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The College of California was the predecessor of the University of California system of public universities. The private College was founded in 1855 by Henry Durant, a Congregationalist minister. It was located in the recently established city of Oakland, Californiamarker.

In 1853, Henry Durant had founded the Contra Costa Academy in Oakland with an eye to preparing students for his ultimate goal of establishing a Christian college. By 1855, he was ready and the new college opened in Oakland on the block bounded by Twelfth, Fourteenth, Franklin and Harrison Streets.

In time, the Oakland site was considered unsuitable owing to the general rowdiness of the area.

In 1866, the trustees of the College sought out a new site for the College. They planned to finance this expansion by selling land in the vicinity of the prospective College site. To this end, they formed the "College Homestead Association" and purchased 160 acres (650,000 m²) of land north of Oakland on a site that is part of today's Berkeleymarker.

Sales of lots were less than had been hoped for. Consequently, the trustees collaborated with the State of California's Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College to establish a public university.

The University of California came into existence on March 23, 1868. While the campus at Berkeley was being constructed, the new University used the buildings of the College of California in Oakland. In September 1873, the University moved to Berkeley.

The site of the College of California in Oakland is now California Historical Landmark #45.

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