Thursday, May 5, 2011

walking tour of Old Oakland

From Old Oakland walking tour
Oakland turned 159 yesterday! In celebration, yesterday was the first downtown Oakland walking tour of 2011, which appropriately enough was of Old Oakland. It was led by Annalee Allen, who is a storehouse of knowledge about Oakland's history. As well as working for the city part-time to run the tours program, she also writes for the Tribune, and has authored several books on Oakland history.

From Old Oakland walking tour
There were a number of significant events in Oakland history that helped form what is now Old Oakland. First was the discovery of gold in the California foothills in 1848. Then the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 made it a lot easier for people to come from the eastern U.S. to the west, instead of going slowly overland, rounding Cape Horn (which was a long, dangerous voyage), or cutting across the isthmus of Panama. Not everyone was directly in search of gold; some came to provide supplies to gold miners and make their fortunes that way. And of course the 1906 earthquake caused many people who'd set up shop in San Francisco to move to the East Bay, including Levi Strauss.

From Old Oakland walking tour
From Old Oakland walking tour

For more pictures, see my Old Oakland walking tour gallery.

There was tons of interesting information about Old Oakland, the people who created it, lived and worked there, and the forces behind its creation, demise and restoration. If you're interested in Oakland, I highly recommend taking one or more of the tours. There are walking tours of the DTO focusing on different areas:
  • Old Oakland
  • City Center
  • Uptown to the Lake
  • Preservation Park
  • Chinatown
  • Jack London / Waterfront
  • Churches and Temples
  • New Era / New Politics
There are also walking tours put on by the Oakland Heritage Alliance that cover different areas of Oakland.

1 comment:

oaktownart.com said...

Ooooh, I'm jealous! I did one of their walking tours last year for Black History month and it was simply fascinating. Thanks for highlighting the new season. I can't wait to do another!