Posted in Buildings, East Oakland, Homes, Tract or Subdivisions, Uncategorized

Mills Gardens

Mills Gardens is bounded by 55th and Seminary Avenues, Mills College, and the Nelson Estate.

Mills Gardens, the centrally-located subdivision, was placed on sale on May 03, 1924. The Fred T. Wood Co. were the owners and developers.

The land that Mills Gardens was once a part of Mills College and was known as the “old meadow.”

Oakland Tribune Feb 03, 1924

“Fine Home Tract Adjoins Mills College Campus; Many Improvements”

Oakland Tribune May 11, 1924
Oakland Tribune May 04, 1924

“In Mills Gardens, we have the finest home subdivision in East Oakland.”  

Fred T. Wood – May 11, 1924

 

A Big Demand for Mills Gardens Lots

The opening sales in Mills Gardens established a record for 1924, with transactions totaling $139,500. 

Sf Examiner 1924

“Beautiful Level Lots that are 40 feet and 120 feet deep for $900 to $1250 each.”  

“The lowest prices ever asked for high-class, fully-improved homesites.”

New Homes in Mills Gardens

5624 Morse Ave – Google Maps

Brann Avenue

5859 Brann Ave –

55tth Avenue

Oakland Tribune Oct 24, 1924
2886 55th Avenue
2938 55th Ave – today google maps

Roberts Avenue

Oakland Tribune
5801 Roberts – today google maps
Oakland Tribune
5615 Roberts today google maps

More Info:

Mills Gardens

The End

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 Business, Early Montclair, Montclair, Montclair Tracts, Real Estate

Montclair Realty – Pioneers of the Hills

In 1924 brothers Paul and Herman Pause formed Montclair Realty Co. Before that, Paul worked for the Realty Syndicate.

Paul and Herman Pause

The business district of Montclair looked like this when Montclair Realty was formed. Cos. Williams, a builder, was the only other business at that time.

Sales offices of real estate broker and home builder Cos Williams
in the undeveloped Montclair circa 1925
Photo by Cheney Photo Advertising
Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.
Oakland Tribune 1929

In 1932 they moved into their new offices at 6466 Moraga Avenue. The building was occupied by B. Brooks, another real estate agent. The building was still standing in 2019.

Oakland Tribune 1932
Montclair Realty Office in 1940

6466 Moraga Avenue – 2019

Montclair Highlands

Montclair Highlands “All the World No View Like his”

In 1928 Montclair Realty was the developer and selling agents for a new tract behind the business district of Montclair. One of the first homes was the “Model View Home,” built-in 1928. Please see my page on this – The Highest Home in Oakland

In Montclair Highlands 1928

10th Anniversary

In 1934 Montclair Realty celebrated its 10th anniversary. During this time, they specialized in the development of the Montclair area. Oakland Tribune 1934

They worked on the following tracts:

They opened Piedmont Uplands, a new tract along Moraga Avenue at Maxwelton Road. The land was owned by the Henry Maxwell family, who ran a dairy called Maxwelton Farm. Before that is was the picnic grounds of Blair Park.

Montclair in 1937

Below is an aerial of Montclair’s business district in 1937. – Oakland Tribune Jul 18, 1937

Oakland Tribune 1937

In 1936 Paul Pause was the President of the Montclair Improvement Club for 1937. – Oakland Tribune Dec 12,1936

13th Anniversary

Oakland Tribune July 1937

In 1937 Paul Pause announced that Montclair Realty Company had a new home. The new two-story building was designed by Harvey Slocombe in an authentic Spanish style, complete with patio and tile roof. Howard Gilkey developed the garden.

Dramatically different the Pent House Model home brings to you “Ideas of 1938” in colorful interior finishes and modern furnishings. – Oakland Tribune 1937

Montclair Realty Staff and Pent House Living Room 1936
New Montclair Realty Office – Oakland Tribune 1937

The building was demolished in 1961 to make room for the expansion of the Standard Station next door.

Montclarion April 16,1961

Silver Anniversary – 1949

Paul Pause was a founding member of the Montclair Improvement Club. He was a member of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce residential committee and its highway and transportation committee. He was also a member of the Commonwealth Club.

Oakland Tribune 1949

Death and New Owners

Paul Pause died in 1950. He was an essential figure in the development of Montclair since the beginning.

Oakland Tribune 1950

Lucille Chasnoff purchased the company sometime after Pause died in 1950. John Mallett purchased the company from her.

Oakland Tribune 1960

New Office in 1954-56

In 1954 a new office building was built at 2084 Mountain Blvd. Montclair Realty offices were on the ground floor. It was the only office building that had its own off-street parking. The offices featured gold walls with charcoal woodwork with built-in desks and partitions. In 2019 a brand new building replaced the old and outdated Montclair Realty Office Building.

Oakland Tribune April 1956
Montclarion 1956
Montclarion 1956
2084 Mountain Blvd – Google Maps 2011

Different Logos –

Free Map

The End

Posted in History, Montclair Tracts

Merriewood

Merriewood is a section or neighborhood of Montclair District of Oakland.   The Realty Syndicate were the exclusive agents selling the tract.  It first went on sale in 1924.

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Oakland Tribune Yearbook 1926

Oakland Tribune stated that:

no other tract in Oakland can offer such a “combination of magnificent view and comfortable home”   The ad went on to say  “it is so pleasant and healthful with trees all around and birds singing away –Great for youngsters”  October 1925

Lots in Merriewood were selling for as little as $1750 and as much as $2450 for a completely finished home.  $30 a month with interest.

 What your money bought in the 1920s:

  • Large lot wooded and clear
  • Well built roomy house
  • Variety of floor plans
  • Gas, lights, water, paved streets
  • Fast local and San Francisco transportation

Public Stairways

The Merriewood Stairs are divided into two sections the Lower Merriewood stairs (from Thornhill Drive to Marden Lane to Merriewood) and the Upper Merriewood stairs (from Merriewood Drive to Valley View Road to Merriewood again). Merriewood Stairs _ Oakland Local Wiki.

Street Names

In Merriewood, there is a group of streets named for the signs of the Zodiac. The streets are Aquarius Way, Capricorn Ave, Leo Way, Taurus Ave, Uranus Ave, and Virgo Rd.  There are small cluster streets named in honor of Robin Hood. They are Nottingham Dr., Robin Hood Way, and Sherwood Dr. Street Names Oakland Local Wiki

Various Clippings from the Oakland Tribune

From the Oakland Tribune 1924

First Model Home

The first model home was located on Thornhill Drive and Grisborne Ave.  The address was 5815 Thorn Road (now Thornhill Drive).  It served as the model home and tract office for Merriewood.  Later it was the offices of  Phil Hearty, who sold real estate in Montclair for years, he also was involved in the development of many tracts in Oakland.

It is now the home of Montclair Community Play Center, which has served Oakland since 1933. Montclair Community Play Center

Model Home 5815 Thorn Road Oakland Tribune Sep-Oct 1924

Various Homes in Merriewood Oakland Tribune 1924-1927

Many of the old houses on Merriewood Drive were built as vacation cabins, and several retain their original clapboard siding: 5574 (1924), 5826 (1925), 5844 (1925), 5857 (1925), and 5876 (1926). An Architectural Guidebook to San Francisco and the Bay Area