Posted in Buildings, Montclair, Then and Now

Hamburger Joints in Montclair

Most who grew up in the Montclair District of Oakland have fond memories of Mort’s Drive-in on the corner of Moraga and Medau. My memories of Mort’s are from when it was on Thornhill Drive next to the 7-11. The smell of french fries (the best!)wafting through the air and into our classrooms would make our mouths water. I can still remember how good they smelled and tasted. Yum!

Long before Mort’s opened at the corner of Moraga Avenue and Medau Place, the land was part of the Medau Dairy. (read about the Medau’s here).

FYI – I don’t know why McKeen’s was sold. I am thinking the owner’s political life was taking up a lot of his time. But that is just my opinion.

The Corner of Moraga and Medau – 6420 Moraga

Here is how the corner looked like in 1954. 

Moraga and Medau in 1954
Public Works Photos, Oakland Cultural Heritage Survey

McKeen’s Charcoal Broiler

McKeen’s in 1958
Montclarion

On a shakedown run, they sold three hundred “Big Mac’s” in four hours.

“Big Mac” & “Little Mac”

Montclarion July 1958

In 1958 Robert “Bob” Mckeen, a local realtor, opened a delightful contemporary style barbecue restaurant. The ex-Cal basketball star planned on eventually having a chain of them, and Montclair was the first one. It offered both take home and on the site dining.

Bob McKeen 1958

“Montclair claims Big Bob and his natty new spot.”

Oakland Tribune July 1958

Mort’s Drive-In

Montclarion March 1961

Morton “Mort” and Gertrude Saunders bought McKeen’s in 1961 and reopened it as Mort’s Drive-In.

Montclarion March 1961
Montclarion March 1961

Arson Suspected!

In April of 1966, fire swept through Mort’s Drive-In, causing several thousand dollars in damage.

The building was broken into through a rear window. Police believe the intruders were disappointed in not finding any cash on the premises. Papers and rubbish were piled in the middle of the room and set on fire.

Mort Sauders, the owner, offered a reward of $100 for information.

Montclarion April 13, 1966
Montclarion April 13, 1966
Montclarion April 13, 1966

Going, going gone!

Crown Liquors and Cleaners

In 1967 a new building replaced the Drive-In.. Crown has been there ever since.

Oakland Tribune 1967
Oakland Tribune 1968

More Info:

A special thanks to Chris Treadway for the clippings from the Montclarion.

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