Posted in Buildings, Montclair Tracts, Schools, Then and Now, Uncategorized

Then & Now – Oakland Schools Part 9

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.

Updated Dec 17, 2019

Montclair Grammar School

Oakland Tribune Sep 20, 1925

The Montclair District held formal dedication ceremonies in their first school on March 14, 1926. The service under the direction of A.R. Romer, the principal and Mrs. J.D. Bishop, the teacher in charge of the 71 students already registered to attend the school.

Oakland Tribune Mar 15, 1926

The four-room schoolhouse was built with funds from the building program funded by a $9,000,000 bond issue voted by the people of Oakland in 1924.

In attendance were Mrs. Stanton Lore representing the Montclair Women’s Club and Mrs. E.T. Jepsen of the Piedmont Avenue PTA

Oakland Tribune 1926
Montclair School 1927
Montclair School 1927
Montclair School 1927

The original building of brick with a tile roof was later considered an earthquake risk and razed in 1936. They used portables for many years.

Oakland Tribune Oct 1936

The new school building was dedicated in 1942, with nine classrooms, an administrative suite, an arts and crafts room, a PTA room, and a Library, was created. In 1947, a Cafeteria and Assembly Hall were added.

Auditorium
Montclair in the 1950s

Montclair is located at 1757 Mountain Blvd., Oakland.

Montclair Today

2013, a new building was added to the campus, which houses a modern Multipurpose Room, new classrooms, a faculty lounge, and a living roof. A new learning garden and play structure were also added to the campus.

  • Montclair Website – OUSD

Thornhill Elementary School

Plans for a new school in the Montclair District were drawn up by local Montclair residents Robert “Bob” Goetz and Jens Hansen in association with Confer and Willis.

Drawing of Thornhill 1956

The site on Thornhill Drive at Alhambra was acquired through condemnation proceedings. The court awarded $48,000 to the landowner, Alice Taylor

Oakland Tribune July 4, 1956
Oakland Tribune July 4 1956
Oakland Tribune Aug 28, 1957
Montclarion 1957

The school was to be ready in September 1958 and will have an administration office s, a multipurpose room, library, 11 classrooms, and a kindergarten room.

Montclarion Oct 23, 1957
Oakland Tribune June 22, 1958
Thornhill 1959-60

Dedication – November 12, 1958

The Montclarion Nov. 12, 1958
November 12, 1958
November 12, 1958
The Montclarion Nov 1958

Bus Service

The school bus was approved by the district earlier in the year, stopping at both Thornhill and Montclair schools. The kids were picked up throughout the hills on the roads that were designated ‘safe.’ The bus service continued until 1959 when the service was going to be pulled but continued a little longer after the parents rallied to raise money to maintain the service.
Menu 1959
Jan 1959
Jan 1959
The Montclarion
Thornhill 1963-64

The school is located at  5880 Thornhill Dr, Oakland

Thornhill Today

Thornhill Elementary – website
  • Thornhill Website – OUSD
  • Thornhill 50th Anniversary –blog

Joaquin Miller Elementary School

The bid was taken in November 1949 for the New Joaquin Miller Elementary School on Ascot Drive in Montclair.

Oakland Tribune November 1950
Oakland Tribune November 1950 Tribune

First Graduate

In January of 1950, Judith Lowe, 12 daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Lowe had the honor of being the first graduate of the school – she was the only one. She was the lone pupil in high sixth grade.

Oakland Tribune Jan 25,1951
Oakland Tribune Jan 25,1951

The school is located at 5525 Ascot Drive.

Joaquin Miller Today

Joaquin Miller today
  • Joaquin Miller website – OUSD

The End

Updated Nov 28, 2019

Posted in Montclair, People

Grateful Dead House – Oakland

The Grateful Dead once partied at 6024 Ascot Drive in the Piedmont Pines section of Oakland.

6024 Ascot Drive
Oakland Tribune May9, 1948

In 1948 house at 6024 Ascot Drive was advertised as an ‘ A Little Bit of Mexico” in beautiful Piedmont Hills ( Piedmont Pines), nestled in a glorious 2 1/4 acres: balconies overlooking a beautiful swimming pool. All the tiles in the bathrooms came from the Muresque Tile Co. of Oakland, one of the premier West Coast tilemakers in the 1920s and ’30s. Property highlights include a log cabin family room.

In 1968 Michael Leibert, his wife Alexa, and their 5 dogs lived at 6024 Ascot. Leibert was the founder of the Berkeley Repertory Theater.

The house had a routine existence until sometime during the late sixties, the house was rented by Owsley “Bear” Stanley (1935-2011) was an American audio engineer and chemist.

Stanley was the first known private individual to manufacture mass quantities of LSD. By his own account, between 1965 and 1967, Stanley produced no less than 500 grams of LSD, amounting to a little more than five million doses.

Owsley was a crucial figure in the San Francisco Bay Area hippie movement during the 1960s and played a pivotal role in the decade’s counterculture. Under the professional name Bear, he was the soundman for the rock band the Grateful Dead, whom he met when Ken Kesey invited them to an Acid Test party. As their sound engineer, Stanley frequently recorded live tapes behind his mixing board and developed their Wall of Sound sound system, one of the largest mobile public address systems ever constructed.

Bear: The Life and Times of Augustus Owsley Stanley III
By Robert Greenfield
Google Books
Bear: The Life and Times of Augustus Owsley Stanley III
By Robert Greenfield
Oakland Tribune Jul 16, 1970

In 1972 the house was advertised an authentic Spanish “Villa.” Back on the market.

Oakland Tribune May 21, 1972
SF Examiner 1998

The house was sold in 2012 for 1.2 million dollars.   A September 2012 article, “Rest Your Head Where the Grateful Dead Once Partied,” was posted on the  Curbed San Francisco website.

More Info –

The End

Posted in Model/Display Homes, Montclair, Tract or Subdivisions

Spanish Home for Smith Reserve

Updated Jan 2021

Casa maria luisa Oakland_Tribune_Sun__Dec_15__1929_(1)

A Spanish Type Home for Smith Reserve” (now the Piedmont Pines section of Montclair in Oakland)  –

Oakland Tribune December 15, 1929.

“The Casa Maria Luisa,”  the first of the “Daughter of Peralta” homes will be open an exhibition residence with imported furnishings in Smith Reserve shortly after Jan 1, 1930.  Fully decorated by H.C. Capwell company and sold by the Realty Syndicate.

Casa Maria Luisa, when completely furnished, represented an investment of $50,000.

“Master craftsmen have been employed in building and furnishing this usual home”

Oakland Tribune January 19, 1930

The beams and ceilings were stenciled by one of the noted Cathedral Artists, lighting fixtures from rare old-world patterns, overhanging balconies reminiscent of early Spanish-California with heavy doors.  Oriental rugs of Spanish design made to order.  The house had numerous 1930’s state of the art features, including a Walker Electric Sink and a two-ventilator in the kitchen.

Oakland Tribune Jan 12, 1930

Casa Maria Luisa occupies three wooded lots with a panoramic view. Surrounding the home with rare shrubs, plants, and Monterey and Cypress Trees.

Casa Maria Luisa opened to rave reviews claiming to be “the most beautiful and popular home ever shown in Oakland.” 

SF Examiner Apr 1930

By April of 1930 the number of people who visited Casa Maria Luisa was 46,000.

In 1931, The Oakland Tribune Yearbook named it one of the most beautiful homes of that year.

In 1987 a couple bought the home from the original owner Cordelia Wanderforde, who had lived there some 50 years.  They put a lot of money into repairing and updating the house.

  • 6514 Ascott Drive
  • Built 1929-30
  • Smith Reserve (Piedmont Pines)
  • Realty Syndicate
  • Hamilton Murdock – Architect
  • Opened 1930 for a $18,500
  • Last sold 1997 for $698,000
6514 Ascot Drive Casa Maria Luisa
Casa Maria Luisa Today – from Google maps
6514 Ascot Drive – Google Maps

More Info:

The End