History Corner: Dana Street School

by Lisa Windes

Dana Street School, the precursor of Edith Landels School, was located on the site of our fire station on Dana Street between Oak Street and Shoreline Boulevard. In 1913, school trustees eased overcrowding at the grammar school at El Camino and Calderon by opening a branch classroom in a house at the southwest corner of Castro and California Streets. Miss Victorine Klein, the first grade teacher, was joined in 1916 by Miss Edith Landels, who taught kindergarten classes in a store front at 275 Castro Street for a “pretty good” salary of $600 a year.

In August of 1916, a bond measure passed that allocated $9,000 for the construction and equipping of Dana Street School, the second elementary school in Mountain View. On May 1, 1917, the Parent-Teachers Association held a special reception and housewarming for the new school with songs, recitations and May pole dancing by the children. The single story stucco school opened in June of 1917, its five rooms for kindergarten, first and second grades, office and teacher’s room considered the most modern of school plants. The school was enlarged in 1921 to include third grade.

Both Miss Klein and Miss Landels transferred to Dana Street School when it opened. Miss Klein retired in 1934. One week before her death in 1958, the school district voted to name the new school being constructed at the corner of Ortega and California Streets after her. Although the Victorine Klein School was torn down in 1987, the park that occupies part of the site bears her name. Miss Landels taught kindergarten in classroom number 2 at the Dana Street School all the years that it existed.

In 1955, Dana Street School was condemned because of structural faults. The school continued to be used until 1959, however; there was no place else for the students to go. In 1957, the school trustees decided to name a modern, sleek 18-room replacement school after Miss Landels. Landels Elementary School was completed in 1959 at a cost of $687,000. Miss Landels taught her final kindergarten class at the new Landels School and then retired after 43 years of teaching in Mountain View.

This article was first printed in the OMVNA Newsletter in March 2000. If you have a story to tell, please contact editor@omvna.org.

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