“Taylor’s Drive-In, Oakland,” write Lee Otis. I’m guessing it’s not serving burgers these days, cheap or otherwise, but I can’t say for sure. In any case, the beautiful images above and below, from MLK in Oakland, appear in two excellent sets by Lee Otis: Decay, and Oakland. Both are worth exploring.
Mr. Otis, who lives a few blocks from Oakland’s MLK, also happens to have served as a TA recently for a class on cultural landscape history, part of which focused on Oakland. He generously shares these these quite interesting and informative thoughts:
Martin Luther King Jr. Way (formerly Grove Street) is today one of the main thoroughfares connecting the cities of Oakland and Berkeley on the eastern shores of the San Francisco Bay, a role that it has played for over a century. Like many of the other large streets in the area, the Oakland MLK saw its first major developments in the late 19th century as a streetcar line leading from downtown Oakland to the workers’ subdivisions that were springing up between Oakland and Berkeley. In fact the Grove Street Line was the first electric trolley line to connect the two cities, beginning in 1891. The remnants of historical workers’ cottages and streetcar-era commercial districts can been seen in many places along MLK Jr. Way. Continue reading