Thursday, November 30, 2017

photo of the week: King Block alley

The other day I was downtown for a meeting at AAMLO, and after some lunch, I happened by this bit of juxtaposition off Harrison Street, the Tribune Tower and Clorox building against a bright blue sky, and the wildness of the graffiti-covered brick alleyway.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Oakland Urban Paths: Lake Merritt

courtesy Alan Forkosh
Saturday we had near-perfect weather for an Oakland Urban Paths walk around Lake Merritt. Unfortunately the sound system died, but the group wasn't too large, so hopefully everyone could hear me OK. My cellphone battery had died, but regular OUP walker Alan Forkosh was there and took some great photos. See Alan's website for lots more photos from the walk.

Alan's photos include some amazing panoramas of the lake, like this one:
courtesy Alan Forkosh

Starting with Lake Merritt not being a lake but a tidal slough, up through some of the Measure DD work still going on, we covered a wide variety of topics about the lake over its history.

Monday, June 26, 2017

photo of the week: angles

I've been laid up with a nasty summer cold, so you get a photo from last month. The Plaza Building, city hall, the "Vitality" sculpture by long-time local artist Bruce Beasley, and the Dalziel Building all add their own angles and stories.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

UCB: downtown history + city planning

Friday morning I led a group of two dozen UCB city planning students on a brief walking tour of downtown, City Center, Chinatown, Old Oakland and Preservation Park. A lot to pack into 90 minutes, but the group was enthusiastic and small enough to travel quickly, so we managed to fit it all in. We started in front of city hall, and finished 90 minutes later at the Federal Building.

Some of the topics we touched on and things we saw:
City Hall | Frank Ogawa | Japanese internment | 1989 Earthquake | Alignment of San Pablo Ave. | Telegraph Ave. | Annexations | Kahn's Department Store | Latham Square realignment | Latham Fountain | Cathedral Building | City Center | Gertrude Stein | "There" Sculpture | SRO Housing | 99 Dragons murals | Pacific Renaissance Plaza | Oakland Asian Cultural Center | Chinese family associations | Chinatown "scrambles" | informal vendors | Old Oakland | Old Oakland Farmers Market | Oakland Convention Center | Warriors | repair of earthquake damage to historical buildings | Lafayette Square Park | mosaic trash cans | new development | I-980 freeway | Pardee Home Museum | Preservation Park | Federal Building | Ron Dellums | C.L. Dellums | Pullman Porters

More photos here.
A map of our route here.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Oakland Urban Paths: Highland Hospital area steps

Saturday a group of about 30 people gathered for an Oakland Urban Paths walk exploring some of the stairways and pathways near Highland Hospital and the Central Reservoir.

We started at Highland Hospital, where Paul told us a bit about the hospital (built 1927, designed by Henry Meyers; grounds designed by Howard Gilkey) which was built as part of a countywide plan for health care. After a look at the old Key System stop in front of the hospital, we crossed 14th Avenue to our first set of steps.

Our route took us up and down the hills, and past numerous beautiful Victorians, including the Whitaker House, designed by prolific architect Charles Mau, and the John C. McMullen House.

The next stops were the Central Reservoir and then William Wood Park, which are strangely linked. The reservoir was built by the People's Water Company (one of the predecessors of EBMUD) back in 1910. Seepage from the reservoir and undercutting from nearby Sausal Creek led to a major landslide in the 1950s. That destroyed some homes and closed McKillop Road, and eventually the land was turned into Wood Park. More recently, undercutting from Sausal Creek has led to more slides in the area, but it appears to have come through the rainy 2016-2017 winter OK.

A quick trip across 580 to the Altenheim and then back across 580 took us down the other side of the Central Reservoir, then past the Manzanita Recreation Center and back to our start near the hospital.

A long but great walk. Thanks to Paul for leading us and Charlie for being the sweeper. Next up is a special walk in conjunction with the Oakland Walking Tours program. This Saturday, May 20th, we'll be doing an extended version of the Chinatown tour in honor of Asian Heritage month. More info here.

More photos from the walk can be seen here.