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, Real Estate, West Oakland

The Acorn Projects

The Acorn or Acorn Projects are a series of housing projects in the Acorn Redevelopment Project Area of West Oakland.

They were original three housing units, Acorn 1, Acorn 2, and Acorn 3. 

Acorn Housing Project model, April 7, 1966. – The Acorn Housing Project promised sleek, modern architecture — concrete-block units with sharp angles and crisp white exteriors

The project started in 1962. The first housing unit contained 479 units and cost $9 million; it was completed in 1969. A second 98-unit called Acorn II was completed in 1971 at the cost of $3.7 million.

Oakland Tribune 1959

Slum Clearance Project

Oakland’s first slum clearance undertaking will be called The Acorn Project.”

Oakland Tribune March 9, 1959

The Oakland Redevelopment Agency selected the name Acorn for the project area (about 45 Blocks) flanking the Nimitz Freeway between Union and Brush Streets.

Agency member Carl O. Olsen said the “Acorn is symbolical for the future and growth.”

Oakland Tribune February 24, 1965

Acorn’s Amazing Progress

It was reported that Project Acorn was shaping up as one of the most successful blight clearance projects in the nations’ history in 1964.

In 20 months, they had accomplished the following:

  • Purchased 90% of parcels
  • Relocated 83% of families
  • Demolished 75% of structures
  • Sold four lots for new plants
Oakland Tribune

Property Owners Sue

Thirteen West Oakland property owners sued to block the Acorn Project. They sued the Federal Redevelopment Agency and the City of Oakland, claiming that the Acorn Project “would deprive Negroes of their properties.”

They said the slum elimination project would, in effect, deprive them of homeownership because they have limited access to other residential areas. They told the court they have no objection to urban improvement, but object to being evicted from their homes without a place to go,

The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled against them in May of 1963.

Acorn: Acres of Vacancy

In the land cleared for the project, there were rats, ants, and sparrows lived. But no people.

Oakland Tribune 1967

The Oakland Redevelopment Agency had spent $ 13 million by 1967. But still no housing.

It was described as a slum clearance project, and it was a success. Some 4,300 people lost their homes as wrecking crews smashed aging buildings.  

Acorn SIte 1966  By the time this picture was taken, 90 percent of the Acorn project-area had been “cleared,” and 86 percent of residents had relocated — many to the neighborhood of East Oakland and the northern East Bay city of Richmond.*

It took from April 1962 to May 1965 to reduce all but 610 old structures to splinters. In their place was acre upon acre of empty fields in the area between 10th and First and Brush and Union Streets.

Thirty-two were set aside for industrial redevelopment, thirty-four acres for new, moderate-priced housing.

Since 1962 when the Acorns were approved, 12,000 rental units were built in other parts of Oakland.

Acorn Project Aims to Attract Whites

The Acorns, a middle-income development featuring sophisticated townhouses and apartments, was one of the nations’ first attempts at “reverse integration.”

To attract whites to the project, the Building Trades Council tried to put the finest housing it can afford into the project and charge the lowest rents possible.

Rents ranged from studios at $67 up to four-bedroom two-story townhouses at $145. (The upper limit on income was $11,225)

Remember Acorn? It’s Dedicated

After sitting empty for ten years, the Acorn Project was finally dedicated in 1967.

Groundbreaking ceremony for Acorn construction, November 10, 1967John B. Williams (kneeling) holds a sign for the Acorn Urban Renewal Project as it is hammered into the ground by Robert C. Weaver, Secretary of the newly founded Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

Construction did not begin in Acorn until five years after demolition was completed, leaving a giant barren area in the middle of West Oakland, about 50 blocks, including parts of the historic heart of black Oakland, 7th Street. By the mid 60s, the demolition policies of the Oakland Redevelopment Agency (ORA) would create deep scars in the black neighborhoods close to downtown.

Ready for the Public

The first units of Oakland’s $8 million modern apartment complex opened for inspection in September 1968.

Source: San Francisco Examiner 9/16/68 “Oakland’s Redevelopment Project Ready for Public” (available at Oakland History Room)
  • Studio – $67.00 a month
  • 4-bedrooms – $145.00 a month

By December of 1968, 106 families lived in the Acorns.

SF Examiner Sept 1968

Award for Acorn

 Architects Edmund Burger and Patricia Coplans won the 1970 Holiday Award for the design of the Acorn Projects.

The Acorns Today

SF Examiner May 1998

The property underwent extensive redevelopment in the 1990s due to four years of collaboration among HUD, The City of Oakland, BRIDGE, the Acorn Residents Council, and the West Oakland community.

SF Examiner May 1998

Like many other projects, Acorn was known as a dangerous place for residents and nearby neighbors. The new Acorn will have several safety features. Density was reduced by half from the 700 units that made up the old project, and a series of courtyards with locked gates to limit access.

  • Acorn 1 was demolished, and a small community of two-story single-family houses between Filbert and Market Streets was built in its place.
  • Acorn 2 and Acorn 3 were renamed “Town Center Apartments at Acorn” and “Courtyard Apartments. 

Acorn Town Center and Courtyards consist of 293 affordable studio, one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom apartments.

  • high-tech security system
  • gated property
  • recreational center
  • community building
  • tot lots
  • three basketball courts
  • swimming pool

Acorn Town Center and Courtyards – Bridge Housing

More Info:

The Acorn NeighborhoodOakland Local Wiki

Imagining a Past Future – Photographs from the Oakland Redevelopment Agency – Places Journal

Affordable Housing Today – Architecture California 2001

Acorn Oakland RenaissanceFacebook Page

Portraits of Progress and PainEastbay Yesterday

The Planning History of Oaklandwebsite

Tot Lot

The End

Posted in Black History, West Oakland

The Black Y’s of Oakland

The Linden Branch Y.W.C.A. and the Filbert Street Y.M.C.A. developed programs during the 1930s that helped the Black community survive the Depression years. They emerged at a time when the national Y’s both encouraged separate branches for Black members.

Oakland’s Black Y.W.C.A

In 1920 a small group of local black women, Mrs. Willie HenryMelba Stafford, and Hettie B. Tilghman, organized the Linden Center Y.W.C.A. with the central organization’s support and approval.

Linden branch of the YWCA in Oakland, California. circa 1940 Clubhouses–California-Oakland. Young Women’s Christian Associations–California–Oakland. Neighborhoods–California–Oakland–West Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

Linden Center got its name from its location at 828 Linden Street in West Oakland. It achieved the “branch” status in 1924 due to increase membership. It was then known as the Linden Branch Y.W.C.A or the Linden Y.

Young Women’s Christian Association Collection – African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)

The Linden Y functioned as a job placement center and welfare agency during the Depression years.

Linden Street Y.W.C.A. interest groups, clubs, classes
 Young Women’s Christian Association of Oakland.
African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)

The branch operated as a community center, offering members religious training, recreational activities, counseling, vocational training, and music and art programs.

 Linden Street Y.W.C.A. interest groups, clubs, classes
 Young Women’s Christian Association of Oakland.
African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
MS110_B01_F03_019

 Y.W.C.A. yearbook
Young Women’s Christian Association of the U.S.A.–History.
African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)

By 1938 the Linden St. Y had a membership of over 750.

For almost 25 years, the Linden Branch existed as a segregated facility. Following a national policy change, the board of the Oakland Y.W.C.A. integrated the Linden Street Y.

“to make its program available to all women and girls irrespective of race, creed or color”

The name was changed to West Oakland Center YWCA.


Group of men and women sitting on wall in front of Linden Branch Y.W.C.A – circa 1930s African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
Joseph, E. F. (Emmanuel Francis), 1900-1979
Group Photo 1940
African American Museum and Library at Oakland, MS189_0809

Linden Street was described as ” a two-story framed building with four club rooms, a reception hall, office for the business and industrial sections, and two rooms rented to accommodate working girls.”

The facility and the entire surrounding neighborhood were razed in the early 1960s to make room for the Acorn Projects.

Linden Street Y.W.C.A. 828 Linden Street circa 1940
 Young Women’s Christian Association of Oakland.
African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)

Oakland’s Black Y.M.C.A. 

Organized by Rev. L.A. Brown of the  First A.M.E. Church, opened on June 6, 1926. It was initially located at 3431 Market Street in West Oakland, and William E. Watkins, an attorney, was the first director. In 1927 the organization had a membership of 160, 134 seniors, and 26 boys.

3431 Market St -Today Google Maps

In 1929 they moved to 804 Filbert Street and became known as the Filbert Street Branch, Y.M.C.A. In 1935 they moved to 805 Linden Street and became the Eight and Linden Branch, Y.M.C.A.

The Filbert Street Y promoted a competitive sports program. Its annual track meet annual athletic contest attracted competitors from all over the Bay Area.

Oakland Tribune Mar 19, 1934

They sponsored a variety of classes and activities. Members could attend classes in Bible and woodworking. A boys’ orchestra, organized by C. E. Brown, preformed for the public. Some of the boys were invited to summer camp.

In 1936 Mr. Watkins resigned as the director and was replaced by R.T. Smith. The directory lists the BLACK YMCA at 836-36th Street. After the move to 36th Street it became known as the North Oakland Branch. It probably integrated about the same time as the Linden Branch.

Exterior of Y.M.C.A. building African Americans–California–Oakland–History–Pictorial works. source: Joseph (E. F.) Photograph Collection circa 1930s : MS126_2499
836 -36th Street today – Google Maps

804 Linden Street burned in 1960 and then was razed for the Acorn Projects.

More Info:

Oakland Heritage Alliance Newsletter – The Black Y’s of Oakland – Winter 1987-88

Oakland Heritage Alliance News Winter 2013 – Remembering the Linden Street Y

Linden Street Y.W.C.A. – Oakland Local WIki 

The End

Posted in Black History, North Oakland, Oakland Tracts, West Oakland

The Watts Tract

William Watts was known in Oakland for having a tract of land named for him.

Watts Tract from 1911 Map – black dot shows the location of the Watts’ Home.

The land was 158 acres running from Chestnut to the Bay, and from 28th to 38th Streets. Looks like it now considered Clawson.

Family History

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.

Oakland Tribune 1949

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.

Oakland Tribune November 12, 1949
Oakland City Directory 1874

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.

Subdivided

Oakland Daily Evening Tribune 1874

In 1874, 60 acres were subdivided, and a map of the Watts Tract was drawn up.

Oakland Tribune December 09, 1874

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.

Oakland Tribune November 12, 1949

Streets Named For

Four streets in the “Watts Tract” are named for the daughters of George Washington Dam. A friend of the family.

  • Eleanor Street
  • Louise Street
  • Hannah Street 
  • Ettie (Henrietta) Street 
Residence of G. W. Dam, Webster Street, Oakland, Alameda County. The Lawrence & Houseworth Albums, 1860-1870 California Views
Society of California Pioneers Photography Collection

Some homes in the Watts Tract

1400 Block of 32nd Street – Google maps
Corner of 34th and Hannah St.
On Helen Street – Google Maps
Corner of 32nd and Ettie Street
3214 Ettie Street – Google maps
Magnolia Street
3200 Block of Hannah Street – Google Maps
3320 and 3322 Magnolia Street – Google Maps
Engine Company No. 22 – 3320 Magnolia
3401 Adeline Street – Google Maps

More Info:

The End

Posted in Black History, People, Schools, West Oakland

Oakland: The Mellow City

I love Oakland with much of my heart. I look forward to Oakland’s change, growth, virtue, and beauty in the years of the future, glorifying past and forgone years.

My dream is that people who read this book of our city will also strive for a more wonderful Oakland.

By: Jacqueline Taylor

Oakland Tribune 1969

Oakland, The Mellow City Week

By official proclamation of Mayor John Reading Sunday, October 12, 1969, was the first day of:

“Oakland, The Mellow City Week.”

Oakland Tribune Oct 1969

The observation honored more than 200 eighth-grade authors and artists who produced a book about their home city.

“The Mellow City” was researched and illustrated in the spring of 1968 under the guidance of teachers from Hoover Junior High.

Oakland Tribune Oct 1969

Students were asked to base their work on the response to one question:  

“If you were to develop a book to help other students learn about Oakland, what would you include”?

Oakland Tribune

After six weeks of intensive work, they had 76 pages of essays, poems, and more than 50 original watercolors and pen and ink illustrations.

Oakland Tribune Feb 1969

Financing

Money for the project which required field trips, camera equipment, and teacher time was available through Elementary Secondary Education Act funding.

The Oakland Junior League voted to underwrite the expense of printing 2,500 copies.

Sample Page

The students also worked with printers in selecting the paper, typeface and cover design, including

The Cover
  • Jacqueline Taylor
  • Wanda White
  • Valerie Hickman
  • Marvin Miles
  • LaTanya Johnson
  • Glenda Walker
  • Coynell Smith
Oakland Tribune Oct 1969
Sample Page

More Info:

The book is still available (July 2020) to purchase at:

  • Oakland: The Mellow City – Amazon
  • Oakland: The Mellow City – ebay
  • Oakland: The Mellow City – biblio
  • Oakland: The Mellow City – abebooks

The End

Posted in Buildings, People, Then and Now, Uncategorized, West Oakland

Walsh’s Flatiron

Walsh & O’Brien’s Store, junction 18th, Peralta & Center Sts., Oakland, CA, ca. 1898″
OMCA – Gift of Mrs. Brent Howard
H26.1429
Oakland Tribune Dec 21, 1901

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.

Oakland Tribune Feb 11, 1884

A native of Ireland, Mr. Walsh purchased the Peralta Street lot in 1877. Peralta Street was one of the main avenues to Berkeley. 

Oakland Tribune Dec 21, 1901

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.

Oakland Tribune Apr 18, 1901
Plate 100

From Oakland 1902 Vol 1, California
Published by Sanborn Map Company in 1902

The Flatiron Today

1615 CENTER ST OAKLAND 94607

Google Maps – 1615 Center
Google Maps – 1615 Center
Google Maps

More Info:

Oakland Heritage Alliance News, Winter 1996-97, by William W. Sturm

Posted in Schools, Then and Now, West Oakland

Then & Now – McClymonds High School

In 1951 the students referred to their alma mater as:

the school that couldn’t stay still.”

Oakland Tribune 1951

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.

Dedication

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 McClymondswho had died two years earlier. The ceremony was held on Mar 09, 1924.

Oakland Tribune 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.

Mcclymonds High School – undated
Oakland History Room

Millinery Courses 

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.”

Oakland Tribune

Out With The Old

Oakland Tribune 1951
Oakland Tribune 1951
Oakland Tribune 1951

New School

Oakland Tribune 1951

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.

New Gym

The Old Gymnasium – 1928

In 1953 the old gym was condemned as an earthquake hazard and wasn’t replaced until 1957.

The new Gymnasium 1956

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

Oakland Tribune 1963

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.

The Field Today – google maps

In 1964 three McCLymonds High School seniors drowned in the icy waters of Strawberry Lake in Tuolumne County.  

Oakland Tribune 1964

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.

Pinecrest Lake 1964

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.

Feb 1965

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.

More Info:

Oakland Tribune 1930
Oakland Tribune 1930
Oakland Tribune 1960
Photo by Joanne Leonard
circa 1964
Gift of the artist in honor of Therese Thau Heyman
2003.139.35

McClymonds Today

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

More Info:

The End

Posted in History, Parks, West Oakland

Oakland’s First Playgrounds

In 1909 a newly appointed commission met at city hall with then Mayor Frank Mott to assume the responsibility of establishing a public playground system.

Oakland was the second city in California to establish a playground system; the first was Los Angeles in 1905.

Superintendent of Playgrounds

George E. Dickie
Greater Oakland 1911

In May of 1909, the commission appointed George E. Dickie, the first playground superintendent, and that summer, the city opened two “experimental” playgrounds at Tompkins and Prescott Schools.

Oakland Tribune
Oakland (Calif.) Park commission., Oakland (Calif.) Playground commission. (1910). The park system of Oakland, California. [Oakland: Carruth & Carruth.

Before 1909, the Oakland Women’s Club operated summer playgrounds for two years at West Oakland’s Tompkins and Prescott’s schools at their own expense.

Oakland (Calif.) Park commission., Oakland (Calif.) Playground commission. (1910). The park system of Oakland, California. [Oakland: Carruth & Carruth.

With a budget of $10,000, the commission opened three municipal playgrounds in 1910.

Oakland (Calif.) Park commission., Oakland (Calif.) Playground commission. (1910). The park system of Oakland, California. [Oakland: Carruth & Carruth.

The first was opened on January 10, 1910, at  de Fremery. The park included a dozen swings, two long slides, a baseball diamond, two regulation tennis courts, and courts for basketball, volleyball, and handball.

Oakland (Calif.) Park commission., Oakland (Calif.) Playground commission. (1910). The park system of Oakland, California. [Oakland: Carruth & Carruth.

Two weeks later, they opened Bushrod Playground at 60th Street and Shafter. The land was deeded to the city in 1904 by Dr. Bushrod Washington James of Philadelphia with the stipulations that it is maintained as a public park forever.

Playground at Bushrod Park 1911
Oakland (Calif.) Park commission., Oakland (Calif.) Playground commission. (1910). The park system of Oakland, California. [Oakland: Carruth & Carruth.

The first recreation “center” was built at the site, and the structure remained standing until 1943.

Oakland Tribune 1911

They then provided playground equipment to the West Oakland Park (which later became Bayview, and is now Raimondi Field) and Independence Park ( now San Antonio).

Oakland Tribune 1911

Recreation for Everyone

In 1911 the city charter was revised to include the role of recreation in the community, this resulted in disbanding the commission, and a board of playground directors was created to oversee the parks. The Parks and Recreation Department was formed

More Info:

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

Then & Now – Oakland Schools Part 18

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. Some of the photos are in the form of drawings or postcards, or from the pages of history books.

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.

Dag Hammarskjöld School

Sorry I wasn’t able to find any pictures of the school. Let me know if you have any.

The new Columbia Gardens school on Empire Road was a temporary school that was established in 1961 as a “bonus” project from the 1956 bond issue.

The school was officially named Dag hammarskjöld School after the late secretary-general of the United Nations in October of 1961.

Dedication

The school was dedicated in March of 1962.

Oakland Tribune Mar 21, 1962

More Info:

  1. Dag hammarskjöld – Wikipedia
  2. $40 Million School Program Ends – Oakland Tribune Feb 02, 1964

Lincoln Elementary School

Lincoln Elementary School is one of the oldest schools in the Oakland Unified School District. The school had several incarnations before becoming Lincoln Elementary School.

Lincoln School history goes back to 1865 when the Board of Education established Primary School No. 2 “the Alice Street School” at Alice and 6th Streets.

The school was moved to Harrison Street and renamed Harrison Primary.

The lot for the first school cost $875, and the two-room school cost $1324. There were 60 students registered that first year.

In 1872 (1878), Lincoln Grammar School was built on its present site at Alice and 10th Streets. They paid $7, 791 for the land, and the building complete with “modern speaking tubes for communication” (??) cost $20,000.

Lincoln School in 1887

Lincoln School in 1898

1906 Earthquake

Drawing of the New Lincoln School

The 1906 Earthquake interrupted the construction of a new school building with 22 classrooms that was replacing the school from 1872. New plans were drawn to make an earthquake-proof structure. There were many delays, but the school was finally open in the fall of 1909.

Oakland Tribune Aug 31, 1907

New Lincoln School ended up costing between $150,000-$175,000.

Lincoln School offered the first manual training and homemaking classes in the city. During the flu epidemic of 1918 meals for prepared for and served to 200 daily.

New School

Preliminary plans for a new two-story concrete building were authorized in October of 1957. The cost was estimated at $535, 000.

The 1906 building was demolished in 1961 due to seismic safety concerns.

Oakland Tribune October 06, 1959

A new building was erected in 1962. The cost of the building was $617,000 and had 16 classrooms, offices, an auditorium, a library, and a kindergarten.

A bronze plaque of the Gettysburg Address was presented to the school.

Oakland Tribune Apr 18, 1961

The school grew in size and began to use portable classrooms to accommodate the new students.

Lincoln Today

The school is at 225 11th St. in Oakland.

The school has a long history of serving families in the Oakland Chinatown neighborhood as well as children from other parts of Oakland. Today, the majority of the children at Lincoln come from immigrant families from across the globe. To learn more about the history of Lincoln Elementary, please visit the Oakland Chinatown Oral History Project.

Lincoln Today

In 2004 the new annex building was built to replace eleven portable buildings.

Lincoln’s alumni include famous Oaklanders: Raymond Eng (first Chinese-American elected to Oakland’s city council), James Yimm Lee (author and student of Bruce Lee), and Benjamin Fong-Torres (famous rock journalist and author).

Distinguished School

  1. 2006: Lincoln Elementary wins a Title 1 Academic Achievement Award
  2. 2007: Lincoln Elementary wins a Title 1 Academic Achievement Award
  3. 2008: Lincoln Elementary is named a California Distinguished School and wins a Title 1 Academic Achievement Award
  4. 2009: Lincoln Elementary wins a Title 1 Academic Achievement Award
  5. 2010: Lincoln Elementary wins a Title 1 Academic Achievement Award and named a National Blue Ribbon School
  6. 2011: Lincoln Elementary wins a Title 1 Academic Achievement Award
  7. 2012: Lincoln Elementary wins a Title 1 Academic Achievement Award
  8. 2019: Today, Lincoln Elementary serves over 700 TK-5 students.

Lincoln School Website – OUSD

More Info:

  1. Chinese Children”Yellow Peril” – Oakland Tribune Aug 21, 1906
  1. The steel framework of new Lincoln Grammar – Oakland Tribune Jul 06, 1907
  2. The Disgraceful Record of the New Lincoln School – Oakland Tribune Mar 16, 1909
  3. Lincoln School is Dedicated – Oakland Tribune Oct 15, 1909
  4. The End of Old Lincoln School – Oakland Tribune Aug 08, 1909
  5. Preliminary Plans for New School – Oakland Tribune Oct 31, 1957
  6. Groundbreaking for New Lincoln School – Oakland Tribune Oct 06, 1959
  7. Old Lincoln School Goes and New Rises – Oakland Tribune Apr 16, 1961

The End

Posted in Black History, East Oakland, People, West Oakland

African American Women’s Clubs

During the later part of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th black women in Oakland established clubs and institutions to address the growing demands of the black community.

I will highlight some of them here.

Fanny Jackson Coppin Club

The Fanny Jackson Coppin Club was founded in 1899 by members of the Beth Eden Baptist Church

Colored Directory 1917

Not failure, but low aim is the crime.

Motto

The club was named in honor of Fannie Jackson Coppin (1837-1913) who was born a slave in Washington, D.C. and became a renowned educator 

Fannie Jackson Coppin

The Fannie Jackson Coppin Club is known as the “mother club” of the African American women’s club movement in California. 

At first, the club’s priority was to provide African American travelers who could not stay at segregated hotels welcoming places to spend a night.

The club was involved with the creation of the Home for the Aged and Infirm Colored People in Oakland, to provide care for elderly African Americans in the state of California.

Oakland Tribune June 26, 1959
California Club Journal 1973

Art and Industrial Club

In 1906, a branch of the Art and Industrial Club was formed and devoted itself to the arts and to “uplift of the race.”

Deeds Not Words”

Motto
Colored Directory 1917

Mother’s Charity Club

Founded in 1907

Lift as We Climb”

Motto

The Mother’s Charity Club was founded in 1907. They were dedicated to philanthropic endeavors. During its earliest years of activity, the Mother’s Charity Club fed and cared for many children and sick and needy persons.

Colored Directory 1917
1959-60

Elmhurst Progressive Club

The Elmhurst Progressive Club was founded in 1912.

Progressive

Motto
Colored Directory 1917
Oakland Tribune 1914

Imperial Art and Literary Club

The Imperial Art and Literary of Oakland was founded in 1912. They provided charity and promoted art and literary work.

Love and Truth

Motto
Colored Directory 1917
Oakland Tribune 1931
California Club Journal 1973

Self Improvement Club

Self Improvement Club of Oakland was founded in 1916. Their goal was to improve humanity and the surrounding communities.

He who is true to God, is true to Man”

Colored Directory 1917

Rhododendron Self Cultured Club of Oakland

The Rhododendron Club was formed in the early 1950s

Like Ivy we Climb–Lifting as we Climb

Four women holding presents at the Rhododendron Club fashion show at Slim Jenkins

Rhododendron Club fashion show contestants posing at Slim Jenkins

Fidelis Art and Culture Business Women’s Club of Oakland

California Club Journal 1973

The Art Social Club of Oakland

California Club Journal 1973

Royal 10 Society Club of Oakland

I only found this photo. I will update if I find more.

Members of the Royal 10 Social Club attending Hawaiian-themed luau party
Undated
African American Museum

Linden Street YWCA

In 1920, a group of African American clubwomen formed The Linden Street branch of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). 

They provided religious training, counseling services, vocational training, art classes, adult education classes, and all types of cultural events. 

 Located at 828 Linden Street, the branch was housed in a two-story building with four club rooms.

By 1938, the Linden Street “Y” had a membership of over 750.

In 1944 following a new national policy, the board of directors of the central Oakland YWCA integrated the Linden Street YWCA.

“to make its program available to all women and girls irrespective of race, creed, or color.

It was renamed the West Oakland Center of the YWCA. The two-story building was razed in the early 1960s

Group portrait of Les Elites Industrial Club Linden Branch Y.W.C.A

More Info:

I will add to this if I find more.

The End