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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. 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.


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

This week organizers of Glenview Elementary’s Read-A-Thon, Co-Chairs Megan Simmons & Suzanne McKaig-Laber, announced that the festival raised more than $35,000. And the donations are still coming in. Eric Londgren, a Glenview Elementary parent who photographed the event, shares his images with OaklanderOnline.

Glenview Elementary students make bookmarks and door hangers in the library.

The Dr. Seuss classic, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” marked the theme of Glenview Elementary’s 12th Annual Read-A-Thon, which kicked off on what would have been author’s 106th birthday. For two-weeks, students gathered sponsors for their after-school reading.

Readers log their book hours to raise money for school enrichment programs.

Back in February, Oakland Tribune columnist Martin Snapp posted on his blog that one Glenview Elementary’s second grade teacher reprised his promise from last year. Mr. Miller pledged that if his students clocked 2,000 hours, he would shave his head.

Snapp quoted Mr. Miller: ”We won’t have to sweep up afterward. The kids think a clump of my hair would be a great souvenir, so they scoop it up as soon as it hits the ground.”

The Glenview Elementary PTA organized the event to "to inspire the importance of reading as a fundamental skill."

The culminating event came on March 16 with “Celebration of Literacy Day.” Students sporting their PJs brought sleeping bags, pillows and books to every classroom, as if to stage a Read-In. Every hour students spent with a book translated into funds for enrichment programs that were impacted by state budget cuts.

KPIX-TV (Channel 5) anchor Wendy Tokuda made an appearance on Celebrating Literacy Day.

Neighbors, parents and local celebrities came out in support of literacy. Glenview resident Jon Carroll, columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, dropped by Mr. Miller’s portable to read. He shared a picture book about a farmer named Mr. McGreeley, whose garden had a bad case of hungry bunnies.

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll reads to Mr. Miller and his class.

As for their goal, Mr. Miller’s class fared very well in its efforts. They came just a hair short of the 2,000 needed to win the bet.

“But, I figured in this economy we did really well,” Mr. Miller told the class. “So soon the lady who owns the Cutting Place will come by to shave it off.”

Carroll introduced himself as someone who has loved his job for thirty years. “I like to write about my cats,” Carroll shared with the group. One student responded, “Will you write about the Read-A-Thon?”

And the next week, he kept his promise. The March 26 issue of the Montclairion pictured an exuberant crowd of second graders surrounding Mr. Miller’s new buzz cut. Eric Londgren returned to photograph the event:

LeAnn from the Cutting Place performed the head-shaving in Mr. Miller's classroom.

The hair shearing continued as second graders looked on.

The last lock of hair was shorn…

The students sweep up their souvenirs…

Students swept up their souvenirs…

…and Mr. Miller has another year to grow until his next Read-A-Thon challenge.

Overall, Glenview Elementary’s Read-A-Thon was a success, surpassing its goal by more than $5,000. The students brought in more than 90% of the total raised; other sponsors included businesses like Ultimate Grounds. The neighborhood coffee shop hosted the kick-off event, which donated a coffee and bagel for each $20 donation.

Event Co-Chair Suzanne McKaig-Laber said this was her second year participating in the event. She said she appreciated that the Read-A-Thon spans two weeks.

“It’s very cool to have this concentrated period of time for the community businesses to get involved in donations,” she said, “and kids to really hunker down and focus on reading as a priority. This event really got my 1st grade daughter reading on her own which was exciting.”

McKaig-Laber also noted that the Celebration of Literacy Day was a highlight. “Hearing personal stories about how moved the readers were,” she recalled, “and seeing how inspired the students were made for a truly energizing community event.”