145 Athol is a Victorian style home in what was the Peralta Heights development, dating back to c.1892. Julia Morgan likely designed a remodel of the interior in 1912. The first known residents were Thomas Humphrey and his family, who are listed in the 1892-1893 directory. Both Humphrey children, Ola and Orral, were actors of note.
Like many locations in Oakland, the address was renumbered in 1912, but it had also been renumbered c.1905. It appears as lot #7A on the 1878 Thompson and West map showing Peralta Heights. The 1892-93 directory shows the Humphrey family living at 126 Athol Avenue, which also appears on the 1903 Sanborn. By 1905, it had been renumbered to 31 Athol. Finally, the 1912 Sanborn shows the older 31 and the new 145 Athol address. A separate cottage appears sometime between the 1928 and 1950 Sanborn maps with the additional 141 address.
It's unknown when the Humphreys moved out and sold the house, but a 1906 classified says "FOR SALE Entire household effects of the Humphrey home, 31 Athol ave., East Oakland." 1 R.A. Leet's voter registration in 1906 lists 31 Athol as his address.
Other people who lived there include R.A. Leet (c.1906-1928) and his family; Ernest William Waage (c.1917-1919); building inspector Axel Elfstrum, his wife Adele, and their twin children, Barbara Jean and William Dean (c.1935-1969); Clifford and Margaret Nevins (c.1949).
In October 1912, R.A. Leet contracted with Corbett and Bayliss for $900 for an addition. 3 Some other evidence suggests this was a remodel, designed by Julia Morgan. R.A. Leet was a client of Morgan's (the index card lists building #369), 4 and Sarah Holmes Boutelle's thoroughly-researched Julia Morgan, Architect includes this in the project index:
1912 - Mr. R. A. Leet house: conversion of a Victorian interior to an Arts and Crafts interior, addition of a new stairway. 145 Athol Avenue, Oakland
However, Boutelle cites the Daily Pacific Builder from June 19, 1912, which doesn't include any mention of this contract in it. The nearby dates as well as the dates in October have been searched, but no results so far. The archives are difficult to search and may be incomplete, so it's possible it has yet to be found.
It's been suggested the shingles on the exterior were a later addition 5 which may be the case, but they pre-date the 1912 remodel as they appear in a c.1909 Leet family photo.
Zillow says the 3-unit property of 141, 143, and 145 sold for $1,899,544 in January 2022. There is a separate 2-story cottage attributed to Julia Morgan in the Zillow listing, although it doesn't appear to be in her style, as well as a top floor rental unit. 2
Links and References
- classified Oakland Tribune September 30, 1906
- 145 Athol Ave, Oakland, CA zillow.com
- Building Contracts in the City and Nearby Towns Organized Labor October 26, 1912
- Julia Morgan Collections at Cal Poly lib.calpoly.edu
- An Easy Urban Escape by Margot Patterson Doss Oakland Tribune April 27, 1979