Posted in East Oakland

Lion Statues at the Oakland Zoo

Oakland Tribune May 11. 1963

In 1962 a pair of lions statues were removed from their perch guarding the Alameda County Hall of Records since about 1875. The county board of supervisors agreed the statutes should be entrusted to Knowland State Park, where they were placed at the zoo entrance.

Oakland Tribune May 08, 1963

Thought to be Stone

“Most everyone believed they were stone or concrete underneath the paint,” Razeto said. “But tap them, and they ring…like a bell.”

Oakland Tribune May 11, 1963

Old photographs indicate the lions were an integral part of the original Victorian design, including two front lion wall plaques (removed before 1930)and a dozen bearded gargoyles at the eaves.

Oakland Tribune March 11, 1964

Old Hall of Records

The Hall of Records was erected in 1875. The hall sit had been the parade ground of the Oakland Guard from 1865. Architect Henry H. Meyers designed the ornate hall complete with entrance columns, leaded glass windows, and a grand rotunda.

Hall of Records updated Oakland History Room

A south wing was added in 1900 and a north wing in 1916. It was remodeled in 1945 when the welfare and school departments moved there.

In 1957 it was determined that nothing more could be added to the building without it collapsing.

In 1964 the Old Hall of Records was demolished to make room for the new $2.5 million Probation Center.


For years the lions were greeting people as they entered the Zoo. I bet thousands of kids and adults had had a picture taken of them sitting on one the lions. I know I did. Sadly, the lions no longer greet people as they have been moved from their prominent perch to the exit area.

Lion Statues at the Oakland Zoo – Lion Statues on
Lion Statues at the Oakland Zoo – Lion Statues on
Lion Statues at the Oakland Zoo – Lion Statues on

From the plaque:

original iron lions, which guarded the entrance to the County Hall of Records since 1880 placed here in 1963 by the Board of Supervisors of Alameda County.

More Info:

Lion Statues at the Oakland Zoo – Lion Statues on

The End

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

Then & Now – Oakland Schools Part 4

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.

Durant School

Bids were in to build a new school at the corner of West Street. The bid of $5000 made by J.J. Chapplain was the winner. The new school was called the Durant School in honor of the Rev. Henry J. Durant, who the 16th Mayor of Oakland (1873–January 22, 1875) and one of the founders of the University of California.

Durant School opened in August of 1875. It was reported by the Board of Education that all grades were formed and that they had over 400 pupils with 8 teachers.

In 1878 a 6-room addition was added.

Durant Elementary School

Plans for a new Durant School to be built were accepted in 1912. The old school was sold. The new building built at the corner of 29th and West Street and was to exceed $160,000.

School Architecture: Principles and Practices
By John Joseph Donovan 1921

The building above was designed by architects John J. Donovan and Louis Christian Mullgardt and was completed in August of 1914-15 at the cost of $179,868

In 1971 (probably before), it was determined that the school was structurally unsafe in the event of an earthquake. Bids were requested for the construction of a new school. Don’t know what happened with that. I couldn’t locate any pictures of a newer Durant School.

Location 2820 West St Oakland CA

Lafayette Grammar School

Picturesque Oakland 1889
Britton & Rey.
Views of Oakland California’. Oakland: Pacific Press Publishing Company, 1893

Lafayette School was located at 17th and West Street and was built in the late 1860s.

The Lafayette Grammar School was one of the first schools built in Oakland. Lafayette even housed Oakland High School in 1869.

Oakland Tribune 1905

Lafayette Grammar School was named in honor of Marquis de Lafayette, a French military leader and statesman who fought on the side of the colonists during a part in the American Revolution.

Lafayette Grammar School later changed its name to Lafayette Elementary School.

A brand new school was dedicated in October of 1949. Constructed at the cost of $594,825, the new school has 22 classrooms, a kindergarten, and an auditorium.

The school today

Lakeview Elementary School

The School was established in 1909 as an annex of Grant School, which was over-crowded. The Board of Education built a temporary structure of two rooms at the corner of Van Buren and Perry Streets. They called the school the Grant Annex.

Oakland Tribune Sept 1913

With the rapid growth of the surrounding area, it soon became necessary to build a permanent school.

Oakland Tribune 1913

In 1913 a large red brick building was built in a modern style of architecture opposite of the Grant Annex at the corner of Grand Avenue and Perry Street. The new school was called Lakeview.

Construction of Lakeview School – circa 1913-14
Lakeside School

John J. Donovan was the architect of Lakeview Elementary. The estimated cost of building the school was $75,000.

Lakeview was situated on a high terrace with ivy-covered banks. Two flights of broad steps lead from the main building to Grand Avenue.

Lakeview School is situated at the head of Lake Merritt and surround by the beautiful Piedmont Hills. In one of the most attractive districts of Oakland.

Oakland Tribune Oct 1917

Across the street from the main building were two attractive smaller buildings that could not be seen from Grand Avenue.

There were manual art portables and a playground complete with equipment.

It appears that Julia Morgan designed an addition to Lakeview in 1915

Oakland Tribune Feb 1915

By 1917 Lakeview had an enrollment of 768.

Lakeview School circa the 1930s

Fire at the Lakeview School Annex – May 1937

Oakland Tribune May 03, 1937

MacArthur Freeway

In 1926 a group of Lakeview district residents appeared before the Board of Education to advocate steps to protect the area behind the school from future development. See below

They should see it now!

Go here to read the rest of the article
Oakland Tribune June 29, 1926

Lakeview School will soon be an island, completely surrounded by traffic”.

Oakland Tribune Jan 03, 1962

Oakland Tribune Jan 03, 1962

The school is located at 746 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA, 94619

Lakeside Elementary – today
Elementary – today

It is now a charter school

American Indian Public High School –AIMS COLLEGE PREP HIGH SCHOOL
746 GRAND AVE, OAKLAND, CA 94610 | TEL: 510-220-5044

The End

Updated Oct 2019