Beulah Heights (originally just Beulah) was a district in Alameda County just northwest of Mills College. There was a Beulah Heights Post Office from 1907 to 1911. Beulah Heights was annexed to the City of Oakland in 1909.

The University of the Pacific has in their archives the Beulah Heights Improvement Club records date primarily from 1914 and 1915 with scattered documents dating from 1913 through 1923. The Beulah Heights Improvement Club was an Oakland, California property owners organization for the development of the Beulah Heights District.

The Beulah Heights District located near Mills College between the convergence of the current MacArthur Freeway (580) and Warren Freeway (13) is now part of the Laurel, Leona Heights and Redwood Districts. The group met at the Beulah School. The main focus of the Beulah Heights Improvement Club was to obtain a water supply for the district by working with the Railroad Commission of the State of California and the Peoples Water Company. A Club subscription drive raised several thousand dollars toward this goal. Members were concerned with other utilities and services: gas, electricity, sanitation, street signs, telephone lines, and street lighting, and, they also contributed to the support of Mills College and Beulah School. 1

According to The Holy City of Beulah and the Mansions of Beulah Heights 2, George Montgomery and his famous revivalist wife Carrie Judd Montgomery were responsible for the name Beulah. His long range goal was to establish a Christian temperance community which he called "Beulah City."

"By the early 1890s, those coming out from Oakland on the Highland Park & Fruit Vale Rail Line to Mills College, the Laundry Farm Hotel, or a revivalist camp meeting in Beulah Park would certainly have heard the conductor holler, “Beulah” as the horses came to a stop in front of Beulah Station.

The name Beulah have been strange to former Methodist missionaries Cyrus & Susan Mills who, in 1871, had relocated their Young Women’s Seminary (Mills College) to the same valley floor located in Brooklyn Township (as the land east of Lake Merritt was then known).

It also should be no surprise that the 1876 hit parade of Protestant hymnody contained this hymn that was certainly sung here in Beulah Heights and is still sung in some evangelical Protestant churches today:

O Beulah Land, sweet Beulah Land,
As on thy highest mount I stand,
I look away across the sea,
Where mansions are prepared for me,
And view the shining glory shore,
My Heav’n, my home forever more!

Coincidentally and perhaps presciently, by the 1890s, Beulah Heights was home to four of those heavenly mansions (and Christians of various classes and races).

  1. The first is the magnificent Mills Hall itself (across from El Campanile at Seminary & MacArthur).

  2. Second is the “Home of Peace,” mansion (4700 Daisy Street) built in 1893 by Christian businessman George Montgomery and Carrie Judd Montgomery.

  3. The third 19th century neighborhood mansion stood on the site of today’s Beulah Rest Home (4690 Tompkins), which was initially constructed in 1928, with a subsequent addition in 1948, and cottages constructed in the 1950s and a separate three-unit building on Fair Avenue constructed in 1963.

  4. And fourth was the Laundry Farm Hotel located in Leona Canyon (now Highway 13), this was one of the East Bay’s premiere country get-away destinations in the 1890s."

Beulah was also the site of the Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People built in 1897 by the Oakland Chapter of the California Association of Colored Women’s Clubs on land donated by the Montgomerys (“Home of Peace”). The Association was founded by civic-minded, Christian African-American women whose goal was to build a retirement community for black veterans of the California gold rush and others who were homeless, elderly, or in ill health.

Beulah Heights was annexed to Oakland in 1909, at the time of the General Election, when many of the other surrounding districts were also annexed to the City of Oakland.

Pages tagged “Beulah Heights”

Links and References

  1. Register of the Beulah Heights Improvement Club Records, 1913-1923 University of the Pacific
  2. The Holy City of Beulah and the Mansions of Beulah Heights by Danny Cieloha

  3. Beulah Heights, California Wikipedia