Jingletown

The History Of Jingletown

Jingletown is a pocket arts community adjacent to the Oakland Estuary, bounded by the Park Street and Fruitvale Bridges which connect Oakland to the City of Alameda. It is part of the area called Fruitvale (formerly, Brays and Fruit Vale) in south Oakland. There are a large number of working artists living in the converted lofts that predominate in the area. It is located about two miles southeast of Lake Merritt. Fruitvale is home to Oakland’s largest Latino population. Jingletown is thriving as one of the fastest growing arts districts in the San Francisco Bay area. An organization called the Jingletown Arts & Business Community (JABC) is the main representative of the art community. In 2003 a building boom began in Jingletown, with several local developers building approximately 150 condos, lofts and townhomes on and near the Estuary waterfront, creating a new character to the area with its mix of new and old homes, commuters and residential artists. The neighborhood is also home to the Institute of Mosaic Art, and walking through the neighborhood, you can see many mosaics displayed on buildings sprinkled throughout the neighborhood. Jingletown is also the location of Green Day’s JingleTown Recording.
Originally it was part of the area called San Antonio, Oakland, California. The settlement that became San Antonio began in 1851 when J.B. Larue squatted on Peralta’s land west of San Antonio Creek. The site was west of Clinton. Larue built a store and wharf and the community grew up around them. The San Francisco and Oakland Railroad built a station at San Antonio. When the Central Pacific Railroad took over the line in 1870, the name was changed to Brooklyn. When the Southern Pacific Railroad took over the line in 1883, the name was changed to East Oakland.
Clinton and San Antonio joined in 1856 to form a new town called Brooklyn named after the ship that had brought Mormon settlers to California in 1846. Brooklyn joined with nearby Lynn to incorporate in 1870 under the name Brooklyn. In 1872, Brooklyn voters approved their city’s annexation by Oakland.
The name Fruitvale (originally Fruit Vale) comes from the many fruit orchards (largely apricot and cherry) which dominated the area in the late 19th century. After the 1906 earthquake, the onslaught of refugees from San Francisco caused a population boom, and the unincorporated neighborhood was annexed into the City of Oakland by 1909.
The history of Jingletown begins with its name, originating from a habit of nearby mill workers, largely males of Portuguese and Azorean background, who would jingle the coins from a week’s work in their pockets as they walked to display their prosperity. In 1998, the neighborhood began a massive redevelopment. In 2004, the Unity Council opened the Fruitvale Transit Village. The “Fruitvale Village” has become a model of transit-oriented development; showcasing a mixture of retail, housing and community space integrated with public transportation.
The Fruitvale shopping district is located along International Boulevard (formerly East 14th Street), from Fruitvale Avenue to 38th Avenue and is one of the major commercial areas of Oakland. The area is home to many Latino businesses and hosts several annual cultural events, including a Cinco de Mayo parade and a Dia De Los Muertos festival. The Fruitvale BART station is located near the center of the shopping district, at the corner of Fruitvale Avenue and East 12th Street (now called International Blvd).

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