The Westlake DistrictAugust 17, 2008
I recently saw a real estate listing describe a home near us as being in “one of Oakland’s most sought after neighborhoods, the Westlake District.” While I’m glad that this particular agent thinks our ‘hood is sought after (it isn’t, exactly, though we think it’s lovely!) I especially love hearing what people call our little slice of the city. Our neighborhood, tucked at the northwestern edge of Lake Merritt, doesn’t officially have a name, though you hear everything from Adams Point (though that neighborhood technically ends at Harrison Street) to Uptown (we’re too far north if you ask me) to Harrioak (some locals came up with this one a few years ago; sounds silly but it does capture the geography, at least) to my personal favorite, “Lower Temescal.” (You guessed it, that one came from a realtor! I should add that we’re over a mile from the southern boundary of Temescal, a newly-trendy part of the city as far as realtors are concerned…)
I actually like Westlake the best, though (minus the “district” part, which is apparently a neighborhood in Daly City). It’s what appears on MLS listings for our neighborhood, though I rarely hear it used in conversation. The middle school down the street is Westlake, too—it was originally Lakeview Junior High School but the district changed the name in the 1920s because the corresponding elementary school had (and still has) the same name, and it got too confusing to have the schools called the same thing. So there may be something to it, historically. A neighbor of ours recently mentioned that she likes to tell people she lives in Westlake, even if it does take some explaining. I think I’m going to start doing this, too, and see if maybe it will catch on.