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The spirited Oakland neighborhood of Rockridge has been spotlighted in the national media twice in recent years. Hard-hit by a disastrous fire and named a top livable neighborhood by a national magazine, the north Oakland neighborhood has had a diverse and eventful history. Early booms in commerce and population pushed Oakland city boundaries east and north through farmland, toward the university town of Berkeley, and the neighborhood of Rockridge was formed. Shaped by its farms, homes, streetcars, interurban trains, shops, markets, movie houses, a quarry, and Oakland’s first reservoir, Rockridge’s story is one of hard labor in the quarry and the practice of the fine arts, of ethnic markets and the short-lived grand estates of mining tycoons, of the taming of wild creeks and the subdivision of open spaces. The town witnessed experiments in planned development, the effect of freeways and rapid transit, changes brought by the Depression and World War II, the transformation of College Avenue, and trends in home building that today allow the landscape to reveal Rockridge’s history.
About the Author
Author Robin Wolf is a sociologist and former professor at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill. Tom Wolf is a U.S. and Oakland historian and has retired from teaching at Laney College in Oakland. They are both 38-year residents of Rockridge.