Posted in Buildings, Montclair, Schools, Then and Now

Then & Now – Oakland Schools – Part 20

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.  

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.  

Montera Junior High

Montera and Joaquin Miller Schools are located where Camp Dimond owned by the Boy Scouts once was. The camp opened in 1919 and closed in 1949 when the land purchased by the board of education.

Groundbreaking

The groundbreaking ceremony was held in December of 1957. The school was next to Joaquin Miller Elementary School.  Speakers at the event were Peter C. Jurs, member of the board, Mrs. Robert Hithcock, President of the Joaquin Miller PTA, Zoe Kenton, eighth-grade student, Jim Ida seventh grade student, and Supt Selmer Berg. Rev Robert H. Carley led the invocation.

Malcolm D. Reynolds and Loy Chamberlain designed the school. The new school featured: Administration Offices.

Construction

Jan 1958
1958
Parking Lot – November 1958
Gymnasium
June 1958
Russ Reed Photo

Naming the School

Montera Junior High – Nov 1959

The school was temporarily called Joaquin Miller Junior High that was because it is adjacent to Joaquin Miller Elementary School.  

As is the case of all new Oakland School, the students, faculty, and community help choose the name of the school. 

Recommendations to the school board from the school’s parent -facility club were as follows:

  1. Jack London Junior High
  2. Montera Junior High
  3. Pineview Junior High

They were set to vote on the name at the next board meeting. Before they could vote, they received a second letter from the parent-faculty club at the school withdrawing the recommendation of Jack London Junior High.

The parents said that

London was not a fit person for the honor.

Parent – Faculty
SF Chronicle – Oct 1959

 A student representative said, “Montera Junior High” was the top choice for those attending the school. The area was known historically as the Montera District.

Oakland Tribune Nov 23, 1924

School Dedication

The school was formally dedicated as Montera Junior High on November 10, 1959

November 10, 1959
November 10, 1959
November 10, 1959
November 10, 1959

Film Festival

Oakland Tribune 1971

Montera Today

Montera is located at 5555 Ascot Drive.  

Montera Toros
Montera-OUSD Photo
Montera – OUSD Photo

In 2011, Montera became a California Distinguished School. The woodshop is another source of school pride, having celebrated over 50 years of teaching children the arts of woodcraft. It is the only remaining woodshop in an Oakland middle school.

More Info:

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 History, Homes, Oakland

The Boyd Log Cabin

This log cabin located across the street from the entrance to Joaquin Miller Park at 3551 Joaquin Miller Road. It was built in 1922 by Thomas”Hal” Boyd.

3543 Joaquin Miller Road
3551 Joaquin Miller Road – Back of the cabin
3551 Joaquin Miller Road – Google maps

High above the city on Joaquin Miller Road, he designed and built a log cabin. He used timber that had been cleared close by.

Hal Boyd loved the outdoors so much, so he learned to paint so he could express his love. The log cabin was his studio, where he painted. In 1926 he had an exhibit of his artwork.

During the day, he was employed by the city as a forest ranger to watch over Sequoia Park (now Joaquin Miller Park).

When his parents Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Parker Boyd, lost their home in the Berkeley fire of 1923, he added on to his cabin, giving them a place to live. – Oakland Tribune Jan 06, 1926

Oakland Tribune Jan 06, 1926
For rent Oakland Tribune Jul 23, 1924
Oakland Tribune – 1927
Review from his Berkeley Exhibit

He worked as a special promotion and production manager for the Woodminster Summer Concert Series during the 1945 season.

Oakland Tribune Jan 12, 1945
Oakland Tribune Aug 08, 1950

I found this article from 1955. It says the cabin was destroyed in a fire. I don’t know if this true or case of the wrong address. 3543 Joaquin Miller Road is the house next door. The cabin is still there.

San Francisco Examiner April 17, 1955

Sometime in the 1950s, he moved to Carmel, CA – He lived there until he passed away in August of 1990.

  • In 2014 the cabin sold as a “fixer-upper” for $260,000. REDFIN.Com
  • Ask Art – Thomas Hal Boyd – Biography
  • An Architectural Guidebook to San Francisco and the Bay Area – page 277
Posted in Early Montclair, History, Montclair, Montclair Tracts

Smith Reserve

The Smith Reserve is a subdivision in Montclair and is now known as Piedmont Pines.  

The area is located at the top of  Park Blvd with borders on Shepherd Canyon and Joaquin Miller Park and up to Skyline Blvd.

Oakland Tribune 1928

“Selected years ago By F.M. “Borax” Smith as a private estate”.

Oakland Tribune May 22, 1926.

F.M. “Borax” Smith set this land and another piece of further down on Park Blvd aside for his own private estate.  The area at the top of Dimond Canyon and included two creeks where Smith could hunt and have picnics.

He chose to build his home “Arbor Villa” on land located at Park Blvd between E 22nd and E 28th. Arbor Villa – Oakland Local WIki

In 1919, 25 acres of the Smith Reserve was sold to the Oakland-Piedmont Council of the Boy Scouts of America, for camp for the scouts.  It was called Camp Dimond was in use from 1919-1948.

In 1948 the Oakland Public School district took over the land and built Joaquin Miller Elementary and Montera Junior High Schools.

Smith Reserve Goes on Sale May 1926

Smith reserve is the most beautiful tract of land opened by the Syndicate Company” 

Oakland Tribune May 23, 1926

In July of 1926, two months after the subdivision was open, the Realty Syndicate reported nearly $250,000 in sales.  It was also reported that a bus transportation system will be put into operation, connecting with both local and San Francisco electric lines. -Oakland Tribune, July 18, 1928.

Bus Service to Smith Reserve

Admiring Smith Reserve

In an October 1928 edition of the Oakland Tribune noted actress, Miss Grace Valentine acclaims. Miss Valentine was staring at the Fulton Theatre.

Smith Reserve the most beautiful home-park that she had ever seen in the Eastbay”. “If I were a permanent resident of the East Bay I would certainly wish to make my home in this beautiful park”

Miss. Valentine Oct 1928

 More clippings about Smith Reserve

Please see: Casa Altadena 

Please see: Casa Maria Luisa

The End

Updated Dec 16, 2019