Posted in Buildings, Schools, Then and Now, Uncategorized

Then & Now – Oakland Schools Part 12

In this series of posts, I hope to show Then and Now images Oakland Schoolsand 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.

Updated March 2, 2020 – see Highland School

Edison Elementary School

In 1927 the Old Grant school at 29th and Broadway was closed, and two new schools were built to replace it, one on each side of Broadway.

Grant School No. 1 was at Kempton Ave and Fairmount Avenue and, Grant School No. 2 was at Summit and 29th Street.

Oakland Tribune Dec 11, 1927

Edison School 3239 Kempton Ave circa 1940

Edison Now

The school was closed in 1975 because it was not up to earthquake standards. The school was later sold to developers, and the classrooms were converted into expensive condos.

The playground turned into a city park called  Oak Park.

Edison Today –CC SA-BY Our Oakland

More Info:

The school was located at 3239 Kempton Avenue, Oakland

Highland School

Highland School – circa 1910-12
Photo by Cheney Photo Advertising

Oakland Tribune Dec 28, 1907

Highland School was established as part of the Highland School District in 1908 and was annexed into the Oakland School district in 1909.

New School

The school was dedicated on November 14, 1908. There were 250 pupils had enrolled in the new Highland Grammar School. The Mission-style building was built at the cost of $23,000. There were 8 classrooms with the possibility of adding more.

Oakland Tribune 1908

1923 a one-story 8 classroom addition was built, and in 1924, they added an auditorium for $44,200.

New School

In 1957 the old school building was demolished. Plans were approved for a new school to house 644 pupils. The new school was designed by Andrew P. Anderson and Irwin M. Johnson.

Oakland Tribune Jan 29, 1958

In 1958 a new school was built to replace the one from 1908. The new building has 9 classrooms, a special classroom, administrative offices, a library, and a multi-purpose room. The total cost was $411,999. The 1923 addition was retained.

 8521 A Street, Oakland, CA
Highland School Today – google maps

More Info:

The school is located at 8521 – A Street Oakland, CA

Today the school is called the New Highland Academy. The vision for New Highland is that our students become creative thinkers, effective communicators, and compassionate members of their community.

Grant School

Oakland Tribune Jul 28, 1885

Grant School was built in 1885 and was located on Broadway at the corner of 29th Street, then called Prospect Avenue. The Grocery Outlet is now where the school was originally.

Grant School in 1891
Gift of Miss Marietta Edwards

Oakland Tribune 1892

New School

Oakland Tribune 1905

A new school was approved in 1904. The plans were drawn up by San Francisco Architects Stone & Smith.

Another New School

The last day of school in the “old Grant School” building was January 9th, 1928. The 500 grammar school children would march in a parade to the new school buildings that were built. The two new buildings were constructed to replace Grant School. At that time they were called

  • Grant School No. 1 – Edison Elementary School (see above)
  • Grant School No. 2 – Grant School at 29th and Summit

Oakland Tribune May 30, 1928

The Front entrance in 1928

Building Abandoned

The old school building was abandoned and demolished. The land was sold for $350,000, and the money was used to pay for the new schools and property.

Oakland Tribune Jan 1928

Continuation School

In 1966 Grant became a continuation school.

Grant School Today

It is now the site of the Oakland Emiliano Zapata Street Academy.

The vision of Oakland Emiliano Zapata Street Academy (OEZSA/Street Academy) is to provide students a small, safe, high school with a social justice-focused college-preparatory education.

More Info:

Toler Heights School

In December of 1925, Toler Heights School was just one portable classroom, where 40 students attended school. There were six grades in one room under the guidance of two teachers.

New School

In 1927 a new school was built. The school had four classrooms and was Spanish in design. The new school’s capacity was 180 students and cost about $36,000.


Oakland Tribune May 1928

The new school building was dedicated on May 24, 1928.

Oakland Tribune May 1928
Shared in the Oakland History Group on Facebook

Toler Today

The school is located at 9736 Lawlor St.

In 2007 the school became known as the Alternative Learning Community, a middle school.

In March of 2009, it became notable as the first, middle school in the United States to be officially named or renamed after US President Barack Obama.

It is now the Francophone Charter School. It opened in 2015 as Transitional Kindergarten through third grade, which offers a French language immersion program.

More Info:

The End

Posted in East Oakland, Tract or Subdivisions

Toler Heights – The Homes

Toler Heights – SF Examiner 1907

The Toler Heights subdivision changed hands so many times before the 1930, it seems they never really got around to selling the area with photos of new homes being built. The following is all I could find.

Lawlor Street

9703 Lawlor Street
Oakland Tribune Oakland Tribune Oct 27,1913
Address now is 9703 Lawlor St
9703 Lawlor St – today
Google Maps
Unknown location
SF Examiner May 1922

MacArthur Blvd

Along Foothill Blvd (now MacArthur) circa 1919
Photographer: Cheney Photo Advertising Company
Another view of photo above – circa 1919
Photographer: Cheney Photo Advertising Company
9224 and 9230 MacArthur today – Google Maps
9124 MacArthur today – Google Maps
9036 MacArthur today – Google Maps
8802 MacArthur Blvd –
Oakland Tribune Nov 18, 1923

Thermal Street

8727 Thermal Street – built 1917
Oakland Tribune Mar 09, 1923
8727 Thermal St – 2014

The End

Posted in East Oakland, Elmhurst, Oakland Tracts, Tract or Subdivisions

Toler Heights

Toler Ranch

William Pinkney Toler (1829-1899) and his wife Maria Antonia (1836-1926) owned 330 (349) acres of land in the foothills of Elmhurst. Maria was the daughter of  Hermenegildo “Ignacio” Peralta. William and Maria were married in 1853.

The Ranch was on the foothills road between Elmhurst and San Leandro, later known as Foothill Blvd, and is now MacArthur Blvd. The ranch was close to both the Talbot Farm and the Dunsmuir Home.

Oakland Tribune Oct 08, 1888

Toler Ranch Sold

After her husband’s death, Mrs. Toler sold the ranch to the Realty Syndicate for $110,000-$120,000. The land was then subdivided and placed on the market.

Oakland Tribune Mar 26, 1906
SF Call July 30, 1906
Oakland Tribune Jan 1906

Map of Toler Heights – 1907

Shows block and lot numbers, measurements, land ownership, etc. Covers area generally bounded by Stanley Rd. [i.e. Ave.], Wise [i.e., 99th] Ave., Foothill [i.e., MacArthur] Blvd., and Hillcrest Ave. [i.e., Seneca St.]. Panel title: Map of Toler Heights, Elmhurst, Oakland. Oriented with north toward left. Cadastral map. c1907
Historical Maps of the Bay Area – Toler Heights

Opening Day 1907

Toler Heights went on sale in 1907. A group of Investors owned the property, and the Southwest Securities Company was handling the sales for them.

SF Examine 1907
SF Examiner Oct 27, 1907
S F Examiner Oct 18, 1907

Change of Ownership

In 1910 the Henderson & Tapscotts Company purchased Toler Heights. The made a lot of improvements to the tract. Opening day in was held on May 22, 1910

Looking towards Thermal Street and 90th Avenue
Cheney Photo Advertising Company c1910
Previously sold on eBay

The photo above might be showing the Silva Ranch on Foothill Blvd

Oakland Tribune Oct 31, 1920

Opening day was one of the most auspicious days in the residential property sold. Oakland Tribune May 24, 1910

Oakland Tribune May 24, 1910
Oakland Tribune May 22, 1910
The corner of MacArthur and 90th Avenue
Cheney Photo Advertising Company c1912
Previously sold on eBay

The Piedmont of East Oakland

SF Examiner

SF Examiner Aug 30, 1914
SF Examiner Aug 30, 1914
Oakland Tribune Mar 19, 1916

Another change in ownership

In 1922, the property was for sale via an auction. “Sales way down.” Oakland Tribune May 28, 1922

Oakland Tribune May 28, 1922
Along Foothill Blvd
Oakland Tribune June 04, 1922
Oakland Tribune June 08, 1922
Oakland Tribune 1923

New School – May 1928 – Now Barack Obama Academy

Oakland Tribune May 23, 1929
Oakland Tribune May 23, 1929
Toler Heights School – Now Barack Obama Academy
9736 Lawlor Street


Toler Heights Google Maps

More Information on Toler Heights

More to come – Toler Heights Homes

The End