Ghost Town, Oakland, California

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Ghost Town (sometimes spelled Ghosttown) is the informal name of the Foster Hoover Historic District neighborhood in West Oakland, Oakland, California.[1][2] The community is known for its violence and blight .[1][3][4] Some people believe the name originates from a drug kingpin who referred to the area as a ghost town due to the shortage of other drug dealers whose absence was attributed to the kingpin's dominance over the area.[2] Others believe it derives from the two former casket companies located side by side on Filbert Street between 30th and 32nd Streets. Ghost Town stretches from 27th Street to 35th Street in the area immediately southwest of the MacArthur Maze.[1][2] Others see the neighborhood bounded by Adeline on the West and San Pablo on the East. Ghost Town Farms, one of the more successful expressions of urban agriculture activity in Oakland is located in the heart of the district at 2727 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, between 27th and 28th Streets. The area is also one of Oakland's many open-air art galleries, with exceptional muralist work continually on exhibition, particularly along Martin Luther King Jr. Way. This neighborhood has an active citizen crime patrol, including one group of seniors who walk the neighborhood weekly to get physical exercise and report blight.[5] Jerry Brown, governor of California and former Mayor of Oakland stated: "Instead of an omnibus crime bill, you have to deal with shootings in Ghost Town in West Oakland and sideshows in East Oakland."[6] Brown made attempts to turn around the blighted West Oakland neighborhood after 60 Minutes featured it in a television profile.[4] Housing prices have increased. So has drug dealing, especially since nearby parks were closed by the City of Oakland. Prostitution, in 2015, has been on the decline for at least a decade.

The term "ghost riding" has been attributed to this Oakland neighborhood. According to the Contra Costa Times and The Washington Post, local rapper Mistah F.A.B. popularized the term with his song "Ghost Ride It"[7] and speculated that its origins are in Ghost Town.[8]

City-County Neighborhood Initiative[edit]

Both Foster/Hoover Historic District (Ghosttown) and Sobrante Park, were targeted for youth intervention programs by the city of Oakland in their "Measure Y" campaigns.[9] The specific program is termed by the city the "City-County Neighborhood Initiative". Its strategy, according to the Human Services Department, is "based on best practices, has community builders going door-to-door to support and encourage neighbors to address their issues (e.g., typically truant youth, blight, and loitering) and help them ultimately to organize (e.g., Friends of Durant Park, West Oakland Mini-Grant Committee, Resident Action Council, Block captains, neighborhood watches, Home Alert, Renters or Home Owners' Associations) and take ownership of their communities. This strategy is based on the theory that violence must be addressed in the context of the community in which it occurs."[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Ostler, Scott (June 22, 2007). "Baseball Brings Life: Boy's death spurs Oakland couple to save neighborhood kids one game at a time The gang Ghosttown have gang rivals with Acorn, Campbel Village, Bottoms & the Lower Bottoms, but have a close bond with Cypress Village". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-09-25.
  2. ^ a b c Dan Antonioli. "A Short History of Ghost Town". Archived from the original on 2007-12-11. Retrieved 2007-09-25.
  3. ^ Hatfield, Larry D. (July 9, 1998). "Oakland nabs drug suspects". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-09-25.
  4. ^ a b Matier, Phillip; Ross, Andrew (January 24, 2001). "'Ghost Town' a Work in Progress". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-09-25. Apparently Mayor Brown prepared to deliver his State of the City address in 2001 asking how have things turned out in the mayor's little crusade to reshape the neighborhood known on the streets as "Ghost Town?"
  5. ^ Heredia, Christopher (May 27, 2007). "Eyes, ears, feet on streets; Citizen groups gather to patrol neighborhoods, help law enforcement". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-09-25.
  6. ^ DeFao, Janine; Zamora, Jim Herron (October 9, 2005). "Dellums may face big reality check". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-09-25.
  7. ^ ."The hip list: best, worst of '06", Contra Costa Times, December 26, 2006. Accessed October 20, 2007.
  8. ^ Farhi, Paul. "Ghost-Riding: Brake-Dancing With Zip Under the Hood", The Washington Post, "F.A.B. (real name: Stanley Cox) says in an interview that he first saw people ghost-riding about 10 years ago in Oakland's "Ghosttown" section ( where he thinks the name might have originated)." December 27, 2006, p. C01. Accessed October 18, 2007.
  9. ^ a b "Programs for families and children". City of Oakland, Department of Human Services. Archived from the original on 2007-08-08. Retrieved 2007-09-25.

Coordinates: 37°49′23″N 122°16′17″W / 37.82295°N 122.27146°W / 37.82295; -122.27146