Thursday, April 26, 2007
In my continuing quest to explore parts of my city that I don’t know, I’ve been walking around West Oakland. This neighborhood has a reputation for being not so nice, but I’m really enjoying my travels. (I also haven’t been to the heart of it yet. I think it gets worse, but I’m not going there just now.)
Sure, there are some boarded up buildings. And old men in ratty coats drinking out of paper bags. But there are also gardens, and new condo developments, and friendly cats prowling their yards, same as in any neighborhood.
There is also some really great architecture. Being close to the Bay, West Oakland must once have been a very desirable location, and clearly people have been living here for a long time. (Long by California standards, anyway.) There are a lot of Victorians, and Edwardian mini-mansions. There are also a lot of very pleasant single-family homes built around the time of WWII, when a lot of residents had good work at the shipyards. I saw one of these houses selling for $449,000, suggesting that the area is on its way up.
Here’s a photo of an architectural gem I didn’t know about. It’s the St. John Missionary Baptist Church, on Market Street. It looks like Mission Dolores, but I’m sure it’s not actually that old. Still, it was an unexpected splash of color in a neighborhood that isn’t always that cheerful.