I just discovered the Dimond District of Oakland is celebrating Oktoberfest a traditional German celebration. The Presco Children spent much time playing in Dimond Park and shopped in Dimond where our great grandfather, William Broderick, and his wife, Alice Stuttmiester-Broderick, lived. Above is a post card addressed to Willie using the Dimond P.O. and the city of Fruitvale that is no more, it becoming a part of Oakland. This is a very rare address. I am going to investigate about donating it to the Dimond Association which saved the Dimond Post Office. I am going to try to make this P.O. a sister P.O. of the Eugene P.O.
I attended several Boy Scout events in Dimond Park where we swam in the pool and the creek. As kids, we built dams up and down Sausal Creek. Dimond Canyon was our backyard. There was a walkway from San Sebastion Avenue that took you to Park Blvd. that travails Dimond Canyon. On the other side is a trail that used to be a Stagecoach road.
Hugh Dimond owned the land where he built a commercial laundry plant that washed linen and clothes brought across the bay from San Francisco that had problems with a fresh and clean water supply. There was a dryng problem with the fog. The clothes were unloaded at a dock in the estuary and brought up 9th. Avenue.
‘The Dimond’ is acquiring a identity if its own. We were an admixture of German families who came to own a fruit farm below ‘The Hights’ the Poet and Artist Colony founded by the Pre-Raphaelite Poet, Joaquin Miller who used to escort my grandmother, Melba Charlotte Broderick to San Francisco on the Fruit Vale Trolly. Mott had plans for Sausal Creek similar to the Woodminster Cascade that was the vision of Jaunita Miller who sponsored a play about the Pre-Raphaelites. Then there is the Janke theme park across the by in Belmont.
Below is a the image of Rena Easton that was made into a poster for the University of Nebraska Oktoberfest. We stayed on Congress Ave. The painting I did of my muse inspired my late sister, Christine Rosamond, to take up art. It takes awhile for a city or place to be branded. My family history is now a huge part of that branding.
President: Royal Rosamond Press.
In recent years, some have started to include the article “the” in front of Dimond, as in “I live in the Dimond” or “Oaktoberfest in the Dimond.” Some long-time residents prefer the usage without the article “the”: for example, “I live in Dimond” or “I went shopping in Dimond today.” For them, saying “the Dimond District” is acceptable, however.
While San Francisco hosted its 118th annual Oktoberfest last week, Oakland celebrated its German heritage with its first-ever Oktoberfest in the Dimond district, centered at MacArthur Boulevard and Fruitvale Avenue.
The Oct. 4th event showcased local bands and breweries, community businesses, Dimond history, German food and dance, traditional “oompah” music and an open-air beer garden reminiscent of the many German American social clubs and entertainment halls that lined MacArthur Boulevard from the 1890s until mid-century.
Although the Dimond is known now for its diverse Asian and Latino influences it was once the center of the East Bay’s German American community. By the turn of the century, the Dimond and much of Fruitvale had a reputation as an area of German beer gardens, fruit orchards, dairy farms and parks, according to the Oakland Heritage Alliance’s newsletter.
I am the third scout from the right. The photo above was taken by Melba Broderick on the Russian River. I am on the left. I look like my grandson, Tyler Hunt.
In 1895 Charles Tepper, a German army captain, bought land along Hopkins Street, now MacArthur Boulevard, just west of Fruitvale Avenue and built a two-story hotel, a dance hall, and garden surrounding these that shaded a picnic area. Nearby Tepper’s Gardens was Neckhaus Gardens, Bauerhofer’s Gardens and the Hermitage, which was famous for its “French dinners and dancing girls,” according to a Sept. 16, 1962 article of the Oakland Tribune.
While this may be the Dimond’s first Oktoberfest, Jean Langmuir, a librarian in the Oakland history room of the Oakland Public Library, also found a 1963 program for “Deutscher Tag,” or German Day, held on Oct. 13 by the United German American Society of the East Bay. The society, which still exists today, celebrated German American heritage with German big bands and patriotic songs on East 14th Street – International Boulevard.
Tepper’s was eventually closed by the enforcement of Prohibition. The Dimond Improvement Association, which sponsored last Saturday’s festival, pored over city archives to pinpoint precisely where Tepper’s beer garden stood in order to build the Oktoberfest garden in the same spot, according to librarian Kathleen DiGiovanni.
There, said the 1962 Tribune article, “gay merrymakers” ate bratwurst and spaetzle, danced German polka and sipped beers from Brooklyn Brewery on East 14th Street. Horse-drawn coaches and double-decker, mohair-upholstered streetcars of the Highland Park and Fruitvale lines delivered loads of revelers to the gardens’ gates and to the many German American businesses along now-MacArthur Boulevard.
Daniel Swafford, who is on the board of the DIA, said the association had been thinking of bringing back the beer hall tradition to the area for many years. After the success of the street festival celebrating the building of Farmer Joe’s on Fruitvale Avenue a few years ago, which he estimated 5,000 people attended, the association decided that an Oktoberfest celebration was a natural fit for the history of the area.
He remembered his grandmother, who had lived in the district since the 1930s, telling him stories of the glory days of the area, when it was an entertainment and shopping hotspot. The building that is now Farmer Joe’s was a vaudeville theater in the ’20s, later a movie theater, and the Dimond also featured an ice skating rink and bowling alley.
The building that was Tepper’s hotel still stands just behind the 2 Star Market on MacArthur Boulevard, which along with the German elderly home Altenheim, established in 1893, are the only surviving landmarks of the old German community of the Dimond and Upper Fruitvale. But with the revival of the neighborhood’s past social and cultural heritage, residents of the Dimond district are strengthening new communities in the area by bringing them together to socialize and celebrate.
It is named after Hugh Dimond, who came to California during the Gold Rush and purchased the land comprising the district in 1867. In 1897 he built a cottage that used the adobe bricks from the Peralta family’s 1827 home. The bricks were used again to build the Boy Scout hut that is still standing in Dimond Park. Oakland’s Camp Dimond was located at the head of Dimond Canyon where the present day Montera Middle School is located.
A flowery description of the Dimond from 1896 titled “Dimond the Beautiful” says “Fruitvale is for beauty one of the notable avenues in this country.” 2
[Found two great old Dimond District photos (see below) from shortly after the turn of the last century. Not sure which of the Dimond District neighborhood entries/pages each of them belongs, but will be happy to move them if some handy map expert points out the correct locale.][this is an ongoing issue that i have never felt like resolving 🙂 one day! i don’t think your sources made it over though, just the footnote. -gk] [ Just an educated guess, present day foliage changes the skyline but the picture on the left seems to be where present day Lincoln Ave. intersects MacArthur Blvd [Hopkins]. The street at the bottom of the hill on the left, would be Champion St. ] [Hopkins/MacArthur continued up to the hill in the distance but veers left (the hill is Excelsior Ave) around to the front of the tall church looking building, which is (I believe) present day Altenheim Senior Housing as it was in the 1950s to present day. At the very bottom of Hopkins just past Champion St would have been the intersection of then Fruit-vale and Hopkins, the main shopping area for the Dimond District. le]
The name (originally Fruit Vale) comes from the many fruit orchards (largely apricot and cherry) which dominated the area in the late 19th century. After the 1906 earthquake, the onslaught of refugees from San Francisco caused a population boom, and the unincorporated neighborhood was annexed into the City of Oakland by 1909.
The Fruitvale shopping district is located along International Boulevard (formerly East 14th Street), from Fruitvale Avenue to 38th Avenue and is one of the major commercial areas of Oakland.
In an era of severe budget cuts, the Dimond Neighborhood Association has a success story it can happily tell: members led an effort to keep the neighborhood post office from being closed, and succeeded–with what the US Postal Service called one of the best organized campaigns they had ever seen.
A steering committee of 17 neighbors organized residents, who then, collected over 7,000 signatures (in a postal district with 12,000 residents), meet with city council members and lobbied everyone they could think of for help. The outcome: the closure was rolled back and the PO will remain open.
What’s sweet to me is not only how these folks mobilized and made it happen, but how they used their Yahoo groups, email, and tech tools to support the project. The photo album of the party and the YouTube videos are good reminders of how powerful these tools can be to tell a story–and they’re fun to see.
Here’s some of the YouTube video and photos they posted..”