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.
Possibly the most ironic sight in Oakland is the old Montclair Fire House on Moraga Ave. A storybook-style structure built of stone and brick, the firehouse is set into the hill, causing different parts of the firehouse to be set at different levels. There are numerous roofs and dormers of different angles, pointing in different directions. The roofs and trim are light-colored, resembling snow. A sinuous stairway of brick winds up the hill to the left of the big fire house door.
The building, also known as Hansel and Gretel style, would look right at home in the Black Forest of a Grimm’s fairy tale. The whimsical style of the building is at odds with the serious nature of the business it supports. The roof peaks are even flared like the nagas that grace Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia. They make it appear as if the roof is on fire!
The Montclair Fire House was built in 1927, four years after the Wildcat Fire of 1923 destroyed 640 structures in the neighborhoods north of the University of California, Berkeley. Serving the Montclair district for more than 60 years, the Montclair Fire House was closed in the aftermath of the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989, due to seismic concerns. The cost of retrofitting the station seemed excessive, so the fire house remained closed and a modern fire house was built in nearby Shepherd Canyon.
Today, this quaint, old fire house sits unattended, with trees and shrubs partially hiding it. Maybe someday, someone will make the effort to return this charming piece of Oakland history to its former splendor.
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.