In 1980 the Mckinley family of Oakland was one of seven Oakland families that were approved for a construction loan of $45,000 to participate in the Owner-Built Housing Program of Oakland Neighborhood Housing Services (ONHS).
The homes are located on 73rd Avenue between International Blvd and Holly Street.
The families were trained in construction techniques and were supervised by professional construction personnel. They took classes at the Owner Builder Center in Berkeley. The highly technical and most finish work was subcontracted out.
Each family was obligated to provide 40 hours of labor week on the construction of their home.
The couples had to have incomes of between $21,000 and $31,000. They had to be Oakland residents for a year and be first-time homeowners.
Architects at the University of California, Berkeley, contributed to the beginning design stages of the project and made the model used in the presentation to the City of Oakland.
The three-bedroom, two-bath homes were designed by Architect Richard McCarty of Morro Bay.
The project took about a year to develop, arrange for the money, and purchase the lots.
The City of Oakland purchased the lots for $3000 each.
The first seven homes took about ten months to build. In all I believe there were 14 homes built.
Ostrich farming was promoted as a sound investment over a century ago. The farms, well documented on postcards, and were tourist attractions.
Ostriches were brought to the United States in the early 1880s from Africa. In the wild, they lived in warm, dry climates. Southern California seemed to have conditions similar to their natural African environment. By the late 1890s, there were eight locations in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Deigo counties.
The popularity of feathers in women’s fashion made raising the birds an attractive investment.
Farm in Oakland
In the fall of 1907, San Francisco newspapers ran an ad campaign for stock investment in an ostrich farm in Oakland.
In July of 1908, W.H.” Harvey” Bentley of the Bentley Ostrich Farm in San Diego County announced the opening of a branch in the Elmhurst District (sometimes Fruitvale) of Oakland at East 14th and High Street.
It opened on August 30th of 1908. It featured birds named Mr. and Mrs “George Dewey” (Admiral at the battle of Manila Bay) and the other Spanish American War hero from the Cuba campaign, “Fighting Bob” Evans commander of the Great White Fleet.
Forty-six birds compromised the original herd.
In 1910 it was announced that the addition of a factory to their local salesroom and yards. Which meant the hats were made in Oakland and not San Diego. For the years 1907 to 1911, ostrich plumage on women’s hats was at its peak and all the rage.
In January of 1912, the owner of the Bently Ostrich Farm, was killed in an auto accident near the San Diego farm.
His son sold the farm to a group of Oakland investors.
The name was changed to Golden State Ostrich Farm in 1913.
The farm had spacious ground floor offices and salesroom. In the sales there was a magnificent display of plumes in all sizes, prices and colors.
With the coming of World War I, as American and European women entered the workforce, utilitarian clothing replaced the flamboyant fashions of the early 1900s. Broader hats were pinned up with a broach or artificial flower.
Plucking is Painless”
Oakland Tribune May 01, 1952
The bird is shoved into a corner by several men. A hood is placed over the birds head. The plume is cut leaving about an inch of quill in the flesh. The quill would soon fall out.
Golden State Ostrich Farm in Oakland filed for bankruptcy in early 1915.
“Whole Ostrich for the Price of a Feather”
The press announcement said it was now cheaper to buy the entire ostrich than the amount once paid for the feathers to adorn a hat.
The ostrich farms in northern California had all but failed by 1915. The “industry” had a brief heyday, and in the end, defeat by war and a significant fashion change in hats.
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.
Elmhurst Middle School
In a June 1893 real estate ad for the Warner Tract in Elmhurst announced that
building will commence soon on a new $15,000 schoolhouse upon the Warner Tract.
Oakland Evening Tribune Jun 26 1893
Elmhurst Grammar School was formally dedicated in July of 1894. The school contained four large classrooms.
New Addition for Elmhurst
The people of Elmhurst are requesting more room at Elmhurst, Below is the proposed addition in 1903
In August of 1904, work had begun on the additions to Elmhurst School.
Elmhurst School is now Elmhurst Junior High
With the opening of the Elmhurst Annex School ( E. Morris Cox), there was a need for a junior high school. A new school was built at the site if the Old Elmhurst School at 98th and Cherry and Birch Street. The new school opened in July 1927
The new school was designed by John J. Donovan. The structure is in classical design and has 21 classrooms and shops in connection with manual training classes. Other features are an auditorium with a balcony and motion picture projection room
Modern Shops were added to Elmhurst.
In June of 1955, a $35,00 destroyed one woodshop while damaging another.
In May 1967, Elmhurst Junior High suffered $25,000 in a suspected arson fire. It was 7th school fire that year.
Elmhurst is located at 1800 98th Avenue
Elmhurst Community Prep (ECP) is a triumphant middle school located in East Oakland. ECP prepares 6th – 8th-grade students for high school, college, and career by using a host of online and digital tools
McChesney started out an elementary school and was built in 1913, at the intersection of 13th Avenue and East 38th Street. The school was named in honor of educator Joseph B. McChesney (1832-1912),Oakland High School‘s first Principal, who died the year before this school was finished.
In 1901 property was purchased for $1500 by the Melrose School District, then part of the unincorporated Brooklyn Township.
Bids opened in June of 1901. The entire amount to be used for construction and the purchase of the property was $15,000.
Melrose School was dedicated in November of 1901.
In 1905 Union High School No.4 was established at Melrose, and classes were held on the 2nd floor of the school while plans were being drawn up for the new Fremont High School.
In 1959 plans were drawn up to replace the 58-year-old Melrose School. The new building would hold 300 students plus faculty with 7 classrooms, one kindergarten, administration offices, a library, and a multipurpose room with a kitchen.
E.D Cerruti designed the school.
Dedication of the new Melrose Elementary was in December of 1960. The new school was built fronting 53rd Avenue, and the old school was fronting 52nd Avenue.
Melrose Elementary School is located at 1325 53rd Avenue
It now Bridges Academy at Melrose
Building bridges from East Oakland to college and careers by breaking barriers to create a more just, equitable, and culturally responsive community.
Melrose Heights grammar school was built in 1909. The building was designed by F.W. Burki, who chose the Renaissance style of architecture. The 3 story building with 12 rooms, including 8 classrooms and a basement. Cost $30,000
Santa Fe School
Santa Fe School was formally dedicated in July of 1914. The school was designed by John J. Donovan.
New School Built
The new Santa Fe Elementary School was dedicated in February of 1960.
Santa Fe has been the temporary school for the students of Glenview Elementary while a new school is being rebuilt for them. The new school has 18 classrooms, 2 kindergartens, a multipurpose room, a library, and offices. It cost $809,879
Again while researching something else, I came across this, and I had to share it. I was looking into the Haines Ranch and found this article about Mountain George.
Old Mountain George Died Where He Wanted to Die
On the 15th day of July 1887, Jonathan Murphy was riding over the ridge close to (or on) the Haines Ranch (now the Oakland Zoo) or Mills Seminary (now Mills College) when he decided to check on ‘Old George” at his cabin. He found George dead in his bed. His old gun and hound dog lay by his side. There was a letter addressed to his sister, in papers scattered on a table.
Everybody in East Oakland knew the tall, gaunt man with long grey bread as “Mountain George.” But few knew him as George Clinton Tisdale, a former resident of New York. He was about 63 years old and had lived in the hills for years, killing whatever game he could find.
He used to occupy a cabin on the E.A. Haines ranch but recently had lived in a hut on Colonel Simpson’s farm, about four miles back of Mills Seminary on the old Redwood Road.
The M.T. Minney advertised in 1916 – The tracts are “Surrounded by beautiful homes, rolling hills, golf links, and wealthy estates and with the building of such plants as the Chevrolet Automobile Factory, the Pacific Tread Tire Factory, and others. The future value is not a matter of speculation, but an assured fact.”
In about 1947 George A. Sturtevant built the Hollywood Shopping Center on Hollywood Blvd at 107th Ave (10715 MacArthur Blvd) across from the Peterbilt Factory
Well, I didn’t have too much luck finding homes that were advertised in papers. I will keep looking and update when I do.