Although it has not always been the case, Oakland now has a strong historic preservation community. There are five National Historic Landmarks, fifty-four sites on the National Register of Historic Places, and 13 California Historical Landmarks1 in Oakland. Oakland has not always had established civic organizations pressuring for preservation or have the City acknowledge that historic preservation was a worthwhile goal. During much of Oakland's history, as the city first experienced rapid growth and then government and developer intervention in shaping the built landscape, there was little concern for preserving historical properties or landmarks. Beginning in the 1960s and 1970s, local activists began pressing city government to recognize the value of preserving historic properties. The issue gained in prominence after the Loma Prieta earthquake since so many Oakland buildings were damaged during the quake and immediately closed. The City and preservation activists negotiated on a building-by-building level whether certain buildings and structures would be seismically retrofitted or demolished/closed permanently. This negotiation shaped the city's landscape permanently (ex: the Rotunda Building was retrofitted at a cost of millions of dollars; the central train station was closed permanently) and raised the profile of the issue of historic preservation. At least since 2000 (possibly earlier?), the City has given a higher priority to historic preservation. Its programs now include: the designation of historic districts (ex: Old Oakland), organization of Oakland walking tours, the completion of the Oakland Cultural Heritage Survey, and distribution of grants for the creation of books and other media about Oakland history.

Pages tagged “historic preservation”

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