Laurel, Oakland, California
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|Neighborhood of Oakland|
MacArthur Boulevard, the heart of the Laurel district
Location of Laurel in Oakland
Laurel is one of the many culturally diverse neighborhoods in Oakland, California. It is situated between the foot of the Oakland hills and Mills College. It lies at an elevation of 226 feet (69 m). At the heart of the neighborhood lies MacArthur Boulevard, a bustling shopping area with annual festivals and many local shops. The Laurel arches on MacArthur Blvd. greet visitors where MacArthur intersects 35th Avenue and High Street.
35th Avenue is the defining east-west reference point through the Laurel District. The south end of Laurel goes past High Street to the point where Interstate 580 and Highway 13 intersect in a "V". High Street is a major street in the Laurel District. Heading west from Macarthur Blvd. it goes to the south end of the Fruitvale District, but as it heads to the east, past the Laurel Post Office and St. Lawrence O'Toole Catholic Church and School, it goes about a half mile before ending and turning to other smaller residential streets (if followed eventually arrives at Highway 13). 38th Avenue is parallel to and in between 35th Ave and High St, and if traveled to the west a few blocks, just past Interstate 580, it enters the Allendale, Oakland District, a primarily residential neighborhood, which includes the converted Allendale Theater building, Allendale Park, and Allendale Grammar School. 38th Avenue also eventually reaches Fruitvale further in the westerly direction. To the north of 35th Avenue a couple of miles is Coolidge Avenue, separating Laurel from the Dimond District.
But 35th Avenue is the main drag on the east-west axis—since it goes straight all the way to East 14th Street to the west, and goes east up to Skyline Boulevard and even beyond into the East Bay Regional Park District, eventually winding all the way to Castro Valley, some twenty miles southeast. 35th Avenue changes names in the process, becoming Redwood Road some eight blocks above MacArthur Boulevard, where there is a curve. At this point the neighborhood is called Redwood Heights. The street retains the name Redwood Road as it drops down the east side of Skyline into the park lands and becomes a rural road.
Laurel, much as other surrounding communities, continues to change as older homeowners move away and younger families move in, some with higher incomes. The neighborhood shows signs of these changes as older homes are renovated and community involvement cleans up "troubled" areas.
In recent years, some have started to insert the article "the" in front of Laurel, as in "I live in the Laurel" or "Shop the Laurel." This practice (traditionally used to refer to certain neighborhoods in San Francisco such as the Richmond and the Sunset, but not neighborhoods in Oakland) is frowned upon by long-time residents, who prefer the usage without the article "the", as is more the tradition for Oakland. For example, "I live in Laurel" or "I went shopping in Laurel today." Saying "the Laurel District" is acceptable, however.
MacArthur Blvd. which runs through the Laurel district was once U.S. Highway 50, before Interstate 580 was built to replace it in the early 1960s. Two movie houses in Laurel were in operation from the 1920s until the 1960s. The Laurel Theater is now a church. The Hopkins Cinema at 3525 MacArthur now houses a Goodwill thrift store and an AutoZone auto parts store. Earlier (around the 50's) it was a Hagstroms supermarket.
The Oakland Unified School District operates district public schools. Laurel Elementary School is located in Laurel. Residents are also zoned to Bret Harte Middle School and Skyline High School.
Two schools of the American Indian Model Schools, American Indian Public Charter School (AIPCS) and American Indian Public High School (AIPHS), are located in a converted church building in Laurel. By 2006 many Asian-Americans from Laurel began to attend the AIPCS.
- "Welcome to Laurel Elementary." Laurel Elementary School. Retrieved on September 11, 2011. "Laurel Elementary 3750 Brown Avenue Oakland, CA 94619"
- "LAUREL Elementary School Boundaries." Oakland Unified School District. Retrieved on September 11, 2011.
- "BRET HARTE Middle School Boundaries." Oakland Unified School District. Retrieved on September 11, 2011.
- "SKYLINE High School Boundaries." Oakland Unified School District. Retrieved on September 11, 2011.
- "AIPCS Contact Information." American Indian Public Charter School. Updated June 22, 2009. Retrieved on September 9, 2011. "American Indian Public Charter School 3637 Magee Avenue Oakland CA 94619"
- "Family Handbook." American Indian Public Charter School. Updated June 22, 2009. 17. Retrieved on September 9, 2011. "Mrs. Claudia Walker Site Administrator, AIPHS 3637 Magee Ave Oakland, CA 94619"
- Sebastian, Simone. "HARD LINE, TOP SCHOOL." San Francisco Chronicle. Friday, December 16, 2005. Retrieved on September 11, 2011.
- Gammon, Robert. "Too Hot for School?" East Bay Express. May 9, 2007. Retrieved on September 8, 2011.
- Laurel District Association - Neighborhood Association for residents and merchants
- Laurel Village Association - Volunteer Neighbors Association for Laurel Residents