29 October, 2009

Storybook Style

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.


Christine said...

Drool! Were those designed by WW Dixon? The bathroom looks very similar to mine (although the colors are much more easy on the eyes than the pink + green we have).

Leah said...

Sigh ... I wish I'd gone on that tour.

Are you familiar with local architect Arrol Gellner's book Storybook Style? It features lots of lovely photos of storybook architecture in Oakland and Berkeley.

Unknown said...

I don't know why they always leave my mom's house off their lists. So sad. Maybe you should snap a pick of it next time you are stuck picking me up and put it on your blog! Throw my mom some Oakland storybook cred!

kim23 said...

I think you had a lot of fun in this tour, Hannah! I personally love The Witch's House from Beverly Hills! such a wonderful storybook home! The house has been the subject of many urban legends. Some say the house was built by a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs fanatic, others have claimed that the house was built for a movie version of Hansel and Gretel. Anyway, now it's a private house and the owner is Michael Libow, an important real estate agent from Beverly Hills.