Montclair Village, Back in 1947

Back in 1947, Montclair Village’s commercial district already existed and was fully platted.  As portrayed by this official map, our village should look familiar to modern-day Montclarions.

In the map, it’s easy to locate Mountain, LaSalle and Antioch — including the Coffee Central triangle.  You’ll also find some parking, with six (see the encircled “6”) spots designated on Moraga Avenue.

Sure, there are a few changes.  All those empty lots have been built out and transformed many times.  Now the Sacramento Northern is kaput, while Highway 13 rumbles alongside the Village.

Yet we still find comfort in what hasn’t changed in nearly 65 years.

Where Restoration Plans Came True

This weekend, the Oakland Heritage Alliance offers a first-ever walking tour through Shepherd Canyon.  When the trains stopped running, decades ago, the State considered and abandoned highway development plans.  It’s time to imagine what might have been, and to appreciate how long-term, low-impact plans came true.

In 1975, the City of Oakland prepared the first Shepherd Canyon Corridor Plan and Environment Impact Report.  The documents covered a wide range of development and criteria for the canyon.  Some 12.6 acres were set aside for the Railroad Trail, along with another 5.4 acres allocated to the Shepherd Creek Trail.  There’s been slow, but steady, restoration progress since then.

Mother Nature has pushed projects along this year, especially to improve driving and walking conditions.  In 2011, the City has been installing necessary storm drains along with guard rails.  Some openings in the rails, for walker access, are getting cut soon.  Even with budget crunches, Oakland’s Measure B made this nearly three-quarter million spend possible.

The Shepherd Canyon Park and trails have come alive through local volunteers, like all of our Montclair nature-scapes.  Beyond the actively used soccer play fields, there have been efforts to remove trash, clear brush, build benches, install signs and create welcome gates.  The trails are (always) a work-in-progress, yet are very nice already.

The Oakland Heritage Alliance (OHA) has awarded Shepherd Canyon with a Partners In Preservation award, especially for its interpretative signs and improvements.  For their Saturday tour, they have asked Mike Petouhoff to lead a two-hour tour on the trails.  As Shepherd Canyon Homeowner Association (SCHA) president, Mike is our resident expert on all-things Shepherd Canyon — and you’re guaranteed to learn a lot!

More info: The Shepherd Canyon walking tour takes off from the Montclair Recreation Center (map).  You will need comfortable walking shoes, though it’s not a difficult trek.  This tour runs from 10 am-noon, and may end up with a lingering lunch in the Village.  Please show up a few minutes early to register.  As an OHA benefit, donations are requested:  $15/non-members; $10/members; $5/kids; free/kids under 10 years old.

Update: Our Oakland took the Shepherd Canyon walking tour and reported it here. Also check out all the accompanying photos.

Poor U.S. Bankers!

Did you hear the news?  This morning, there was a stick-up at the U.S. Bank branch in Montclair.  Fortunately, the bankers are fine.

Yes, just like the old days, the descendants of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid came into the Village and left quickly.  We’re guessing they haven’t left the country, this time.

The U.S. Bank branch, right in the heart of our Village, feels local.  Their employees had worked at a smaller bank, which was purchased by this major institution a couple years ago.   They continue to support and participate in all kinds of community activities.

Roger Vickery, Montclair Village Association (MVA) director, was able to speak with staff.  “No one was hurt but all were pretty shaken-up as you might expect,” he reported. “The bank was closed for the rest of the day while the OPD [Oakland Police Department] reviewed video and the crime scene.”

Go get ’em, OPD.

Safeway Redwood: Impact On Montclair?

Safeway’s been slowly upgrading their Oakland stores.  They did renovate the Montclair location a few years ago, to give Lucky’s a run for their money.

Now the small, old Safeway on Redwood Road, at Lincoln Square, is getting its day in the sun.  Unlike other Oakland spots where potential upgrades would impact traffic and walking flows, this Safeway sits in the back of an existing parking lot.

Thus far, Safeway has asked for online supporters and their inputs.  Over 230 locals have already applauded the renovation news.  And now, let the quibbling over features and amenities begin.

Libby Schaaf, our District 4 Council Rep, is planning a meeting to gauge comments, ideas and concerns on a broader scale.  We think that’s a good move, given the hoopla with other Safeway renovations.

Montclarions probably don’t and won’t frequent this location too much.  Yet some of these new Safeway supporters, who live further East,  have mentioned they will stop heading to Montclair to shop.  We’re wondering if we should start getting concerned about how these improvements might impact our faire village.

Great Replacement For Wine And Jazz Festival

Since the Montclair Wine and Jazz Festival is but a distant memory, we offer a local replacement that sounds even better:  the first-ever Oakland Jazz Festival on Saturday afternoon.

This jazz concert takes place on the lawn, at Dunsmuir Estate (map).  Starting tomorrow at high noon and running all day, you may revel in the beauty and beats.  Elation will set you back about $60/head plus parking — and prepare to spend more on drinks and food, once inside the gates.

Here’s the line-up:

  • KEM — Blending Gospel, R & B and Jazz, KEM’s unique sound is sophisticated and hypnotic.
  • Boney James — Billboard ranked, as the No. 3 Top Contemporary Jazz Artist of the Decade.
  • Will Downing — A velvet voice, a sultry sound, and a vocal range of seduction.
  • Lalah Hathaway — Daughter of 70’s soulster Donny Hathaway, a “textured and layered” singer.
  • Ray Obiedo — Ray and his Latin Jazz band are guaranteed to get your hips and feet moving.
  • Lloyd Gregory — The Bay Area’s own ultra-talented jazz guitarist.
  • Rick & Russ Show — Spinning in-between each set, creating a real party atmosphere.

If you are in a musical frame-of-mind, then we think this variety of jazz singers and players is worth the money.  Don’t you agree?