Posted in Early Montclair, History, Home Building, People

Residents of Hays Canyon – Now Montclair

Hays Canyon or sometimes called Jack Hayes Canyon was the area in hills beyond Piedmont.  It was named for Col. John “Jack” Coffee Hays (1817-1883) who lived in the area from 1856-1883.   His estate Fernwood was located approx. where Moraga Avenue, (Hays Canyon Rd.)  Hwy 13 and Thornhill Drive (Thorn Road) meet. 

Hays (Hayes) Canyon was in the Piedmont District and both the Brooklyn and Oakland Townships

The main road to the or through the canyon was called the “Hays (Hayes) Canyon Road” which traveled the route of present day Moraga Avenue.  According to one article the beginning of Hays Canyon was at Bonita Avenue in Piedmont.

From Google Maps

Hays Canyon Road is now known as Moraga Avenue

Hays Canyon is now Montclair.

In 1891, the S.F. Call described Hays Canyonthe romantic valley just beyond the ridge that receives its name from the famous Colonel Jack Hays” and “the beautiful home of W. J. Dingee” and the “fine places of Mrs Kohler, Judge E.M Gibson and Mrs. Fields and others.

S F Call – Mar 22, 1891

Colonel John C. Hays – Fernwood

Residence of Col. John C. Hays, Oakland, Alameda County, California.”
(Published by Thompson & West, Oakland, Cal., 1878)
from Oakland History Room

Hays died at home April 22, 1883, at the age of 66.   After his death Fernwood was sold to William J. Dingee.

Wm J. Dingee – Fernwood

Dingee built an opulent 19-room Queen-Anne style mansion, and had additional landscaping done with gardens, terraces and waterfalls. He also added such features as a deer park and an elk paddock.

Athens of the Pacific” 1896

Sadly, the home and countless artworks were destroyed in a fire in 1899. Oakland Tribune Oct 19, 1899

After the Fernwood burned Mrs. Adeline Percy built a modern log cabin on the property. In the 1920s the property was sold and subdivided.

Oakland Tribune March 12, 1916
Yellow arrow Percy Log Cabin, green arrow pool, blue arrow tennis courts.
Oakland Tribune Aug 19, 1923

Judge E. M. Gibson – Cote Brilliant

Judge E.M. Gibson owned the property the just beyond Thornhill School. It was latter owned by E.M Boggs. The house burned down in 1910. Dr. Mark Emerson bought the land in the mid-1920s and built a lovely home and lived there until the late 1950s. St John’s Episcopal Church is now there.

Map showing the locations of the Gibson and Fields land
Oakland Tribune April 23, 1887
Oakland Tribune Jun 1888
Oakland Directory 1889
Oakland Tribune 1888
1891

J. B. Fields

Joseph B. Fields was born in England. Prior to moving to Hays Canyon he was an Oakland Police officer for 12 years.

He owned 25 acres of farming land next the the property of Judge Gibson. His land was in the general location of Aspinwall Road is today.

Oakland Tribune April 16, 1890
SF Chronicle Jan 25,,1891

Mrs. C.A. Kohler – Glen Kohler

Glen Kohler the home of Mrs.. Kohler was located about where Thornhill Drive, Pinehaven Road and Woodhaven Way meet.

Cordelia A. (“CA”) Kohler was the widow of Andrew Kohler (1819-1885) of Kohler & Chase Pianos,  who had a fine home Hays Canyon on Thorn Road (Thornhill Drive) she named it  Glen Kohler.

She died at her home in Hays Canyon on November 27, 1894.  Her funeral was largely attended by the old settlers of the county and was held at her home on November 30, 1894.  She is  buried at Mountain View Cemetery  alongside her husband Andrew and her daughter Louisa (1849-1854)  who died at the  young age of 5.

Oakland Tribune Oct 17 1885

Glen Kohler was designed by architects the Samuel and Joseph C. Newsom (Newsom Brothers) in 1885. The residence was 18 rooms, in what was know as the “free style”. At a cost of about $10,000.

Oakland Tribune Nov 14, 1885
Oakland Tribune Feb 12, 1886
S F Call Nov 29, 1894

I don’t know what happened to Glen Kohler after Mrs. Kohler died. It is possible it was used at a Sanatorium (more on that later).

More on Hays Canyon

The End

Posted in Early Montclair, History

A Murder in Hays Canyon

Hays Canyon or sometimes called “Jack Hayes Canyon” was the area in hills behind Piedmont. Now known as Thornhill Canyon, Thornhill Drive and Moraga Avenue. For more info please see here – Oakland Local Wiki – Hays Canyon

On June 6th, 1894 Manuel Souza Quadros was murdered on the old Thorn Road in the “Jack Hayes Canyon” (Hays Canyon) by an unknown man while returning home. “The assassin did his work well and left no trace behind him”. Quadros had a wife and three children. He had a very “good reputation as a sober and industrious fellow”. He was returning home after delivering milk to the Oakland Creamery.

In order to reach the Moss Ranch (not sure where this was will have to research more) he had to pass through the canyon pass Blair Park. When found he was lying on the seat of his wagon “in a lonely place” in the canyon. He was shot in the breast . He was killed instantly by a 44 caliber pistol.

Theodore Medau , a rancher gives the only clue to the murder. He says “a middle- aged man, who was very excited” stopped him and said that a man was dead down the road. The man said he had 15 miles to drive and he was in a hurry. Medau went down the road a few hundred yards and found the deceased. San Francisco Chronicle June 07, 1984

Was He Assassinated?

Suspected in Murder

Quadros Suspected Slayer – Before Grand Jury

Oakland Tribune July 19, 1894

Miller Indicted

San Francisco Examiner July 26, 1894

Miller Trial to Start

San Francisco Call Sep 03, 1894
San Francisco Call Sep 03, 1894

Miller does not seem to be frightened at the prospect of a noose.

San Francisco Call Nov 14, 1894

Acquitted of Murder

Frank Miller Will Not Have to Stand a Trial

The moment Miller walked out of the courtroom he said was going to “start to walk East at once”.

San Francisco Chronicle Nov 21, 1894

Discharged and Rearrested

San Francisco Chronicle Nov 21, 1894

Murdered Man’s Estate

San Francisco Chronicle Nov 24, 1894

Now the question is who murdered Manuel Quadros? I can’t find anything on it…yet.

Is this considered a “cold case” ?

Is it still on the books?

Does the modern day Oakland Police Department even know about this murder?

Was he murdered for his estate?

Inquiring minds want to know.

More to come I hope.

Update –

In January of 1886 a man by the name of John Schneider (the name he gave them) was arrested for a stage coach robbery in Ukiah. When he was arrested the SF Call published a picture of him. See Below

San Francisco Call – Jan 29 1896

Attorney Tom Garrity recognized the man as Frank Miller. Garrity was Miller’s attorney during Manuel Quadros murder case. Two other men also identified Schneider as Miller.

April 18, 1886
San Francisco Examiner Feb 01, 1896
Posted in Buildings, Early Montclair, History

Hays School in Montclair

ohrphoto.districts.034
Hays Schoolhouse
Students and teachers pose in front of the School
c 1886 Oakland History Room

In March of 1886, the Board of Supervisors created a new school district.  That took from portions of the Piedmont, Peralta, and Fruitvale districts and representing about 44 children. The new district was called the Hays district, in honor of the late Colonel John Coffee Hays.  The superintendent appointed the following residents of the area as trustees:

  • W.H. Mead
  • J H Medau
  • Susan Hays (widow of Colonel Hays)
Oakland_Tribune_Tue__Mar_16__1886_
Oakland Tribune Mar 1886

The land for the school was given to the district from Hetty S. Henshaw.   The Montclair Firehouse was built in the spot in 1927, using the front part of the lot. 

Oakland_Tribune_Fri__Jul_16__1886_
Oakland Tribune Jul 1886

New School Built

Requests for bids to build the school were made in July of 1886.

Oakland_Tribune_Wed__May_19__1886_

The completed school was small at only 32×36 feet,  with just one classroom.  It was Gothic in design with a graceful looking bell tower.  It had two entrances, one for the boys and the other for the girls each entrance having a 6×6 vestibule.  The sash bars of the windows are all horizontal, after the style of the school buildings in Europe.  The building cost about $2,500 and took about two months to build. The architects were

Oakland_Tribune_Wed__Jul_7__1886_
Oakland Tribune July 1886

The building was designed by Goodrich & Newton

Oakland Tribune 1887

Dedication

The dedication of the school was held in October 1886.  It was attended most of the families that lived in the area.  Opening remarks were made by Judge EM Gibson and W.H Mead.  Some of the families in attendance:

Entertainment provided by the students from the school under the direction of their teacher Miss Lucy Law.  The following students performed:

  • Clara Gibson
  • Gussie Gibson
  • Carrie Mead
  • Daisy Mead
  • Susie Mead
  • Mattie Mead
  • Edith Medau
  • Louise Medau
Oakland_Tribune_Sat__Oct_16__1886_
Oakland Tribune October 1886
Oakland Tribune Feb 11, 1888
Oakland Tribune Mar 16, 1888

Graduation 1901

Oakland Tribune June 1901

Attendance for the year ending 1911 for the Hays School was 11 students.

Oakland TRibune Aug 01, 1911

The school was closed in around 1913 and the building was demolished.  It was probably due to construction of the Oakland, Antioch and Eastern Railway later known as the Sacramento Northern.   For more on the Sacramento Northern please go here. The East Bay Hills Project

Montclair Firehouse

The Montclair firehouse was built in 1927 on the same site. The story book style building was designed by Eldred E. Edwards of the Oakland Public Works Department.

Storybook firehouse on Moraga Avenue in the
Montclair district of Oakland, California. 1934, ohrphoto.districts.031.
Oakland. Buildings Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

Misc Articles

The_San_Francisco_Call_Sat__Sep_12__1891_
Oakland Tribune 1891
Oakland_Tribune_Wed__Nov_20__1889_
Oakland Tribune Nov 1889

A little controversy. From 1891 and 1895

For More on Hays Canyon

The End