Fruitvale, Oakland, California

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Coordinates: 37°46′47″N 122°13′13″W / 37.77972°N 122.22028°W / 37.77972; -122.22028

Neighborhoods of Oakland
Location of Fruitvale in Oakland
Location of Fruitvale in Oakland
Coordinates: 37°46′47″N 122°13′13″W / 37.779722°N 122.220278°W / 37.779722; -122.220278
Country United States
State California
County Alameda
City Oakland
 • Total 50,294
ZIP Code 94601

Fruitvale (formerly, Brays and Fruit Vale) is a neighborhood in Oakland, California, United States. It is located approximately 4 miles (6.44 km) southeast of Downtown, and is home to the city's largest Hispanic population, with Hispanics comprising 53.8% of Fruitvale's population [1]. Fruitvale's ZIP code is 94601. It lies at an elevation of 49 feet (15 m).

The name (originally Fruit Vale) comes from the many fruit orchards (largely apricot and cherry) which dominated the area in the late 19th century. After the 1906 earthquake, the onslaught of refugees from San Francisco caused a population boom, and the unincorporated neighborhood was annexed into the City of Oakland by 1909.

The Fruitvale shopping district is located along International Blvd. (formerly East 14th Street until 1995), from Fruitvale Avenue to 38th Avenue and is one of the major commercial areas of the city. The area is home to many Latino businesses and hosts several annual cultural events, including a Cinco de Mayo parade and a Día De Los Muertos festival. Before the 1970s the area had the Montgomery Wards West Coast distribution center and retail store located on the downtown Oakland side, roughly opposite East Oakland Hospital, both on E 14th St. On the San Leandro side, to the south, was the Fruitvale Theater. In between, around 35th Avenue and E 14th St., were the Foodvale Market, a two-story department store, the post office, and a number of other businesses. St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church and St. Elizabeth High School are both located one block north of International Blvd..


During and following WWII, massive numbers of African-Americans and Latinos migrated to Oakland, and located in the old part of town, West Oakland. This was followed by the "urban renewal" and the construction of the Nimitz Freeway, bulldozing much of West Oakland. There was then a movement of the dispossessed residents to East Oakland. Fruitvale was in the middle extent of East Oakland, and due its location was heavily settled in by African-Americans, and Latinos who by 1990 formed a majority of the district's residents. It wasn't until the late 1980s when the larger Fruitvale District began to attract More Latino residents. African-Americans had either relocated to the outer East Oakland area south of Fruitvale or moved out of the city altogether to outer Bay Area suburbs. Presently, Fruitvale is predominantly Latino, and is the cultural landmark for the city's Latino population. [1]

In the late 1960s and early 70s the lower part of the Fruitvale district was heavily settled by Chicanos and Latinos. The Chicano Movement that was going on at the time throughout the Southwest also spread to the Fruitvale district. After the 1968 murder of Charles Pinky De Baca by the Oakland Police Department, the community began to organize against police brutality. One of the first organizations was Latinos United for Justice. Many other militant and non-militant Chicano groups formed. The Brown Berets had a chapter in Oakland, and the Chicano Revolutionary Party was another Chicano militant organization. The Chicano Revolutionary Party had a free breakfast program that the Black Panthers had helped them create in Jingletown; they also patrolled the streets of Fruitvale and helped defend it against police brutality. La Raza Unida Party also had a chapter in Oakland. The Clinica de la Raza was created due to the actions of the Chicano Movement as a need for a free clinic for the Chicano/Latino community of East Oakland. There were also several actions by Chicanos against the Vietnam war in the Fruitvale district. On July 26, 1970 the Oakland Chicano Moratorium protest against the Vietnam War was held at San Antonio Park. One of the speakers was Chicano radical Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzáles. There were also several Chicano school walkouts against the Vietnam War, primarily at local schools like Fremont High School and Oakland High School. The Chicano Movement was very much part of Oakland's history as well, especially the Fruitvale district. Its contributions are still seen throughout the district.[2][3][4]

A parade with several dancers in elaborate headdresses
A Day of the Dead parade in Fruitvale, 2016

Recently, Fruitvale has been experiencing rapid renovation. In 2004, the Unity Council opened the Fruitvale Transit Village. The "Fruitvale Village" has become a model of transit oriented development, showcasing a mixture of retail and housing integrated with public transportation.[5]


Main article: Jingletown

The subsection of the neighborhood adjacent to the Oakland Estuary is called Jingletown, also called "JT" by East Oakland natives.[6] The history of Jingletown begins with its name, originating from a habit of nearby mill workers, largely males of Portuguese and Azorean background, who would jingle the coins from a week's work in their pockets as they walked to display their prosperity. In the late 1950s and 1960s the Portuguese began moving out and Latinos began moving in, becoming the majority of Jingletown's population. About half of Jingletown's population is still Latino but demographics are changing due to gentrification.[7] In 1998, the neighborhood became home to an award-winning affordable housing project that has helped to revitalize the community.[8] In 2003 a building boom began, with several local developers installing hundreds of market rate condos, lofts and townhomes by the Estuary waterfront. The neighborhood remains home to many working artists who live and work in converted lofts. The neighborhood is also home to the Institute of Mosaic Art, and you can see many beautiful mosaics displayed on buildings sprinkled throughout the neighborhood.


Grupo TACA operates an Oakland-area TACA Satellite in Suite 130 at 3411 East 12th Street in Fruitvale Village.[9]


Oakland Unified School District operates district public schools.

In addition Oakland Charter Academy, a member school of Amethod Public Schools, is located in Fruitvale.[10]

Public transportation[edit]

The Fruitvale BART station is located near the shopping district, at the corner of 33rd Avenue and East 12th Street.


  1. ^ Homegirls in the Public Sphere Marie "Keta" Miranda
  2. ^ Homegirls in the Public Sphere Marie "Keta" Miranda
  3. ^ Eye from the Edge A Memoir of West Oakland, California Ruben LLmas
  4. ^ The Last Chicano: A Mexican American Experience Manuel Ruben Delgado
  5. ^
  6. ^ Jingletown Arts and Business Community
  7. ^ Homegirls in the Public Sphere Marie "Keta" Miranda
  8. ^ "Featured Housing Projects: Jingletown". State of California, Department of Housing and Community Development. Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  9. ^ "TACA Offices." Grupo TACA. Retrieved on January 27, 2009.
  10. ^ Murphy, Katy. "Oakland charter schools get high marks and skepticism." The Oakland Tribune. Monday November 3, 2008. Retrieved on September 13, 2011.

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