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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Neighboring Neighborhood: Oakland Point

When I tell people about PCL, I'm often asked, "what's the neighborhood like?" Recent posts about new business and also all of the neighborhood amenities talk about the neighborhood today, but its also got great history. Marcus Johnson, a frequent contributor to the PCL blog, also posts great historical facts about the neighborhood on his Prescott-Oakland Point Neighborhood blog. A recent post (copied below) gives a good overview, but Marcus also writes a lot of detailed posts about great jazz musicians and other famous residents, the mixed income and racial diversity of the neighborhood, and cool historical quirks. Check his blog out at popna.blogspot.com

The Oakland Point Story


The Oakland Point District, a neighborhood of over 800 homes extending roughly from 8th to 16th Streets and from Pine Street to Mandela Parkway, is Oakland’s oldest and most intact Victorian residential neighborhood. Important themes in Oakland Point’s history include its settlement as an 1860s suburb, its intimate association with the railroad which promoted its growth in the 1870s, and its ethnic heritage.

The Central Pacific (later Southern Pacific) Railroad arrived in Oakland in 1869, establishing the western terminus of the transcontinental railroad at the Point. The railroad yards and shops were established in the early 1870s, and by 1878 the neighborhood was largely built up.

The Point was almost a “company town,’’ in that a high percentage of its residents worked for the railroad or in related industries, at all economic levels from laborers to executives. Seventh Street along the main rail line became a renowned business and entertainment district.

Oakland Point is remembered as a melting pot of many ethnic groups over the years - first Yankee and Irish and Northern European, then Italian and Slavic, Asian, and African-American. African-Americans have a long and prominent history in the neighborhood, beginning with the Pullman Porters who settled at the terminus in the earliest days of the railroad. They became a majority in the area during and after World War II, and established many thriving businesses and churches in Oakland Point.

Source: case number: LM04-001; pg 8, FORM LPAB-4, Oakland Landmark and S-7 Preservation Combining Zone Application Form

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