Posted in East Oakland, Montclair

1933 – Oakland Hills Fire

The fire started in the Redwood Road area and raced through to Sequoia Park (Joaquin Miller Park) and down Dimond Canyon and also spread some into Shepard Canyon. 

Oakland Tribune Nov 13, 1933

The fire, which began around 7 am on November 13, 1933, swept through the East Oakland Hills, burning a man to death, injuring two others, and destroying at least a dozen homes.  It was under control by 2 pm.

The municipal zoo in Sequoia Park (now Joaquin Miller Park) was surrounded by a ring of flames as the fire approached the animal cages. The zookeeper’s we preparing to shoot the animals, the fire stopped just 100 yards from the cages.

‘The Abbey’ is Spared

The flames spread through the homestead of the late Joaquin Miller and destroyed the home of Miller’s late mother, which was occupied his widow, who was 83.  Many of her treasures were lost, but she escaped. The historic Abbey was saved!

Oakland Tribune Nov 13, 1933

Shift in Wind

AT 9:20 am, the fire was fast approaching the Sequoia Riding Club at 2923 Mountain Blvd. The stable grooms led the frightened horses through the smoke to safety. A shift in wind saves the stables.

Oakland Tribune Nov 13, 1933
Oakland Tribune Nov 13, 1933
  • Mrs. Abbie L. Miller widow of Joaquin Miller with her niece
  • Carmela Ward and a couple of the 60 horses she rescued.
  • Juanita Miller helping fight the fire
Oakland Tribune Nov 13, 1933
  • Removing the body of Wm J. La Marr who burned to death
  • All the was left of one hillside home
  • Schoolboys who went class to fight the flames along Mountain Blvd

List of Homes

Oakland Tribune Nov 13, 1933

More on the Fire

The End

Posted in Early Montclair, East Oakland, Oakland, Streets, West Oakland

Naming Our City Streets

Growing up in Montclair (for me), Thornhill Drive was always just Thornhill Drive. But come to find out it was once called Thorn Road (sometimes Thorne Road). Thornhill is a more delightful sounding name than Thorn. But there is a perfectly good reason as to why it was called Thorn Road.

Thorn Road

From the 1878 Map of Oakland,

William J. Dingee 1878 Map of Oakland, Berkeley, and Alameda. David Rumsey Map Collection –

The name goes back to 1856 when a man named Hiram Thorn (Hiram Thorne) built the road at a hefty expense. Thorn’s road brought redwood logs to Oakland out of the vast forest known as the Moraga Redwoods, where he ran a lumber mill on Pinehurst Road. Thorn was later given a franchise to run and collect tolls for the road, it was one of 3 toll roads in Oakland. In 1933 Thorn Road officially became Thornhill Drive.

From the 1870 Oakland City Directory

Since I found out about Thornhill Drive, I have been inquisitive about the names of our city streets. If you are interested, you can read more at the Oakland Local Wiki page Street Names.

Oakland had lots of streets named after trees.

  • Acacia
  • Beech
  • Birch
  • Holly
  • Linden
  • Locust
  • Palmetto
  • Pine
  • Poplar
  • Plymouth
  • Redwood
  • Sequoyah
  • Spruce
  • Walnut
  • Willow

In the Laurel District, there are streets named for the states.

  • Maine
  • Vermont
  • Jersey
  • Montana
  • Texas
  • Ohio (now Dakota)
  • Delaware
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • California
  • Wisconsin

Maine, Vermont, and Jersey are no longer due to the construction of the MacArthur Freeway. I happen to live on Georgia Street.

In Sequoyah Hills, which located in the Oakland Hills above 580, off of Keller Avenue, directly below Skyline Blvd.

They are varieties of horse-drawn carriages. Better yet, the theme is a pun, considering the wheel-like arrangement of Shay, Phaeton, and Coach streets radiating from Hansom.

  • Hansom
  • Coach
  • CHariot
  • Phaeton
  • Shay
  • Surrey

View Post

In Montclair, there is a group of streets possibly named for early explorers.

  • Balboa
  • Cabrillo
  • Cabot
  • Drake
  • Gasper
  • Magellan
  • Mendoza

Another group of streets seems to be named after WWI Generals.

  • Liggett
  • Pershing
  • Sims
  • Wood

The Signs of the Zodiac

  • Aquarius
  • Capricorn
  • Leo
  • Taurus
  • Uranus

English Names

  • Ascot
  • Chelton
  • Scarborough
  • Keswick
  • Chatsworth
  • Camelford
  • Chelsea
  • Holyrood
  • Carisbrook
  • Darnby
  • Exeter
  • Girvin
  • Haverhill
  • Beaconsfield
  • Bagshotte
  • Westover
  • Rydal
  • Stockbridge
  • Melville
  • Morley

The following is a group of articles by Albert E. Norman from the Oakland Tribune in 1960-1960.

Oakland Tribune Jan 1960

Oakland Tribune Jun 12, 1960

Oakland Tribune Jun 19, 1960

Oakland Tribune Jun 26, 1960

Oakland Tribune Jul 03, 1960

Oakland Tribune Jul 10, 1960

Oakland Tribune July 17,1960

Oakland Tribune Jul 24, 1960

Oakland Tribune Jul 31, 1960

Oakland Tribune Aug 07, 1960

Oakland Tribune Aug 14, 1960

Oakland Tribune Aug 28, 1960

Oakland Tribune Sept 04, 1960

Oakland Tribune Sept 11, 1960

Oakland Tribune Sept 18, 1960

Oakland Tribune Sept 24, 1960

Oakland Tribune Oct 02, 1960

Oakland Tribune Oct 09, 1960

Oakland Tribune Oct 16, 1960

Oakland Tribune Oct 23, 1960

Oakland Tribune Nov 06, 1960

Oakland Tribune Dec 11, 1960

Oakland Tribune Dec 18, 1960

Oakland Tribune Dec 25, 1960

Oakland Tribune Jan 15, 1961

Oakland Tribune Feb 1961

If you have wondered about the name of your street, leave a message below, and I will check it out.

Links:

Oakland related links:

Misc Street Links:

Coming soon Gold Star Streets

The End