old picture of park blvd.

Before it was known as Park Boulevard, the Glenview's main drag was known as Walker Street and an extension of 4th Avenue.

How well do you know your neighborhood? Before Mandela Parkway grew flowers, the Cypress Freeway threw shadows over West Oakland. Pre-dating the Uptown swing in fine downtown dining, dives like the Hof Brau hung signs with blinking lights on Broadway. And who would’ve known that the Fruitvale, a mecca for Hispanic foods and festivals, was lined with cherry orchards?

City history rests just below the concrete surface in our lovely, multi-layered Oakland. This summer, the Oakland Heritage Alliance continues its walking tour series. Inspired by the architecture, landscapes and people that have characterized the Town, a few armchair historians continue to lead the curious on several strolls through time.

image of park blvd. apartment building

Today, Park Boulevard has a mix of single-family and multi-unit homes.

Tomorrow, I invite you to join me on a stroll through the Glenview. Oakland History Room historian Kathleen DiGiovanni and I will traverse a hillside neighborhood and share the stories of a growing Oakland. Before the gourmet restaurants opened, ranchers raised cows and crops along Park Boulevard. A train carried passengers up Trestle Glen and loggers hauled redwood trunks down Park from the hills.

When the “Glenview Heights” subdivision, as it was called in 1925, took shape, settling space ran for $150 a foot. Some scrambled for homogeneity while others welcomed diversity with the Key Route streetcars that rambled up Park to Leimert. As one property owner put it, “Just picture another Oakland built almost entirely around the outside of the present city. That will give you some idea of the coming importance of Park Boulevard. The same owner now runs .It is going to be Oakland’s great north and south artery, and it cannot be paralleled.”

1925 map of "Glenview Heights"

The Oakland Tribune ran this map of "Glenview Heights" in 1925.

Saturday’s route will start at Glenview Elementary School, wind through Dimond Canyon and head up E. 38th toward Hampel, ending on Park’s business district. The tour lasts from 10 a.m. to noon.

For histories and poems from all corners of our city, check out Erika Mailman’s compilation “Oakland’s Neighborhoods.” You’ll find a complete listing of the Oakland Heritage Alliance tours here.

In today’s edition of Oakland Local, I wrote up yesterday’s Oaklavía festival. What a great ride!

I met several wonderful volunteers there, many of whom stationed themselves along the two-mile route to educate kids on safe bike riding. Did any of you G’view kiddos roll through the “Kids Bike Town”? Children and adults alike chalked traffic lanes in a mini-street scene along Broadway.

Chane, an organizer from Cycles of Change, spoke about her work and the ways of the road in Bike Town:

Cycles for Change recently helped escort kids from Glenview Elementary and Edna Brewer Middle schools to class on Bike 2 School Day. They also offer programs and information about safe road riding on their Web site. Check it out, have fun and be safe out there!

The long awaited Sushi Park restaurant has opened in the Glenview! No take-out menus are available at this time, but plenty of fish, wasabi and sake for in-house patrons. Tonight, for their grand opening, they’ll stay open until 10 p.m. Below will be their regular hours of operation:

~ chow times ~
11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. weekdays
5 p.m.–9:30 p.m. Mon.–Thu.
5 p.m.–10 p.m. Fri.
11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Saturday–Sunday

It’s hard to recognize the framing shop that once occupied this space. Nice to see the usual paper lanterns and bamboo that decorate other fave sushi joints like Grand Avenue’s Mijori. This Park Boulevard establishment has a more living room feel, with an intimate din, small tables and walls splashed with color. If I wasn’t headed out of town tomorrow, I’d drop in; looks like I’ll have to wait until Sunday evening.

This is my attempt at an artsy photo. Note the storefront sign, rosy sunset and welcome bouquet…and car parked curb-side, a sign of more traffic undoubtedly due in the Glenview. Guess we’ll all have to walk off the raw fish.

~ Sushi Park ~
4209 Park Blvd.
(510) 336-2388