About me

I was born in Oakland in 1946 and grew up in the Fruitvale District, living with my grandparents at 38th Avenue & Foothill Blvd, living right next door to an old Signal Gas Station. This is just two or three doors from Cesar Chavez Park (’nee Foothill Park). In the early 50’s and 60’s my neighborhood was filled with predominantly working class families of the Italian and Portuguese nationalities who primarily worked on the railroads and in the local canneries, such as the old Fruitvale and Del Monte canneries. Our family was of British background. My late grandfather, who raised me for fourteen years, was “Victor T. Shattock”, who was a longtime employee of the Southern Pacific Railroad in West Oakland and a Union officer too. He was nationally known for being a superb modeler in the art of constructing scale miniature Live Steam locomotives in various sizes. He was particularly known around the country for building and operating a ½-inch scale, 2½-inch gauge STEAM-powered railroad empire in the basement workshop of his 38th Avenue home in Fruitvale. It was visited by thousands of visitors, including a number of Hollywood celebrities, over a 30+ year period from 1930 to 1961. Victor Shattock was the Founder of the Golden Gate Live Steamers in Oakland in 1936, which own and operate their large live steam railroad facility in Berkeley’s Tilden Regional Park. The club used to be located in Oakland’s “Redwood Regional Park” for some twenty-five years. I am currently in the process of writing a BOOK about Mr. Shattock, his famous basement railroad layout and the Live Steam club of which he founded. I personally know a LOT of history of the old Fruitvale neighborhood, If anyone has questions, please drop me a line and I’ll be happy to try and provide accurate answers for you. Thank you for letting me become a member of your Oakland Wiki forum. I really do miss my old neighborhood. I attended Jefferson Elementary, Hamilton Junior High and Fremont High schools. I am the ninth member of my immediate family to attend Fremont High. One thing I almost forgot to mention... A lot of the families in our neighborhood raised chickens and sold the eggs! Bet the city fathers wouldn’t allow that today.


Ken Shattock (an old “Oaktown” native)


2013-06-02: Welcome! I for one am thrilled you’re here – you’re old enough to know valuable town history, yet still young enough to be clear on details (plus be able to work a wiki/the net, etc.). For instance, you might be able to resolve something which has nagged me for years: on Park Blvd. at (what turns out to be) E. 38th, there’s a cleaners; before that, I think it was a fish-tank supply place, and before that … well, I could swear that one morning many years ago, my dad and I walked in and saw a HUGE electric train setup occupying what seemed like the entire building. One does not forget something like that; yet everyone I ask nowadays just shakes their heads. I’m hopeful you may know more, that I wasn’t just hallucinating. Thanks! -Mike

Welcome, welcome, welcome!  Back when I had time to be obsessed with the email groups for the Key Route, the Sac  Northern and the like, I always looked forward to your emails.  -- NAParish

weee! welcome! love to see you here! I always ask people where they're from and why they're interested in oakland and it's so cool to see another native :) I'm a bit younger than you, but am still proud to call oakland my home (even if i was born at alta bates. is that cheating?) -gk

Welcome! My grandfather worked for the Sacramento Northern, but I'd love to learn more about all the railroads in Oakland, full-size and scale :-)  And more info about historic Fruitvale would be great! -- Gene