Thursday, March 06, 2008

Where the Names Have No Streets

The Oakland Army Base doesn’t have enough abandoned buildings left that you could call it a ghost town. But here’s one thing it does have: ghost streets.

I don’t know how long it’s been since A Street was a real thoroughfare, and I can only guess where it originally went. There’s a freeway on top of it now.


Eric Fischer said...

I'm having a hard time figuring out where this picture was taken. In a map from the 1880s, A Street is what 32nd Street was called west of Peralta, and it continued another block and a half west of Wood before running into 26th Street. Is that the same A Street as in the picture?

Nicole said...

Your information is really interesting. It puts A Street almost, but not quite where I found it...

I took the photo on the Army base at the corner of the former A Street and Burma street, which still exists. The intersection is about 100 yards west of the current Maratime street. The freeway structure you can see in the background is the Maratime St. exit ramp off of Interstate 80.

Burma Street curves off of Maratime. At the intersection, Burma is a nearly north-south street. So the nub of A street visible looks like it would have been a roughly east-west street. It's hard to see how 32nd street could have veered into 26th street and still passed through the current Army base area. But on the other hand, how many A streets can there have been in Oakland, in roughly the same neighborhood? I think they must be the same street, with some slight re-routing having happened between 1880 and the time when the street disappeared.

Thank you very much for looking into this! I don't have any maps older than the mid 1990s at home so I was really at a loss. I appreciate you taking time to help clear up a mystery.

Eric Fischer said...

The map I was looking at, by the way, is online at David Rumsey's site.

I wonder if maybe A Street disappeared early on, but B Street (approximately present Wake Avenue) was more durable, and later on somebody laying out a new street called it A because B was nearby.

If I'm understanding your description of where A Street was properly (and assuming the USGS maps can be trusted), it looks like it was still there crossing under the ramp in 1980 and maybe even 1993, and was probably closed in the post-1989 freeway rebuilding.