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 Buildings, East Oakland, History, North Oakland, West Oakland

A Bygone Era

A bit of history of some of the mansions that once graced the streets of Oakland. More to come at a later date.

Burnham Mansion

Burnham Mansion was at the corner of Lakeside Drive and 17th Street. The three-story mansion was built in 1902 by John Russell Burnham.

Oakland Tribune 1955

The Burnham family selected the site on Lake Merritt’s edge because of its similarity to Lake Geneva.

The distinctive features of the house were the first stall shower in the city and an automobile garage. The Burnham’s were the owners of one of the first two automobiles in Oakland.

Oakland Tribune 1955

At the beginning of WWII, the mansion was turned over to the American Red Cross for a hospitality center. Alcoholics Anonymous occupied the home until 1955.

In 1956 construction was to begin on ne 60-unit apartment building. The new structure was expected to cost $2.5 million. Each of the 60 apartment ran completely through the building with views of Lake Merritt. Other features included parking on two levels, the elimination of corridors, extensive elevator system, individual patios, and a roof top garden.

Oakland Tribune 1964

Chabot Mansion

Lake Merritt – Anthony Chabot’s Home – circa 1886 – Photo by Frank B. Rodolph – http://www.oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt9d5nd40c/?order=1

The old home of Anthony Chabot, founder of Oakland’s modern water system, was torn down in 1952. The city declared the house a fire and health hazard.

Lake Merritt – Anthony Chabot’s Home – circa 1886

The Chabot family hadn’t lived there for some time. Ellen Chabot Bothin still owned it.

The building had been used as a rooming house for years, taking in enough money to pay the taxes.

The home was a modest one considering the owner was a millionaire. The house was two-stories with an attic, its rooms with high ceilings, marble mantels, and velvet embossed walls.

The Chabot’s name is a part of our history, with the following named after them.

  • Chabot Road
  • Chabot Observatory
  • Chabot School
  • Lake Chabot

Goodall Mansion

Edwin Goodall built an elaborate mansion in 1880. The house was located at 1537 Jackson Street.

Goodall home, courtesy Bahá’ís of the United States

The home had paneled walls, and a bed carved out of mahogany, a small theater with dressing rooms.

In 1918, Dr. M.M. Enos purchased the home, operated it as the St. Anthony Hospital until 1923, when it became the Jackson Lake Hospital.

Oakland Tribune 1960

In 1960 the hospital was razed to make room for an apartment building called the Jackson Lake Apartments.

Oakland Tribune Sept 23, 1960

 King Mansion  

Charles H. King built his mansion in about 1884.

King City a rural community in the Salinas Valley was named in 1886 for Oakland’s Charles H. King.

In 1971 the old and neglected King family Mansion still stood at 1029 Sixth Avenue and East 11th Street.  The home at one time had 38 rooms. Not sure exactly when the home was razed.

Mein Mansion

Oakland Tribune 1964

The mansion of Capt. Thomas Mein was located at the corner of Jackson and 15th Street.

Oakland Tribune 1964

The three-story 16-room Victorian was built in 1899, included a winding staircase and marble fireplaces.

Oakland Tribune 1964

In 1964 home was razed to make room for a new 34-unit apartment called the Delphian.

Oakland Tribune 1965

Palm Knoll

Oakland Tribune

Palm Knoll, was the home of Governor (later Senator) George C. Perkins (1839–1923). The 24-room mansion Vernon and Perkins Street, was built in 1890.

Palm Knoll was razed in 1947 to make room for apartments.

Oakland Tribune

Playter Home

Ely Welding Playter, a successful hardware merchant in San Francisco, built a mansion in 1879 at 14th and Castro Streets. The area was the center of Oakland’s elite.

Playter was the 24th Mayor of Oakland. He served two terms, 1885 and 1886, and was a Republican. 

In 1906, the house became a refuge for “working girls” after being purchased by the YWCA. 

It was a three-story structure with long narrow windows.

The house was torn down in 1948 to make room for a service station.

The hospital was Once a Mansion.

The original home of the Solomon Ellsworth Alden family, then the John Edgar McElrath family. It officially opened as the Baby Hospital in 1914.

Please read for more info:

Solomon E. Alden – Oakland Local Wiki

Oakland Tribune May 28, 1967

More Info:

The End

Posted in Buildings, Districts/Neighborhoods, East Oakland, Public Housing, Schools, Urban Renewal

Clinton Park Urban Renewal Project

The nation’s first federally assisted rehabilitation project.

Oakland Tribune

Federal Housing Act of 1954

In 1955 a 125 block area bounded by E. 21st Street, 14th Avenue, E. 12th Street, and Lake Merritt was chosen as the “study area” for urban renewal.

Clinton Park urban renewal plan (project no. Calif. R-2), City of Oakland, California -November 1957-HathiTrust

In October of 1955, Oakland applied to the Federal Government to formally designate an 80 block area of East Oakland bordering Lake Merritt as its first urban renewal project.

First in the West

The area was Oakland’s first concentrated action against blight and substandard housing.  

Clinton Park was a conservation project, the first of this type in the Western United States. 

When the project began in July 1958, the area covered 282 acres contained approximately 1,358 structures and 4,750 dwelling units. Clinton Park Project is bounded by Lake Merritt, 14th Avenue, East 21st. and East 14th Streets

The field office for the project was located at 1626 6th Avenue. The field office, an example of urban renewal in action –was a 50-year old house that was located at 1535 10th Avenue.

Oakland Gets U.S. Grant

In December of 1955, the Federal Government earmarked $1 210,000 for Oakland’s Clinton Park Urban Renewal Program. This amount was two-thirds of the anticipated total cost.

New School – Recreation Center

“heart of the Clinton Park urban renewal area.”

The new Franklin School served as an educational and recreational facility and the nucleus of the project. The revised plans for the site called for the additional area and a recreation center to be added. The school replaced the old school building condemned as an earthquake hazard.

Oakland acquired property to double the playgrounds of Franklin School.

The new school opened in September of 1956.

Oakland Tribune September 1956
Franklin School Today – 2020 by Littledots

Due to many problems in acquiring property for the expanded facility, the Recreation Center and Playground area’s completion was delayed until the summer of l 961.

Oakland Tribune October 1960
1010 East 15th – today

Our City Oakland

In 1956 the Oakland Junior Chamber Committee of the Chamber of Commerce produced a movie on Oakland’s urban renewal program.
The movie, entitled ” Our City Oakland.”

Our City Oakland – American City 
Dedicated to Oakland Urban Renewal program for the elevation of human and property values of its neighborhoods .

The film (in color with sound)shows examples of Oakland’s slum dwellings, and census figures at the time showed Oakland more than 15,000 such structures (Wow!)

The film also tells of the work in Clinton Park.

Project Launched

In July of 1957, a wrecking crew started the demolition of eight houses near the new Franklin School. This would be the location of the new recreation center.

Oakland Tribune July 1957
Oakland Tribune June 30, 1957

Older Home Gets New Life

In 1956, the Greater Eastbay Associated Homebuilders purchased a 50-year-old home at 1535 10th Avenue.

Oakland Tribune April 1956
Oakland Tribune April 1956

Home and Garden Show

The house was moved from its lot to become an exhibit at the Home and Garden Show.

Oakland Tribune April 1956

It was completely remodeled as a part of Oakland’s Operation Home Improvement Campaign.

Oakland Tribune April 1956

 Following the show, the home was moved to and used as the Clinton Park Project field office.

The office was located at 1621 6th Avenue.

Oakland Tribune 1963

Looks like the house was moved sometime in the mid 1960s. A church is there now.

A Rehab Project

The homes at 624 and 630 Foothill Blvd

Many New Apartment Buildings

From 1956 to 1962, 57 new apartment buildings were constructed. By 1960 $4,000,000 had been spent on new apartment construction.

First Project

The ground was broken in May of 1956 for the first significant construction project for Clinton Park.  

Robert A. Vandenbosch designed the 32-unit apartment building at 1844 7th Avenue and East 19th Street.

 The three-story structure was built around an inner court that has balconies overlooking the court from every apartment.

Now called Casa Simone –

New Apartment Project

Looking from East 18th towards 12th Avenue Photo by Cheney Photo Advertising 1919

A new 12-unit apartment building replaced a “dilapidated” single-family dwelling at 12th Avenue and East 18th Street.

Oakland Tribune

The old structure was located at 1755 12th Avenue, was built in 1900. It had been converted illegally to an eight-unit apartment.

The structure costs $75.000 to build.

1133 East 18th Street

Garden Type Apartment

In 1958 a new $400,000 apartment was built at 1125 East 18th Street.

Oakland Tribune 1958

Two old homes and their outbuildings were razed to make room for the 40-unit two-story building with parking for the 24 cars on the ground floor.

1125 East 18th – Google Maps

An eight-unit apartment building at 645 Foothill Blvd was under construction at the same time.

Clinton Park Manor

Clinton Park Manor, a 144-unit complex, was built in 1958 at the cost of $1,400,000.  

  • 24 efficiency units
  • 50 one-bedroom units
  • 46 two-bedroom units
  • 24 three-bedroom units

Architect Cecil S. Moyer designed the four three-story structures with a landscaped courtyard in the middle.

It is now called Oakbrook Manor – 1229 East 19th Street

The complex is bounded by 12th and 13th Avenues and East 19th and East 20th Streets.

Google Maps

One of Oakland’s first schools, Brooklyn Grammar School, was built on the site in 1863. It was renamed Swett School in 1874, and in 1882 a new school Bella Vista was built there. Bella Vista School was razed in 1951.

The Valhalla Apartments

In March of 1960, a three-story 48-unit apartment building was built on the northeast corner of 12th Avenue and East 17th Street at the cost of $556,000.

Architect Cecil Moyer also designed this building. The new building contained (it might still have the same layout):

  • 3- bachelor apartments
  • 24- one-bedroom apartments
  • 11- two-bedroom apartments
  • 10- three-bedroom apartments

The courtyard had a swimming pool.

1720 12th Ave Google Maps

Six old homes, some dating back to the 1890s, were demolished to clear the site.

Today it is call Cambridge Terrace Apartments

Apartments

A partial list of the new apartment buildings

  • 2225-7th Avenue – 1957
  • 1618-6th Avenue – 1957
  • 1640 -6th Avenue -1957
  • 602 Foothill – remodeled
  • 1925-35 10th Avenue – 1960

New Supermarket

In 1960 Safeway Stores Inc. built a new 20,000 square foot building and a parking lot on 14th Avenue.

The Architects were Wurster, Bernardi, and Emmons of San Francisco.

1711 14th Avenue – Today – Google Maps

Loops’ for Traffic

To meet the problem of through traffic on a residential street, which caused neighborhood deterioration. Forty-seven intersections were marked to be altered, either to divert automobiles to through streets by way of traffic “loops.” or slow them down with curb extensions.

The traffic-diverting “loops” will be landscaped areas extending diagonally across intersections.

The result of these intersections was that through traffic in the project area is limited to 5th, 8th Avenues, north and south, East 21st Street, Foothill Blvd, and East 15th Street, east-west.

The Diverters -Google Maps

Diverters were placed at East 19th Street and 6th and 11th Avenues and East 20th Street at 7th and 10th Avenues. Also at East 20th Street and 12th Avenue.

Discouragers were also placed at East 20th Street and 13th Avenue and East 19th Street and 13th Avenue.

New Mercury Lights and Traffic Signals

Excerpts of articles from the Oakland Tribune 1960

Other features of the program included:

  • New Recreation Center
  • Widening of several streets and the installation of curbs and sewers.
  • Planting of 1,600 trees about 20 per block.
  • Construction of pedestrian overpasses over Foothill Blvd and East 15th Street for safe access to Franklin School.
  • Installation of new street lighting, street signs, and traffic signs.

Beautiful Homes of Clinton Park

Project Report

By March of 1962, 1,081 structures, containing 3,056 dwelling units have been repaired to eliminate all code. Violation. There have been ll7 structures demolished during the same period.   

Final report of Oakland Renewal Foundation, Inc. on Clinton Park Project, Oakland, California. – @HathiTrust

During this same period, 57 new apartment buildings were constructed within the project area, adding l,l08 new units to the existing housing supply. 

More Info:

Oakland (Calif.). Housing Division. (, 1962). Clinton Park: a historical report on neighborhood rehabilitation in Oakland, California. Oakland, Calif.: The Dept.

Clinton – Oakland Local Wiki

The End

Posted in East Oakland

Lion Statues at the Oakland Zoo

Oakland Tribune May 11. 1963

In 1962 a pair of lions statues were removed from their perch guarding the Alameda County Hall of Records since about 1875. The county board of supervisors agreed the statutes should be entrusted to Knowland State Park, where they were placed at the zoo entrance.

Oakland Tribune May 08, 1963

Thought to be Stone

“Most everyone believed they were stone or concrete underneath the paint,” Razeto said. “But tap them, and they ring…like a bell.”

Oakland Tribune May 11, 1963

Old photographs indicate the lions were an integral part of the original Victorian design, including two front lion wall plaques (removed before 1930)and a dozen bearded gargoyles at the eaves.

Oakland Tribune March 11, 1964

Old Hall of Records

The Hall of Records was erected in 1875. The hall sit had been the parade ground of the Oakland Guard from 1865. Architect Henry H. Meyers designed the ornate hall complete with entrance columns, leaded glass windows, and a grand rotunda.

Hall of Records updated Oakland History Room

A south wing was added in 1900 and a north wing in 1916. It was remodeled in 1945 when the welfare and school departments moved there.

In 1957 it was determined that nothing more could be added to the building without it collapsing.

In 1964 the Old Hall of Records was demolished to make room for the new $2.5 million Probation Center.

Today

For years the lions were greeting people as they entered the Zoo. I bet thousands of kids and adults had had a picture taken of them sitting on one the lions. I know I did. Sadly, the lions no longer greet people as they have been moved from their prominent perch to the exit area.

Lion Statues at the Oakland Zoo – Lion Statues on Waymarking.com
Lion Statues at the Oakland Zoo – Lion Statues on Waymarking.com
Lion Statues at the Oakland Zoo – Lion Statues on Waymarking.com

From the plaque:

original iron lions, which guarded the entrance to the County Hall of Records since 1880 placed here in 1963 by the Board of Supervisors of Alameda County.

More Info:

Lion Statues at the Oakland Zoo – Lion Statues on Waymarking.com

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 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 East Oakland, Elmhurst, History, Parks, Uncategorized

Oakland Zoo in Knowland Park

  • Open Daily: Monday – Friday: 10:00am – 4:00pm, Saturday, Sunday, Select Holidays: 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • Address: 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland, CA 94605

Covid-19

In accordance with Alameda County’s order for residents to ‘shelter in place’ for the well-being of public and staff related to COVID-19 precautionary measures, Oakland Zoo will be closed Tuesday, March 17 and remain closed until the order is lifted.

Oakland Zoo Closed — Effective Tuesday, March 17

We need your support more now than ever to care for the animals you know and love. Please help sustain Oakland Zoo – your Zoo – during this difficult time.

The Oakland Zoo Animal Care Fund

Oakland Accepts Zoo

Henry A. Snow, a naturalist, collector, and African big game hunter, established the Oakland Zoo in downtown Oakland. The first Zoo was located at 19th and Harrison. The area is now known as Snow Park.

In February of 1923, the city of Oakland accepted Snow’s collection of wild animals. The collection was valued from $30,000 to $80,000.

“On behalf of the city of Oakland, we are delighted to accept this valuable collection.”

Oakland Tribune Feb 1923

Two lion cubs and a boa-constrictor formed the nucleus, with various monkeys, bobcats, a cinnamon bear, a mountain lion, and a badger completed the menagerie.

We’ve Moved!

After many complaints were filed with the city council and the park board from the neighborhood residents around the Zoo, who said the collection of animals were a nuisance.

Oakland Tribune 1925

The new location was in Sequoia Mountain Park (now a part of Joaquin Miller Park.)

In 1926 Henry Snow had a stroke and died in July of 1927. Snow’s son Sidney Snow continued in father’s footsteps.

In 1936, Snow established the nonprofit organization East Bay Zoological Society, which was incorporated as the  Alameda County Botanical and Zoological Society. 

The new Society was seeking to move the animals to the 500-acre Durant Park.

Durant Park

In 1939 the Zoo moved from Joaquin Miller Park to Durant Park.

Miss Effie with Sidney Snow, March 1952
© Oakland Tribune (archives)

Durant Park was once the home to R.C. Durant, the President of Durant Motors. Before that, the land from owned by F.C. Talbot. The park is located at the top of 98th Avenue.

Rosebud Dancing to Shake, Rattle and Roll 1955
Sid Snow with Baby Tigers circa 1950
Oakland Tribune May 22, 1950

Knowland State Arboretum and Park and Zoo

Visitors enter the Oakland Zoo in Knowland Park through the landscape of the Historical Park and Arboretum. The trees throughout this area are the remnants of the Frederick Talbot estate (see Edenvale.)

Trees in the Meadow – Knowland Park 1937

A row of Canary Island Palm marks the park entry. There are Mexican Fan Palms, Chilean Palms, and exotic Bunya Bunya Trees from Australia in the meadow and picnic grounds. These trees were all planted early part of the 1900s.

Knowland Park consists of approximately 443 acres, of which 350 acres are in the undeveloped Upper Knowland Park. The Zoo (in 1996) had 56 acres within the Historical Park, and 37 acres are in the Zoological Park.

Oakland Tribune 1948

Under a contract with the City of Oakland, the East Bay Zoological Society (EBZS) has full responsibility for the operation, maintenance, and development of the 37-acre Zoo and the 443 acres of Knowland Park.

Improvements 1957-1966

Miss Effie – new home

The first significant addition was the construction enclosure for Miss Effie, the elephant, at the cost of $15,000. The move from the lower park to the upper area began. Video of Miss Effie in 1965 can be seen here: website

There was a 60-foot cylindrical gibbon tower at the entrance to the Zoo. The baby zoo was located in the lower area of the new Zoo.

Oakland Zoo 1963

“The Zoo, when completed, will be the most modern and beautiful one in the country.”

Oakland Tribune 1960
Oakland Tribune 1964

By 1967 the Zoo had relocated entirely to a canyon rising to a mountain overlooking the entire East Bay Area.

The Skyline Daylight a miniature train complete with a “Vista Dome” coach.

Oakland Zoo Circa 1968

The Baby Zoo was completed in 1965 and totally rebuilt in 2005.

Oakland Tribune 1965

When completed, the Zoo would be 100 acres.

Sidney Snow Dies

SF Examiner August 38, 1959

People Came to See

Zoo Under Fire

In 1983 the Zoo was listed as number six of the “The 10 ‘worst’ zoos.’

The Humane Society of the United States said the conditions at the Zoo were so adverse that the elephants might be better off “serving five to ten years in Leavenworth.”

SF Examiner 1983

The Zoo was “a random collection of animals maintained in amateurish fashion and failed to meet even one criterion of an acceptable zoological garden.

They called the Zoo “concrete oasis.”

SF Examiner 1983

The report noted that there were no signs of cruelty to the animals, and they were generally healthy.

The Zoo’s response was, “it will be a first-class zoo in a few years.”

Since 1988, Oakland Zoo has been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the national organization that sets the highest standards for animal welfare for zoos and aquariums.

New and Improved Zoo

Dr. Joel Parrott – 1983
Oakland Zoo – Youtube Page

In his tenure, Dr. Parrott has turned the Zoo entirely around, making it one of the best in the country.

African Savanna

Many new exhibits have been created, including those for the hamadryas baboons and the chimpanzees. A new, spacious elephant exhibit was built in 1987.

The current sun bear exhibit was finished in 1995 and was featured on Animal Planet “Ultimate Zoos.” The white-handed gibbons now live on a lush island in the heart of the Rainforest. The African Savannah, with camels, lions, elephants, meerkats, hyenas and more, was completed in 1998.

The Zoo Today

In the summer of 2005 the 3-acre Valley Children’s Zoo opened with spacious new animal exhibits along with plenty of interactive play-structures for children. The ring-tailed lemurs, century old Aldabra tortoises, the interactive Goat and Sheep Contact Yard along with the river otters can be found in the Children’s Zoo. The popular American alligators, the bats, the pot-bellied pigs, the Old-World rabbits along with the Bug Room, and the Reptile and Amphibian Discovery Room are also in the Children’s Zoo. 

June 20, 2018 – Almost three years since breaking ground and more than two decades in the making, Oakland Zoo’s highly anticipated California Trail opens. The expansion more than doubles the Zoo’s current size from 45 acres to 100 acres.

Zoo Map – Website
The Zoo is home to two sets of brother grizzly bears, also known as brown bears. At Oakland Zoo the bears are given a wide variety of enrichment, as well as choice. Grizzly Bear Cams

The California Trail also includes the interactive California Conservation Habitarium, Conservation Action Tent, California Wilds! Playground based on California’s diverse eco-zones, and Clorox Overnight Experience ‘safari-style’ campground.

5 Fascinating Facts about the Oakland Zoo Gondola
Oakland Zoo
October 18, 2018
3-story Kaiser Permanente Visitor Center, which houses The Landing Café.
Ring-Tailed Lemur
Children’s Zoo
Our Bats Are Hungry For a Bite…of FRUIT!
Oakland Zoo

November 1, 2019
Enjoy the Sun Bears at Oakland Zoo

Timeline of the Zoo

  •  1936– Snow established the nonprofit organization East Bay Zoological Society, which was incorporated as the  Alameda County Botanical and Zoological Society. 
  • 1939-moved from Joaquin Miller Park to Durant Park.
  • 1948 – Became a State Park
  • 1949: State Park property is leased to the City of Oakland for 50 years, and the City of Oakland subleased the zoo property to the East Bay Zoological Society.
  • 1950: -The zoo property changed its name Joseph Knowland State Arboretum and Park.
  • 1964 –City Parks Dept and Society run zoo
  • 1965 – The baby Zoo opened
  • 1975 Knowland State Park was conveyed to the City of Oakland
  • 1982 –East Bay Zoological Society took over the maintenance, operation, and development of the city-run Zoo. The 10-year lease agreement saved the city almost $315,880 a year. The Society signed a ten-year contract.
  • 1985 – Joel Parrott was appointed the Executive Director. A 20-year renovation plan was put in place,
  • 1994- Renews 10-year lease.

Timeline of Major Developments

  • Hamadryas Baboon Exhibit 1982
  • Chimpanzee Exhibit – 1988
  • African Elephant Exhibit – 1989
  • African Lion Exhibit – 1992
  • Siamang Island Exhibit – 1993
  • Malayan Sun Bear Exhibit – 1996
  • African Savanna – 1998
  • Maddie’s Center – 1999
  • Warthog Exhibit -2000
  • Mahali Pa Tembo – Elephant Exhibit 2004
  • Wayne & Gladys Valley Children Zoo Opened 2005
  • Baboon Cliffs – 2009
  • Wild Australia – 20110
  • Veterinary Hospital – 2012

More Info:

The East Bay Zoological Society has operated and managed the Zoo for the City of Oakland from 1982 until August 2017, when it was renamed the Conservation Society of California to reflect better Zoo’s evolving purpose mission in its commitment to conservation.

  • Open Daily: Monday – Friday: 10:00am – 4:00pm, Saturday, Sunday, Select Holidays: 10:00am – 4:00pmMore 
  • Address: 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland, CA 94605

Please note this not a complete history of the Oakland Zoo. Please let me know about any errors or additions. Thanks

The End

Posted in Buildings, East Oakland, Elmhurst

Lockwood Gardens

The name Lockwood has been a part Oakland for a long time. I am still looking into where the name came from. In 1875 the Lockwood School District reported the following. Lockwood was (is) considered a part of the Elmhurst District.

Oakland Tribune June 28, 1875

The site of Lockwood Gardens was once the extensive estate of William Cluff Jr. a wholesale grocer of some prominence in the early days.

The Site

Lockwood Gardens is located between 64th and 66th Avenues on the southside of East 14th Street on 2 1/2 acres of land that was occupied by a golf practice range and one house.

project plans by Carl Warnecke, OHR 

Planning Stages

The proposed housing development that would become Lockwood Gardens was met with protest. The major complaints were as follows.

Oakland Tribune April 10, 1941

One the provisions in the funding of government housing the city was to carry out “equilievant demolition” program. Under the provision for every new housing unit built a substandard dwelling not with in the project area must be demolished. The city had not met the requirements the projects that were built in West Oakland. Lockwood was 372 housing units. Over 500 hundred homes would have to be demolished.

Oakland Tribune Mar 06, 1941
Newly constructed Lockwood Gardens public housing development in the Havenscourt district of Oakland,

The cost of building the projects was about $1,175,525. Lockwood was ready for occupancy in 1942.

The Early Years

Lockwood opened in August of 1942. Originally designed for low-income families regardless of employment, they were converted for the use of families the defense industry only.

this metropolitan area’s answer to Govenment housing officials prayers”

Oakland Tribune 1944

In the 1944 the Lockwood had a population of 1600, which included 372 family units and a total of 800 children. An all volunteer Community Council. A very active Improvement Club, with the purpose to promote unity among the residents and to expand social and sports programs for adults and children.

Oakland Tribune Feb 03, 1944

There were two newspapers, two orchestras which provided music for the semi-monthly adult dances and the weekly teen dances. There was a community victory garden.

Oakland Tribune Feb 03, 1944

Organized girls’ and boys’ clubs carried out a full program of social and sports activities under the direction of volunteers.

There was an auxiliary police force of 40 members who provided their own uniforms served under Chief of Police James Rouse.

Oakland Tribune Feb 03, 1944

Race and Housing

In a letter to the editor of the Oakland Tribune Mrs. Mollie Thorner wrote the following:

Editor: Only recently has our whole neighborhood become fully aware of the shocking policies at Lockwood Gardens Federal Housing Projects. (65th Avenue). The neighborhood surrounding Lockwood Gardens is a fine democratic community where all peoples, regardless of race, creed, or color, live side by side and to the enrichment of all. The policy of Lockwood Gardens, however, is: No admittance to any minority groups. Please note that this is a Federal Housing Project for GI families of low income. All Americans are asked to fight on the battlefield, regardless of race, creed, or color. What do the good people of Oakland think of a policy where, if the GI lives to come home, he finds a Federal Project closed to him because of the color of his skin? These projects are partly paid for by the Federal. Government, but the policy is left in the hands of each city. And since one poison always breeds another, it has now been learned that hundreds of families live in Lockwood Gardens whose income is was above the maximum ser for Federal Housing tenents. We believe that the housing authorities shut their eyes to this to keep up the discrimination policy.
We say with great pride, now that our community did at last find all these things out, it will leave no stone unturned to have these policies changed. The citizens of all Oakland have a duty in this.

Neighborhood Tenants Committees
Mrs. Mollie Thorner, Secretary

The Later Years

Oakland Tribune Jul 16, 1968
Oakland Tribune Jul 16, 1968
Oakland Tribune Dec 25, 1970

Even Later

Lockwood is also known as the “6-5 Vill” (Village), and is one half of the “Vill.” The other half of the “Vill” is the recently torn down 69th San Antonio Villas housing project, where infamous drug kingpin Felix Mitchell is from. The 69th San Antonio Villas has since been remodeled into condominiums. Once an extremely unattractive housing project, the Oakland housing authority also remodeled Lockwood Gardens. However, unlike the 69th Vill, whose crime rate dropped after remodeling, these efforts have done little to thwart the crime that still plagues the 65th Vill.

Rappers such as G-Stack, Tuffy, Yukmouth and the late Rap-A-Lot Records artist Seagram Miller all claim The Vill home. World Heritage Encyclopedia

Demolish or Rehabilitation

The Oakland Housing Authority received five federal HOPE VI grants totaling $83 million, enabling it to revitalize four large public housing sites and four small scattered sites. OHA’s first HOPE grant was used to renovate one of OHA’s original “war housing” developments, the 372-unit Lockwood Gardens, constructed in 1943. This was in 1994, 1998, 1999 and 2000

Lockwood Gardens was rehabilitated in the early 2000s.

Lockwood Gardens Today
Lockwood Gardens – Google Maps

More Info:


The End

Posted in Buildings, East Oakland, Schools, Then and Now, Uncategorized

Then & Now – Oakland Public Schools – No. 19

In this series of posts, I hope to show Then and Now images Oakland Schools.   Along with a bit of history of each school, I highlight.  

Note: Piecing together the history of some of the older schools is sometimes tricky. I do this all at home and online — a work in progress for some. I have been updating my posts when I find something new. Let me know of any mistakes or additions.  

Skyline High School

Skyline High School is located on a 45-acre ) campus at the crest of the Oakland hills. The school is near the Redwood Regional Park and has a panoramic (through the trees)view of the San Francisco Bay Area on one side and Contra Costa on the other.

My School Id

Hill Area High School

Where will Oakland’s proposed new hill-area school be located”

Oakland Tribune Sep 05, 1956

Talks about a new “Hill-Area High School began in the early to mid-1950s. After weeks of field trips and meetings the possible sites for the new school were reduced from eight to three.

They finally they decided on a 31-acres site at Skyline Blvd and Fernhoff Road – No 1 above and below.

The new hill area high school costs were expected to be almost $4,000,000, with nearly $3,000,000 earmarked for site development and construction.

Oakland Tribune May 21, 1958

For 1,500 students, the plans called for fifty-four classrooms, a library, a cafeteria, a gymnasium, an auditorium, and administrative offices. The number of classrooms would be increased to 67 for 2,000 students.

The Oakland architectural firm of Warnecke and Warnecke were hired to design the new school.

Construction

The grading and excavation was complete by July of 1959 at a cost of $182,000

Montclarion 1961

Architects Warnecke and Warnecke estimated the school building would cost $3,650,600 in addition to the money already spent on the site, and development would bring the total to $4,623,301.

Some of the suggestions to cut the cost was.

  • Omit a $500,000 auditorium
  • Omit the covered walkways for a savings of $97,000
  • Substitute 13 portables classrooms for permanent buildings to save $266,800
Oakland Tribune Jan 25, 1959

The contract to build the Hill Area High School was awarded to Branagh and Son, at a cost of $4,140,500 for 50 classrooms.

Construction was set to begin in November of 1959

The school was set to open in the fall of 1961.

Oakland Tribune Jan 25, 1961

Loud protests that the “tentative” boundaries for the new Hill Area High School would keep low income and minority groups prompted the Board of Education to request further study on the matter in January of 1961.` 

Representatives of the NAACP told the board members that keeping attendance boundaries in hill area would make the new facility a

“private prep school supported by public funds.”

The existing boundaries of the four high schools in Oakland then had lines extending to the eastern limits of the city allowed for a wide divergence of racial and economic backgrounds.

The proposed boundary for the new school stretched along the top lines of the hills would only allow for “horizontal mobility.”

David P. McCullum, president of the Oakland NAACP, stressed that “Negros would not be the only ones deprived of a chance to attend the new school but that all races in the lower economic group would be cut out.

” It is not just a color problem-it is a total problem.”

Henry J. Kaiser Jr was the chairman of PACE (Oakland’s Public Advisory Committee on Education), and he wrote in a letter to the board of education that. 

“This is the time when all of us-the Negro people and the white people-should face common problems together and work them out to our mutual satisfaction, to the end that the community is strengthened and our school children are given the maximum opportunities for development.”

McCullum said:

Skyline boundaries don’t just shut out Negroes, but create general “economic” segregation which also affects many white people.

The new attendance boundaries brought charges of gerrymandering.

The Segregation unintentional School Official Decries”

April 03, 1962

But today there are many Negro children in junior highs which feed into Skyline High School”

Selmer Berg Apr 1962

The discussion on Skyline’s borders went on for a few more years. In 1964 an ‘Open” enrollment plan was proposed, and eventually, it was accepted.

Oakland Tribune Feb 26, 1961

The new boundary did the best job of following present junior high attendance lines, and in giving relief to Castlemont, Fremont, Oakland High and Technical High.

The Name Skyline Wins!

In January of 1961, Dr. George C. Bliss was appointed the first principal of Skyline. Dr. Bliss had with the Oakland schools for 36 years most recently as the principal of Technical High School.

School board members received suggestions that the new Hill Area High school be named Sequoia or Skyline High.

Montclarion 1961

In February of 1961, Oakland’s newest high school had an official name.

The board voted at the regular meeting to call the $4.5 million school “Skyline High School”.

Athletic Shakeup

To fill Skyline, they planned on taking the following students from:

  • 700 from Oakland
  • 400 from Fremont
  • 200 from Castlemont
  • 125 from Technical

Seniors could stay at their present school and graduate with their class, and junior within the new boundaries also had that choice. Sophomores had no choice. They must go to Skyline.

This meant that some of the star athletes would be leaving their school for Skyline.

Oakland’s starting basketball guard and the best high jumper in track and field were bound for Skyline. 

Oakland High was set to lose Paul Berger, their coach of nine years.

Ben Francis was the sophomore starting basketball guard at Oakland High, who must switch to Skyline. Others were Craig Breschi,Glen Fuller, Jim Ida, and Ed Huddleson.

Oakland Tribune Nov 03, 1962

Ben Haywood Oakland’s best high jumper was bound for Skyline.

JUNIOR BEN HAYWOOD WIND FOUR EVENTS

Oakland Tribune Mar 03, 1962

It was announced in April of 1961 that no varsity football would be played the first year at Skyline, by principal Dr. George Bliss.

“Football depends a great deal on size and weight.” the principal said, ” and we’ll be outnumbered two and three to one in seniors by the other schools.”

Skyline High circa 1963

Dedication

Sky’s the limit

All we have to do is develop the finest school that’s possible-one that everybody can look up to”

Dr. George Bliss – Aug 1961

The formal dedication for the school was held in November of 1961. The ceremony was held in the auditorium, with music provided by the Skyline Concert Band and Choir.

Oakland Tribune Dec 04, 1961

The formal presentation was made by Selmer Berg the Sup. of the Schools with Arch W. Host and Leroy D. Smith accepting on behalf of the students and faculty.

In a surprise feature to the program the auditorium was named the Selmer H. Berg Hall in his hoor.

The school newspaper is the Skyline Oracle and the yearbook is the Olympian. These publications have existed since the early decades of Skyline High history. The participants of each publication are involved by taking the offered courses. The Skyline Oracle has won numerous honors over the years for the quality of its publication.

Skyline Mascot

Arson Fire

From Chris Treadway

In January of 1973, an ex-student of Skyline who at the time was AWOL from Fort Ord broke into the 20 Building in search of food or money. He said he threw a lighted match into a can of cleaning fluid. He said he tried to put the fire out but fled and pulled the fire alarm. When the fire department responded, they were unable to find it. Neighbors later saw the flames and called the fire department by this time the 20 Building was gone.

From the Skyline Yearbook

After leaving Skyline, he broke into a church down the hill and was arrested by the police; he had set off the silent alarm. While in police custody, he confessed to starting a fire at Skyline.

Oakland Tribune Jan 31, 1973
Oakland Tribune Feb 1973

Skyline High Today

Skyline High is located at 12250 Skyline Blvd.

More Info:

Skyline Website – OUSD