Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Oakland Grab Bag, Redux
Another list of historical sites from around Oakland and Berkeley. These are all cool, and totally worth a visit, I just don't have enough to say about them to justify a full blog entry. Enjoy!
Founder's Rock, UC Berkeley
Founder's Rock is supposedly the spot where the twelve trustees of UC Berkeley first stood when they dedicated the university. It is also the spot where the city of Berkeley was named, taking its name from Bishop Berkeley, an 18th century philosopher best known for his theory of "immaterialism", which basically means that nothing exists unless it's being directly perceived by a reasoning being. Therefore, Founder's Rock, and the city that is named after him, don't exist if we don't perceive them every now and again. Do your part to maintain the physical existence of the city of Berkeley and go perceive Founder's Rock some time. It's located on the corner of Hearst and Gayley.
Ohlone Shell Mound
The Ohlone Shell Mound historical site is located in the Bay Street Shopping District in Emeryville. Once upon a time, this site was covered by a series of midden piles, basically kitchen trash, that had been accumulated over roughly 2,800 years by the local Ohlone tribes. It is estimated that the original hill stood nearly 60 feet tall, and some 350 feet in diameter. However, destruction of the site began almost as soon as Europeans started settling in the area. In the first part of the 20th century there was an amusement park and race track built on top of the site, then there was a variety of industrial facilities. In the late-'90s the city of Emeryville removed the industrial facilities and built the mall that stands there currently. The shell mounds are still there, under all of the construction, and any time there's construction or groundbreaking they call in archaeologists to check out whatever they dig up.
Union Pacific Depot
The old Union Pacific Depot is right in the middle of Jack London Square, on the corner of Third and Broadway. I rode by it many, many times without realizing it was a train station. The first time I went looking for it I thought to myself, "That's a train station. How on earth did I not notice that?" Oh well. It doesn't connect to any rails and has been converted to offices and commercial space.
The American Bag Company
The American bag company is known for having pioneered the re-using and re-selling of cleaned, repaired burlap bags, something that was shocking and new at the time. They primarily sold their products to rail and shipping companies and produced a wide array of bags and bag-like materials. The building is on the corner of Third and Jackson in Jack London Square.