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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

Glenview Elementary Day of Action

Glenview Elementary has learned that its principal, Ms. Dietra Atkins, is retiring. The Oakland Unified School District, as it searches for a replacement, has also indicated it will lay off the school’s beloved secretary, Ms. Yolanda Brown.

Ms. Brown is not just any secretary. She is loved by the staff, students and families of Glenview Elementary. As one concerned Glenview Elementary parent said, “Ms Yolanda Brown has been with our school for 12 years and is an incredible resource to the children, faculty and staff. She is the heart of our school. To lose Ms. Brown in the wake of losing our principle presents a unique hardship to our school and could impact our continuing success.”

This concerned parent has written a form letter and petition to send the OUSD Superintendent. She asks that you sign it online today so she can send a message that Ms. Brown’s position should be retained.

Here is the form letter that appears on the online petition:

TO: Tony Smith, Superintendent, Oakland Unified School District
CC: Mynette Theard, SEIU Local 1021

I am writing to ask that Yolanda Brown’s removal from Glenview Elementary School be reconsidered in light of her extensive years of service to our school and the need to retain as much school-wide continuity as possible while we are in transition to a new principal. The loss of Yolanda Brown – during the same year as the loss of Glenview’s longtime principal, Deitra Atkins, who together represent two-thirds of Glenview’s administrative staff – would be devastating and deeply disruptive to our school’s continued, but still vulnerable, success.

During her 12-year tenure at Glenview, Yolanda has worked diligently to support the principal, teachers, parents, and most importantly, the students. Yolanda is honest, kind and cool under pressure. Current and prospective parents often comment on Yolanda’s warm yet professional demeanor, and she is often the first person that speaks to prospective parents interested in sending their child to Glenview. For that reason, Yolanda has been a tremendous asset in helping the school recruit involved families. These families can see, from their initial conversations with Yolanda, that we have a very special community here at our school.

Along with dedicated teachers and parents, Ms. Brown has worked diligently to facilitate Glenview’s evolution into a vibrant, successful school community. In fact, over the course of her tenure, Glenview’s API has increased from 618 in 1999 to 835 in 2010. The District cannot afford to lose her at this time and risk letting Glenview slide backwards.

Yolanda is also key to a successful transition with our new principal. A secretary like Ms. Brown, who has been with Glenview for 12 years, can bring a type of support to a new principal that no operations coach can. From her deep understanding of each family’s circumstances (she knows every parent and child’s name!) to her unparalleled institutional memory, Yolanda’s administrative presence is essential to our upcoming transition.

We know that the district has spent significant time and resources during its principal “matching” process. Retaining Ms. Brown will leverage this financial investment and greatly increase the odds of a new principal’s success. Indeed, experiences at other OUSD schools have demonstrated that a solid administrative foundation is key to the success of a new principal.

To conclude, we ask that you retain Yolanda Brown at Glenview. We understand that the decision to lay-off Ms. Brown is not final and that OUSD can still change this outcome. We implore that despite OUSD’s short-term economic turmoil, it prevent long-term turmoil by doing everything in its power to retain Yolanda Brown at Glenview Elementary.

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