It is located where Foothill Blvd meets Trask Street and 55th Avenue. 55th Avenue was formally called Central Avenue and Foothill Blvd was often referred to the Scenic Boulevard. Central Terrace also includes Ruth Avenue, Laverne Avenue, El Camille Avenue and Kingsland Avenue. The area now is considered to be an extension of Maxwell Park or the Fairfax District, depending on who you talk to.
Brochure for Central Terrace
The Mutual Realty Company put the Central Terrace Subdivision on sale in April of 1912. The agent was Fred T. Wood, who later took over the project. Later they added the Central Terrace Extension and Scenic Park Knoll
“Central Terrace is surrounded by modern schools and educational institutions of the very highest standard, the John C. Fremont high erected at the cost of $140,000, the Melrose School, the W.P. Frick School and the Lockwood Grammar School and the famous Mills Seminary for young ladies, all are within short walking distance from any part of Central Terrace”
Natural beauty abounds in the 150 acres of wooded, rolling hills that comprise the Oakmore District or Oakmore Highlands. The Walter H. LeimertCompany laid out the subdivision with wide paved streets and ample sidewalks. See Oakmore Highland History
The Leimert Bridge during construction and in 1926, Photo by Cheney Photo Advertising
The original subdivision was bordered by Sausal Creek and Dimond Canyon. During the initial sales period, good design was promoted through a model open house program called the ‘Oakmore Home Ideal’ where buyers could visit a custom home designed by local architects Miller & Warnecke.
Later, in 1934, The Leimert Company teamed with the Oakland Tribune and Breuner’s FurnitureCompany to furnish a demonstration model home that drew 8,000 visitors in a three week period.
The following year another Breuner’s furnished house was nicknamed “Golden Windows” to highlight the expansive use of glass on the view side of the home and the commanding views from the subdivision.
The homesites front on along Harbord Drive for about a half mile or more. The lots were priced at $27.00 per foot. A forty foot lot would cost $1075.00, with a low down payment and easy terms. Sold by the Claremont Pines Corporation and later Michell & Austin.
Oakland Tribune June 1932
Holy Names Centra High School was built on Harbord Drive and opened in 1934.
In December of 1933, the first display home opened at 4339 Harbord Drive. The home had eight rooms with two baths and a 14 x 32-foot rumpus room and “pleasing features galore”. The home was priced at $6850 and was recently sold in 2016 for $1,360,000.
In September of 1934, another display home was opened at 4347 Harbord Drive. The green and white wood and brick cottage and two bedrooms and a den or nursery and a large playroom. The house was priced at $6500, with just $75 down payment and $75 a month. The house recently sold for $825,000 in 2012.
Misc. ads for homes
The stone pillar is still there at the corner of Broadway Terrace and Ostrander Street
This is not about race. It about when Oakland city planners decided to market Oakland as “The White City”. As a suggestion to future designers and builders. It was not intended to be used in public, just circulated among builders and planners of the city. I get the thinking behind the slogan and can almost picture Oakland with the sun shining on the buildings. The was not the first time the slogan of a White City was used. The Great White City
This was in 1914.
‘White City, Oakland Plan
Years ago in about 1914, a noted architect(of the time) while looking back at Oakland from a ferryboat “he spoke of it as “The White City”. What he saw was the new shiny white buildings of Oakland, turn golden in the sunlight. Oakland on a “sunny day, the blue sky, and white buildings, turned golden in the sun, remind one of the mystical cities of Maxfield Parish” Oakland Tribune Oct 1916
Style as Artistic Feature
In 1914 a plan to further the beautification of Oakland and designed to make Oakland more striking from the bay. Members of the Oakland Commercial Club, A.S. Lavenson, vice-president of the club, and city planning enthusiast and H. A. Lafler of the same organization. Oakland Commercial Club, Oakland, 1913;
Their idea was to suggest that builders in the future especially in the taller buildings use white material. Oakland, as a “white city” situated before the hills in an elevated position could be remarkable sight. A great mass of white buildings, with tall spires or tower, like many of that time “give semblance of, will it is declared, Oakland truly wonderful” Oakland Tribune Sept 1914.
Already the from the bay the new City hall City Hall, the new federal building, and the Central Bank building Central Bank Building and other tall buildings in white, present a remarkable site all standing out from brown hills and their surroundings “like great monuments to progress” Oakland Tribune Sept 1914
The 1920s were economic boom years in the United States as a whole, and in California in particular. Economic growth was fueled by the general post–World War I recovery, as well as oil discoveries in Los Angeles and, most notably, the widespread introduction of the automobile.
Oakland expanded during the 1920s, flexing enough to meet the influx of factory workers. Approximately 13,000 homes were built between 1921 and 1924, more than between 1907 and 1920.
Many of the large downtown office buildings, apartment buildings, and single-family houses still standing in Oakland were built during the 1920s; and they reflect the architectural styles of the time.
1920 was when the first subdivisions or tracts went on sale in the rollings hills in the back of Piedmont. After running a contest (more on that later) in Oakland Tribune in 1919, Montclair was the name given to the new area.
During the first year that Montclair was for sale some $460,000 worth of beautiful property was sold in Montclair.
Her First Birthday
Oakland Tribune October 1921
Where is Montclair?
Today when you speak of Montclair it is a much larger area. The Montclair of today includes the neighborhoods (or tracts) of Pinehaven,Merriewood, Fernwood, Glenwood Glade, Forest Park, Montclair Highlands and also might include Piedmont Pines.
During those first years of the 1920’s a lot of money and effort went to selling property in Oakland. From free house or lot giveaways to proving car service to the sites from downtown (just 15 minutes away). The Realty Syndicate even provided a bus( see The First Bus lines in Oakland ) service to some of their sites.
I thought I would show you some of the clever ads that were in the Oakland Tribune and the San Fransico Chronicle those first years. In the months leading up to the day Montclair went on sale, they ran small teaser type ads all through the paper. The one above is from June 1920.