Where can I find the landmarks?

Once Gail and I decided to visit all of the Historical Landmarks in California, we needed to get the “official” list of the things. After a bit of flailing around, we located the definitive book on California’s Historical Landmarks, titled “California Historical Landmarks,” published by the Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Here is a link.

The book is a little dated (last publication date was 1996). However, it has lists of all of the landmarks sorted in useful ways: by county, by number, and by name. In addition, the book has enough information (addresses, small hints) to help amateur explorers to actually find the bloody markers.

Shell Mound interpretive center at Bay Street Mall

It turns out that finding the markers is not always as simple as you might expect. For example, one fact that we discovered while out on our first official ride to find Historical Landmarks in the Emeryville/Oakland/San Leandro area was that not all landmarks even HAVE a marker! Of course, had we bothered to actually read the book, we might have known this before we spent about 45 minutes riding around the Bay Street Mall in Emeryville, which is the home of Historical Landmark # 335, the Site of Shell Mound. We were on Shell Mound Street in Emeryville, we were at the 4600 block, which is where the book says the site is located, but there we couldn’t find a marker!

We circled the Ikea. We rode through the parking lot. We rode into the Bay Street Mall. We got off the tandem and hiked around a bit. No marker. Imagine our disappointment when we were batting .000 on finding Historical Landmarks.

Even though we had struck out on finding the official marker (which, it turns out, didn’t even exist!), we did find a very nice interpretive display that the developers of Bay Street were obviously forced to put up as mitigation of the construction of the mall over the top of the shell mound.

What were the lessons learned?

  1. It is occasionally useful to try to figure out what the little cute symbols in the book mean before heading out.
  2. It is also helpful to have a printed map so that you are not guessing about the address of a landmark.

For more photos, go to my Picasa site

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