Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tribune Tower


Corner of 13th and Franklin, downtown Oakland.

The iconic Tribune Tower is a 21-story, 305 foot tall, office building located in downtown Oakland. It was completed in 1923 and was officially opened for business as the home of the Oakland Tribune newspaper on January 1st, 1924. From the date of it's opening, the image of the tower would appear on the masthead of the Tribune. The building currently houses offices and condominiums since the Tribune moved to new offices in Jack London Square in 2007.

The Tribune Tower is one my favorite landmarks in downtown Oakland. My route to and from work cuts through Chinatown and there are always some great views of the tower between buildings. As long as I have lived in Oakland the Tribune Tower has been an important landmark that helps me center myself in the East Bay.

In the 1930s Gertrude Stein returned to the United States for a lecture tour and, when she visited California, took some time to try and find her childhood home in Oakland. Unable to find her home she later wrote in her book Everybody's Autobiography that "the trouble with Oakland is that when you get there, there isn't any there there". As commentary on that quote, the Tribune Tower has occasionally flown a banner from the top of the building that reads simply "There".

There are lots of other sites to visit in the neighborhood as well. Preservation Park is just down the road, there are loads of historic buildings in the Old Oakland District, Jack London Square has a number of historic sites, and Lake Merritt,with it's many distinct sites, is just down the road.

Getting There By Bike...
You can't miss this giant, iconic building in the heart of downtown Oakland. The usual caveats regarding bike safety in downtown Oakland apply, with special emphasis on riding through China Town. Early in the day there are a lot of produce and delivery trucks that can take up two (or three) lanes. As an added bonus, the original site of the College of California is located catty-corner to the Tribune Tower. There is a plaque and some information regarding the site on the side of the parking garage that now stands on the site.

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