Tuesday, August 14, 2012
urban paths: Highland Hospital Area Steps
Saturday we had an amazing turnout for the Oakland Urban Paths walk focused on the stairs near Highland Hospital and the area around the EBMUD Central Reservoir. The day promised to be warm, but that didn't stop almost 60 people from showing up to walk.
We started near the original front gate to Highland Hospital, where we admired one of the original 1920s buildings. It's reminiscent of a Mexican cathedral, in the Spanish baroque style of architecture. It was designed by architect Henry Meyers, who also designed the Posey Tube, the Veterans Memorial Building and other well-known structures in Oakland. The grounds were designed by landscape architect Howard Gilkey, who designed the Cleveland Cascade near Lake Merritt, the Woodminster Cascade in Joaquin Miller Park, and other areas. The hospital came about because a citizens advisory commission developed a countywide plan for health care and facilities.
palm tree method. The palm trees we saw across the way were the ones marking the edge of the "Borax" Smith estate near Park Boulevard. I also told people about Andrew Alden's method of using sidewalk stamps for figuring out the age of a neighborhood. Neither Paul nor I knew the exact age of the stairways, but then I saw a stamp on one of them from 1922. Another of the stairways had been repaired fairly recently. Oakland Urban Paths cataloged all the stairways and pathways they could find in Oakland in 2009, and noted the condition and usage of each. The city then used that info for assigning priorities to which stairs got repairs.
the McMullen Building. John had served in the First Wisconsin Infantry during the Civil War and was with Sherman on his March to the Sea. He attained the rank of captain, but for some reason he was known as (and addressed as) "Colonel McMullen." He died at his Queen Anne-style home at 2748 Grande Vista Avenue on December 30, 1912. He rests at Mountain View Cemetery.
We walked through Wood Park, then over to I-580, otherwise known as the MacArthur Freeway. A bridge took us over the freeway to the Altenheim senior housing in the Dimond. A short walk along MacArthur Boulevard and another bridge back across the freeway brought us to the other side of the reservoir. We meandered through several streets, back down the first set of stairs we'd climbed, and returned to the front of Highland Hospital.
Another great walk. Thanks to Paul Rosenbloom for leading the tour, Jill Weil for telling us about Wood Park, Dennis Evanosky for information for the tour, and Annalee Allen for information about the tour and the mention in the newspaper. And thanks to everyone who showed up for the walk!
Lots more pictures:
- to help clean up Wood Park, contact Lisa Lemus at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mountain View Cemetery tours
- read more about the history of the Altenheim