Posted in Black History, North Oakland, Oakland Tracts, West Oakland

The Watts Tract

William Watts was known in Oakland for having a tract of land named for him.

Watts Tract from 1911 Map – black dot shows the location of the Watts’ Home.

The land was 158 acres running from Chestnut to the Bay, and from 28th to 38th Streets. Looks like it now considered Clawson.

Family History

William Watts was born in Chelsea, Mass, in 1808. In 1831 he married Maria Francis Rollins. They had a son William Augustus Watts born in 1833.

Oakland Tribune 1949

In 1850 Watts traveled to California, via the “Horn.” After mining in Tuolumne County, he returned to San Francisco.

On May 04, 1858, William Watts took the title of 158 acres from Francisco Sanjurjo, who had acquired the property from the daughter of Domingo Peralta. Mr. Watts paid $5000 for the land and built a large ranch home at what is now the corner of 34th and Chestnut Streets. He farmed the property until 1876.

Oakland Tribune November 12, 1949
Oakland City Directory 1874

William Watts passed away on January 16, 1878, and the ranch was passed on to his son William.

The family also owned a Tannery that was a close to their ranch.

Subdivided

Oakland Daily Evening Tribune 1874

In 1874, 60 acres were subdivided, and a map of the Watts Tract was drawn up.

Oakland Tribune December 09, 1874

Watts’ Tract Auction Sale

In December of 1876, an auction sale was held at the Watts’ station, on the Berkeley Branch Railroad. Two hundred twenty-eight lots were sold in two and one-half hours.

Oakland Tribune November 12, 1949

Streets Named For

Four streets in the “Watts Tract” are named for the daughters of George Washington Dam. A friend of the family.

  • Eleanor Street
  • Louise Street
  • Hannah Street 
  • Ettie (Henrietta) Street 
Residence of G. W. Dam, Webster Street, Oakland, Alameda County. The Lawrence & Houseworth Albums, 1860-1870 California Views
Society of California Pioneers Photography Collection

Some homes in the Watts Tract

1400 Block of 32nd Street – Google maps
Corner of 34th and Hannah St.
On Helen Street – Google Maps
Corner of 32nd and Ettie Street
3214 Ettie Street – Google maps
Magnolia Street
3200 Block of Hannah Street – Google Maps
3320 and 3322 Magnolia Street – Google Maps
Engine Company No. 22 – 3320 Magnolia
3401 Adeline Street – Google Maps

More Info:

The End

Posted in Buildings, History, Streets, West Oakland

Then & Now – Oakland Schools Part 10

 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 September 20, 2020

Golden Gate Elementary/Junior High School

Bay Public School was the first school in the Bay School District which is now the Golden Gate district. The 2-room schoolhouse was built in about 1875.

Bay Public School. Built-in 1875.
glass plate negative
ca. 1890
Gift of Fred L. Klinkner
H77.57.43

In 1885 two more rooms were added. In 1892 the school was replaced

Oakland Tribune Nov 19, 1892
New Bay Public School (built 1892)
Gift of Fred L. Klinkner
H76.295.65A

More to come on the transformation from Bay School to Golden Gate School.

New School

Preliminary plans for the second unit of the new Golden Gate Junior High. The arrival of the plans came a week after the residents of the Golden Gate district complained and at a school board meeting that the

the old school is now so rickety that it is becoming dangerous

Residents Golden Gate District Dec 1926
Oakland Tribune Aug 10, 1927

The new school building was completed in November of 1928 at a cost of $119,232 and had space for 700 students.

A new shop building was added to the school at a cost of about $30,000. It was located at 63rd and San Pablo and included auto shops and machine shops.

The School Today

CC SA-BY Our Oakland

More Info:

Golden Gate is now the Berkley Maynard Academy is a charter school. The school is named after publishers Thomas L. Berkley and Robert Maynard.

Berkley Maynard Academy – Website

Herbert Hoover Junior High School

Plans for the new Clawson-Longfellow Junior High School were drawn in 1928. It was the last school to be built using the 1924 bond issue of $9,600,000.

Oakland Tribune Aug 29, 1928

The school’s cornerstone was laid on March 4, 1929, the same date as President Hoovers inauguration as the nation’s 31st president.

Oakland Tribune March 05, 1929

Herbert Hoover Junior High school, located at Thirty-third and West Streets, opened on August 12, 1929. The school was formerly known as the Clawson-Longfellow Junior High School

The school was designed on a modified English Tudor style of architecture with large arched entrances.

The building was designed by John L. Easterly, an Oakland architect and cost $460,000.

Oakland Tribune August 19, 1928

The school had a large assembly hall which could seat 1200. At one end, there was a stage that could hold 200 people. There were dressing rooms on each side of the stage. There was also a moving picture booth with the latest equipment.

The administration suite with the principal. Vice-principal and attendance offices. Next on the first floor was a textbook room, library, a faculty cafeteria, a student cafeteria, and a quick lunch counter.

On the second and third floors, there were more than 25 classrooms.

Dedication

The official dedication events for the school held during American Book Week, November 11-17, 1929

Oakland Tribune November 07, 1929

Herbert Hoover Junior High School (1929–1974) was located at 3263 West Street.

School Unsafe

In 1972 the School board approved the replacement of 3 schools. The schools deemed unsafe in an earthquake.

The schools were Clawson and Durant Elementary and Hoover Jr. High. A new k-4th Grade was to be built on the Hoover site and a 5th – 8th at the Durant site.

The school was demolished in 1974, to be replaced with a more earthquake-safe lower school.

The School Today

The school is located at  890 Brockhurst Street, Oakland, CA

Hoover Today – Google Maps
Hoover Today – Google Maps
  • Hoover Elementary School – Website

More Info:

Longfellow Elementary School

I haven’t had much luck with finding any photos of the old Longfellow School.

Oakland Tribune Nov 29, 1904

Longfellow Elementary school was opened in 1907 and was located at 39th and Market Street.

In March of 1907, a couple of the school board members questioned the name of Longfellow for the school. One thought it was too close to the Berkeley school with the same name. The other questioned the school being named after a dead poet who never did anything for the city. The name stayed with only one dissent.

New School

In 1957 plans were drawn up by the firm of Alexander and Mackenzie. The plans call for 16 classrooms, kindergarten, library, special education room, multipurpose room, and administrative offices at a cost of $623, 600.

The new Longfellow Elementary School was formally dedicated in November of 1959. The new school replaced the multi-storied building built after the 1906 earthquake. It Cost $595,000.

Just Say No to Drugs!

First Lady Nancy Reagan met with a group of elementary school students and their parents Wednesday to talk about ways to fight drug abuse, one of the biggest problems facing the city of Oakland. UPI – July 1984

Today

Longfellow Today – Google Maps

Today the Longfellow School site is being used by the Oakland Military Institute.

Oakland Military Institute – website

Located at 3877 Lusk Street

More Info:

Lowell Junior High School

Lowell Junior High that most people will remember opened in January of 1928.

Oakland Tribune 1927

The new building cost between $288,000 and $ 320,000 (depending on what I read). The building fronted on Myrtle Street at 14th Street.

  • Groundbreaking – 1927
  • Cornerstone laid – 1927
  • Dedicated Jan 1928

 Howard Schroder noted Oakland architect designed the school.

Oakland Tribune 1928

Name Change

Prior to Lowell opening in 1928, the school was called Market Street Junior High.

Oakland Tribune 1924
Oakland Tribune 1927
Oakland Tribune Jun 10, 1926

In 1937 the old McCymonds High School was abandoned, the students joined Lowell, and then it was known as Lowell-McClymonds. A year later, the name changed to McClymonds-Lowell. The Lowell students were moved to Prescot Junior High in 1938.

Oakland Tribune Oct 1955


When McClymonds was built on Myrtle Street. It became Lowell Junior High School, again.

Historic Site

The new building replaced an old historic wood-framed building that had the distinction of being the “most named” school.

Oakland Tribune Oct 1955

Earthquake – 1955

Oakland Tribune Oct 1955
Oakland Tribune Oct 1955
Oakland Tribune Oct 1955

The building was damaged during an earthquake on October 23, 1955.

Oakland Tribune October 1955

The formal dedication for the new Lowell Junior High was in November 1959.

Oakland Tribune Nov 1959

The new school located at 1330 Filbert Street cost $1,656,083 and was designed by Warnecke and Warnecke.  

The new building had 18 general classrooms, 5 special Ed, 3 Art rooms, 3 homemaking rooms.

More Info:

Peralta School

A Bit of History of Golden Gate,Herbert Hoover, Longfellow,Lowell and Peralta Schools.
Peralta School Alcatraz and Telegraph Avenues
Photo by Cheney Photo Advertising Circa 1919
April 1886
Oakland Tribune 1897
Oakland Tribune Nov 30, 1913

Peralta Today

Peralta Today

More Info

The End

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

Then & Now – Oakland Schools Part 5

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.

Brookfield Village School

Brookfield Village school opened for the new school year in September of 1944, the latest of Oakland’s 77 schools.

Brookfield Village Elementary School opened without the benefit of bells.

Oakland Tribune Sept 17, 1944

Oakland Tribune Sept 17, 1944

Brookfield was Oakland’s newest public school, which opened under wartime handicaps. Money and supplies were tight. Classes were being held in 19 portables that arrived in the 3 weeks before school started.

There were 767 boys and girls were enrolled just 33 less than anticipated in that first year.

New School

In February of 1950, they held a groundbreaking ceremony for Unit 1 of the new Brookfield Village School.

Oakland Tribune

The school unit was designed by Confer and Willis. The new building had 11 classrooms, a library, and an auditorium. It was a one-story building of wood frame construction.

Oakland Tribune Apr 24, 1951

New Addition

Oakland Tribune Oct 1957

In November of 1957, they broke ground for new addition costing $286,680. The new building will include a cafeteria, 10 classrooms, a kindergarten plus 2 special class classrooms.

Brookfield Today

Brookfield Lions: Learning and Thriving with Pride.
Brookfield Today

The school is located at 401 Jones Ave. Oakland, CA 94603

Clawson Grammar School

Clawson School dates back to the 1880s, as seen in the image below.

Clawson in 1895

Clawson Elementary School was built in 1915. This Neo-Classical design had two stories and utilized extensive terracotta ornamentation. The ornamentation around its front doors. The building was designed by

School Architecture: Principles and Practices
By John Joseph Donovan 1921

The Clawson Elementary School was listed as standing near the intersection of 32nd Street and Magnolia Street in Polk-Husted’s Oakland, California, City Directory, 1918

School Architecture: Principles and Practices
By John Joseph Donovan 1921

School Architecture: Principles and Practices
By John Joseph Donovan 1921

School Architecture: Principles and Practices
By John Joseph Donovan 1921

Kindergarten

Entrance to the Kindergarten CLassroom
Clawson School pergola, Oakland, California (1916) 1

School Architecture: Principles and Practices
By John Joseph Donovan 1921

Principal’s Office

School Architecture: Principles and Practices
By John Joseph Donovan 1921

School Architecture: Principles and Practices
By John Joseph Donovan 1921

School Architecture: Principles and Practices
By John Joseph Donovan 1921

Auditorium

School Architecture: Principles and Practices
By John Joseph Donovan 1921

Bathrooms Boys and Girls

clawson-boys-bathroom

School Architecture: Principles and Practices
By John Joseph Donovan 1921

School Architecture: Principles and Practices
By John Joseph Donovan 1921

Clawson Closed

The building functioned as a school until it was closed sometime between 1971-1973. OUSD closed 3 schools in 1973 rather than spend the money needed to retrofit them, including Clawson School. Clawson couldn’t meet the new stricter seismic standards that went into effect in 1973.

New Life

Clawson Lofts – Realtor.com

After extensive remodeling and structural upgrading, the building reopened as The West Clawson Lofts in 1999.

Location 3240 Peralta Street Oakland CA

  • Clawson School – Oakland Local Wiki
  • Clawson School – American Architect
  • School Architecture – 1921
  • West Clawson Lofts – webpage
  • Clawson School – PCAD

Emerson Elementary School

Emerson School 1912
John Galen Howard collection of progress photographs, ca. 1905-1910
The Bancroft Library UC Berkeley

Emerson Elementary School was built in 1913. It was designed by John J Donovan and John Galen Howard. The total cost of the school was $163,879. It was located at 49th and Shafter Avenue.

Oakland Tribune 1912
Oakland Tribune 1912
School Architecture: Principles and Practices
By John Joseph Donovan 1921

School Architecture: Principles and Practices
By John Joseph Donovan 1921
School Architecture: Principles and Practices
By John Joseph Donovan 1921

Emerson Now

The address is 4803 Lawton Avenue. In 1978, it was torn down because it was considered seismically unsafe.

Today – OUSD Photo
Emerson Today

The End