28 February 2011

Oakland Marathon neighborhood tour - # 16 - Adams Point

From West Oakland the marathon course heads east on 28th and 27th Streets crossing the early part of the course on Broadway in Auto Row heading for the north shore of Lake Merritt and the Adams Point neighborhood.

For me, this area brings back my earliest adult memories of Oakland, because I lived for about six months in this neighborhood in 1979 when I worked for TWA in San Francisco.

I would get reaquainted with it many years later when I met my partner Keith in 1995, who lived there then. 

Grand Avenue is the main drag and commercial area of the Adams Point neighborhood.  To the north of Grand as far as I-580 it is virtually all residential.  To the south is beautiful Lakeside Park and Lake Merritt.  Lakeside Park includes a number of distinct features including Children's Fairyland and the Garden Center, among others.  (The course of the race provides a nice tour of the park.)

Adams Point contains an interesting mix of housing, consisting of a few tall relatively modern buildings, beautiful apartments from the 1920s through the 1940s, and some mostly not-so attractive apartments from the 1950s and later.  Additionally, there are some grand homes of the early 20th century, some of which remain single-family residences while others have been divided into apartments.


The picture at right is of a pagoda-like bandstand in Lakeshore Park with the mid-century modern Kaiser headquarters building behind it. 

The picture above is slightly misleading as, in fact, an arm of Lake Merritt lies between the bandstand and the Kaiser building.  The path that you see hugging the shore of Lake Merritt endures the footsteps of who-knows-how-many runners each day.

A purist would not really say the location of Oakland's new Catholic cathedral ("Cathedral of Christ the Light") is in Adam's Point, but it's steps away and an impressive modern structure.

Bellevue Street curves through Lakeside Park.

The magnificent building you see that dominates this picture is the Bellevue-Staten, an apartment building (now a condominium) built in 1929.

Keith and his family called it "The Princess" and it's fitting.

A close look at the facade at the entrance to the Bellevue-Staten building.
A gentle slope from Lakeside Park dotted with Oakland's namesake oaks and other trees.

This 1920s apartment building on Bellevue was where I lived for a brief time in 1979.

Surprised to know that Oakland has a Whole Foods?  It does.  At Harrison, 27th Street turns into Bay Place which in turn ends three short blocks later at Grand Avenue.  Runners pass in front of Whole Foods just before passing the 22-mile mark in the race.

The building is a clever example of adaptive reuse.  Vacant since the mid 1990s, it had been a Cadillac showroom since the 1920s, but had originally been built in the 1890s as a power station for a streetcar system.  Whole Foods opened here in 2007.

Oakland Marathon neighborhood tour - navigational links:
Backward to: West Oakland
Forward to: Lakeshore
Oakland Marathon website

1 comment:

  1. Whole Foods is a great re-use of one-time auto dealership, from the days when cars were sold in grand showrooms. But too bad that the elegant structure that once stood on the Catholic cathedral site was demolished; it was once a lavish Packard showroom, from the days when Packards were the wheels of presidents and movie stars.