1915 1

540 Alcatraz is a fairly large apartment complex on Alcatraz off Telegraph Avenue. 

The large lot was the primary residence of Thomas Cuff from 1855 to 1909, 1 which is why it was able to resist the subdividing of the Harmon tract. 

It opened as Utopia Manor on October 6th, 1929 2 as a child-friendly apartment building, notable in an era where discrimination against children was standard practice. Built by local builder K.J. Henning it featured a 0.5 acre playground, nursery, kindergarten, and kitchen. In the rear of the building the 200 foot ramp makes it easier for strollers to access all four floors. There were 36 units. 

In 1934, the playground won an award for best apartment complex playground in the east bay. 3

However, by 1938 the building was renamed Radcliffe Arms, and listed as adults only. 4

In 1954, somebody was running a dormitory out of the building, specifically for white working men. 5

CC SA-BY Our OaklandCC SA-BY Our Oakland

Links and References

  1. Thomas Cuff, Veteran of Early Days, Is Dead Oakland Tribune October 14, 1909
  2. Utopia Manor For Families With Children Oakland Tribune October 6, 1929
  3. Winning Home Playgrounds Announced After Close Judging Oakland Tribune September 2, 1934
  4. classified ad Oakland Tribune April 21, 1938
  5. classified ad Oakland Tribune July 1, 1954

For Further Research