a rifle range ( see my blog here). It lies between Leona Heights and Sequoia Country Club and the Upper San Leandro filter plant (7700 Greenly Drive) on the west side.
The tract opened on July 19, 1925
C.P. Murdock was the developer of the tract and the sales agents for Melrose Highlands.
The Tract Office –
Looking up Earl Street towards Keller Avenue
A group of 12 homes was almost complete. Oakland Tribune – July 26, 1925
Display Home Opens
On opening day, a display home was ready to be toured.
FOR THE WORKINGMAN
In Melrose Highlands we are going to give the working man a chance to get the sort of house to which he has long looked for
House and homesite complete – $100 down and $1 a day.
Homesite and material for a house – $50 down and 75c. a day
Homesite – $25 down and 50c.a day
Due to the interest in Melrose Highlands, CP Murdock set up a bus system to bring potential buyers to the site and for the residents.
New School for Melrose Highlands
In 1923 the “Columbia Park School” was built on Sunkist Drive. It was next to the home of Susie Thompson and her husband Roy, who lived at6886 Sunkist Drive.
Mrs. Thompson was the custodian of the one-room school building for three years when only 14 families lived in the area.
The school was later destroyed in a high wind, was replaced by a new school (down the street), and then that school was renamed the Charles Burckhalter School. Oakland Tribune, May 10, 1969.
Obituary for the custodian of Columbia Park School – May 10, 1969
The First Resident – Earl Street
In September of 1925, Anton J. Krajnc moved into his new home with his wife and daughter. This was his first time buying a home.
It’s Paying Me To Live In Melrose Highlands
We have a baby girl just learning to walk and this is going to be a fine place for her to run around and grow up.
A.J. Krajnc – Oct 01, 1925
A.J. Krajnc – Oct 01, 1925
The W.E. Adams home on Earl Street
The new of William E. Adams on Earl Street. Their home was located at lot No. 232, which is now 7941 Earl Street, but the houses don’t look the same.
The Willard Booth Home – Earl Street
Croup Cured – by the Warm Climate of Melrose Highlands
Mrs. W. Booth – Jan 1926
Mrs. W. Booth – Jan 1926
Moved from San Francisco
Homes and Life in Melrose Highlands
Many New Homes
In January 1927 new store was opened by John G. Koch. The store was located in the 7979 Macarthur (give or take a few numbers). The building was later in the way of the construction of the MacArthur Freeway (580).
We have a fast-growing community here, and as fine a place to live as any could want
J. Koch, the first grocer in Melrose Highlands
J. Koch, the first grocer in Melrose Highlands
You can see the store both the upper and lower articles
More Melrose Highlands Homes
The article below shows the progress of Melrose Highlands as of June 1926. The streets with the most homes are Earl Street, Winthrope Street, Keller Avenue, and Greenly Drive.
English Tudor with a panoramic view of the Bay. Every room in the homes takes full advantage of the panorama of Oakland, San Francisco, and the Bay, which includes both bridges and everything from San Pablo Bay to miles down the Peninsula.
With an extra-large living room, dining room, and breakfast room and kitchen. The kitchen is usually large and is a masterpiece of careful planning and scientific, step saving arrangement. Oakland Tribune Aug 09, 1936
Three big bedrooms and two bathrooms and a sundeck on the second floor.
Women will marvel at its extra cupboard space and the way we have provided for thoses hard to store odds and ends
I couldn’t locate the actual “Hampstead House.” I have included other houses in the area that were for sale during the same period.
Before the opening of Hempstead House in Sheffield Village, the H.C Capwell’s Company created a full-scale floor plan model wholly furnished in the furniture department on the fourth floor of their downtown store.
Hays Canyon or sometimes called Jack Hayes Canyon, was the area in hills beyond Piedmont. It was named for Col. John “Jack” Coffee Hays (1817-1883), who lived in the area from 1856-1883. His estate Fernwood was located approx. where Moraga Avenue, (Hays Canyon Rd.) Hwy 13 and Thornhill Drive (Thorn Road) meet.
Hays (Hayes) Canyon was in the Piedmont District and both the Brooklyn and Oakland Townships.
The main road to the or through the canyon was called the “Hays (Hayes) Canyon Road,” which traveled the route of present-day Moraga Avenue. According to one article, the beginning of Hays Canyon was at Bonita Avenue in Piedmont.
Hays Canyon Road is now known as Moraga Avenue
Hays Canyon is now Montclair.
In 1891, the S.F. The call described Hays Canyon as “the romantic valley just beyond the ridge that receives its name from the famousColonel Jack Hays” and “the beautiful home of W. J. Dingee” and the “fine places ofMrs. Kohler, Judge E.M Gibson, and Mrs. Fields and others.
Colonel John C. Hays – Fernwood
Hays died at home on April 22, 1883, at the age of 66. After his death, Fernwood was sold to William J. Dingee.
Wm J. Dingee – Fernwood
Dingee built an opulent 19-room Queen-Anne style mansion and had additional landscaping done with gardens, terraces, and waterfalls. He also added such features as a deer park and an elk paddock.
After the Fernwood burned, Mrs. Adeline Percy built a modern log cabin on the property. In the 1920s, the property was sold and subdivided.
Judge E. M. Gibson – Cote Brilliant
Judge E.M. Gibson owned the property just beyond Thornhill School. It was latterly owned by E.M Boggs. The house burned down in 1910. Dr. Mark Emerson bought the land in the mid-1920s and built a lovely home and lived there until the late 1950s. St John’s Episcopal Church is now there.
J. B. Fields
Joseph B. Fields was born in England. Before moving to Hays Canyon, he was an Oakland Police officer for 12 years.
He owned 25 acres of farming land next to the property of Judge Gibson. His estate was in the general location of Aspinwall Road is today.
She died at her home in Hays Canyon on November 27, 1894. Her funeral was attended mainly by the old settlers of the county and was held at her home on November 30, 1894. She is buried at Mountain View Cemetery alongside her husband Andrew and her daughter Louisa (1849-1854), who died at the young age of 5.
Glen Kohler was designed by architects the Samuel and Joseph C. Newsom (Newsom Brothers) in 1885. The residence was 18 rooms in what was know as the “freestyle.” At the cost of about $10,000.
I don’t know what happened to Glen Kohler after Mrs. Kohler died.