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Facts about Oakland California for Kids


Oakland, located in California, is a major West Coast port city and the busiest port for San Francisco Bay and all Northern California. It is the third largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area, the eighth-largest city in the state, and the 47th-largest city in the U.S. with a population at the 2010 census of 390,724.

  • Incorporated in 1852, Oakland is the county seat of Alameda County.
  • It serves as a major transportation hub and trade center for the entire region and is also the principal city of the Bay Area Region known as the East Bay.
  • The city is situated directly across the bay, six miles east of San Francisco.
  • Oakland’s territory covers what was once a mosaic of coastal terrace prairie, oak woodland, and north coastal scrub.
  • Its land served as a rich resource when its hillside oak and redwood timber were logged to build San Francisco, and Oakland’s fertile flatland soils helped it become a prolific agricultural region.
  • Little progress has been made in reducing the city’s high crime rate; violent crime is primarily concentrated in certain neighborhoods, although property crime remains problematic throughout the city.
  • In Oakland, they were concentrated around Lake Merritt and Temescal Creek, a stream that enters the San Francisco Bay at Emeryville.
  • The original settlement in what is now the downtown was initially called “Contra Costa” (“opposite shore”, the Spanish name for the lands on the east side of the Bay) and was included in Contra Costa County before Alameda County was established on March 25, 1853.
  • The various streetcar companies operating in Oakland were acquired by Francis “Borax” Smith and consolidated into what eventually became known as the Key System, the predecessor of today’s publicly owned AC Transit.
  • The original extent of Oakland, upon its incorporation, lay south of today’s major intersection of San Pablo Avenue, Broadway, and Fourteenth Street.
  • On January 11, 1935, Amelia Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Honolulu, Hawaii to Oakland, California.
  • The largest canneries were in the Fruitvale District and included the Josiah Lusk Canning Company, the Oakland Preserving Company (which started the Del Monte brand), and the California Packing Company.
  • During this era, the oldest section of Oakland at the foot of Broadway, Jack London Square, was redeveloped into a hotel and outdoor retail district.
  • In late 1996, Oakland was the center of a controversy surrounding Ebonics, an ethnolect the outgoing Oakland Unified School District board voted to recognize on December 18.
  • Officials at the Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airport, began multimillion-dollar expansion plans to keep pace with rival shipping ports and airports on the West Coast.
  • Oakland’s former sports teams include: Oakland Oaks, Pacific Coast League of Baseball, 1903–1955.
  • Oakland’s three largest public high schools are Oakland High School, Oakland Technical High School, and Skyline High School.