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Preservation Projects to Check Out at Spring to Life!

Spring has sprung at Oakland and with that comes Oakland’s first ever Spring to Life family festival on April 13! There will be so many different things to enjoy from our iconic Spring Plant Sale (which opens to the public at noon), to games, crafts, a vendor market, and much more! While you’re in Oakland for this day of fun, you should also check out some of the interesting preservation projects we’ve been up to over the past few years!

The Historic African American Burial Grounds: Although we wrapped up our restoration work on the African American burial grounds section in 2020, headstones just keep popping up! During our MLK day of service this year, a volunteer discovered fragments of a headstone in a location we were trying to plant a tree. After an hour or so of probing and careful digging, we found most of it. You can read more about the work here or watch Reels of the restoration on our Instagram here. While you’re in this section, be sure to look for some of the cast concrete grave markers on this site. These were made by local funeral homes and provided as part of a burial package.  

East Hill: Restoration in this 7.5 acre section began in 2019 and is ongoing. Work here includes complex monument repairs, extensive rebuilding of retaining walls, repairs to historic brick and aggregate pathways, and installation of irrigation lines. One particularly interesting project was the Irish Travelers Lot, which included excavation and repair of nearly a dozen concrete cradles that had been completely hidden from view by years of ground cover growth.  

Women’s Comfort Station: The 1908 Women’s Comfort Station was faithfully restored in 2019. It features original floor and wall tile work and an ornate Italianate metal shingle roofline. Currently it houses a Geology of Oakland exhibit, open for limited hours and free to the public.  

Greenhouse Valley: Slated to be our next major restoration project, greenhouse valley is currently home to our preservation volunteer program. Under careful training and supervision, volunteers of all ages are learning to clean and re-set a variety of monument styles. If you are interested in volunteering with us, click here for more information.  

To learn more about preservation at Oakland, click here.

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