Oakland Cultural Heritage Survey

The Oakland Cultural Heritage Survey (OCHS) is a specialized archive in the Community and Economic Development Agency of the City of Oakland that was created in the 1980s. It is described by the City as a general survey of every visible building in Oakland containing estimates of building age and possible historical or architectural interest, including detailed research and evaluation for many specific buildings and neighborhoods. The OCHS staff maintains an extensive library of information on historic properties and districts in Oakland, and source materials such as permits, maps and photos.

In addition, the OCHS has evolved to play a more critical part in the review process of building projects. The project is spearheaded by Betty Marvin and Gail Lombardi, historians who for over 20 years have fielded every conceivable question from architects, homeowners, real estate agents, and preservationists about any building in Oakland. Patsy K. Eagan’s blog* calls Betty a librarian and planning consultant rolled into one … Her expertise has provided historical context to the Fox Theater refurbishment, house details that help realtors sell a story, and structural knowledge that aids the city in enforcing code compliance. Gail Lombardi played an important role as a detective to deduce the location where historic images were photographed. Both of their contributions to the East Bay Hills Project will be evident by the wealth of images on the construction of the Mountain Boulevard Freeway. The Survey’s role in preserving the history of Oakland cannot be emphasized enough, and as a result of its archiving efforts, the history of 20th century Oakland has been preserved in photos and documents.

For more information or to view survey materials, contact Betty Marvin, (510) 238-6879, or Gail Lombardi, (510) 238-3797 at the Oakland Cultural Heritage Survey, or visit www.oaklandnet.com/historicpreservation.

* http://live.oaklandlocal.com/article/public-and-city-officials-rally-save-oakland-cultural-heritage-survey-city-budget-cuts