The Old Iron House School – What To Do With It


With impending development coming to the Emerson property, (located between the end of current development on E. Cypress to the west, Sellers Ave. to the east, E. Cypress road on the south and the canal to the north) it was time to check out the Emerson house.

In the late in the 1860’s the pioneers of the tule country in eastern Contra Costa County established the Iron House School District,(its name is derived from the odd conceit of one of its early settlers, who, for the lack of other material, weather-boarded his cabin with scraps of sheet iron and tin cut from discarded oil-cans).

In 1885 the Emerson family donated a portion of their land located at the northwest corner of the intersection of Cypress Road and Sellers Avenue for use by the district as school-grounds. The property would revert to the family should they ever cease to use it for this purpose and an existing schoolhouse was moved to this location. In 1896 a new schoolhouse was erected.

Iron House School

The school closed in 1935, and Ralph Emerson performed the first remodel of the school house as a residence for Emerson Dairy foreman. In 1962, Katy Emerson planned the second remodeling of the schoolhouse, as a residence for her own growing family. The Emerson’s moved into the schoolhouse in 1963, just before the birth of their first child. In 1972 the former school house was moved from its location one quarter of a mile back from Cypress Road to a knoll on the Emerson Dairy property, where it still stands today.

Extensive alterations to the buildings since 1935 both inside and out have compromised its historic integrity and architectural value. At the June 11 City Council meeting a discussion will be had on what to do with this building.

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About Kevin

Mayor - City of Oakley, Data Center Manager of Mainframe Operations and Optimization – USS-POSCO INDUSTRIES, Co-Founder and Board Member - Friends of Oakley A Community Foundation, Advisory Board – Opportunity Junction, Commissioner - Contra Costa Transportation Authority, Board Member - Tri Delta Transit and Transplan
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