Posted in History, Oakland, Streets

Gold Star Streets

In my curiosity about the street names I noticed the phrase “gold star streets” come up. With further research I found that many of the streets of Oakland are named after and in honor of soldiers who lost their lives in World War I and lived in Oakland. The streets were called  “gold star streets”. The name came from the custom of families of servicemen hanging a Service Flag in the window of their homes. Living servicemen were represented by a blue star, and those who had lost their lives were represented by a gold star.

From the Oakland Local Wiki
Gold Star Streets

In 1919, an article in the Oakland Tribune entitled “170 Names on Oakland Honor Roll” listed all the Oakland men who lost their lives in the World War. See below

Oakland Tribune Nov 26, 1927

Oakland’s street commissioner W.H. Parker was quoted in a 1928 Oakland Tribune article as saying, “Veterans who died during the World War and whose home had been Oakland are honored in the naming of many streets, and a special street sign has been designed with red, white and blue colors and a gold star for use on streets named for these veterans.” Oakland Tribune May 20, 1928

Oakland Tribune May 20, 1928

By 1932 the street department reported that there were “101 gold star streets named in honor of Oakland soldiers who died in France.” A total of 170 soldiers from Oakland were lost in battle. The names of 69 soldiers are still on the list of available street names . Oakland Tribune Feb 15, 1932

Oakland Tribune Feb 15, 1932
Oakland Tribune June 15, 1944

Montclair’s Krohn Lane is the only street named for a Korean War casualty; it is named for Second Lt. Jered Krohn, killed in Korea in 1951. Oakland Tribune Nov 23, 1955

Oakland Tribune Nov 23, 1955

This is was just brought to my attention. Pfc Donald R. Colgett died on March 2, 1951 while serving with a machine gun squad with the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Marine Division at Hoensong. This street is a part f the Crestmont Subdivision.

Oakland Tribune May 08, 1957

Sample Gold Star Streets Signs

photo © Micheal Fishkin
From Oakland Local Wiki
photo © Micheal Fishkin
From Oakland Local Wiki

Gold Star Streets Map

In 2016 I created a Google Map of the streets based on list of 170 that was printed in the Oakland Tribune . From what I have determined not all the names were used. According to one article it was left up to the “Street Numberer” in the Department of Streets. The list was given to the department in alphabetical order, but the names were evidently picked at random. Some names were too difficult to spell , whenever possible a veterans name was used.

I also started an Oakland Local Wiki Page – Gold Star Streets

Gold Star Street in Oakland CA

Posted in Early Montclair, East Oakland, Oakland, Streets, West Oakland

Naming Our City Streets

Growing up in Montclair (for me) Thornhill Drive was always just Thornhill Drive. But come to find out it was once called Thorn Road (sometimes Thorne Road). Thornhill is a nicer sounding name than Thorn. But there is a perfectly good reason as to why it was called Thorn Road.

Thorn Road

From the 1878 Map of Oakland,

William J. Dingee 1878 Map of Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda . David Rumsey Map Collection –

The name goes back to 1856 when man named Hiram Thorn (Hiram Thorne) built the road at a heavy expense. Thorn’s road brought redwood logs to Oakland out of the vast forest known as the Moraga Redwoods where he ran a lumber mill on Pinehurst Road. Thorn was later given a franchise to run and collect tolls for the road, it was one of 3 toll roads in Oakland. In 1933 Thorn Road officially became Thornhill Drive.

From the 1870 Oakland City Directory

Since I found out about Thornhill Drive I have been very curious about the names of our city streets. If you are interested you can read more at the Oakland Local Wiki page Street Names.

Oakland had lots of streets that seemed to be name for tress. Like Acacia Avenue Beech Street, Birch Street, Holly Street, Linden Street, Locust Street, Palmetto Street, Pine Street, Poplar Street, Plymouth Street, Redwood Road, Sequoyah Road, Spruce Street, Walnut Street and Willow Street. To name a few.

In the Laurel District there are streets named for the states. The streets are Maine, Vermont, Jersey, Montana, Texas, Ohio (now Dakota) Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas. California and Wisconsin Streets. Maine, Vermont and Jersey are no longer due to the construction of the MacArthur Freeway . I happen to live on Georgia Street.

In Sequoyah Hills, which located in the Oakland Hills above 580, off of Keller Avenue, directly below Skyline Blvd. The streets are named Hansom, coach, chariot, phaeton, shay and surrey are varieties of horse-drawn carriages. Better yet, the theme is a pun, considering the wheel-like arrangement of Shay, Phaeton and Coach streets radiating from Hansom.

View Post

In Montclair there is group of street possibly named for early explorers. The streets are Balboa Drive, Cabrillo Drive, Cabot Drive, Drake Drive, Gasper Drive, Magellan Drive and Mendoza Drive. Another group of streets seem to be named after WW I Generals. They are Liggett Drive, Pershing Drive, Sims Drive and Wood Drive.

The following is a group of articles by Albert E. Norman from the Oakland Tribune in 1960-1960.

Oakland Tribune Jan 1960
Oakland Tribune June 12, 1960
Oakland Tribune June 19, 1960
Oakland Tribune June 26, 1960
Oakland Tribune July 03, 1960
Oakland Tribune Julu 10, 1960
Oakland Tribune July 17,1960
Oakland Tribune July 24, 1960
Oakland Tribune July 31, 1960
Oakland Tribune August 07, 1960
Oakland Tribune August 14, 1960
Oakland Tribune August 28, 1960
Oakland Tribune Sept 04, 1960
Oakland Tribune Sept 11, 1960
Oakland Tribune Sept 18, 1960
Oakland Tribune Sept 24, 1960
Oakland Tribune October 02, 1960
Oakland Tribune October 09, 1960
Oakland Tribune October 16, 1960
Oakland Tribune October 23, 1960
Oakland Tribune Nov 06, 1960
Oakland Tribune Dec 11, 1960
Oakland Tribune Dec 18, 1960
Oakland Tribune Dec 25, 1960
Oakland Tribune Jan 15, 1961
Oakland Tribune Feb 1961

If you have wondered about the name of your street, leave message below and I will check it out.

Links

Oakland related links:

Misc Street Links:

Coming soon Gold Star Streets

The End