1921 5

Clawson School (later Clawson Elementary School) was located near 32nd St. and Peralta in the Clawson neighborhood. From 1883, it was on Magnolia St. near 32nd. A newer building was constructed in 1915 at 3240 Peralta. The 1915 building was closed in the 1970s because of earthquake standards, and it was converted into condominiums in 1999.

Clawson School

The school was founded in 1883, and named for William F. Clawson, who was principal at the Tompkins School until his death in 1882. 3,4 His fiancée, Marietta Cobb, was a teacher at Prescott School. She was named the first principal, but stepped down in 1885 for health reasons.

Julia E. Colby was the principal following Cobb. The 1887 directory also lists three teachers; Mrs. Sarah B. Byrod, Mrs. Mary E. Pelham, Mrs. Mary J. Ayres. Mrs. Mary A. Nicoll was the janitor of the school. Colby served until 1916. 3

1902 Sanborn excerpt

1915 Building

1928 71946 courtesy V. Labiano Abello

The 1915 building was designed by John J. Donovan.

1951 Sanborn excerptSchool Architecture, 1921 5School Architecture, 1921 5

1915 painting 2


The school was closed by 1973 because it wasn't up to current earthquake standards. A 1999 article says "The former Clawson Elementary School, the biggest landmark in the neighborhood and long abandoned to squatters, is undergoing a conversion to condo lofts." 6

Links and References

  1. Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History
  2. Problems That Have Been Solved in Oakland's New Schools by John J. Donovan Architect and Engineer March 1915
  3. Clawson School, Founded 1883, Named For Principal Who Died in Service Oakland Tribune February 8, 1942
  4. Love's Aftermath Oakland Tribune March 4, 1886
  5. School Architecture: Principles and Practice by John J. Donovan, MacMillan Publishing, 1921
  6. On the Edge of Change: A West Oakland Neighborhood Wrestles with it Future, Identity SFGate July 16, 1999
  7. MS189_0263 African American Library and Museum at Oakland