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A Walking Tour of Oakland, California


by Doug Gelbert


published by Cruden Bay Books at Smashwords


Copyright 2012 by Cruden Bay Books


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the Publisher.



There was scarcely an Oakland when it was announced that the town would be the western terminus for the Transcontinental Railroad in the 1860s. In 1868, the Central Pacific constructed the Oakland Long Wharf at Oakland Point, the site of today’s Port of Oakland. The Central Pacific also established one of its largest rail yards and servicing facilities in West Oakland. A population of 1,543 in 1860 became 10,500 in 1870. Improvements to the salt water estuary and harbor followed and by 1880 Oakland was the second most important city in California and poised for explosive growth.


The town centered around Broadway in its beginnings, up to about 4th Street. With the 1870s and 1880s boom the downtown shifted northward for another eight blocks. The population of Oakland swelled in the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake and fire in 1906 and downtown shifted again, anchored by the town’s first high-rises constructed along Broadway beginning at 12th Street. When the building boom ended with the Great Depression Oakland had grown from about 75,000 people to over a quarter million. There were automobile factories, machine shops, canneries, shipbuilding plants and lumberyards all humming along. The aggregate value of Oakland’s industrial output was multiplied five times between 1914 and 1927.

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