"Castlemont High School, built ca. 1929". Photograph. Description: Castlemont High School. History: Donor's brother Mr. Robert E. Hester was the first head custodian. He was born in Rexford Kansas Dec. 29, 1887, died at the school Oct. 12, 1938. Donor's husband is currently head custodian. (From: Oakland Heritage Alliance News, Vol 20, No. 3, Winter 2000. by WilliamW. Sturm) Oakland History Notes: Castlemont High School Opening in September, 1929 at 85th Avenue and present-day MacArthur Boulevard, East Oakland High (later dubbed Castlemont) was a welcome addition to the neighborhood.. From 1920 to 1928, the Oakland school population had risen by 10,000 students, accounted in large part by the growth of East Oakland neighborhoods in the 1920's. Commencing with the Chevrolet Motor Plant in 1916 on the site of the present Eastmont Town Center, housing and industry grew apace in the area. In 1925 voters passed a school bond measure that provided for the construction of 21 new school buildings, including a much- needed high school in East Oakland. Architects Miller and Warnecke, prolific designers of many Bay Area buildings, including the present Oakland Main Library (1951), planned the new structure. "Tudor architecture has been selected for the building," announced the Oakland Times, "a new departure in school buildings--- the main entrance suggests an old English castle with stone towers on either side of the doorway." The high school would contain 67 rooms, including regular classrooms, a music room, library, a home economics room and laboratories for biology, chemistry and physics. A gymnasium, adjoined by a large athletic field, accommodated 100 pupils. Shortly after its' opening, the school was selected by the Common Brick Manufacturers Association of America as the most beautiful brick school in America. Among its quasi-Medieval features was a sunken garden, which ran the entire length of the shop building. "Castlemont" soon became the name befitting the Tudor school, and the students took seriously the Elizabethan quality of their place of learning. The school's 1931 yearbook was dedicated to "knightly ideals and standards of all who have attended Castlemont High School. The yearbook featured sections entitled "Quests," "Tourneys," and "Donjon." The castle school survived until 1960, when it was demolished as an earthquake-safety measure to make way for the present building. An original two-story crenelated building, now being used for classes and offices, remains on the east end of the campus, a reminder of the days of knighthood. .
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