Posted in Business, Elmhurst, Fruitvale, Uncategorized

Ostrich Farm in Oakland

Ostrich farming was promoted as a sound investment over a century ago.
The farms, well documented on postcards, and were tourist attractions.

Ostriches were brought to the United States in the early 1880s from Africa. In the wild, they lived in warm, dry climates. Southern California seemed to have conditions similar to their natural African environment. By the late 1890s, there were eight locations in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Deigo counties.

The popularity of feathers in women’s fashion made raising the birds an attractive investment.

Farm in Oakland 

In the fall of 1907, San Francisco newspapers ran an ad campaign for stock investment in an ostrich farm in Oakland. 

In July of 1908, W.H.” Harvey” Bentley of the Bentley Ostrich Farm in San Diego County announced the opening of a branch in the Elmhurst District (sometimes Fruitvale) of Oakland at East 14th and High Street.

Bentley Ostrich Farm East 14th (now International Blvd) and High Streets Oakland, California
Photographer: Cheney Photo Advertising Company c 1913

It opened on August 30th of 1908. It featured birds named Mr. and Mrs “George Dewey” (Admiral at the battle of Manila Bay) and the other Spanish American War hero from the Cuba campaign, “Fighting Bob” Evans commander of the Great White Fleet.

Forty-six birds compromised the original herd.

Could this be George or Bob?

In 1910 it was announced that the addition of a factory to their local salesroom and yards. Which meant the hats were made in Oakland and not San Diego. For the years 1907 to 1911, ostrich plumage on women’s hats was at its peak and all the rage.

Bentley Ostrich Farm East 14th (now International Blvd) and High Streets Oakland, California
Photographer: Cheney Photo Advertising Company c 1911

New Name

In January of 1912, the owner of the Bently Ostrich Farm, was killed in an auto accident near the San Diego farm.

Oakland Tribune Sep 21, 1913

His son sold the farm to a group of Oakland investors.

View of main entrance to the Golden State Ostrich Farm;
Souvenir Publishing Co 1915

The name was changed to Golden State Ostrich Farm in 1913.

;

The farm had spacious ground floor offices and salesroom. In the sales there was a magnificent display of plumes in all sizes, prices and colors.

Title: Salesroom and office [picture] : Golden State Ostrich Farm, East 14th and High streets 1910
Collection: Selections from the Collections of the Oakland History Room and the Maps Division of the Oakland Public Library
Date of access: May 31 2020 10:32
Permalink: https://calisphere.org/item/ark:/13030/kt0p3022h1/

With the coming of World War I, as American and European women entered the workforce, utilitarian clothing replaced the flamboyant fashions of the early 1900s. Broader hats were pinned up with a broach or artificial flower.

Oakland Tribune 1909

Plucking is Painless”

Oakland Tribune May 01, 1952

The bird is shoved into a corner by several men. A hood is placed over the birds head. The plume is cut leaving about an inch of quill in the flesh. The quill would soon fall out.

Bankruptcy

Golden State Ostrich Farm in Oakland filed for bankruptcy in early 1915. 

“Whole Ostrich for the Price of a Feather”

 The press announcement said it was now cheaper to buy the entire ostrich than the amount once paid for the feathers to adorn a hat.

The ostrich farms in northern California had all but failed by 1915. The “industry” had a brief heyday, and in the end, defeat by war and a significant fashion change in hats.

The End

Posted in Buildings, Fruitvale, Schools, Uncategorized

Fruitvale Open-Air School

About Open-Air Schools

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

New School House

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

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

Oakland Tribune – May 13, 1913

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

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

The Fruitvale school is decidedly a health school”

Oakland Tribune May 13, 1913

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Objections

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

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

Oakland Tribune May 13, 1913

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

More Info:

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

Open air school – Wikipedia

Collection of Photos – OMCA 

The End

Posted in Fruitvale, Homes, Oakland Tracts, Then and Now

Attractive Lynn Homes

Lynn Homes on Nicol Avenue

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.

Oakland Tribune June 14, 1925

Each house has:

  • Breakfast room or nook
  • Dining room with built-in buffet
  • laundry room
  • Hardwood floors throughout
  • Automatic water heaters
  • Separate garage

Priced at $5950.00 in 1925.

Oakland Tribune June 14, 1925
Lynn Homes Nicol Ave today – Google
MapsNicole Avenue today – Google maps
2639 Nicol Avenue – today Google Maps

Lynn Homes on Best Avenue

Oakland Tribune Nov 15, 1925

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.

  • Large living room windows
  • Large convertible breakfast rooms
  • Wards heating system and Trojan water heaters
  • Bathrooms with tile floors
  • Base plugs throughout the house
  • Lawns and shrubs and fences

Priced at $6950.00 each in 1925

Best Avenue today – Google Maps
2506 Best Avenue today – Google maps
2495 Best Avenue today – Google Maps
2462 Best Avenue – google maps
Oakland Tribune Dec 1926

Two Beautiful Lakeshore Highlands Homes

Lynn also built two homes in the Lakeshore Highlands (Trestle Glen) neighborhood. One at 983 Longridge Road and the other at 957 Sunnyhills Road.

983 Longridge Road

  • Immense living room
  • Social Hall with cheerful fireplace
  • Large dining room
  • Master bedroom with sleeping porches and dressing room
  • Maid’s room
  • Radio wiring to the living room

Priced at $30,000 in 1928

983 Longridge Road today – Google maps

957 Sunnyhills Road

  • Large living room
  • Breakfast room with built-in cabinets
  • 3 bedrooms with porches
  • 3 bathrooms
  • Maid’s room
  • Full basement

Priced at $18,500 in 1928

957 Sunnyhills Road Google Maps

Another home

Oakland Tribune 1926

The End

Posted in Buildings, Fruitvale, History, Oakland, Then and Now

Homes near Fruitvale…

Some time ago, I found this picture on the Oakland History Room online site.

Homes near Fruitvale Avenue and Hopkins Street (later MacArthur Boulevard) in the Dimond district of Oakland, California. A large vegetable garden dominates the foreground, and Higgins Church on Hopkins Street is in view towards the back. DATE: [circa 1905] Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

I love to try and figure out the who, what and where. I would instead try to figure it out all by myself before asking for help. That is the fun part for me. Sometimes it is effortless. Other times it is not.

The biggest clue to this photo was the Higgins Church on Hopkins, which is now MacArthur Blvd. I started there.

I started looking into the Higgins Church. The church in 1898 was located near Fruitvale Ave and Hopkins in the old Fruitvale School building. It had some connection to the Fred Finch Orphanage.

Oakland Tribune Mar 1896

Oakland Tribune Mar 1896

In 1907 they laid the cornerstone for a new church at the corner of School St and Boston. The church was renamed Fruitvale ME Church. Joaquin Miller read a poem at the groundbreaking. The church building was dedicated in 1908.

The church building is still there with a few additions or modifications and is located at 3111 Boston. It now called the First Samoan Congregation Christian Church

Oakland Tribune May 1907

Oakland Tribune 1907
San Francisco Call July 1908

A couple days ago, I found a Knave article “Memories linger for Dimond District Pioneers” in the Oakland Tribune in November 1970. The 2nd page of the article included this same picture with some new clues.

Oakland Tribune Nov 1970

I now have clues for the house and a different church. So off I went to find out more.

The house is located at 3231 Boston Ave at Harold Street.
From Google maps – 3231 Boston Ave today from Goggle maps -2460 Palmetto – today
The church is located at 2464 Palmetto St. While it is no longer a church, I believe this is the same building. See below
The Church today

I think the location has been solved. I thought the house was moved or demolished due to building the freeway, and it almost was. I am so glad it is still there.

From Google maps – The area today– Thanks, Morgan!

The End