Oakland…The White City

This is not about race. It about when Oakland city planners decided to market Oakland as “The White City.”  As a suggestion to future designers and builders.  It was not intended to be used in public, just circulated among builders and planners of the city.   I get the thinking behind the slogan and can almost picture Oakland with the sun shining on the buildings.  This was not the first time the slogan of a White City was used.  The Great White City

This was in 1914.


‘White City, Oakland Plan

Years ago, in about 1914, a noted architect(of the time) while looking back at Oakland from a ferryboat, “he spoke of it as “The White City.”   What he saw was the new shiny white buildings of Oakland, turn golden in the sunlight.   Oakland on a  “sunny day, the blue sky, and white buildings turned golden in the sun, remind one of the mystical cities of Maxfield Parish”  Oakland Tribune Oct 1916

Oakland_Tribune_Sun__Oct_29__1916_
The origin of  Oakland… The White City – Oakland Tribune October 28, 1916

Style as Artistic Feature

In 1914 a plan to further the beautification of Oakland and designed to make Oakland more striking from the bay.   Members of the Oakland Commercial Club,  A.S. Lavenson, vice-president of the club, and city planning enthusiast and H. A. Lafler of the same organization. Oakland Commercial Club, Oakland, 1913;

Their idea was to suggest that builders in the future, especially in the taller buildings, use white material.   Oakland, as a “white city” situated before the hills in an elevated position, could be a remarkable sight.  A great mass of white buildings, with tall spires or towers, like many of that time “give semblance of, well it is declared, Oakland truly wonderful”  Oakland Tribune Sept 1914.

Already the from the bay the new City hall, the new federal building, and the Central Bank building and other tall buildings in white, present a remarkable site all standing out from brown hills and their surroundings “like great monuments to progress”  Oakland Tribune Sept 1914

Oakland_Tribune_Sun__Sep_13__1914_ (2)
Oakland Tribune  Sept 1914

Uniform Skyline and White Buildings

 

 

 

 

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