William Watts was known in Oakland for having a tract of land named for him.
The land was 158 acres running from Chestnut to the Bay, and from 28th to 38th Streets. Looks like it now considered Clawson.
William Watts was born in Chelsea, Mass, in 1808. In 1831 he married Maria Francis Rollins. They had a son William Augustus Watts born in 1833.
In 1850 Watts traveled to California, via the “Horn.” After mining in Tuolumne County, he returned to San Francisco.
On May 04, 1858, William Watts took the title of 158 acres from Francisco Sanjurjo, who had acquired the property from the daughter of Domingo Peralta. Mr. Watts paid $5000 for the land and built a large ranch home at what is now the corner of 34th and Chestnut Streets. He farmed the property until 1876.
William Watts passed away on January 16, 1878, and the ranch was passed on to his son William.
The family also owned a Tannery that was a close to their ranch.
In 1874, 60 acres were subdivided, and a map of the Watts Tract was drawn up.
Watts’ Tract Auction Sale
In December of 1876, an auction sale was held at the Watts’ station, on the Berkeley Branch Railroad. Two hundred twenty-eight lots were sold in two and one-half hours.
Streets Named For
Four streets in the “Watts Tract” are named for the daughters of George Washington Dam. A friend of the family.
The Fremont Tract opened in 1911. The tract is located at the intersection of MacArthur and High Street with frontage on MacArthur, High, Masterson, Quigley and Porter Streets. The Realty Syndicate handled the sales.
“The tract is near Mills College and commands a beautiful view of the hills.”
Every lot in the Fremont Tract was a full 35-front -foot lot. The prices ranged from $10 to $18 a front foot – the terms from $35 to $85 for the first payment. The balance paid at $5 or $10 per month.
“Natural beauty and delightful surroundings, combined with even temperature, make this a delightful spot to build a home and enjoy living every day in the year. Every lot is high and well-drained.“
The eastern side of Quigley Street is now the High Street freeway exit, and Redding Street is part of the freeway.
This photo was most likely taken from the hill behind the present-day Walgreens on High and Redding Streets.
3315 Vale Street
3333 Vale Street
St. Lawrence O’Toole
Location of Walgreens today
Freeway exit ramp
Macarthur Blvd and High Street
Kanning Street is now Masterson Street, and Franklin Avenue is now 39th Avenue, and Hopkins Street is now MacArthur Blvd.
3651 39th Avenue
3625 Patterson Avenue
3840 MacArthur Blvd
St. Lawrence O’Toole
St. Lawrence O’Toole Catholic Church at the corner of Porter and High Street opened in 1911, in time for Christmas Eve Mass. The church was dedicated on August 25, 1912.
In March of 1956, the Diocese of Oakland broke ground for a new church just three blocks up High Street. They held the first mass on Thanksgiving Day in 1957.
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.
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
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
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
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.
Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) is recognized as the founder of American landscape architecture and the nation’s foremost park maker. Olmsted moved his home to suburban Boston in 1883 and established the world’s first full-scale professional office for the practice of landscape design. During the next century, his sons and successors perpetuated Olmsted’s design ideals, philosophy, and influence.
I believe the photos were taken by Cheney Photo Advertising Company and Morton Photo Company.
Hopkins Town was a small subdivision in the Dimond District.
HopkinsTown was located at Hopkins St (now MacArthur Blvd) Georgia, Maple, and Peralta Ave (now Coolidge) and Carmel and Morgan Streets.
California Subdivision Company handled the sales. It opened in September 1922.
Was the Josiah Rose Farm
Hopkinstown was once the farm of Josiah Rose, who settled there in 1864. When Rose lived on his farm, the Antonia Mario Peralta was his neighbor.
In 1922 Rose’s daughter Mary Mulrooney (Mulroony) and her son James still lived on a small piece of the farm on Peralta Street (now Coolidge). I found that in 1933 Mary lived at 2844 Georgia Street, which is part of a small commercial area that Loard’s Ice Cream is today. Mary died in 1933.
Hopkinstown Like City Within a City ;In Oakland
Get a Home — Your Own Buy — Build –Live In Hopkinstown All for $49 First Payment
The fastest growing “small home” community in the state.
Oakland Tribune 1922
Oakland Tribune 1922
Every lot is a GOOD lot, and NO HILLSIDES!
“HopkinsTown” Is the Latest
NO MISTAKE! FREE Home Plans
From Bare Ground to Housekeeping in Two Days
Church for Hopkinstown
I didn’t find many homes that were built in Hopkins Town, at least they weren’t advertised. This is the area I live in now. I drove around the area, trying to locate some of the homes. I did notice small homes on deep lots.
In the late 1950s, the unsold Hopkins Town lots were being rezoned for duplexes or apartment buildings. The large lots zoned for single-family homes has long caused the planning department problems.
Today I noticed on Morgan Street there is lots of building going on. They are converting a few of the Hopkins Town Tract “lots’ into duplexes or triplexes.
It is located where Foothill Blvd meets Trask Street and 55th Avenue. 55th Avenue was formally called Central Avenue, and Foothill Blvd was often referred to as the Scenic Boulevard. Central Terrace also includes Ruth Avenue, Laverne Avenue, El Camille Avenue, and Kingsland Avenue. The area now is considered to be an extension of Maxwell Park or the Fairfax District, depending on who you talk to.
Brochure for Central Terrace
The Mutual Realty Company put the Central Terrace Subdivision on sale in April of 1912. The agent was Fred T. Wood, who later took over the project. Then they added the Central Terrace Extension and Scenic Park Knoll
“Central Terrace is surrounded by modern schools and educational institutions of the very highest standard, the John C. Fremont high erected at the cost of $140,000, the Melrose School, the W.P. Frick School and the Lockwood Grammar School and the famous Mills Seminary for young ladies, all are within short walking distance from any part of Central Terrace”