One of my favorite murals was on the back of building adjacent to the Key Route Plaza just off Piedmont Avenue. J's Mexican American closed some time back, and the building has been sitting empty. The good news is that the building is being worked on, and a new tenant will be moving in. The bad news is that the lovely mural on the back is now gone. We discovered it during the Oakland Urban Paths walk on Saturday, while a construction crew was working on the building. Several neighborhood residents were visibly upset when they learned the mural was gone.
The mural was painted in 2005, and showed a Key System train, and Francis Marion "Borax" Smith, who created the Key System by buying up and merging smaller streetcar lines. Various figures and symbols from history were represented. The train shown is #159, which last left the station at 6:45 pm on April 20th, 1958. Artist Rocky Rische-Baird raised additional funds for the creation of the mural by depicting the donors as passengers on the Key System train.
According to Kronner Burger, the new tenant, the wall was full of black mold, and the middle had been a window and wasn't properly supported. They're looking for a space for a new mural. Regardless, it's sad to see the mural go