Monday, June 18, 2012


Have you heard about the 1940 census archives being released to the public? Since I spent about four months last year playing around with genealogy, I got a couple of emails about it but it never occurred to me to search out information on our house. Duh. And then I saw Conan and Katherine's results on Keep Smiling and I realized it would be really quick and easy to dig up a few details about our house. The rumor was that at some point it was a lodging house for women, but I'm not sure how true that is given the size of our house and the decided lack of bathrooms up in this place.

Our house was built in 1916. History goes that this whole part of town was built to house workers at the Lusk Cannery.
 In the shadow of the 24 freeway in North Oakland sits the Temescal, one of the city's oldest and most storied neighborhoods. In fact, it began as a separate village, a stop along the railway line that ran up Telegraph Avenue from downtown Oakland to Berkeley. Given the current conditions in Oakland, it's perhaps ironic that the village voted to become part of the city in 1897 in an effort to obtain access to better police protection and public schools.
Over the course of its long existence, Temescal has boasted many landmarks. There was the Lusk Cannery, one of the world's largest fruit and vegetable packers in the last half of the 19th century. The Lusk grounds included a blacksmith, stables and men's and women's dormitories for the hundreds of employees (today, the Department of Motor Vehicles on Claremont Avenue occupies the spot). A Little Italy thrived on Telegraph, and just up the street sat Idora Park, an amusement park of wooden roller coasters, a skating rinks and games.
Incidentally, we wanted to buy a house in the Idora Park neighborhood - four blocks from here - but it had severe termite and water damage so we didn't even bid.

Anyhow, back to casacaudill. Outside of the neighborhood's origins, as I said, we hadn't really known much. But now I can definitively say that in 1940 a family of three from Yugoslavia - mom, dad, and daughter - lived in our humble abode. The value of our house back then? Four thousand dollars.

The most this house was ever valued at? $657,000. (Approximately three months after we bought it for $623,000 - today according to Zillow it hovers somewhere around $375,000 - $445,000 depending on the week/month/crime.)

If you have an historic home and you don't know much about its past, I strongly recommend you check out the website above. Seriously - it took me less than 10 minutes to find this information. There's really no excuse for not knowing. (Unless you simply don't care, and I really don't believe that to be true of old house owners.)


  1. Keepsmilinghome5:34 PM

    Very, very cool! Can you believe $4,000?! And a family from Yugoslavia, extra cool!

  2. From what I could tell from the records they were the only foreign family on the block. This isn't really an area known for its Slav population so that was definitely a neat surprise.


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