Top of Seminary/ Leona Heights Neighborhood

View from Leona Heights Fire Trail Overlook

As I venture out and walk out my front door I see houses lining my street. Eight houses on each side. All are different in their own way, yet similar. There are three palm trees with full beards standing tall and proud.

Palm Trees outside my front door
Palm Trees outside my front door

There are several rose bushes that I love to watch blossom. What joy a simple flower can bring! My neighbors across the way have a gorgeous drought resistant garden. We are going to call them the trailblazers in the garden area around here. I can hear birds chirping away and the ever so loud buzz of the freeway. It is a constant as the 580 West Freeway/ Highway 13 Freeway Junction is bordering my cross street. As I head north, I come to Leona Street. There is another really nice garden on the corner with a couple of Japanese Maples. One of my neighbors is walking her dog as many people in our neighborhood do. The Leona Fire Trail is right up the street, and it is quite the gem.

Leona Heights Fire Trail
Leona Heights Fire Trail

It is a great place for walking although it is a steep hike. It has many glorious trees. Eucalyptus, Oak Trees and some I don’t recognize. There is a nice overlook of the Bay when you get halfway up the trail which makes it well worth the hike! If you are feeling very adventurous you can continue the steep climb to the top, but today the overlook is sufficient.

View from Leona Heights Fire Trail Overlook
View from Leona Heights Fire Trail Overlook

As I head back down out of the fire trail, one of the neighbors has a stunning rock terrace garden. It reminds me of the traditional terrace gardens I have seen in Hawaii.

Heading west is Mountain Blvd and the freeway is bordering on the left. There are a couple of houses on this street. One of the houses has two large Rottweiler’s behind a black wrought iron fence. They are good protectors. Now I walk past the freeway entrance to 580 East/ Downtown Oakland. Down the way are the Mountain Wood Condominiums and next comes the freeway entrance to Highway 13. To the right is the backside of the Community Day School. This school sits on the site of the old Chabot Observatory. The sign says school is starting on August 24th, 2015; it has a middle school as well as a high school, so it teaches classes 6 thru 8, and 9 thru 12.

As I head south, I walk under the freeway overpass. It is loud and kind of dark and there are absolutely no plants; it is all concrete. There is no mural, and this place is screaming for some artwork. There is some trash lining the streets but thankfully it’s not too bad today.

Our local gas station Seminary Gas & Food is on the corner. It is run by the nicest family. They are good people and I appreciate their friendliness and presence in the community. They have lots of surveillance cameras. Today I notice the customers are diverse, and it is quiet for the moment, but sometimes it can be ‘jumping” as we call it.

As I continue east, there is another residential neighborhood. It seems like a fairly quiet street, although at the one intersection there are a ton of donut tire marks. We do get that around here, and it can be very loud.

A house is for sale. They are asking $618K for a four bedroom with “Modern Upgrades and Classic Charm”. The pictures on the brochure look nice.

One of the neighbors has a basketball hoop up, and a couple of houses down Buddhist prayer flags hang in the doorway. A good sign, and the third house in the neighborhood that has these prayer flags up. Cool.

Burckhalter Elementary School is on the corner and it teaches grades K thru 5.  A house across the street has a large gorgeous garden with honeysuckle trees. To the left there is the Burckhalter Park baseball field,  part of Oakland Parks and Recreation.

Continuing on you pass under the freeway overpass and there is the old rock quarry which is now the Monte Vista Villas @ Leona Quarry.

Now to head back home. All in all, it’s a beautiful neighborhood. Sure we see our share of violence and crime, but I do think the beauty outweighs any negativity.

Author Profile

I am a mixed race woman who grew up in a Native-American community in Oakland, Ca. I attended many Native-American ceremonies, Pow Wows, and cultural events. I am very proud of my Native-American heritage, and I also hope to learn more about my African-American side of the family.

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