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Rockridge: 04/25/21


Rockridge by Robin Wolf and Tom Wolf is a pictorial history of a one time city that is now a neighborhood in Oakland. The book also covers Upper Rockridge which it doesn't define as a separate neighborhood like Google Maps does.


Upper Rockridge

Rockridge got its first big boost in the months and years following the 1906 Earthquake. Families who couldn't afford to rebuild in San Francisco, or didn't want to, or perhaps were renting, initially set up tent cities in Rockridge. At the time area was primarily farm and grazing land.

Besides being affordable, the area had rail connections to connect both San Francisco (via a ferry) and Sacramento. The rail lines are long gone, replaced by highways 24 and 13 and BART. Looking at the stops through Oakland and points east, I'm sorry to see the rail line gone. The areas served are different than what BART serves.

The rising popularity of the automobile opened up development to Upper Rockridge. This is an area of hills. As an automobile was the bare requirement for life there, this housing development catered to the wealthy white. Later sections in the book cover the art scene, the building of the highways and BART, and finally the firestorm that swept through the Oakland hills in 1991.

Not every building or location covered in the book is extant. Many were lost in the name of progress (see BART and the highways). Others were lost to fire (not all during the firestorm). But a handful still exist and can be found on Google Maps.

Four stars

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