Thursday, December 22, 2011

new books on Oakland

Apair of new books about Oakland were released last week, and the reprint of a classic on Oakland history is in the works.

My Town Montclair is a gift from portrait photographer Reenie Raschke to her children and to the people of Montclair. It's both a snapshot of Montclair and its residents as they are today and some history, too. It's hard to avoid history when some of the people and stores have been around for decades. Rocky at the Montclair Barber Shop is pictured at work on the cover and has been cutting hair seemingly forever, and Sarbers Camera has been in Oakland since 1921 and the village since 1964. But things change; a then and now picture of one stretch of stores shows more than half the stores changed in 3 years. Similarly, Raimondi's Paint shop is long gone, Montclair Village Hardware is now over in Woodminster off Joaquin Miller, and Montclair Estates is moving to Piedmont Avenue.

A great gift for someone with a past or current connection to Montclair, the book is available at the Montclair Plaza Collective (where you can buy all sorts of other unique gifts, too) and online. You have a good chance of running into Reenie there and getting your book signed. She and her husband Greg started the collective in the long-vacant space there, and are hoping to make it a permanent fixture in the village and include fresh, 'slow' food amongst the offered items.

pictures from the book release:

Oakland Landmarks is the work of Oakland historian Annalee Allen and artist Heidi Wyckoff, and is a tribute to Oakland's amazing architectural heritage. Annalee Allen is in charge of the city-sponsored Oakland walking tours and a columnist with the Oakland Tribune. Heidi Wyckoff is a Bay Area artist who has works hanging everywhere from local stores to the Smithsonian. From Camron-Stanford House to Children's Fairyland, they explore 35 landmarks around Oakland. Each is illustrated with a lovely watercolor painting, and Annalee Allen gives a brief history of the landmark and the people associated with it. Not all the landmarks are buildings (e.g., the USS Potomac), amazing architecture (e.g., Heinhold's First and Last Chance Saloon), or even that old (e.g., Christ the Light Cathedral), but they are all part of Oakland history. Oakland Landmarks is a beautiful book, and a great gift for anyone interested in Oakland and its history. It's available online or at the Montclair Plaza Collective, along with some of Heidi's watercolors and postcards.

pictures from the book release:

Speaking of Oakland history, I was fortunate to meet Dave Newhouse at the book signing for Oakland Landmarks. He recently retired, after writing for the Oakland Tribune for 47 years. Check out his farewell column. I think he's enjoying retirement, but I did hear something about some book ideas.

Oakland, The Story of a City by Beth Bagwell has been out of print for a while, but used copies can sometimes be found in your local Oakland bookstore. It covers Oakland from the time of the Ohlone, through Spanish California, the birth and growth of Oakland, up through the 1970s, and is the book to read about Oakland history. As Living in the O blogger Rebecca Saltzman says, "it should be required reading for anyone who cares about Oakland." It's easier to understand where the city is by knowing some of where it's been. The Oakland Heritage Alliance is working on publishing a second edition, with improved images and an additional chapter to bring it up to the present. If you're interested in supporting the work, see the OHA website for more info.

1 comment:

Gene said...

I was at the Laurel Bookstore today and was pleased to discover that Dennis Evanosky's Oakland's Laurel District has been reprinted and is once again available.