Monday, January 23, 2012

Oakland Urban Paths: Lakeshore to Park Blvd.

up to Oak Grove park

For the first Oakland Urban Paths walk of 2012 on Saturday there was a great turnout, despite the spotty weather. Eighteen people and 3 dogs came out to explore the paths and stairs between Lakeshore and Park Blvd.

We started near Lakeshore Ave. by examining one of the ornate gateposts that date back to the early 1900s when the area was first developed. We heard a bit about the history of the area from Gerry Montmorency, president of the Lakeshore Homes Association (LHA), one of the oldest homeowner associations in the country. The streets were laid out by the Olmstead brothers, and some of the houses designed by noted architects Julia Morgan and Maybeck & White. You may recall that Mt. View Cemetery was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the father of the Olmstead brothers. Read more about the history of the Lakeshore area on the LHA website.

From there we headed up Mandana Blvd. and into the long, narrow Oak Grove park. The park is owned and maintained by the LHA, and sits between lots on Mandana and Longridge. The neighborhood is known as Trestle Glen, for the rail trestle that once crossed the canyon to Sather Park. That was built in 1893 by F.M. "Borax" Smith, the real estate magnate of the Realty Syndicate who eventually developed the Key System. Before that it was known as Indian Gulch, named by early Anglo settlers for the seasonal Ohlone village there.

We then walked into Crocker Highlands, once part of the Charles Crocker estate. The area is full of beautiful homes, many also dating back to the original development. That was started in 1911 by Wickham Havens, son of Frank Havens of the Realty Syndicate.

Then it was over to the Glenview neighborhood and Park Blvd. We had to cross the gulch without benefit of a train or trestle, so there was a lot of going down stairs then up the other side. The gulch was formed by Trestle Glen Creek, which is mostly underground now, but still feeds into Lake Merritt. After we climbed up to Park Blvd., we took a brief coffee break, then it was back down into Trestle Glen and to our starting point.

Another great walk. The next Oakland Urban Paths walk is coming up Saturday, February 11th, and will be led by Andrew Alden of Oakland Geology. The walk features 3 old quarries and a focus on geology.

Lots more pictures:

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