Posted in History, Montclair, Oakland

1937 Fire – Upper Broadway Terrace

A brush and timber fire that destroyed at least four Oakland hill area homes and menaced at least 50 more burned in the area of Pine Needle Road and Upper Broadway Terrace and came close to the buildings of the new Broadway Low-Level tunnel (Caldicott Tunnel). This was on September 25, 1937.

Oakland Tribune Sep 26, 1937

The photo below was taken at the hight of the blaze but before the fire jumped Tunnel Road.

Families Flee

Scores of families fled their homes in fear; others who sought to save the belongings were ordered out by fireman.

Mrs. G.H. Cowles with Eunice and Hazel Cowles
of 6142 Pinewood Road
The W.R Powers Family lost their home at 6142 Ruthland Road.
Edith Thorpe 6, holds her pet Rhode Island Red Hen

Burned Area

The fire started close to the home of Police inspector Jesse Jackson at 6019 Pinewood Road at around 3 pm September 25, 1937. During the first six hours, the fire had burned across the western edge of the Pinehaven district up Broadway Terrace to a point just below Skyline Blvd. and back down another canyon to the west.

Oakland Tribune Sept 26, 1937

The fire chief estimated the fire burned over 9 square miles of rolling hill county.

Oakland Tribune Sept 26, 1937

Hose lines Burned

Several hundred feet of hose laid across brushy areas to link the pumps to the fire area were destroyed by flames. Lack of water was a problem, they had used up all the water in reservoirs in the immediate area.

Eyewitness Accounts

C.F. Humphrey – 13025 Broadway Terrace

Mrs. Marguerite Risley – 6493 Farralone Way

Homes Lost or Damaged

  • 15030 Broadway Terrace – Ted Gould – gone
  • 16060 Broadway Terrace – S. Albright – damaged
  • 17014 Broadway Terrace – Ed Pohley – damaged
  • 17044 Broadway Terrace – S. Sund – damaged
  • 17050 Broadway Terrace – S.C. Purser – damaged
  • 6539 Gwin Road – V. Sagues -damaged
  • 6142 Pinewood Road – G. H. Cowles – damaged
  • 6142 Ruthland – W.R. Powers – gone
The Press Democrat Sep 26. 1937

Fire Started –

The fire started when a “backyard bonfire” got out of control.

1929 Fire

There was a fire in November of 1929 in just about the same area. Some of the same homes were damaged then. The W.R. Powers home was saved in 1929 only to burn down in 1937.

Oakland Tribune Nov 15, 1929
Oakland Tribune Nov 15, 1929

1933 Fire

The was a fire in 1933 with the loss of one home at 7135 Pinehaven Road.

1930 Directory
Oakland Tribune Oct 23 1933

The End

Posted in East Oakland, Fruitvale, Montclair

1933 – Oakland Hills Fire

The fire started in the Redwood Road area and raced through to Sequoia Park (Joaquin Miller Park) and down Dimond Canyon and also spread some into Shepard Canyon. 

Oakland Tribune Nov 13, 1933

The fire which began around 7 am on November 13, 1933, swept through the East Oakland Hills, burning a man to death, injuring two others and destroying at least a dozen homes.  It was under control by 2 pm.

The municipal zoo in Sequoia Park (now Joaquin Miller Park) was surrounded by a ring of flames as the fire approached the animal cages. The zookeeper’s we preparing to shoot the animals, the fire stopped just 100 yards from the cages.

‘The Abbey’ is Spared

The flames spread through the homestead of the late Joaquin Miller and destroyed the home of Miller’s late mother, which was occupied his widow who was 83.  Many of her treasures were lost, but she escaped. The historic Abbey was saved!

Oakland Tribune Nov 13, 1933

Shift in Wind

AT 9:20 am the fire was fast approaching the Sequoia Riding Club at 2923 Mountain Blvd. The stable grooms led the frightened horses through the smoke to safely. A shift in wind saves the stables.

Oakland Tribune Nov 13, 1933

Oakland Tribune Nov 13, 1933
  • Mrs. Abbie L. Miller widow of Joaquin Miller with her niece
  • Carmela Ward and a couple of the 60 horses she rescued.
  • Juanita Miller helping fight the fire
Oakland Tribune Nov 13, 1933
  • Removing the body of Wm J. La Marr who burned to death
  • All the was left of one hillside home
  • School boys who left class to fight the flames along Mountain Blvd

List of Homes

Oakland Tribune Nov 13, 1933

More on the Fire

The End

Posted in Claremont, Estates, People, Rockridge, Tract or Subdivisions

The Pines

The Pines “ was the beautiful home and the surrounding gardens of Mr. & Mrs. Philip E. Bowles. The home was built in 1910 and it stood at what is now No. 2 Bowling Drive.  

Oakland Tribune Apr 04, 1910

Mr. and Mrs P.E. Bowles on a garden path at The Pines

Views of “The Pines”Estate by Gabriel Moulin, ca. 1927 https://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf0k4006n4/
Location of The Pines

Land Purchased

In 1909, Philip E. Bowles purchased 51 (58 acres in some publications) acres of land in “Claremont hills” adjoining the Horatio P Livermore Homestead. Bowles was the president of the First National Bank of Oakland and a Regent of the University of California from 1911-22.

The house and grounds had an entrancing view of the bay and all of the surrounding country. 

The view from “The Pines”

The Golden Gate in The Distance c 1927
Photo By Cheney Photo Advertising
Where the Setting Sun Meets the Golden Gate c 1927
Photo By Cheney Photo Advertising

The Bowles Home

 He signed a contract for the erection of a residence to cost  $31,000.  The Architect was L.B. Dutton. He engaged an expert landscaper. who designed the grounds of the estate in accordance with Bowles own plans.

Oakland Tribune March 1909
Photo c 1928 Cheney Photo Advertising
Photo By Cheney Photo Advertising

The home was built in the Italian Villa style with twenty-two rooms and a full basement.  It had six master bedrooms, dressing rooms, five bathrooms, three sleeping porches, a library, a drawing room and a conservatory .

Inside the home

Views of “The Pines”Estate by Gabriel Moulin, ca. 1927
https://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf0k4006n4/

A Bedroom

Views of “The Pines”Estate by Gabriel Moulin, ca. 1927 https://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf0k4006n4/

Gardens

The home was surrounded a veritable forest filed with quail and dotted with miniature lakes stocked with large rainbow trout and a well stocked bass pond. There was a Japanese Tea garden, with pools containing rare goldfish, golden carp and unusual aquatic plants. There was also a tennis court, a swimming pool, large garage, and a horse stable with a trotting park. 

Mr. Bowles purchased from all of the world, he bought the best. The Rhododendrons were especially lovely.

SF Chronicle July 28, 1913
Views of “The Pines”Estate by Gabriel Moulin, ca. 1927 https://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf0k4006n4/

The swimming pool and bathhouse.

Views of “The Pines”Estate by Gabriel Moulin, ca. 1927 https://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf0k4006n4/

A garden path

Photo By Cheney Photo Advertising
Claremont Pines was housing development built around 1927
Photo By Cheney Photo Advertising

Architecture & Engineer

In 1911 the home was featured in January issue of Architecture & Engineer of California Magazine.  It states the architect was L.B. Dutton.  Architecture & Engineer of California Jan 1911 pg. 204

Jan 1911 – Architecture & Engineer

High Society at The Pines

Many dances and social events were held at The Pines.

Oakland Tribune June 17, 1910

In 1912 the Bowles daughter Amy married Hiram Johnson Jr. the son of Governor Hiram W. Johnson. The wedding was held at The Pines

The extension grounds surrounding the Bowles mansion were transformed into a fairyland

Oakland Tribune May 30, 1912
Oakland Tribune May 30, 1912
Oakland Tribune Sep 20, 1923

Death of P.E. Bowles

On January 20,1926 Philip Bowles died at the age of 67.

Oakland Tribune Jan 21, 1926

Possible Park

The city of Oakland Park board was urged by Mayor Davie to purchase land and home for $700,000for a public playground or park.  That fell through.

Oakland Tribune Oct 15, 1926

Claremont Pines

In  May of 1927, a year after Philip Bowles died,  Mrs. Bowles sold the entire estate to a group of men from southern California and they hired the York Company, Inc. of Oakland to handle to development and the sales.

The York company subdivided the land and called it Claremont Pines.  The name Claremont Pines came from the nearby district called Claremont and the name of the Bowles Estate .

Claremont Pines Placed on the Market

New Owner

In about 1927 or 1928  Andrew Williams of the Andrew Williams Store, local grocery chain purchase the home which was located at No. 2 Bowling Drive.    

Oakland Tribune Feb 26, 1928

After spending two years remodeling and adding new furniture including expensive Persian rugs, Williams put the home up for sale in 1932

Ad for No. 2 Bowling Drive 1931
Oakland Tribune Sept 05, 1932

Bowles Hall – UC Berkeley

In 1928 in memory of her husband Mrs Bowles donated $250,000 to the University of California to be used to build a dormitory for men, appropriately and completely furnished, on or near the University campus, in Berkeley. The dormitory is known as Bowles Hall.

The Wrecking Ball

In 1938 the main house was destroyed by the wrecking and sold off piece by piece. A sad ending to a home that was just 28 years old.

Oakland Tribune Fev 1938

Caretaker House

The was a caretaker house located at front gates of estate. It stood at the portal through the high metal-spiked fence around the estate. The five room bungalow which formally served as the guardian of the estate was used as the tract office from 1928- 1948.

It was at this little cottage where the street car once stopped.

In 1948 the cottage was sold to Charles Ray Jr. of 1028 85th Avenue and he will be placing it on lot next to his.

More on The Pines:

Photographs

The End

Posted in East Oakland, Home Building, Model/Display Homes

Melrose Highlands- Part 2

Oakland Tribune

In 1935 Phil Heraty a local real estate agent and developer took over the sales of Melrose Highlands.

Colonial Village – 1935

A type of English brick was used on the exterior of a few houses built in 1935.

Oakland Tribune June 19357773 Greenly Drive
Oakland Tribune July 1935
Oakland Tribune July 19357765 Greenly Drive
Oakland Tribune July 7, 1935

Both the houses are on Greenly Drive, they are side by side at 7765 and 7775.

Google Maps – 7775 Greenly Drive

Heraty to Build 100 Homes – Jan 1940

Oakland Tribune Jan 14, 1940
Oakland Tribune 1940

Cape Cod Colonial – 7776 Sterling Drive

Six generous size rooms with light filled upstairs bedrooms. Downstairs has the living room, dinette and kitchen. Detached Garage. Price $4150.00.

Oakland Tribune 1940

Present day photo below. I see they made a room out of the garage.

7776 Sterling Drive – Google Maps
Oakland Tribune 1940

7225 Sterling Drive – 1940

Oakland Tribune Mar 1940
Oakland Tribune Mar 1940
7725 Sterling – Google MAPS

Heraty Homes – Greenly Drive

Forty new -home owners have moved into Melrose Highlands since his organization became the selling agents

said Heraty – Oakland Tribune Sept 08, 1940
Oakland Tribune Sept 08, 1940

New Economy Home at 8108 Greenly Drive – 1940

Oakland Tribune Aug 18, 1940
8108 Greenly Drive – REDFIN.Com

Building Progress in Melrose Highlands

Below is about 8032 Fontaine Street which was lost due to the construction of the freeway.

Oakland Tribune Aug 1940
Oakland Tribune May 11, 1941

Beautiful Melrose Highlands – 1941

In May of 1941 a furnished “Model Home’ opened in Melrose Highlands at 8033 Fontaine Street.

8033 Fontaine Street – Google Maps
Oakland Tribune May 11, 1941

Built to Order in Melrose Highlands – 1941

A Garden Showplace on Greenly Drive

The home of R.E. Derby on 7757 Greenly Drive was featured in the garden section on the Oakland Tribune in July of 1939.

their principal concern was, what to do with the “mud hole” in the backyard.

R.E Derby – July 16, 1939
Oakland Tribune July 16, 1939
Oakland Tribune July 16, 1939
Oakland Tribune July 16, 1939

The End

Posted in Home Building, Montclair

10 Overlake Court –

10 Overlake Court –

Oriental Theme in Small Home

Oriental (now we would say Asian) theme in a small home. The five-room home is located at 10 Overlake Court above the Montclair Pool (Swim and Racquet Club).

It was designed with both far Eastern ideas and California architecture. Oil finished wood in a natural color, accented with Chinese red in finish and outside trim, grass cloth wall paper and bamboo mouldings, were some of the Eastern ideas.

Oakland Tribune Feb 1940

The living room opens onto a private garden with beautiful oak trees. The house is somewhat like a modern ‘farmhouse’ with an exterior of oiled, heart redwood and an off-white limestone finished roof with wide overhanging eaves.

With many red brick window boxes and large glass areas of windows that are divided into horizontal panes, creating a streamlined effect that is unusual in residential construction. A large circular grille in the garage door was also new and different.

Oakland Tribune Feb 1940

Montclair’s Most Talked-of Home

I don’t know who designed the home but it was built by Robert Darmsted of Pinehaven Road. The Darmsted’s moved to Montclair in about 1920.

From 1924

Another local Montclarion F.A. Christopherson who lived up on Abbott Drive in the Merriewood area did the brickwork.

From 1944
Oakland Tribune Feb 1940

Modern with “oriental touch ” . Delightful patio. Price at $6450.00 in 1940.

Oakland Tribune Apr 1940
10 Overlake Court – Google maps

It is priced in the low 30’s! – 1964

Oakland Tribune 1964A

A true hide-away on a secluded cul-de-sac with a gorgeous living room in Japanese style. Price $289,000 in 1992.

SF Examiner Nov 15, 1992

The End

Posted in Home Building, Oakland Tracts

Melrose Highlands

Melrose Highland is the area off of Keller Avenue to the King Estates Open Space and over to Field Street and up to Crest Avenue – The area is now called Eastmont Hills.

Melrose Highlands to Open

In June of 1925 preliminary construction work on a new track, called Melrose Highlands was nearly finished and ready to open.

Oakland Tribune 1925

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 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

Oakland Tribune 1925

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

 states C.P. Murdock, Inc.
 Oakland Tribune – July 12, 1925

3 Offers to pick from

  1. House and homesite complete – $100 down and $1 a day.
  2. Homesite and material for a house – $50 down and 75c. a day
  3. Homesite – $25 down and 50c.a day

Transportation

Oakland Tribune 1926

Due to the interest in Melrose Highlands CP Murdock set up a a bus system to bring potential buyers to the site and for the residents.

Oakland Tribune Jan 15, 1926

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 at 6886 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 later that school was renamed the Charles Burckhalter School. Oakland Tribune May 10, 1969.

Oakland Tribune Aug 30, 1925

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

A.J. Krajnc
Oakland Tribune Sept 1925
From the 1928 Directory – 234 in now 7957
Oakland Tribune Oct 01 1925

We have a baby girl just learning to walk and this is going to be a fine place for her to run around and grow up.

A.J. Krajnc – Oct 01, 1925

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.

From the 1928 Directory

The Willard Booth Home – Earl Street

Croup Cured – by the Warm Climate of Melrose Highlands

Mrs. W. Booth – Jan 1926
Oakland Tribune Jan 17, 1926
1927 Oakland DirectoryAnderson Street is now Keller Avenue
Willard Booth Home – 7908 Earl Street

Moved from San Francisco

Oakland Tribune Jan 31, 1926
House similar to the A.De Backer home

Homes and Life in Melrose Highlands

Oakland Tribune Apr 1926
Oakland Tribune Aug 29, 1926

Many New Homes

Oakland Tribune Jan 1927

New Store

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 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
Oakland Tribune 1927 – Shows the new store

You can see the store both the upper and lower articles

Oakland Tribune 1927
Oakland Tribune Jan 1917

More Melrose Highlands Homes

Oakland Tribune 1927

The below article 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.

Oakland Tribune June 1926

More on Melrose Highlands

To be continued with the next phase of homes built in the 1930s to 1940s

The End

Posted in Early Montclair, Model/Display Homes, Montclair Tracts

The Highest Home in Oakland – 1928

“1928 Model View Home

The 1928 Model View Home – Oakland Tribune 1928

The 1928 Model View Home is situated at the Top of the World” in reality the top -most peak in Montclair Highlands, overlooking several counties as well as affording a magnificent sweep of the entire bay and part of the Pacific ocean beyond.

Montclair Highlands Commands Ones of The World’s Finest Views, and Only 15 Minutes From Downtown

Montclair Realty – 1928

Combining modern features in fixtures with a marine view the Spanish themed home with certain additions, designed by Hamilton Murdock an Oakland architect.

Oakland Tribune 1928
Oakland Tribune March 1928

The “1928 Model” View Home “The Home Electric”. All the latest features of proven merit – the things you have wondered about are used in the “1928 Model” home, including: Oakland Tribune Mar 25, 1928

  • Complete Electrification
  • Quartz-Lite – window glass
  • Colored plumbing ware
  • Venetian Cabinets
  • Linoleum Floors
  • Balanced Illumination
Oakland Tribune 1928

Screen Test for Children

In November of 1928 they held a movie screen test for children in the “1928 Model View “ home. The screen test was under the direction of the Sherman Clay Company.

Oakland Tribune Nov 11, 1928
The Oakland Tribune November 1928

The “1929 Model View” Home

For a few weeks in 1929 is was renamed .

Oakland Tribune Dec 1928
Oakland Tribune 1936
Asking price $8750.00
1954 – Asking price $17,500
1969

Location

The “1928 Model View” home is located at 1949 Asilomar Drive in Montclair. It was on of the first homes built in the hills directly behind the business district of Montclair. The area was called Montclair Highlands. The 1928 Model View Home was built just up the hill the lone home to the left of arrow.

A 1928 photos showing the of the Observation Tower
The lone home to the left of the yellow area is the Callahan House
at 1989 Asilomar Drive
Photo from East Bay Hills Project

The home has 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and last sold in 1974. I don’t have a present day picture.

1949 Asilomar Drive – Google Maps
  • 1928 Model View Home
  • Montclair Highlands
  • Spanish Style
  • Hamilton Murdock – architect
  • Elmo Adams – builder
  • Howard Gilkey – landscaper
  • Paul Pause – owner
  • Montclair Realty
  • 1949 Asilomar Drive

The Callahan House is the bottom in the photo below.

Oakland Tribune 1928
1989 Asilomar Drive – Google Maps

Last sold in 2017 for $1, 682, 619 – 1989 Asilomar Drive

The End