Posted in Buildings, Early Montclair, Montclair

Members Build Clubhouse

“We are building this clubhouse beyond our immediate requirement but with an eye to the future”   

Mrs. E.T. Jepson Nov 08, 1925

A New Clubhouse

Press release

“A very handsome $10,000 structure is planned for the Montclair Clubhouse. It will be 109 by 40 feet and will contain a large auditorium, stage, dressing room, dining room, kitchen, check room, restroom, and basement space, which will be utilized as billiard room.”

Oakland Tribune

Construction Started

The groundbreaking celebration was held in March of 1925 at the junction of Thorn Road (now Thornhill Drive) and Mountain Blvd.

Members of the Montclair Improvement Club in November of 1925 and began constructing the new clubhouse. 

New Clubhouse Opens

In March of 1926, the Montclair Improvement Club held the $ 20,000 Montclair Community clubhouse formal dedication.

The structure is one-story and is of Spanish architecture. Features included an auditorium with stage and fireplace, dining and reception rooms, an electrically equipped kitchen.

Montclarion

John Perona was the builder who donated his services. Contributions of labor from club members reduced the cost of construction.

They also planned to have tennis and handball courts, a playground for children, and a golf course.

In March of 1926, the Montclair Improvement Club held their first dance at the new clubhouse.

A Bit of History

The beginnings of the Montclair Improvement Club can be traced back to as early as 1923. 

Oakland Tribune March 1923

After a few years, it became the Montclair Bussiness Assoc.

Montclarion

Membership was made up of residents of Montclair, Merriewood, and Forest Park.

Copy of Newsletter

The Women’s Auxiliary to the Montclair Improvement Club was also formed in 1923. The name was changed to Montclair Women’s Club in 1925 when it became affiliated with the California Federation of Women’s Clubs

Montclair Women’s Clubhouse

In May of 1928, the women’s club purchased the clubhouse from Montclair Improvement Club.

Oakland Tribune 1928

They held their first dance in August of 1928.

Clubhouse Damaged in Fire

In November of 1928, a fire damaged the interior of the clubhouse. 

Oakland Tribune November 10, 1928

Clubhouse is Sold

In 1996 the Montclair Women’s Club was sold. From 1996 until 2015, it was an events center called the Montclair Women’s Cultural Arts Club.

Stunning Montclair Facility For Sale – website

It is now the KSS Immersion Preschool of Oakland.

The Clubhouse today

Google Maps
Google Maps

More Info:

Location: 1650 Mountain Blvd Oakland

Posted in Buildings, Montclair, Then and Now, Uncategorized

A Storybook Firehouse

In the beginning

 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
  • C.A Stone 

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.

Original Blueprints – Eldred E. Edwards 1927

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.

Storybook-style fire house in the Montclair district of Oakland, California. 1928 ohrphoto.firedept.006.


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.

Work was done in 1934 as part of the WPA. Oakland Tribune 1934
A firetruck for fighting hills fires on view in the foreground. 1934, ohrphoto.districts.031.

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

Oakland Tribune Jan 22, 1942

The injured firemen were Patrick S. Doyle, John Baratini, and Ray O. Wells.

Oakland Tribune Jan 22, 1946

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.

Christmas Chapel with Choir1951

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.

Oakland Tribune December 1952

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.

Oakland Tribune Dec 18, 1953

Montclair Fires and Such

Montclarion 1955
Oakland Tribune 1953
Montclarion 1957 on the 30th Anniversary

Teddy of Engine No. 24

Oakland Tribune

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.

Oakland Tribune 1962

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.

Oakland Tribune December 27, 1963

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.”

Councilmember 1962

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.

Contract Awarded

Oakland Tribune Jan 22, 1964

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

Firehouse Today

  • 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.

Firehouse For Sale – Loopnet 
Firehouse For Sale – Loopnet 

More Info:

You can view the set of blueprints here:

Montclair Firehouse Blueprints – Dropbox

The End

Posted in Fruitvale, Homes, Oakland Tracts, Then and Now

Attractive Lynn Homes

Lynn Homes on Nicol Avenue

Eight charming five-room homes of Spanish and Mission architecture were built by Willis F. Lynn on Nicol Avenue. Five of the houses were sold before they were completed. The last three went on sale on June 14, 1925.

Oakland Tribune June 14, 1925

Each house has:

  • Breakfast room or nook
  • Dining room with built-in buffet
  • laundry room
  • Hardwood floors throughout
  • Automatic water heaters
  • Separate garage

Priced at $5950.00 in 1925.

Oakland Tribune June 14, 1925
Lynn Homes Nicol Ave today – Google
MapsNicole Avenue today – Google maps
2639 Nicol Avenue – today Google Maps

Lynn Homes on Best Avenue

Oakland Tribune Nov 15, 1925

Another group of homes went on sale on November 15, 1925. Located on Best Avenue between Brookdale and Trask. The houses have an attractive and varied style of architecture.

Each of the homes has six-rooms, a garage, and a laundry room.

  • Large living room windows
  • Large convertible breakfast rooms
  • Wards heating system and Trojan water heaters
  • Bathrooms with tile floors
  • Base plugs throughout the house
  • Lawns and shrubs and fences

Priced at $6950.00 each in 1925

Best Avenue today – Google Maps
2506 Best Avenue today – Google maps
2495 Best Avenue today – Google Maps
2462 Best Avenue – google maps
Oakland Tribune Dec 1926

Two Beautiful Lakeshore Highlands Homes

Lynn also built two homes in the Lakeshore Highlands (Trestle Glen) neighborhood. One at 983 Longridge Road and the other at 957 Sunnyhills Road.

983 Longridge Road

  • Immense living room
  • Social Hall with cheerful fireplace
  • Large dining room
  • Master bedroom with sleeping porches and dressing room
  • Maid’s room
  • Radio wiring to the living room

Priced at $30,000 in 1928

983 Longridge Road today – Google maps

957 Sunnyhills Road

  • Large living room
  • Breakfast room with built-in cabinets
  • 3 bedrooms with porches
  • 3 bathrooms
  • Maid’s room
  • Full basement

Priced at $18,500 in 1928

957 Sunnyhills Road Google Maps

Another home

Oakland Tribune 1926

The End

Posted in Homes, 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 the 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 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 then 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 is now 7957

Oakland Tribune 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 the 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 article below 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 Oakland Tracts, Tract or Subdivisions

Highlands of Oakland

The “Highlands of Oakland” went on sale in November of 1925. It is located area of Tunnel Road and behind what is now the Parkwoods Condominiums. This area was burned during the 1991 Oakland Firestorm, and I assume there are no original homes left.

The “Highlands of Oakland” includes the following streets Bristol Drive, Buckingham Blvd, Charing Cross Road, Devin Way Marlborough Terrace, Norfolk Road,, Sherwick Drive and Westmoreland Drive. The area is right on the border of Berkeley. That area is now called the Claremont Hills.

Cheney Photo Advertising c 1925
Showing the “Highlands of Oakland” of in the distance

The Highlands of Oakland faces on Tunnel Road and is 20 minutes from the business district of Oakland. It consisted of 300 large parcels for a low price of $225.

Fred T. Wood Co. developed this beautiful scenic tract high in the hills of Oakland.

Oakland Tribune November 29, 1925

 “Highlands of Oakland Entrance to our tract from Tunnel Road. A weekday average of over 6000 automobiles passes this point.”
Cheney Photo Advertising
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Howard-Gibbon
OMCA H89.64.15

In the months before the opening of the “Highlands of Oakland” force of men had been actively building streets.  The winding roads cover some of the most beautiful scenic property in the San Francisco Bay –

Highlands of Oakland
The steam shovel, an unfailing sign of progress.
Cheney Photo Advertising
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Howard-Gibbon
OMCA H89.64.15

More pictures of the Highlands of Oakland can be seen here – OMCA

Oakland Tribune Oct 1926

The Oakland Hills has been compared to the Seven Hills of Rome.”

Oakland Tribune November 29, 1925

 

Oakland Tribune May 1926
Oakland Tribune June 1926
Oakland Tribune May 1926
Oakland Tribune April 11, 1926

“Miss Australia” Beryl Mills visits the “Highlands of Oakland” after touring UC Berkeley.

Oakland Tribune August 22, 1926

The End

Posted in Early Montclair, Montclair Tracts, Uncategorized

Montclair Highlands – Top of the World

Oakland_Tribune_Sat__May_16__1925_ (1)
Oakland Tribune May 17, 1925

Montclair Highlands was one of the earlier subdivisions in Montclair.  Located in the hills back of Piedmont and just above Montclair’s Business district or the “Townsite” as locals called it in 1925.

“Montclair Business Center, as the name indicates, is the tract opened as a community trading district.”   Oakland Tribune May 17, 1925

“Montclair Highlands is separated by the Business Center from the original Montclair” (more on that later).  Oakland Tribune May 17, 1925

Montclair Highlands fronts out overlooking the bay and beyond.

“It is said that the elevation of Montclair highlands affords a view which surpasses anything from any other point in Oakland.”  Oakland Tribune May 17, 1925

Montclair Highlands is soon called the “Top of the World.”

The beautiful panorama afforded from the “Top of the World” is available to you all today – to be framed permanently by the windows of the home, you will build”   C P Murdock  Vice President of the Realty Syndicate – Oakland Tribune May 31, 1925.

“Skyline Blvd, which runs through Montclair Highlands has for years been the great scenic drive of the Eastbay.”  Oakland Tribune Tribune May 31, 1925

Oakland Tribune May 1925

 

Oakland_Tribune_Sun__May_31__1925_ (2)
Oakland Tribune May 31, 1925

 

Oakland_Tribune_Sun__Jun_7__1925_
Oakland Tribune June 7, 1925

 

Oakland_Tribune_Sun__Jun_14__1925_ (4)
Oakland Tribune June 14, 1925

 

Coming soon:

  • Observation Tower – Top of the World
  • The Model Homes of Montclair Highlands
  • Bus Service to Montclair Highlands