Since Thanksgiving is a time to look back and honor our collective roots, we decided this 1953 map might trigger a few shared memories. Cartographer H.M. Gousha produced street maps like this one for good ‘ole Esso, which handed them out free (!) at their gas stations.
Over a half-century ago, Oakland looked quite different than today. This map shows Route 50 rather than Interstate 80! And most of the freeways weren’t even built yet, including Routes 13, 580, 880 and 980.
The Caldecott Tunnel sported fewer tubes as well, since the third tube was added in 1964. Imagine what commuting was like back then, as you traveled along local roads like Route 24 and Broadway. We can’t complain there.
This map also depicts green-colored parks in our hills. Redwood Regional Park’s been correctly labeled, while Sibley Volcanic Preserve is still called Round Top. Huckleberry and Leona Canyon Parks are missing, as the East Bay Regional Park District hadn’t planted flags yet.
The City of Oakland’s parks are virtually ignored here, and we think that’s due to the map scale. There’s one notable exception: Joaquin Miller Park is given an appropriate position of honor.
Were you or your families living in Oakland in the 1950s? Maybe things were a little slower and kinder, though we won’t pass judgment about whether they were the good old days.