Posted in Buildings, East Oakland, Public Housing, Schools, Urban Renewal

Clinton Park Urban Renewal Project

The nation’s first federally assisted rehabilitation project.

Oakland Tribune

Federal Housing Act of 1954

In 1955 a 125 block area bounded by E. 21st Street, 14th Avenue, E. 12th Street, and Lake Merritt was chosen as the “study area” for urban renewal.

Clinton Park urban renewal plan (project no. Calif. R-2), City of Oakland, California -November 1957-HathiTrust

In October of 1955, Oakland applied to the Federal Government to formally designate an 80 block area of East Oakland bordering Lake Merritt as its first urban renewal project.

First in the West

The area was Oakland’s first concentrated action against blight and substandard housing.  

Clinton Park was a conservation project, the first of this type in the Western United States. 

When the project began in July 1958, the area covered 282 acres contained approximately 1,358 structures and 4,750 dwelling units. Clinton Park Project is bounded by Lake Merritt, 14th Avenue, East 21st. and East 14th Streets

The field office for the project was located at 1626 6th Avenue. The field office, an example of urban renewal in action –was a 50-year old house that was located at 1535 10th Avenue.

Oakland Gets U.S. Grant

In December of 1955, the Federal Government earmarked $1 210,000 for Oakland’s Clinton Park Urban Renewal Program. This amount was two-thirds of the anticipated total cost.

New School – Recreation Center

“heart of the Clinton Park urban renewal area.”

The new Franklin School served as an educational and recreational facility and the nucleus of the project. The revised plans for the site called for the additional area and a recreation center to be added. The school replaced the old school building condemned as an earthquake hazard.

Oakland acquired property to double the playgrounds of Franklin School.

The new school opened in September of 1956.

Oakland Tribune September 1956
Franklin School Today – 2020 by Littledots

Due to many problems in acquiring property for the expanded facility, the Recreation Center and Playground area’s completion was delayed until the summer of l 961.

Oakland Tribune October 1960
1010 East 15th – today

Our City Oakland

In 1956 the Oakland Junior Chamber Committee of the Chamber of Commerce produced a movie on Oakland’s urban renewal program.
The movie, entitled ” Our City Oakland.”

Our City Oakland – American City 
Dedicated to Oakland Urban Renewal program for the elevation of human and property values of its neighborhoods .

The film (in color with sound)shows examples of Oakland’s slum dwellings, and census figures at the time showed Oakland more than 15,000 such structures (Wow!)

The film also tells of the work in Clinton Park.

Project Launched

In July of 1957, a wrecking crew started the demolition of eight houses near the new Franklin School. This would be the location of the new recreation center.

Oakland Tribune July 1957
Oakland Tribune June 30, 1957

Older Home Gets New Life

In 1956, the Greater Eastbay Associated Homebuilders purchased a 50-year-old home at 1535 10th Avenue.

Oakland Tribune April 1956
Oakland Tribune April 1956

Home and Garden Show

The house was moved from its lot to become an exhibit at the Home and Garden Show.

Oakland Tribune April 1956

It was completely remodeled as a part of Oakland’s Operation Home Improvement Campaign.

Oakland Tribune April 1956

 Following the show, the home was moved to and used as the Clinton Park Project field office.

The office was located at 1621 6th Avenue.

Oakland Tribune 1963

Looks like the house was moved sometime in the mid 1960s. A church is there now.

A Rehab Project

The homes at 624 and 630 Foothill Blvd

Many New Apartment Buildings

From 1956 to 1962, 57 new apartment buildings were constructed. By 1960 $4,000,000 had been spent on new apartment construction.

First Project

The ground was broken in May of 1956 for the first significant construction project for Clinton Park.  

Robert A. Vandenbosch designed the 32-unit apartment building at 1844 7th Avenue and East 19th Street.

 The three-story structure was built around an inner court that has balconies overlooking the court from every apartment.

Now called Casa Simone –

New Apartment Project

Looking from East 18th towards 12th Avenue Photo by Cheney Photo Advertising 1919

A new 12-unit apartment building replaced a “dilapidated” single-family dwelling at 12th Avenue and East 18th Street.

Oakland Tribune

The old structure was located at 1755 12th Avenue, was built in 1900. It had been converted illegally to an eight-unit apartment.

The structure costs $75.000 to build.

1133 East 18th Street

Garden Type Apartment

In 1958 a new $400,000 apartment was built at 1125 East 18th Street.

Oakland Tribune 1958

Two old homes and their outbuildings were razed to make room for the 40-unit two-story building with parking for the 24 cars on the ground floor.

1125 East 18th – Google Maps

An eight-unit apartment building at 645 Foothill Blvd was under construction at the same time.

Clinton Park Manor

Clinton Park Manor, a 144-unit complex, was built in 1958 at the cost of $1,400,000.  

  • 24 efficiency units
  • 50 one-bedroom units
  • 46 two-bedroom units
  • 24 three-bedroom units

Architect Cecil S. Moyer designed the four three-story structures with a landscaped courtyard in the middle.

It is now called Oakbrook Manor – 1229 East 19th Street

The complex is bounded by 12th and 13th Avenues and East 19th and East 20th Streets.

Google Maps

One of Oakland’s first schools, Brooklyn Grammar School, was built on the site in 1863. It was renamed Swett School in 1874, and in 1882 a new school Bella Vista was built there. Bella Vista School was razed in 1951.

The Valhalla Apartments

In March of 1960, a three-story 48-unit apartment building was built on the northeast corner of 12th Avenue and East 17th Street at the cost of $556,000.

Architect Cecil Moyer also designed this building. The new building contained (it might still have the same layout):

  • 3- bachelor apartments
  • 24- one-bedroom apartments
  • 11- two-bedroom apartments
  • 10- three-bedroom apartments

The courtyard had a swimming pool.

1720 12th Ave Google Maps

Six old homes, some dating back to the 1890s, were demolished to clear the site.

Today it is call Cambridge Terrace Apartments


A partial list of the new apartment buildings

  • 2225-7th Avenue – 1957
  • 1618-6th Avenue – 1957
  • 1640 -6th Avenue -1957
  • 602 Foothill – remodeled
  • 1925-35 10th Avenue – 1960

New Supermarket

In 1960 Safeway Stores Inc. built a new 20,000 square foot building and a parking lot on 14th Avenue.

The Architects were Wurster, Bernardi, and Emmons of San Francisco.

1711 14th Avenue – Today – Google Maps

Loops’ for Traffic

To meet the problem of through traffic on a residential street, which caused neighborhood deterioration. Forty-seven intersections were marked to be altered, either to divert automobiles to through streets by way of traffic “loops.” or slow them down with curb extensions.

The traffic-diverting “loops” will be landscaped areas extending diagonally across intersections.

The result of these intersections was that through traffic in the project area is limited to 5th, 8th Avenues, north and south, East 21st Street, Foothill Blvd, and East 15th Street, east-west.

The Diverters -Google Maps

Diverters were placed at East 19th Street and 6th and 11th Avenues and East 20th Street at 7th and 10th Avenues. Also at East 20th Street and 12th Avenue.

Discouragers were also placed at East 20th Street and 13th Avenue and East 19th Street and 13th Avenue.

New Mercury Lights and Traffic Signals

Excerpts of articles from the Oakland Tribune 1960

Other features of the program included:

  • New Recreation Center
  • Widening of several streets and the installation of curbs and sewers.
  • Planting of 1,600 trees about 20 per block.
  • Construction of pedestrian overpasses over Foothill Blvd and East 15th Street for safe access to Franklin School.
  • Installation of new street lighting, street signs, and traffic signs.

Beautiful Homes of Clinton Park

Project Report

By March of 1962, 1,081 structures, containing 3,056 dwelling units have been repaired to eliminate all code. Violation. There have been ll7 structures demolished during the same period.   

Final report of Oakland Renewal Foundation, Inc. on Clinton Park Project, Oakland, California. – @HathiTrust

During this same period, 57 new apartment buildings were constructed within the project area, adding l,l08 new units to the existing housing supply. 

More Info:

Oakland (Calif.). Housing Division. (, 1962). Clinton Park: a historical report on neighborhood rehabilitation in Oakland, California. Oakland, Calif.: The Dept.

Clinton – Oakland Local Wiki

The End

Posted in Black History, People

Lydia Flood Jackson (1862-1963)

When Lydia Flood Jackson died at the age of 101 in 1963, she was the oldest native of Oakland.


She was the daughter of a freed slave, the first Negro to attend an integrated Oakland public school in 1872, and went on to become a leader of the women’s suffrage movement in 1918.

Oakland Tribune Jul 10, 1963

Lydia was born on June 9, 1862, at her family home in Brooklyn Township, now a part of Oakland.

She died on July 8, 1963. Services were held at the First A.M.E. Church in Oakland, California, formerly known as the Shiloh African Methodist Episcopal Church, which her parents helped found in 1858.

Funeral Program – Flood Family Papers

Negro Trail Blazers

Her father was Isaac Flood, and her mother was Elizabeth Thorn (Thorne) Scott Flood.  They were among the outstanding Negro pioneers of California, according to the historical publication “Negro Trail Blazers of California.”

Her father was born a slave in South Carolina and was freed in 1838, he traveled to California during the Gold Rush, settling in Oakland.

In 1854 her mother founded California’s first Negro School in Sacramento and was the first teacher.  She also founded a private school for minority groups in Alameda County in 1858, when Indians, Negroes, and Chinese were not allowed in White public schools. The school was at their home at 1335 East 15th Street in Oakland.

Elizabeth Thorn Flood – African American Library

The Flood’s had son George who is believed to be the first African American child born in Alameda County. Elizabeth and Isaac Flood were not only one of the earliest African American families in the Oakland area, but they were also one of the most prominent and progressive.


In 1871 her father, a leader of the Colored Convention, successfully fought to have Negro children admitted to public schools.

The Oakland School Board passed the following resolution:

Oakland Tribune July 1963

In 1872 his daughter Lydia became the first student to attend the Swett School (later the Old Bella Vista School). Then she attended night school at Oakland High and later married John William Jackson in 1889.

Activist and Clubwoman

Lydia Flood Jackson – Flood Family Papers

Jackson was a member of the Native Daughter’s Club and the Fannie Jackson Coppin Club for forty-two years. Jackson was also a leader in the California Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs. While a member of the Federation, she on them to demand women’s suffrage. While addressing the organization’s 1918 state convention, she told her audience.

Today we are standing on the threshold of a great era looking into futurity to the mid-day sun of Democracy”

Lydia Flood Jackson 1918

Lydia Flood Jackson 1918

Entrepreneur and Inventor

She founded Flood Toilet Creams, a successful West Coast cosmetic business which manufactured toiletries, creams, and perfumes. (I wish I could find more information on this)

Carolyn Carrington pins corsage onto Lydia Flood Jackson as they stand before the altar of church Circa 1960s
Oakland Tribune June 1962

Lydia Flood Jackson was honored on her 100th birthday by the City of Oakland as their “oldest living native and daughter of the first Negro school teacher in California.”

Oakland Tribune June 1962

Lydia Flood Jackson lived at 2319 Myrtle later in life.

More Info:

The End

Posted in Buildings, East Oakland, Schools, Then and Now

Then & Now – Oakland Schools Part 2

Updated Feb 2, 2021

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. Some of the photos are in the form of drawings or postcards, or from the pages of history books.

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.

Campbell School

The school was built in 1869 as the Grove Street School. The name was changed in 1906 to Campbell School when it was named after Fred Campbell’s superintendent of Oakland schools from 1870-1870 and 1886-1890. He was the state superintendent of schools 1880-1883.

Campbell’s daughter Mary was the principal of the school from 1898-1926.

In 1907 a new school was built. The Mission Style school was designed by Architect F.E. Voorhees and cost $38,000. It had seven classrooms and offices for the principal.

Oakland Tribune Mar 1907

In 1954 due to the school not being earthquake-safe, it was closed, and the students were sent to Tompkins School. The school was sold and demolished in 1954. A commercial building was built on the site.

More Info:

The school was located at 416 Grove Street.

Cleveland School


The first drawing – Oakland Tribune July 09, 1912

In 1912 the first drawing for a new Peralta Heights school was submitted to the school board. John J. Donovan and Shafer & Wilde were the architects.    Donovan designed many schools for the district.

Peralta Heights is a small neighborhood in what is now known as Cleveland Heights.

Bids to build the school were submitted in 1912, based on the below photo. They held a formal opening of the school in Jan of 1914.


ClevelandOakland_Tribune_Sun__Mar_29__1914_ (4)
Oakland Tribune Jan 1914

Screen Shot 2020-02-05 at 10.03.40 PM


The old school building was still standing in 1973 and was finally replaced with a new building in 1977.


Oakland Tribune Mar 26, 1973

Cleveland Today


Cleveland School Today – Google Maps

More Info:

California Distinguished School for 2020

serves the very diverse and historically underserved city of Oakland, with a large percentage of students living in poverty and a large percentage of English learners

Press Release California Department of Education

Press Release – OUSD

Cleveland Elementary School is located at 745 Cleveland Street.

Cole Grammar School

Cole Grammar School was opened in 1885 in West Oakland on 10th Street between Union and Poplar Streets.


Oakland and Surroundings 1885
Oakland Local wiki

It was named for Rector E. Cole, an early Oakland dentist and member of the city council, and member and then president of the Oakland Board of Education.

Jack London attended Cole starting in 1887. He graduated 8th grade in 1891


Front doors of the Cole School building with several children standing on the sidewalk.
Circa 1908
Jack London Photographs and Negatives, Huntington Digital Library

Cole School was located at 1011 Union Street.

As of 2013, Cole School is the headquarters of the Chief of Police.


Cole School Today – Google Maps

Piedmont Avenue School

The Piedmont Avenue School, as seen below, was built in 1891.


Oakland Tribune February  13, 1892

Before that, there was a two-room schoolhouse up closer to the Mountain View Cemetery. Classes we held for a time at the home of G.W. Hume, who lived in a large estate where the school is located now.

The school at that time was used by both children from Piedmont and Oakland. The building was designed by William Kirk and cost about $10,000 to build. The school had a bell tower with a 350-pound bell. There was a large assembly room, a library, a hothouse for plants, classrooms on both floors, and a large lighted basement where the children could play during wet weather.


Oakland Tribune February  20, 1892

The school was dedicated on Washington’s Birthday in 1892.


Engraving of the Piedmont District School at Webster Avenue in Oakland, Alameda County, California, from the book “Illustrated album of Alameda County, California” by Jos, 1893. Alex Colquhoun. Courtesy Internet Archive. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

In July of 1938, while the students were on summer break, the school was destroyed by a fire that was considered arson. Ten firemen were injured four of them seriously.


Oakland Tribune July 25, 1938


Oakland Tribune July 25, 1938


Oakland Tribune July 25, 1938

The new school was dedicated in March of 1941 with funds provided by “The Living New Deal” Works Progress Administration (WPA).

This Art Deco school building is complete with auditorium, library, kindergarten classroom, kitchen, offices, and regular classrooms. There is still a WPA sidewalk marker in front of the school.

More Info:

Prescott School

Prescott School started in 1866 as a one-room primary school. It was located at Ninth and Campbell Streets, which was dirt roads surrounded by woods.


Oakland Tribune 1877

In 1869 a new two-story building with four classrooms on each floor opened the largest, and it was the most up to date school in Oakland.


Exterior Prescott Grammar School
Oakland History Room

Prescott school building was heavily damaged in the historic 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.


Prescott School with damage from the 1906 earthquake
UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library


Prescott School, 9th & Campbell 1906
Owning Institution: UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library

New School

Prescott Primary school was constructed in a record time of 187 workdays by Lawton & Vezey, a local contractor.


Oakland Tribune October 24, 1916

The new school was a two-story Spanish style steel-framed building with a basement and seventeen classrooms.

accepted by the school board, who considered it one of the best in the recent school buildings”

Oakland School Board – October 05, 1926



The exterior of Prescott School circa 1918
Towns (Royal E.) Papers
Oakland Public Library, African American Museum
Prescott School 9th & Campbell Streets – Cheney Photo Advertising Company c 1919

Ida Louise Jackson, Oakland’s first African-American teacher, taught there starting in 1925 — 13 years before any other school hired a black teacher.

Unsafe and Condemned


Oakland Tribune 1958

In 1954 Prescott Junior High (somewhere in time it was changed?) was condemned for being dangerous and a hazard to the students. At that time, there was no money in the budget to replaced it.

Prescott Today

Prescott is located at 920 Campbell St.


Prescott School Today – Google Maps

The school has been operating under the name PLACE @ Prescott (Preparatory Literary Academy of Cultural Excellence @ Prescott) since 2006, serving Kindergarten through 5th-grade children

More Info:

  • 150 Years of Prescott OUSD
  • Prescott website- OUSD
  • Place@Prescott website – OUSD

Swett Grammar School

Swett School was located at 12th Avenue and East 19th Street.


Views of Oakland 1893


Swett School – 1906 earthquake damage
Owning Institution: UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library

Woodrow Wilson Junior High

Woodrow Wilson Junior High started out as Mosswood Junior High in August of 1923. It was located at the corner of 48th and Webster Streets. In 1924 the school’s name was changed.

In 1926 they laid the cornerstone for a new school.


Oakland Tribune October 26, 1926


Oakland Tribune Oakland Tribune November 14, 1926


Woodrow Wilson Junior circa the 1970s

In the early 1970s, Woodrow Wilson Junior High School was demolished, and a new school was built.  Sometime in the mid-1970s, the school was renamed the Verdese Carter Middle School.


Demolition of Woodrow Wilson School in the 1970s
from Adrienne Broach


Demolition of Woodrow Wilson School in the 1970s
from Adrienne Broach

Woodrow Wilson Today


The School Today – Google Maps

In 2007 the Oakland Unified school district opened its first school that enrolls only immigrant students. Called the Oakland International High School, it is modeled after international high schools in New York City for newcomers to the United States. The school was still open in 2019.

More Info:

The school is located at 4521 Webster St.

  • Oakland International High School – OUSD
  • West Coast District Uses East Coast Model – August 2007

The End