It has been awhile since I have published a new post. I have been dealing with an major medical issue in my family. It is still ongoing. This is something I put together a while back.
A bungalow court is a group of small bungalows or workers cottages built around a court or central yard. An apartment court is a group of buildings built around or have a central courtyard.
Bungalow Court, a New Apartment Site
In 1921 a new kind of building known as a Bungalow Court opened, the first in Oakland. The building is located at Hill Lane and Euclid Avenue.
Euclid Court consists of ten three-room bungalow apartments, grouped around a central courtyard. Each unit has separate front and back entrances.
Euclid Court was built for Dr. J.L. Hobbs at the cost of $75,000 and was designed by W.E. Schirmer.
432-450 Euclid Avenue
W.E. Schirmer – Architect
Virginia Court Apartments – Filbert Street
Virginia Court is a colorful Spanish type apartment building, with twelve apartments of two rooms each.
Each unit came with the following:
Spark gas ranges
Marshall and Stearns wall-bed
1430 Filbert Avenue
Court Pueblo Apartments – On Foothill Blvd.
The Court Pueblo Apartments opened in February 1930 and is located at 6114 and 6120 Foothill Blvd.
There are twelve units of two or three rooms. Each apartment had the following:
Spark Gas Range
Marshall & Stearns Beds
Completely furnished for $45 to $52.50 in 1930
Court Pueblo is Spanish in Style.
6114-6120 Foothill Blvd
Apartment Court on Seminary
“The five-room apartments are practically complete homes.”
Oakland Tribune 1928
Apartment Court opened in January 1928 and is located at 1725 and 1729 Seminary Avenue.
It is four buildings of eight apartments, each attractively arranged in a park-like* setting with a central thoroughfare.
No longer a park-like setting
Four five-room Apartments.
Twenty-Two two-room Apartments
Brookdale Court is located at 3760 Brookdale Ave near 38th Ave.
Located at 3745 Brookdale Avenue near 38th Avenue. There are 2 and 3 room units available. They rented for $40 and $45 a month in 1928.
“Seville” Spanish-Type Apartments
Reminiscent of the early history of California the Seville was built by Barr and Sons.
“The exterior of lime white stucco in monk finish with wrought iron balconies and, rails, the Spanish court effect with landscaped slopes, broken stepping stones and green shrubbery, the tiles roof of handmade Spanish tiles laid as the early day padres would lay them”
20 apartments of 2,3, and 4 rooms furnished from $57.50 up in 1927.
There was temporary station at the corner of Moraga and Hampton (now La Salle). Local builder Cos Williams a local builder donated the use of the land.
An average day
Report at 9 am – They would report for duty at the station and 13th and Hopkins (now MacArthur), and drive the hook and ladder up to Montclair. They did all their cooking on an outdoor camp stove
Off at 7 pm – At the end of they would pile onto the truck again and drive down the hill.
Lieutenant F.H. Waldron was the commanding officer.
L.W. Parks – driver
E.E. Terrell – driver
F.W. Cochran – hoseman
They fought two fires on their first day.
Engine Company No. 24
In June of 1926, $11,000 was appropriated for a new firehouse in Montclair. The city purchased the land from the school department in December of 1926 for $4,500. The final construction cost was $18,900.
Construction of the new firehouse got underway in early 1927. Fire Commissioner Colburn officially accepted the firehouse in August of 1927.
The land that the firehouse is on was once the Hays Canyon School.
Plans were drawn up by Eldred E. Edwards of the Oakland Public Works Department.
The style of architecture is primarily Old English. The construction method was unique among firehouses at that time, being pre-cast of cement, molded on the ground. All the plumbing fixtures and water pipes, conduits for electrical wires were cast in cement.
The roof consisted of 100 curved slabs of concrete set in grooved beams and held in place with slotted bolts.
Doubled copper strips run along the ridges and form decorative motifs at the gable peaks. These decorations simulate fire, which follows along the peaked roofline and leaps into flames and gable corners. The copper has been painted white.
Fire Captain Killed in the Line of Duty
Fire Captain Joseph F. Pimentel was killed, and three firemen were injured when their fire truck skidded out of control at the corner of Taurus and Broadway Terrace. Pimentel was pinned against a tree.
The fire truck was headed to a small blaze at the home of Otto R. Johnson at 6356 Crown Avenue.
January 22, 1942
The injured firemen were Patrick S. Doyle, John Baratini, and Ray O. Wells.
Oakland’s Best Decorated Firehouse
In 1951 Engine Company No. 24 was awarded the first prize of $500.00 for being Oakland’s best decorated firehouse. The Oakland Tribune also awarded the firehouse a perpetual trophy, which was installed in the house.
The firehouse was an old church scene, with a “Surrey with a Fringe on Top” arriving. Animated choir boys accompanied by an old pump organ, are shown singing Christmas carols.
In 1952 they erected an old-time country store… complete with pot-bellied stove and family photographs and animated figures. Inside a clerk is showing a blushin customer, a lady, a pair of “long john” underwear. Nearby is a blacksmith shop. There was a large holly wreath on front of the firehouse.
In 1953 the firehouse was decorated as a church with a choir loft and organ. A special merit award was given to the house by the SF Examiner.
Montclair Fires and Such
Teddy of Engine No. 24
Earthquake Hazard – 1960s
The Hayward Fault runs right down the middle of Moraga Avenue in front of the firehouse.
Because of that, the firehouse was determined to be an earthquake hazard and could not be repaired. The city hired Anderson, Simonds, Dusel and Campini to provide architectural services for a new firehouse.
The city was prepared to tear down the Montclair firehouse and build a new one for $165,000. After an outside firm determined it was indeed unsafe to that day’s standards.
City Delays Replacing Firehouse
In October of 1962, Oakland’s City Council held up the money to build a new firehouse and wondered if the money could be used to “repair” it instead.
The firehouse is called ” the country club of the city” and “if it is unsafe so’s my house.”
There was a dispute over the city manager’s report that the firehouse was damaged enough during a recent earthquake (??)to make it a hazard to its occupants. One architect said it could be repaired at little expanse with some structural steel.
“two independent consultants said the building is unsafe and should be replaced.“
Oakland City Manager 1962
I can only assume that Oakland had money problems b they were no longer going to build a new firehouse. Instead, the council approved $22,000 for structural reinforcements, waterproof, and more habitable.
In January 1964, a contract was awarded to M.W. Garing for $13,975 to repair the firehouse.
Loma Prieta – 1989
The firehouse was damaged in in the 1989 Loma Prieta quake. The house was decommissioned in 1991.
Oakland City Landmark #34
On March 18, 1980, the old fire station was designated as Oakland City Landmark #34
Address: 6226 Moraga Avenue, Oakland, California
Fire Station was decommissioned around 1993 due to concerns that a facility for first responders should not be located on an active earthquake fault,” a city report stated.
In 2018 City officials announce that they were seeking development or purchase proposals for two parcels on Moraga Road. One is a vacant property totaling 24,000 square feet and the other totals 16,000 square feet and contains the Montclair Fire Station, also known as Firehouse No. 24.
Before “The Montclarion” newspaper rolled off the presses in 1944, there were two earlier editions of the paper. The Montclair Garden Club published a newsletter called the Montclair Clarion in the early 1930s and then the Montclarion.
In January of 1935, a small booklet of community news and poetry appeared in mailboxes in the Merriewood area. It was sponsored by the Merriewood-Pinewood Improvement Club.
The Montclair Clarion was distributed free of charge. It included poetry, stories, and community activities, advertisements, and a recipe for Pumpkin Chiffon Pie.
The cover was a pen and ink sketch by Schuler of two pines, grass, and a view of the hills beyond. The sketch tool on slight variations, reflecting the seasons.
The editor was Margery Lane Schuler, who lived at 5646 Merriewood Drive. Schuler was also the advertising manager, copyreader, publisher, and art director.
In her first editorial, Schuler wrote that she hopes the Montclair Clarion will “have a great many people become more aware of the beauty of the district of the district and promote a desire for our living amongst the trees and nature, living close to God, thereby establishing us to live richer fuller lives.” We want them to see our sunset, to breathe our pines; and everyone should hear our birds sing in the morning, they like it too, out here.”
Some news from the Clarion
Mrs. Emerson’s garden party with an entrance charge of 50 cents.
The Women’s club was booked solid.
Realtor Ione Jones had a pine lot available for $1,500.
Montclair Realty at 6466 Moraga announced the permit for the Hamilton Market.
New street sign at the blind corner of Merriewood and Sherwood Drives.
On the cover of the April 1935 edition, it boasted a circulation of 1000, and by September 1935, the little book was less than ten pages.
In 1940, the first issue of the Monclairion still a typed, mimeographed newsletter appeared. Promising its readers, “a personal newssheet will keep you informed on the interesting and important events in your community.
The area’s monthly news source was published by the Montclair Townsite Association, “of, by and for the people of Montclair from Piedmont to Skyline.” The yearly subscription price: $1.00.
The editor, realtor Beatrice Pause of the Montclair Realty Co., had a staff of three nurserymen Elmer Warren, local resident Damond Woodlee whose forte was “scandal,” and her sister Pierette DeVincenzi.
A popular and controversial column, “Well What Do You Know” by Yehudi, reported the goings-on of hill residents and merchants. “Yehudi” kept things stirred up by tattling on everyone, even himself.
“What local golf wizard took what local scribe’s pants at what club?” began a column in July 1940. “Little did he suspect this local scribe had shed his longies.” (and editors’ note read: Yehudi to be released from local klink Monday)
Five months after that first issue appeared, The Montclarion became a weekly, six to eight-page publication that included the “important events of the community” gossip, meetings, gardening and cooking tips, new neighbors, and help-wanted columns.
Four months later, the paper was delivered by carriers every Friday to 2,150 homes.
Advertisements on the letter-size news sheet reflected the hill area growth.
Charles Huenneke had taken over the Montclair Pharmacy at the corner of Moraga and La Salle.
Gil’s Market opened at 6120 La Salle.
Edward’s Cleaners and Hatters opened.
The following year four days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, urged residents to enroll in civilian defense classes.
But despite its popularity 2000 papers every week, the Montclarion died quietly som time in 1942 a victim of wartime shortages and rising production costs.
For nearly two years, the Montclarion was nothing more than a copyrighted title.
Fred and Micky Graeser bought the title for $100.00 and rented printing equipment and set up shop in their home on Sobrante Road. They sold the paper in 1977.
The first issue was on October 27, 1944, and started as a four-page semi-tabloid whose pages varied in size.
Over the years, The Montclarion moved their offices at least eight times.
A bit of history of 2062 Mountain Blvd. According to the OHA, the building was constructed in 1946 for Klee’s and designed byFrederick Dyer-Bennet. An addition was made in 1951, designed by John Carl Warnecke. The building was divided and the facade changed c.1990.
I could only could find one photo of the Equinox.
Johnnie Lee Jackson was the chef in 1948-1949. Johnny Radell was chef in 1949
In 1951, the restaurant was purchased by A. J. Flagg and John S. Flagg, who already owned Pland’s Restaurant. A. J. spent considerable time and money remodeling the restaurant before opening it in March 1952. Joe Kiklas was manager, and famed maitre d’hotel, Jerome DeFelice was host.
In 1953, the restaurant was sold to Sanford Cohn. Sanford’s closed in 1972.
Oakland’s oldest flatiron building resides at the juncture of Peralta, Center, and 17th Streets in West Oakland. Built in 1879 for William Walsh, the two-story redwood structure initially housed the Center Junction Exchange Saloon with apartments above.
A native of Ireland, Mr. Walsh purchased the Peralta Street lot in 1877. Peralta Street was one of the main avenues to Berkeley.
By 1877 the saloon had evolved into the Junction Cash Grocery and Liquor Store. In 1894 Mr. Walsh partnered with Austin O’Brien. The firm of Walsh & O’Brien was described as:
“importers selling direct to families, groceries, wines, cigars, home furnishing goods, hay, feed, and grain.”
Mr. Walsh bought out O’Brien’s share of the company in 1901 and changed the name to Walsh & Co.
Most who grew up in the Montclair District of Oakland have fond memories of Mort’s Drive-in on the corner of Moraga and Medau. My memories of Mort’s are from when it was on Thornhill Drive next to the 7-11. The smell of french fries (the best!)wafting through the air and into our classrooms would make our mouths water. I can still remember how good they smelled and tasted. Yum!
Long before Mort’s opened at the corner of Moraga Avenue and Medau Place, the land was part of the Medau Dairy. (read about the Medau’s here).
FYI – I don’t know why McKeen’s was sold. I am thinking the owner’s political life was taking up a lot of his time. But that is just my opinion.
The Corner of Moraga and Medau – 6420 Moraga
Here is how the corner looked like in 1954.
McKeen’s Charcoal Broiler
On a shakedown run, they sold three hundred “Big Mac’s” in four hours.
“Big Mac” & “Little Mac”
In 1958 Robert “Bob” Mckeen, a local realtor, opened a delightful contemporary style barbecue restaurant. The ex-Cal basketball star planned on eventually having a chain of them, and Montclair was the first one. It offered both take home and on the site dining.
“Montclair claims Big Bob and his natty new spot.”
Morton “Mort” and Gertrude Saunders bought McKeen’s in 1961 and reopened it as Mort’s Drive-In.
In April of 1966, fire swept through Mort’s Drive-In, causing several thousand dollars in damage.
The building was broken into through a rear window. Police believe the intruders were disappointed in not finding any cash on the premises. Papers and rubbish were piled in the middle of the room and set on fire.
Mort Sauders, the owner, offered a reward of $100 for information.
Going, going gone!
Crown Liquors and Cleaners
In 1967 a new building replaced the Drive-In.. Crown has been there ever since.
A special thanks to Chris Treadway for the clippings from the Montclarion.
In the first 36 years, the school changed location five times and gone by eight different names.
A Bit of History
In January 1915, McClymonds High School started in a small building formerly occupied by Oakland Technical High School at 12th and Market with sixty students. Originally called the Vocational High School and was the first public school in California to offer vocational training.
J.W. McClymonds directly inspired the organization of the school, superintendent of the Oakland Schools between 1889-1913 (Oakland Tribune Mar 09, 1924), and the name was changed to McClymonds Vocational School.
In 1924 the school was moved to a new building at 26th and Myrtle, and its name was changed to J.W. McClymonds High School.
It became just plain McClymonds High in 1927. The building was condemned in 1933, and classes were moved to Durant School.
In 1936 McClymonds High School and Lowell Junior High School were merged to form a new high school on Lowell Site at 14th and Myrtle Streets. McClymonds High thereby became a four-year high school.
In 1938 the name changed from J.W. McClymonds to Lowell-McClymonds, then in July of the year to McClymonds-Lowell High School.
Finally, in September 1938, they moved back to the old site at 26th and Myrtle Streets after the buildings were reconstructed at the cost of $330,000. The alumni won out, and once again it was McClymonds High School as it is today.
The new high school occupying the entire block at 26th and Myrtle Streets, erected at the cost of $660,000 was dedicated in March of 1924.
The school was named in honor of J.W McClymonds, who had died two years earlier. The ceremony was held on Mar 09, 1924.
McClymonds High School was completed in 1924 as a part of the school building program of 1919. The new building contained 35 classrooms, 11 shops, administrative offices, storerooms, science, millinery, and art rooms and an auditorium with a seating capacity of 1000. There were shops for forge work, auto repair, machine work, pattern making, woodworking, electrical engineering, and printing. The machinery in the shops costs several thousands of dollars.
The milliner’s art “so dear to the hearts of the fair sex” was introduced as a course for girls in schools of Oakland. Mcclymonds had a shop with machinery for fabricating and molding the millinery.
“The girls are virtually flocking to the new course, which teaches the latest in chic, feminine headgear.”
Out With The Old
In 1954 a new three-story reinforced concrete structure was dedicated.
The structure designed for 1200 students and contains 42 classrooms, an auditorium, cafeteria, and library. Corlett and Anderson of Oakland were the architects.
The auditorium is in the two-story south wing and classes in the three-story building.
A class of 75 students was the first to graduate from the new McClymonds High in 1954.
In 1953 the old gym was condemned as an earthquake hazard and wasn’t replaced until 1957.
The new gym was the first Oakland school building to be built with tilt-up wall construction in which concrete wall sections are poured flat on the ground then raised into place.
Folding bleachers will seat 875 spectators. A folding partition will divide the main gymnasium into boys and girls for physical education classes.
The building also included an exercise room, shower and locker rooms, first-aid rooms, instructor’s office, and storage areas. Ira Beals designed it at the cost of $427,000.
McClymonds Field Dedicated – 1960
The new $625,095 track and field facilities was touted as one of the finest in the East Bay when the it was dedication ceremony was held.
The new tennis courts adjacent to the gym were dedicated to the memory of Earl M. Swisher, a former teacher, and tennis coach.
In 1964 three McCLymonds High School seniors drowned in the icy waters of Strawberry Lake in Tuolumne County.
The victims were:
Gloria Curry – Age 17
Carolyn Simril – Age 17
Melvin Lee Moore – Age 16
The trip was for the about 150 students called “honor citizens” because of outstanding community and school service.
Most of the students were on the ski slopes, and sled runs at Dodge Ridge. Between 15 and 20 of them were on the frozen lake when the ice gave away.
The students said there were no signs on the lake warning of thin or rotten ice.
A heroic rescue by three boys and two men saved the lives of at least ten students when the ice broke about 150 yards from the shore.
Carolyn Simril died while trying to pull somebody out and fell in herself.
A large crowd waited in front of Mcclymonds High for the three buses to return. They knew that three students had drowned, but they didn’t know who they were.
McClymonds High School is a highly valued icon of the West Oakland community as it is the only full-sized OUSD High School in the region. It is located near the intersection of Market Street & San Pablo Avenue in the Clawson neighborhood, which contains a mix of residential and commercial development with a handful of industrial yards
The school is located at 2607 Myrtle Street Oakland, CA 94607
In the summer of 1931, a group of property owners in the central downtown section formed an association called the Downtown Property Owners Associations.
One of the first projects they took on was the modernization some of the “elderly buildings” in the downtown area. They were losing tenants to the new modern buildings going up in the downtown area.
The association took care of all the details of the program.
“Just try to find a vacancy!”
Jonas Building – 1932 – Northwest corner of Broadway and 11th Street in downtown Oakland, California. Abraham Jonas owned the building. He ran a clothing store for men.
The Jones building was the first to be remodeled and modernized.
The Abrahamson Building – Southwest corner of 13th and Washington streets. Opened in 1893 as Abrahamson’s Dry Goods. Owned by Jules and Hugo Abrahamson.
A five-story structure at the southeast corner of 13th and Washington Streets was the second project in the modernization program. J.H. King supervised the transformation of the building, and E.T. Foulkes was the architect.
The facelift was complete in March of 1934 with the opening of the Union Furniture Company. The firm occupied all five floors of the building.
Over the years, other businesses occupied the building.
Delger Building – northwest corner of thirteenth and Broadway
M.K. Blake Building. – A four-story store and office structure at the southwest corner of 12th and Washington Streets.
The building was stripped of the bay windows, cornices, and other ornamentation removed. New tile was placed on the exterior walls.
Glenn Building – 1308 Broadway –
According to the Oakland Tribune, the Glenn Family had owned the building for 50 years.
In 1937 work began on the Glenn Building at 1308 Broadway as part of a modernization program of the Downtown Property Association.
The improvements to the two-story cost $5,000 and included all new tiles on the front of the building. Edward T. Foulkes was the architect on the project.
Most people will recognize the building as the home of De lauer’s Newsstand.
In total, 31 buildings were rebuilt or given a “facelift.” The program was a success, buildings were filled with stores, and the stores were filled with people who were shopping.
Plaza Building at 15th and Washington Streets
Farmers & Merchants Savings Bank Building at 13th and Franklin
S.H. Cress Company on 14th and Broadway.
Federal Telegraph Building at 12th and Washington streets
Fuller-Sparks Building on 14th Streets.
Masonic Temple Building on 12th Street for the new Lerner Store