Requests for bids to build the school were made in July of 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.
The construction cost about $2,500 and took about two months to build.
The architects were Goodrich & Newton.
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:
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:
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.
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
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.
“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”
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.
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.
Brusseau purchase plot in Mountain View cemetery with bordered on his property.
He could see the grave from his porch.
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 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.
A Bit of History
Charles Kruse owned and lived on 10-acres of land in Hayes Canyon since 1888.s.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Brusseau lived there until his death in 1953
And now this…
This changes the whole story or it is just wrong?
Please Note: The dates and addresses vary from article to article. I tried my best to get it right. Oh well…
There was temporary station at the corner of Moraga and Hampton (now La Salle). Local builder Cos Williams a local builder donated the use of the land.
An average day
Report at 9 am – They would report for duty at the station and 13th and Hopkins (now MacArthur), and drive the hook and ladder up to Montclair. They did all their cooking on an outdoor camp stove
Off at 7 pm – At the end of they would pile onto the truck again and drive down the hill.
Lieutenant F.H. Waldron was the commanding officer.
L.W. Parks – driver
E.E. Terrell – driver
F.W. Cochran – hoseman
They fought two fires on their first day.
Engine Company No. 24
In June of 1926, $11,000 was appropriated for a new firehouse in Montclair. The city purchased the land from the school department in December of 1926 for $4,500. The final construction cost was $18,900.
Construction of the new firehouse got underway in early 1927. Fire Commissioner Colburn officially accepted the firehouse in August of 1927.
The land that the firehouse is on was once the Hays Canyon School.
Plans were drawn up by Eldred E. Edwards of the Oakland Public Works Department.
The style of architecture is primarily Old English. The construction method was unique among firehouses at that time, being pre-cast of cement, molded on the ground. All the plumbing fixtures and water pipes, conduits for electrical wires were cast in cement.
The roof consisted of 100 curved slabs of concrete set in grooved beams and held in place with slotted bolts.
Doubled copper strips run along the ridges and form decorative motifs at the gable peaks. These decorations simulate fire, which follows along the peaked roofline and leaps into flames and gable corners. The copper has been painted white.
Fire Captain Killed in the Line of Duty
Fire Captain Joseph F. Pimentel was killed, and three firemen were injured when their fire truck skidded out of control at the corner of Taurus and Broadway Terrace. Pimentel was pinned against a tree.
The fire truck was headed to a small blaze at the home of Otto R. Johnson at 6356 Crown Avenue.
January 22, 1942
The injured firemen were Patrick S. Doyle, John Baratini, and Ray O. Wells.
Oakland’s Best Decorated Firehouse
In 1951 Engine Company No. 24 was awarded the first prize of $500.00 for being Oakland’s best decorated firehouse. The Oakland Tribune also awarded the firehouse a perpetual trophy, which was installed in the house.
The firehouse was an old church scene, with a “Surrey with a Fringe on Top” arriving. Animated choir boys accompanied by an old pump organ, are shown singing Christmas carols.
In 1952 they erected an old-time country store… complete with pot-bellied stove and family photographs and animated figures. Inside a clerk is showing a blushin customer, a lady, a pair of “long john” underwear. Nearby is a blacksmith shop. There was a large holly wreath on front of the firehouse.
In 1953 the firehouse was decorated as a church with a choir loft and organ. A special merit award was given to the house by the SF Examiner.
Montclair Fires and Such
Teddy of Engine No. 24
Earthquake Hazard – 1960s
The Hayward Fault runs right down the middle of Moraga Avenue in front of the firehouse.
Because of that, the firehouse was determined to be an earthquake hazard and could not be repaired. The city hired Anderson, Simonds, Dusel and Campini to provide architectural services for a new firehouse.
The city was prepared to tear down the Montclair firehouse and build a new one for $165,000. After an outside firm determined it was indeed unsafe to that day’s standards.
City Delays Replacing Firehouse
In October of 1962, Oakland’s City Council held up the money to build a new firehouse and wondered if the money could be used to “repair” it instead.
The firehouse is called ” the country club of the city” and “if it is unsafe so’s my house.”
There was a dispute over the city manager’s report that the firehouse was damaged enough during a recent earthquake (??)to make it a hazard to its occupants. One architect said it could be repaired at little expanse with some structural steel.
“two independent consultants said the building is unsafe and should be replaced.“
Oakland City Manager 1962
I can only assume that Oakland had money problems b they were no longer going to build a new firehouse. Instead, the council approved $22,000 for structural reinforcements, waterproof, and more habitable.
In January 1964, a contract was awarded to M.W. Garing for $13,975 to repair the firehouse.
Loma Prieta – 1989
The firehouse was damaged in in the 1989 Loma Prieta quake. The house was decommissioned in 1991.
Oakland City Landmark #34
On March 18, 1980, the old fire station was designated as Oakland City Landmark #34
Address: 6226 Moraga Avenue, Oakland, California
Fire Station was decommissioned around 1993 due to concerns that a facility for first responders should not be located on an active earthquake fault,” a city report stated.
In 2018 City officials announce that they were seeking development or purchase proposals for two parcels on Moraga Road. One is a vacant property totaling 24,000 square feet and the other totals 16,000 square feet and contains the Montclair Fire Station, also known as Firehouse No. 24.
In 1924 brothers Paul and Herman Pause formed Montclair Realty Co. Before that, Paul worked for the Realty Syndicate.
The business district of Montclair looked like this when Montclair Realty was formed. Cos. Williams, a builder, was the only other business at that time.
In 1932 they moved into their new offices at6466 Moraga Avenue. The building was occupied by B. Brooks, another real estate agent. The building was still standing in 2019.
6466 Moraga Avenue – 2019
Montclair Highlands “All the World No View Like his”
In 1928 Montclair Realty was the developer and selling agents for a new tract behind the business district of Montclair. One of the first homes was the “Model View Home,” built-in 1928. Please see my page on this – The Highest Home in Oakland
In 1934 Montclair Realty celebrated its 10th anniversary. During this time, they specialized in the development of the Montclair area. Oakland Tribune 1934
In 1937 Paul Pause announced that Montclair Realty Company had a new home. The new two-story building was designed by Harvey Slocombe in an authentic Spanish style, complete with patio and tile roof. Howard Gilkey developed the garden.
Dramatically different the Pent House Model home brings to you “Ideas of 1938” in colorful interior finishes and modern furnishings. – Oakland Tribune 1937
The building was demolished in 1961 to make room for the expansion of the Standard Station next door.
Silver Anniversary – 1949
Paul Pause was a founding member of the Montclair Improvement Club. He was a member of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce residential committee and its highway and transportation committee. He was also a member of the Commonwealth Club.
Death and New Owners
Paul Pause died in 1950. He was an essential figure in the development of Montclair since the beginning.
Lucille Chasnoff purchased the company sometime after Pause died in 1950. John Mallett purchased the company from her.
New Office in 1954-56
In 1954 a new office building was built at 2084 Mountain Blvd. Montclair Realty offices were on the ground floor. It was the only office building that had its own off-street parking. The offices featured gold walls with charcoal woodwork with built-in desks and partitions. In 2019 a brand new building replaced the old and outdated Montclair Realty Office Building.
A while back, I was doing a simple search on buildings in Montclair. I came across this article (posted below) from 1962, with the attached photo. It was about the destruction of the building that was to be replaced with a new $125,000 building. The new building was called the Eberhart Building.
Of course, I needed to find out more about the building that was now just a pile of rubbish, as seen in the photo above.
The photo above shows the structure as it looks today. In researching the address, I find that the real estate firm Winder and Gahan first occupied the site in 1938.
According to the article from 1962 – In 1921, a group of real estate men stood with “high hopes” in front of a small Spanish style stucco building that looked entirely out of place in the open fields of the Montclair DIstrict.
There was just a building with a sign “tract office” on it, the open fields and a dusty, narrow road in in front of it.
This is probably how Montclair looked when that group of men stood in from of the building “with high hopes.” I just don’t think they were standing in front of the same building that was demolished in 1962, as noted in the article. Unless it is the one on the right and they moved it and changed the style of it?
The small building on the left of the above picture is the office of home builder Cos Williams. The street going uphill is La Salle Avenue. The address was 6501 Moraga Avenue.
New Real Estate Firm in Montclair
In 1933 A.H. WInder opened an office at the corner of Moraga Avenue and La Salle Avenue. The address was 6500 Moraga Avenue.
Winder was the exclusive sales agent for the Forest Park extension and Shepherd Canyon Park.
I bet you are wondering what this has to do with the building at 2070 Mountain Blvd. Trust me, it will all make sense soon.
In 1936 A.H. WInder and J. J. Gahan formed a new firm called “Winder & Gahan Corporation.”
New Location Announced
“With the expiration of their present lease at 6500 Moraga Avenue,” states A.H.Winder, “we will build a new office on the on the recently -acquired site, using a frontage of 72 feet on Mountain Boulevard”
Oakland Tribune Oct 1937
In 1937 the real estate firm of Winder and Gahan announced the recent purchase by the firm a piece of land (Block “H”) in the heart of the business district, near the intersection of Moraga Avenue and Mountain Boulevard.
The Heart of Montclair Business Center
Winder & Gahan moved into their new office at 2070 Mountain Boulevard in November of 1938.
It would eventually be the home of Eberhart Realty. I am not sure exactly when they moved to 2070 Mountain Boulevard.
The above picture shows “Block H” is an empty piece of land. In 1938 Winder & Gahan would build their new offices there. That small building would be there until 1962. It was destroyed by a bulldozer, as noted in the first article I posted above. That would make the building only 24 years old.
Maybe they moved the other building that is in the photo from 1921 and updated and enlarged and added stucco. What do you think?
I think the building on the right is the oldest in Montclair. It is in the photos from the 1920s. It was the first home of the Montclair Realty Company. More on that later