Tompkins School in 1897, with nearby bog 9

The Tompkins School (also Tompkins Observation School; later Tompkins Elementary) was located on 5th Street between Linden and Chestnut Streets, Oakland.

In 1887 the Principal of the Tompkins School was Mrs. Rosamond R. Johnston, along with eight teachers; Mrs. Brenda H. Stone, Miss Adeline E. Walton, Miss Henrietta Sumner, Miss Waretta A. Carter, Miss M. A. Kimball, Miss Sadie I Regan, Mrs. Cordelia J. Hammer, and Miss Regina Reilly.  B. H. Carter was employed as the janitor.

From 1890 (or 1891) to 1899, Edwin Markham was the principal. 1, 2, 4, 5 In 1900, Miss A. E. Walton was appointed the principal. 3

In 1898, there was discussion about moving the school because of its location near the then marshy shoreline: "Being: so near to the marsh, with such poor surroundings, pupils have avoided it, Parents have found excuses to have their children transferred to one of the other schools in the district" 7 In particular, a 'bog' across from the school that had become a dumping ground was said to be a health hazard. 9 The new location was to be Castro Street just north of 7th Street. However, parents and neighbors objected to the school being moved, and suggested the money be spent improving the area around the school instead of moving it. 8

In 1911, the school and several others in Oakland had playgrounds with swings "and other modern apparatus" added. 6

Local historian Ruben Llamas attended first grade at Tompkins Elementary c.1942, and notes in Eye from the Edge that the school was at 3rd and Adeline, so perhaps the school was moved at some point even if it wasn't moved to Castro Street as discussed in 1898.

Links and References

  1. Would Succeed Edwin Markham San Francisco Call May 9, 1900
  2. Edwin Markham on Wikipedia
  3. Poet Markham's Place Filled By Woman San Francisco Call June 9, 1900
  4. Modern Language Notes, 1943 (saying he started at Tompkins in Spring 1891)
  5. Edwin Markham in Muckrakers: A Biographical Dictionary of Writers and Editors (saying he started in 1890)
  6. New Playgrounds in Oakland To Be Added San Francisco Call June 4, 1911
  7. Move Tompkins School San Francisco Call March 20, 1898
  8. The Proposed School Deal San Francisco Call March 26, 1898
  9. A Bog Adjoins The School San Francisco Call February 4, 1897