Keep Oakland Beautiful Point Of Interest: Bank Of America Building.

Keep Oakland Beautiful Points of Interest remind us of how interesting and beautiful Oakland is and why we should care about protecting it. Please click on the photos to enlarge and clarify them.

Located on Broadway, between 12th and 13th Streets, the Bank Of America Building is one of downtown Oakland’s older landmarks. Built in the first decade of the 20th century as an eight-story building, it was originally referred to as the Oakland Bank of Savings Building. An 18-story tower was added during the 1920s. When the Oakland Bank of Savings was taken over by the Bank of America during the Great Depression year of 1929, the building has henceforth been called the Bank of America Building.


The newer Bank of America tower, rising above the original eight story building.

Both sections of the building are framed in steel and faced with brick. The tower sits on a three-story granite base. The earlier, eight-story section is Beaux Arts-style with a decorated, terra cotta entablature sitting on the rectangular base like a table top (hence the term, ‘entablature’). The rim of the entablature is festooned with lion heads.


Lion heads surround the top of the original eight story section of the Bank of America Building.

The architectural ornamentation is said to be Renaissance and Baroque. While the origin of these styles harkens back to Italian architecture of five hundred years ago, I detect a hint of Asian influence in the tower. The ‘crown’ at the top, the ‘wedding cake’ stack, and the way the architectural flourishes seem to curl up at the four corners of the cornices on the top two sections of the tower are reminiscent of a Buddhist temple. What do you think?

IMG_7418               temple

 Bank of America tower, Oakland, California                      Golden Temple, Kyoto, Japan.

As a test of eyesight, see if you can discern the flying duck (or goose?) sculpture atop the tower’s flagpole.


Bird sculpture on the Bank of America Building’s flagpole.

Suffice it to say, there are plenty of interesting things to see high up on the Bank of America Building in downtown Oakland. As the saying goes, ‘they don’t make ‘em like they used to.’

Keeping Oakland Beautiful is everybody’s business.

We encourage you to share your thoughts in the reply section. We welcome the dialogue and learning of others’ perspectives.

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