Building Faith and Justice on International Boulevard

This Origins and Legacy of Allen Temple Baptist Church…   The area around International Boulevard and 85th Avenue is somewhat typical for East Oakland. There are many local businesses, auto shops, and beauty salons along with the local headquarters for the Boys & Girls Club of Oakland. There are also many of the same the crises that plague this very large neighborhood that borders San Leandro—crime, drugs, and especially prostitution. Here is where the Allen Temple Baptist Church resides. The structure was built without commemorating its ministry with steeples or elaborate architecture, but instead with a legacy of social conscious leaders with an ever growing charitable ministry. The church preaches with actions as much as with sermons as if in adherence to Gospel of James’ declaration that “faith without works is dead.” Here are some of the programs the church offers: Health Education that is focused on physical, mental, emotional, […]

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Chinatown and the Empress of Heaven

A Tour of San Francisco Chinatown and the Tin How Temple…   The Chinese immigrants that built the San Francisco Chinatown wanted to bring their home with them. The goal was to create a city within a city. They had their own businesses, newspapers, governing institutions, commerce centers, and religious spaces. While embracing America and opportunities for fortune, they kept their culture and community. This is why Chinatown is such a culturally rich landscape and beloved community for locals and tourist alike. A perfect example of the rich traditions transposed to America is the Tin How Buddhist Temple.   The Chinese in San Francisco Many Chinese migrated to California for work and fortune hunting. They called California the Gold Mountain. Struggling through hardships and a hostile new homeland, they sought to create a space for themselves in San Francisco. Rising out of the Portsmouth Plaza, in between Clay and Kearny […]

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The Serenity of Lake Merritt

America’s First Wildlife Preserve and Oakland’s Crown Jewel…   Lake Merritt is not a lake. It’s the first thing you should know about Oakland’s urban waterpark. It’s a tidal lagoon or estuary.  Formed roughly 12,000 years ago after the end of the last Ice Age, the lagoon has been reshaped over the last 150 years into a water park. Lake Merritt, originally known as Laguna Peralta, is fed by a canal that flows under the Nimitz Freeway, seeping saltwater between itself and the Bay. For many, Lake Merritt is an excellent way to spend a weekend afternoon. The calm waters of the lake and the dissident of migrating birds create a serene atmosphere amongst the urban sprawl. The depth of the Lake’s history and what it offers Oakland is worth discovering.   A Short History of America’s First Wildlife Preserve Lake Merritt was originally the home of Ohlone Indians that […]

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La Mujeres Muralistas and the Fantasy on 24th Street

Deep in the Mission District on 24th street between York and Bryant is a small children’s park nestled between two businesses–Five Markets Groceries and La Mexicana Bakery. The park includes small play areas for young children, a water fountain, seating spaces, and on the edifices of the neighboring structures are a series of colorful murals. One of these murals that decorates the surface of a three story building is called “Fantasy World for Children.” It  was painted by some very important women in the history of the Mission. A Miniature Park for 24th Street The park is one of many of its kind in San Francisco called “Mini Parks.” The history of these parks, all 44 of them, are a cornerstone of the city’s philanthropic and community spirit, exemplified by its plethora of community leaders and city administrators. The origins of the parks came out of the same time period […]

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Digging Up the Foundations of Sutro Tower

Sutro Tower from Glenbrook Avenue

The Origins and History of San Francisco’s TV Tower…   Sutro Tower has stood on top of Mount Sutro so long that it is hard remembering a time when it wasn’t there. I was born two months before its patriotic birthday on July 4th, 1973; and so, for me, it has nearly always resided over the city. It has been celebrated and panned by locals and visitors alike. Herb Caen always had the best insults for the tower, such as “”I keep waiting for it to stalk down the hill and attack the Golden Gate Bridge” or visualizing it to a “giant erector set that was stalking to march down and eat…” Fritz Leiber, in the opening of his novel Our Lady of Darkness called it “The TV tower — San Francisco’s Eiffel, you could call it — was broad-shouldered, slender-waisted, and long-legged like a beautiful and stylish woman — […]

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