Laurel, Oakland, California

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Coordinates: 37°47′36″N 122°11′53″W / 37.79333°N 122.19806°W / 37.79333; -122.19806

MacArthur Boulevard, the heart of the Laurel district
MacArthur Boulevard, the heart of the Laurel district
Location of Laurel in Oakland
Location of Laurel in Oakland
Coordinates: 37°47′36″N 122°11′53″W / 37.793333°N 122.198056°W / 37.793333; -122.198056
CountryUnited States

The Laurel District is a diverse residential and commercial neighborhood in Oakland, California. encompassing the blocks northeast of Interstate 580 between High Street and 35th Avenue. It lies at an elevation of 226 feet (69 m), and is bordered by the Allendale neighborhood to the west, the Redwood Heights neighborhood to the east, the Dimond District to the north, and the Maxwell Park neighborhood to the south. At the heart of the neighborhood lies MacArthur Blvd., a bustling shopping area with annual festivals and many local shops.


The Laurel district traces its name to the Laurel Grove Park residential tract, which was laid out in 1900 at the north end of the district's contemporary boundaries.[1] Originally named Key Route Heights after the Key Route streetcar system, the neighborhood adopted the Laurel name after the city of Oakland built Laurel Elementary School in 1910.[2]

The prominent Laurel Gateway Arches over MacArthur Blvd at either end of the district were designed and installed in 2006.[3]

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 1950s) it was a Hagstroms supermarket.


The Oakland Unified School District operates district public schools. Laurel Elementary School is located in Laurel.[4][5] Residents are also zoned to Bret Harte Middle School and Skyline High School.[6][7]

At the southeast end of the Laurel neighborhood lies the John Swett School site, now home to The Urban Montessori Charter School.[8] John Swett School, which closed in 2004, is notable as the elementary school alma mater of actor Tom Hanks.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Evanosky, Dennis (2007). "Oakland's Laurel District" (PDF). Alameda Sun. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  2. ^ Mailman, Erika (2005). Oakland's Neighborhoods. Oakland: Mailman Press.
  3. ^ "Laurel Gateway Arches". Archived from the original on 2016-11-22. Retrieved 2020-11-14. Defining the entry of the Laurel Commercial District and creating a memorable sense of place were the primary objectives toward the larger goal of achieving economic revitalization for this neighborhood.
  4. ^ "Welcome to Laurel Elementary Archived 2011-10-29 at the Wayback Machine." Laurel Elementary School. Retrieved on September 11, 2011. "Laurel Elementary 3750 Brown Avenue Oakland, CA 94619"
  5. ^ "LAUREL Elementary School Boundaries." Oakland Unified School District. Retrieved on September 11, 2011.
  6. ^ "BRET HARTE Middle School Boundaries." Oakland Unified School District. Retrieved on September 11, 2011.
  7. ^ "SKYLINE High School Boundaries." Oakland Unified School District. Retrieved on September 11, 2011.
  8. ^ "Home".
  9. ^ Michelena, Liliana. "5 Things You Didn't Know About Tom Hanks' East Bay Roots". KQED. KQED. Retrieved 17 August 2021.

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