In 1874 Charles Low owned the property. A barn was located where Tobin Halls and the university’s gymnasium are today. He built a house for his family on the site where Brennan Hall stands today. You can see a map of the campus here.
In 1877 Peter A. Finigan (Finnegan) purchased the property from Low and built a second house near where Cushing Library is today.
In 1884 Thomas Magee of Thomas Magee & Sons Real Estate Firm purchase the farm. I bet Magee Avenue was named after him.
Magee added a second story to the house that Finigan built.
During the early years the Magee’s would spend winter at their home in San Francisco and summer on Alden Farm. After the 1906 earthquake and fire they made their home permanently at Alden Farm.
Alden Farm was considered one of the premiere showplaces in Oakland. Many social event and weddings were held there over the years.
In 1990 my Ex-husband and I bought a home on Lynde Street in the Fruitvale District. I immediately wanted to know why it named Lynde Street? Who was Lynde?
Lynde Street was declared a public road in 1886.
Geo L. Lynde owned the land in 1878
George L. Lynde was born in about 1838 in the state of Vermont. I don’t know when he bought the land. He lived in the area in 1866. In 1877 he lived on Fruitvale Ave near 27th Street which is close to Lynde Street. He lived on 10th Street in 1880. He was a teacher and the superintendent of the Industrial School. He owned Tin Shop (plumbing, hardware and gas fixtures) Lynde & Howard on East 12th, possibly with partner. The shop suffered a major fire in 1878. He was a Trustee for the Fruit Vale Water Company. Member of the Brooklyn Good Templars. He was married at least twice maybe three times and had around four children. He spent the last part of of life in San Francisco. George Lynde died in 1915.
His young son was accidentally shot by a playmate while they were playing “robbers” out by the barn. Not sure if the name of his son is correct.
Articles of Incorporation – Fruit Vale Water Company
In my curiosity about the street names I noticed the phrase “gold star streets” come up. With further research I found that many of the streets of Oakland are named after and in honor of soldiers who lost their lives in World War I and lived in Oakland. The streets were called “gold star streets”. The name came from the custom of families of servicemen hanging a Service Flag in the window of their homes. Living servicemen were represented by a blue star, and those who had lost their lives were represented by a gold star.
In 1919, an article in the Oakland Tribune entitled “170 Names on Oakland Honor Roll” listed all the Oakland men who lost their lives in the World War. See below
Oakland’s street commissioner W.H. Parker was quoted in a 1928 Oakland Tribune article as saying, “Veterans who died during the World War and whose home had been Oakland are honored in the naming of many streets, and a special street sign has been designed with red, white and blue colors and a gold star for use on streets named for these veterans.” Oakland Tribune May 20, 1928
By 1932 the street department reported that there were “101 gold star streets named in honor of Oakland soldiers who died in France.” A total of 170 soldiers from Oakland were lost in battle. The names of 69 soldiers are still on the list of available street names . Oakland Tribune Feb 15, 1932
Montclair’s Krohn Lane is the only street named for a Korean War casualty; it is named for Second Lt. Jered Krohn, killed in Korea in 1951. Oakland Tribune Nov 23, 1955
This is was just brought to my attention. Pfc Donald R. Colgett died on March 2, 1951 while serving with a machine gun squad with the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Marine Division at Hoensong. This street is a part f the Crestmont Subdivision.
Sample Gold Star Streets Signs
Gold Star Streets Map
In 2016 I created a Google Map of the streets based on list of 170 that was printed in the Oakland Tribune . From what I have determined not all the names were used. According to one article it was left up to the “Street Numberer” in the Department of Streets. The list was given to the department in alphabetical order, but the names were evidently picked at random. Some names were too difficult to spell , whenever possible a veterans name was used.
I also started an Oakland Local Wiki Page – Gold Star Streets
Growing up in Montclair (for me) Thornhill Drive was always just Thornhill Drive. But come to find out it was once called Thorn Road (sometimes Thorne Road). Thornhill is a nicer sounding name than Thorn. But there is a perfectly good reason as to why it was called Thorn Road.
The name goes back to 1856 when man named Hiram Thorn (Hiram Thorne) built the road at a heavy expense. Thorn’s road brought redwood logs to Oakland out of the vast forest known as the Moraga Redwoods where he ran a lumber mill on Pinehurst Road. Thorn was later given a franchise to run and collect tolls for the road, it was one of 3 toll roads in Oakland. In 1933 Thorn Road officially became Thornhill Drive.
Since I found out about Thornhill Drive I have been very curious about the names of our city streets. If you are interested you can read more at the Oakland Local Wiki page Street Names.
Oakland had lots of streets that seemed to be name for tress. Like Acacia Avenue Beech Street, Birch Street, Holly Street, Linden Street, Locust Street, Palmetto Street, Pine Street, Poplar Street, Plymouth Street, Redwood Road, Sequoyah Road, Spruce Street, Walnut Street and Willow Street. To name a few.
In the Laurel District there are streets named for the states. The streets are Maine, Vermont, Jersey, Montana, Texas, Ohio (now Dakota) Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas. California and Wisconsin Streets. Maine, Vermont and Jersey are no longer due to the construction of the MacArthur Freeway . I happen to live on Georgia Street.
In Sequoyah Hills, which located in the Oakland Hills above 580, off of Keller Avenue, directly below Skyline Blvd. The streets are named Hansom, coach, chariot, phaeton, shay and surrey are varieties of horse-drawn carriages. Better yet, the theme is a pun, considering the wheel-like arrangement of Shay, Phaeton and Coach streets radiating from Hansom.
In Montclair there is group of street possibly named for early explorers. The streets are Balboa Drive, Cabrillo Drive, Cabot Drive, Drake Drive, Gasper Drive, Magellan Drive and Mendoza Drive. Another group of streets seem to be named after WW I Generals. They are Liggett Drive, Pershing Drive, Sims Drive and Wood Drive.
The following is a group of articles by Albert E. Norman from the Oakland Tribune in 1960-1960.
If you have wondered about the name of your street, leave message below and I will check it out.