Tuesday, September 8, 2009

history: Scheberies Used Cars

Scheberies Used Cars

It was a short work day at Habitat with GRID Alternatives, so I rode the e-bike home by a different route scouting signs. I'd checked some things out with Google Maps Street View, and one sign had caught my eye. Not the main sign pictured here, which is nice enough but hardly classic. No, it was the sign that's made from part of a car. So on my ride home, I went a little out of my way down MacArthur from High Street to check it out. I'm very glad I did.

I met Gerald Scheberies. He was moving some cars around the lot while I was admiring the signs. I told him what a great set of signs he had, and he informed me that he'd painted them himself. He invited me inside to see more, and found he has an amazing history collection. Pictures of the original Caldecott Tunnel, Broadway when it was a set of muddy tracks, the toll bridge that used to span the end of Lake Merritt. Gerald also used to race cars, so quite a number of the signs he painted were for events that he raced in. And he and his used car lot have been around since before I-580 was there, so he's seen a lot of Oakland history. He coached wrestling at Skyline high school and all sorts of other things in his 70+ years. I saw at least one article on him in a scrapbook. I couldn't find any articles online, but did see references to his racing career. And when he commented on the slick tires on the e-bike, I said, "No, they're supposed to be that way -- haven't you seen a The World's Fastest Indian, where he shaved the tires down by hand?" He replied that he loved the movie, and he'd been at the Bonneville Salt Flats in the 60s, too.

great sign!

Gerald Scheberies, then and now

the original Caldecott Tunnel

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