Keep Oakland Beautiful Points of Interest remind us of how interesting and beautiful Oakland is and why we should care about protecting it.
Historical map of Oakland and neighboring Brooklyn.
Did you know that part of what is now East Oakland was once called Brooklyn? Established in 1856 by combining the settlements of Clinton and San Antonio, Brooklyn was a town until annexed by neighboring Oakland in 1872. Just southeast of Lake Merritt and stretching to San Leandro Creek, Brooklyn was home, among other things, to Brooklyn Brewery, the Tubbs Hotel, and several churches.
The town of Brooklyn got its name from the sailing ship that delivered 200 Mormon settlers to California in 1846. Built in Maine, but originating from the port of New York, the Brooklyn sailed southeast, reaching the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa before turning southwest to parallel the South American coast and round Cape Horn.
The Brooklyn stopped at Isla Mas a Tierra (a.k.a., Robinson Crusoe’s island in the Juan Fernandez Islands, off the coast of central Chile) to take on some much needed supplies. It then sailed on, bound for the Sandwich Islands (now the Hawaiian Islands).
After unloading cargo in Honolulu, the Brooklyn headed northeast, passing through the Golden Gate and landing at Yerba Buena (soon to experience a gold rush and become known as San Francisco). In the process, the Brooklyn became the second ship to enter ‘the Bay of San Francisco’ after the American flag was raised in northern California (the first ship being the USS Portsmouth which was in the bay when the Brooklyn arrived). The Brooklyn was also the first ship known to have sailed men, women, and children around Cape Horn and on to what would later become the State of California.
Painting of the ship, Brooklyn.
Today, what was once the town of Brooklyn can be glimpsed by viewing the old buildings on the north side of E12th St, between 11th and 12th Aves. This block is now an Oakland historical district. With ground floor shops and second floor residences, the buildings serve as a faint echo to an earlier part of Oakland’s history.
Photo by E. Saltmarsh
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