Tomorrow my new neighborhood of Dimond is hosting their third annual Oaktoberfest (note spelling) to celebrate the district’s German heritage with good ol’ fashioned beer drinking. Yay!
The East Bay Express has a nice write-up in A Shining Dimond District by Ellen Cushing so I’m not going to repeat it all here. But in a bottle cap, the central Dimond District was dense with a number of popular German-styled beer gardens from the 1890’s through the early 20th century, until Prohibition effectively shut them all down. The most famous was Charlie Tepper’s Hotel which featured music and dancing every Sunday and was located on Hopkins Street (now MacArthur Blvd) just west of Fruitvale Avenue. [photos below] The building still stands today at 2030-C MacArthur Blvd.
The sign in front that read “Take Diamond Cars” referred to the old streetcar line that used to run from downtown Oakland (13th and Washington) up to Fruitvale and MacArthur. Oh how I long for that streetcar now…
Other establishments included the Hermitage (actually French), Neckhaus, and Bauerhofer’s. These family friendly destinations attracted not only local residents – apparently Dimond has a high concentration of German descendants – but also vacationers from San Francisco, Marin County, San Jose, and as far as Sacramento. See Dimond’s Beer Gardens for more info and great historical photos.
Come check out Dimond Oaktoberfest tomorrow. Festivities run from 11am to 6pm, centered around the Fruitvale and MacArthur intersection. There’ll be something for everyone… music, art, food, and of course, beer.