Temescal Creek in Fernwood
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Temescal Creek is a major Oakland stream that drains the stretch of the north Oakland Hills between the watersheds of Strawberry Creek and Sausal Creek and debouches into San Francisco Bay in Emeryville. Its valley was dammed by Anthony Chabot in 1868 to form Oakland's first municipal-scale water supply, the water body now known as Lake Temescal.

The creek originates as spring-fed streams in the canyon leading to the Caldecott Tunnel and the hills above Thornhill Road in Montclair. Its main stream, formerly called Kohler Creek, runs openly through Fernwood to Lake Temescal, where it is joined by the Tunnel Branch. Its reach below the reservoir is almost entirely culverted. Farther downstream it is joined by Vicente Creek and Claremont (formerly called Harwood) Creek. It is briefly exposed east of Golden Gate Drive and in a few properties along Chabot Road, most notably St. Albert the Great Priory. The stretch of occasional running water in Oakland's Temescal Creek Park, parallel to Claremont Avenue between Clifton and Clarke Streets, is an artificial water feature; the culverted stream lies some 15 feet below. The culverted stream is also honored by interpretive monuments in the Logan residential building at 51st Street and Telegraph Avenue, at 4921 Shattuck Avenue by the post office building, and in Emeryville's Temescal Creek Park on 47th Street.

The creek was the principal stream in Jose Vicente Peralta's rancho, and his home was situated by the creek. The site was once an Ohlone village whose temescal sweat lodges were noted by early visitors in often lurid passages. The area along the creek above 51st Street was once known as Humboldt Park, with a garden and rifle shooting gallery.


  • Oakland Heritage Alliance News, Vol 4, issue 1.
  • Oakland Heritage Alliance News, Vol 11, issue 1.

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