Posted in Buildings, Early Montclair, History, Schools

Hays School District

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. 

Hays Canyon Schoolhouse
Students pose with their teacher. In this photo and of the 6 children sitting down. Walter Wood 2nd from the left, his brother Alfred Wood is 4th from the left Harry W. Logan is seated on far right and his brother Maurice Logan (the painter) is standing far right. The Logan’s and the Wood’s lived at Lake Temescal.
c 1900-1910 Oakland History Room

The new district was called the Hays School 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
  • Mrs. Susan Hays

Land Donated

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.

Hays school -
Oakland Tribune Jul 16, 1886

New School House Built

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

Oakland Tribune July 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, with each entry having a 6×6 vestibule.  The sash bars of the windows are all horizontal, copying the style of schools in Europe. 

Hays School House -
Oakland Tribune Jul 07, 1886

The construction cost about $2,500 and took about two months to build.

Oakland Tribune Jul 1886

The architects were Goodrich & Newton.

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 Feb 11, 1888
Oakland Tribune Nov 23, 1889

Graduation 1901

Hays School was the scene of brightness and beauty on Friday June 14, 1901. Friends and family gathered to witness the closing exercises. The four graduates were:

  • Jessie Logan
  • Robert Shepherd
  • August Carson
  • Scott Monroe
Oakland Tribune June 1901

School Trustees

In 1904 appointed Mr. S. Morrell and Mr. Johnson to fill the vacancies caused by the removal of George Hunt and G.W. Logan.

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

Oakland Tribune Aug 01, 1911

School Closes

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

Montclair Firehouse

In 1927, the Montclair firehouse was built on the same site. The storybook 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

Oakland Tribune 1881
Hays school -
Oakland Tribune May 14, 1890
Oakland Tribune 1889

Controversy

The End

Posted in Early Montclair, Estates, Homes

A Hermit’s Companion

Updated July 25, 2020

Oakland Tribune

“One month before his death, Charles Kruse was leaving for the county hospital, which he never expected to return.” Kruse gave G.W. Brusseau a package with a few in intimate belongings, the key to his house, and the note.

Oakland, March 15 (?)

“This is my gift of Deed all is in my possession to Mr. G.W. Brusseau after my daet”

“Chas. Kruse”

Only Man He Trusted

Kruse only had one friend whom he trusted, according to Brusseau’s attorney. Kruse helped care for the hermit for 13 years, he never had the money to pay Brusseau for his labor but intended to see that he ultimately receive the his property.

Brusseau saved the 10-acre plot from being sold for taxes and the paid off the mortgage. It was claimed.

In March of 1923, Kruse applied for admission to the county infirmary on the grounds he was penniless. He had cancer.

Oakland Tribune 1923


Following Kruse’s death at the county hospital, preparations were being made to bury him in the potter’s field. Brusseau stepped in and said he would pay for his funeral.

Mountain View Cemetery – plot 48 Photo by REHM – Find A Grave

Brusseau purchase plot in Mountain View cemetery with bordered on his property.

He could see the grave from his porch.

Oakland Tribune 1923

Fight for Estate

The case was brought to the attention of Judge George Samuels when Brusseau filed a petition for probate of the paper as the last will Kruse.

 Because of the omission of the completed date, Judge Samuels refused probate and granted administration letters to Albert E. Hill, a Public Administrator.

Thrown Out As A Will Upheld As Deed

In June 1923, a petition was submitted to the Almeda superior to record the scrap of paper as a gift deed. In this claim, Judge James G. Quinn decided that Kruse never intended the piece of paper as a will but intended to constitute an immediate conveyance of land as a deed.

In the meantime, Brusseau had lost a third suit filed against the estate for reimbursement for his unpaid labor.

The Recorder 1927

The public administrator appealed to the California Supreme court for a decision on the title to the property.

Dying Hermit’s Note Valid

In May of 1927 the Supreme court affirmed the decision of Judge JG Quinn that the note given to Brusseau from Kruse constituted a deed to the 10-acres of land.

Oakland Tribune 1926

A Bit of History

Hays Canyon

David Rumsey Historical Map Collection -William J. Dingee’s Map of Oakland and vicinity. Compiled from Official Surveys and Records 1899 https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~275209~90048562

Charles Kruse owned and lived on 10-acres of land in Hayes Canyon since 1888.s.

Oakland Tribune 1888

 The property bordered on William J. Dingee’s land, and in 1888 Dingee sued Kruse for $93 to cover the cost of a fence.  

Kruse, for many years, peddled flowers to florists’ shops in the Eastbay.

After his death, it was discovered that he was the owner of one of the largest nurseries in Alameda county. Hidden behind a high fence and tall cypress hedges were the nursery and the tiny shack he lived.

Oakland Tribune Apr 10, 1923

The 10-acres was valued at more than $10,000 in 1923.

In about 1898, George Washington Brusseau purchases a 2-acre lot at 3200 Edith Street (now 4901 Harbord Drive).

Oakland Tribune 1895
Oakland Tribune 1895
Oakland Tribune 1896
1910 Directory

In 1926 Brusseau lived in a cottage known as the “Bat House” because of the number of animal skins tanned and nailed to the outside walls.

Oakland Tribune 1926

He farmed the land with the help of Jimmy, his faithful plow horse. He also had many dogs.

He intended to restore the rose gardens, which brought fame to his friend Charles Kruse and Oakland.

Oakland Tribune 1940

Brusseau lived there until his death in 1953

Oakland Tribune Apr 1953
1953 Directory

And now this…

Oakland Tribune Apr 15, 1948

This changes the whole story or it is just wrong?

Oakland Tribune Apr 15, 1948

Please Note: The dates and addresses vary from article to article. I tried my best to get it right. Oh well…

More Info:

The End

Posted in Early Montclair, History, Homes, 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. The call described Hays Canyon as “the 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 on 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 just beyond Thornhill School. It was latterly 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. Before moving to Hays Canyon, he was an Oakland Police officer for 12 years.

He owned 25 acres of farming land next to the property of Judge Gibson. His estate 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 beautiful 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 attended mainly 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 “freestyle.” At the 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.

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.

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 an 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 he 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

Cold Case

Now the question is who killed 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 stagecoach 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 the Manuel Quadros’s murder case. Two other men also identified Schneider as Miller.

 
April 18, 1886
 
San Francisco Examiner Feb 01, 1896

The End