Sunday, August 31, 2014
Old Oakland + West Oakland with OHA and Ruben Llamas
Saturday was the 2nd to last Oakland Heritage Alliance walking tour of the summer, "Stepping Into the Past" led by author Ruben Llamas.
While these days people think of Old Oakland and West Oakland as distinctly different places, before the freeways came through they were all one continuous neighborhood. Ruben grew up in the area, and through his stories brought Oakland from pre-WWII to the 1970s back to life. His father ran a music store (and barbershop), La Ideal Music, which was at the corner of 7th and Castro, where the 880-980 connector now runs.
The walk started in front of La Borinqueña Mex-icatessen, where Tina Tamale was busy preparing for a catering job. La Borinquña is one of the oldest stores in the area, although they were forced by eminent domain to move twice for new freeways. Tina is the 3rd generation running the business; her mama still comes in on Saturdays to offer tamale and other advice, and reminisce about the old days.
A nice walk, full of people stories, which is what history is all about. If you're interested in Oakland history, I recommend Ruben's book, Eye from the Edge. He sold and signed copies after the walk, but you can also find it at local bookstores.
More pictures from the walk: