Students at Porter School in Alameda, California

This is my first post with photos from California.  I don’t know the names of the kids or the year the photo was taken.  It was for sale together with another class photo that must have been taken a year or two earlier, because many of the same kids are in both photos (see below).  On the back of the earlier photo, someone wrote “Porter Grammar School.”  The Porter School was built in 1916 and burned down in 1973, on St. Patrick’s Day, with no loss of life.  The fire started at 9:35 p.m. on a Saturday night.  The building had previously been slated for demolition and replacement because it didn’t meet strict new earthquake standards.

The city of Alameda is “a unique island community located in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area,” according to the website of the Alameda Museum.

You can see large scans of the two photos by clicking either thumbnail below and then selecting “View full size.”  My guess for a time period would be late 1920s.  My first assumption for a location was Washington State or Oregon, but California wasn’t a surprise at all.  Somehow these photos are just so West Coast.  I would have been surprised if they had originated anywhere else.

 

 

18 thoughts on “Students at Porter School in Alameda, California

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  1. Oh yes! Definitely that West Coast vibe. And they all look so happy, compared to East Coast or Midwestern school children in pictures from a similar time. Well, the boys look so happy. Well, most of the boys look so happy.

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  2. What a happy photo! Yes, Alameda is a charming little city located on an island in the San Francisco Bay, adjacent to Oakland, and across the bay from San Francisco (where I live). I was there just last weekend. And old brick buildings like this school are seldom up to modern earthquake safety standards without significant retrofitting, which can be very expensive, so it makes sense that it was slated for demolition.

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  3. Interesting to see this old school photo and their hairstyles and clothes. You estimate the date as late 1920’s – I would have guessed later than that – but I don’t know!
    It looks like a small happy school. 🙂

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    1. Yes, the coats! That’s why I assumed they were farther north, although San Francisco is known for its cool weather. Speaking of styles, do you have a guess for the year?

      I just realized there are many more boys than girls in the photos, which is a bit strange (20:8 in the earlier photo and 16:7 in the later one).

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  4. The racial and ethnic mix is another interesting aspect of the group, although it doesn’t surprise me. The Bay Area and California generally has attracted every sort of immigrant group over the years (and sometimes been home to those who came there unwillingly).

    I have a blog friend in her 90s who grew up in the area. I can’t quite remember whether she lived on Alameda, but I know she’s mentioned it. I’ll make some inquiries. She still gets together with women who were in school at the same time she was, so there might be some information to be had.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. How great that she’s blogging in her 90s!

      The racial and ethnic diversity of these photos is a big reason I was drawn to them. The photos reflect the fact that East Asian immigrants have been a part of the California story from almost the beginning (long before these kids were born).

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