photo © Micheal Fishkin

photo © Micheal Fishkin

Many of the streets of Oakland are named after and in honor of soldiers who lost their lives in World War I and later wars and lived in Oakland. These street are called Gold Star streets. The name came from the custom of families of servicemen hanging a Service Flag in the window of their homes. Living servicemen were represented by a blue star, and those who had lost their lives were represented by a gold star.

In 1919, an article in the Oakland Tribune entitled "170 Names on Oakland Honor Roll" listed all the Oakland men who lost their lives in the World War. 1

Oakland's street commissioner W.H. Parker was quoted in a 1928 Oakland Tribune article as saying, "Veterans who died during the World War and whose home had been Oakland are honored in the naming of many streets, and a special street sign has been designed with red, white and blue colors and a gold star for use on streets named for these veterans." 2

By 1932 the street department reported that there were "101 gold star streets named in honor of Oakland soldiers who died in France." A total of 170 soldiers from Oakland were lost in battle. The names of 69 soldiers are still on the list of available street names. 3

Seven streets are named for those who died in WWII; only Krohn Lane is named for a Korean War casualty, 2nd Lt. Jered Krohn. 4

1955 4

Map of Oakland's Gold Star Streets

Dorothy Londagin created a map of the streets based on list of 170 that was printed in the Oakland Tribune 1. From what she have determined not all the names were used. According to one article it was left up to the "Street Numberer" in the Department of Streets. The list was given to the department in alphabetical order, but the names were evidently picked at random.

Lundholm Avenue

Lundholm Avenue near Mills College may have been named for the Lundholm sisters, Ruth and Viola. They were graduates of the Merritt nursing program. Both died of influenza on the voyage to Europe to serve during WWI. 5,6

Links and References

  1. List of Oakland's Honor Roll - List of WW1 casualties feb 1919.jpg
  2. Changes in 156 Street Names Up Before Council Oakland Tribune May 20, 1928
  3. Street Naming Is Explained Oakland Tribune February 15, 1932
  4. Red, White and Blue Shield Oakland Tribune November 23, 1955
  5. Action Line Oakland Tribune April 2, 1971
  6. Oakland Sisters Lose Lives While Enroute to War Front Oakland Tribune June 17, 1919