29 October, 2009
Earlier this month my mom and I went on a walking tour of some of Oakland's storybook homes, organized by the Oakland Heritage Alliance. I love storybook houses, and I think that people tend to forget how many of them were built in Oakland in the early part of the century. At the time, Oakland was as big and important a city as Los Angeles (the other hotbed of storybook architecture), a center of industry populated by many wealthy and famous people. So much has changed in the last 80 years that these amazing homes often get overlooked, but if you peek around in some of the older neighborhoods, you can spot the occasional stony chimney or wave-shingled rooftop amongst the more "modern" (ie, 1930's-1950's) bungalows that are more prominent in the area. Here are some pictures from our tour, which took place in the Fernwood neighborhood.
If anyone reading this is curious to learn more about Oakland history, I highly recommend visiting the Oakland History Room at the main branch of the public library (it's full of amazing treasures!) and reading Oakland, Story of a City by Beth Bagwell. Glen David Gold's novel Carter Beats the Devil (which happens to be one of my very favorite books, ever) also gives a wonderful glimpse into the thriving world of Oakland in the 1920's.