While long term Montclair homeowners know about this unique structure, and are used to seeing it daily as they drive around the Village, newcomers are often truly surprised by this very unique structure on Moraga Road, adjacent to Montclair Park.  It is in fact, the old Montclair Firehouse, and when built, fit very nicely into the unique "Storybook" or "Hansel and Gretel" style of architecture that was developing in the area.  Built in 1927, by the city of Oakland, it was designed to replicate the German forest of the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale.  In fact, the style was so popular, the city developed the same basic look for the Montclair Public Library just around the corner on Mountain Boulevard which still operates today, and is especially enjoyed by the children in the area who find the little building just their size and the fairy story architecture very appealing. 

The original look of the firehouse was one with a shiny copper roof, and peaks of "flames" atop the roofs to dramatize its role in dealing with fire.  Now painted white, one could assume that the "snow" roof could reflect the winter forest look of the Germanic style of building, but that was not the original intent.  It is a welcoming and pleasing building to view, but is now closed as a firehouse.  It was vacated after a new, more modern, firehouse was built in Shepherd Canyon after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. 

Even though it is closed now, Oakland neighbors when giving a tour of the area, will often bring friends from out of town by this special spot since it is so unique. 

Posted by Bruce Wagg on


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Who owns it?

Posted by Maddy Jones on Sunday, November 13th, 2016 at 2:04pm

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