Who knew that a freeway underpass would be a place of historical significance?

Undeterred by our failure to find a sign denoting the Historical Landmark at Shell Mound (aka Ikea/Bay Street Mall), we continued on our ride. I had assembled an impressive list of places to visit on our first official exploration. All were in Alameda County, all were in the flatlands (for easy access on our tandem), and I knew approximately where they were located.

Pushing off from the Shell Mound, our next stop was Site # 299: Camino of Rancho San Antonio. This would be simple, since I work just down the hill from this place. We had a little difficulty in getting onto Santa Clara Ave. in Oakland, since it is one way. However, after a couple of missed turns, we arrived at the place: “SW corner of Oakland and Santa Clara Aves, Oakland.” At least that is what the book said. What we saw was a busy intersection with a gas station, a bakery, and a freeway underpass.

Standing on the SW corner, we were next to an ivy-covered underpass for Interstate 580. “Don’t worry, hon. The marker has to be under the ivy.” Being a man of action, I waded through the underbrush to the wall and started tearing at the ivy, certain that the State Parks folks that administer the Historical Landmarks had just neglected this place for a bit. Nope. Nothing except green hands and shoes.

Needless to say, we were getting a little worried. Two Historical Landmarks and absolutely nothing to show for it except some green fingernails and a few miles on the cyclecomputer. This was not what we had in mind.

The astute reader already knows the punchline to this cruel joke: this site was yet another of the Historical Landmarks that didn’t merit a sign. In retrospect, I think that it should have one. This San Antonio fellow owned a huge amount of land and the spot under the I-580 underpass was a spot on one of his farm roads (his Camino) from southern Alameda County to the cooler climes of Oakland, Berkeley, and El Cerrito, which were all a part of his land holdings.

We were a bit shaken but knew that our luck would turn at the next Historical Landmark, since we had both actually seen the sign in the past…

For more photos, go to my Picasa site.

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One response to “Who knew that a freeway underpass would be a place of historical significance?

  1. Pingback: History in our own backyard… « California's Historical Landmarks

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