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District Panel Talk: A Ballpark for Everyone.  Tuesday, September 26th, 6:00 PM at Original Pattern Brewing, 292 4th Street. With: Jeff Bellisario, Bay Area Council &...

In a segment hosted by Great Big Story, we learned that the Oakland Zookeepers make use of Jack London's Wholesale Produce Market. In the video,...

Jack London Building Spotlights

Our blog for everything Jack London Related, find out what we're doing and what you can do to help make a difference in the community today.

Latest from our blog

Building Spotlight: Historic Posey Tube and 2016 Renovation Plan

The Oakland Portal's elaborate Beaux Arts façade conceals eight massive fans that draw in fresh air and expel foul air to prevent carbon monoxide buildup in the George A. Posey Tube, an underwater automobile tunnel that runs under Harrison Street between the cities of Oakland and Alameda. One block west sits the Webster Tube Portal, a 1963 structure that serves the same function as the more decorative Oakland Portal. At the time of its construction, the Posey Tube was the largest underground tunnel in the world. George Lucas filmed a scene in the tunnel for THX 1138, Lucas's first feature film.


Designer: Henry H. Meyers
Construction Date: 1925-28
Architectural Style: Beaux Arts derivative/Art Deco

The tube replaced the Webster Street Bridge to Alameda, allowed industrial development of Oakland’s Inner Harbor, and appeased restless divers tired of waiting for water traffic.  The Portals (its twin is on the Alameda side) house ventilation equipment, eight huge fans, to exchange stale air for fresh in the tube.  One visitor remembers leather belts operating machinery for the fans that looked like industrial strength hair dryers.  It was the first underwater tunnel in the world constructed entirely of reinforced concrete.  Forms were towed by tugs from Hunters Point in San Francisco.  Art Deco in style, each portal has a three-story central section flanked by two hip roof towers, connected with a huge arched industrial sash window (now painted over).  Two side piers, with vertical arched openings and decorative grillwork, create a stepped effect.

January 2016 - Posey Tube Renovation Project Begins

Caltrans will perform a historical renovation of the Posey Tube portal buildings and replace the pedestrian handrail inside of the tube. The work will include sandblasting and repainting the buildings, historical renovation of the sidewalks leading up to the portal, and retrofitting the inside of the building.  Other work includes installing CCTVs, organizing signs and replacing cobra head lighting with the original historic lighting at the entrances of the Posey and Webster tubes.

  • Work will take place at the two portal buildings, in Alameda and in the Jack London district of Oakland.
  • In Oakland, scaffolding around the Posey Tube portal building will block parking adjacent to the building along Harrison Street and both sides of 4th. Also, the sidewalk behind the building will be blocked. A Pedestrian Detour will be provided.
  • Pedestrian and bicycle access through the Posey tube will be blocked from February to May. A shuttle will be provided and signage indicating how to contact the shuttle will be posted at both entrances to the Posey Tube pedestrian walkways.

Schedule and Updates

The project is scheduled to start construction in January 2016 and to be completed in July 2016.

  • Stationary mounted signs and changeable message signs (CMS) will be strategically placed to provide information regarding the project’s closures and detours.


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Building Spotlight: S&W Fine Foods warehouse, Cost Plus Headquarters to Carmel Partners Development, then and now…

In 1937, the warehouse located on the block between Madison and Jackson, and 4th and 5th streets was developed for S&W Fine Foods. Notable architectural features are the Art Deco fluted pilasters on the Fifth Street façade, and integrated features for logistics and warehouse use. Truck bays were built on the Jackson Street side, and train bays on Fourth Street side.  While earlier District warehouses were designed with loading docks at rail car height, S&W Fine Foods' 1937 warehouse included both truck height loading on Jackson Street and rail car height loading docks on Fourth Street. Both loading dock facilities have been partially filled in.

According to its website, S&W was founded in 1896 by three grocery wholesalers in San Francisco, and it “created the era of premium-canned foods.”  After leaving its leased location at 255 Third St. in Jack London, and constructing this warehouse, S&W Fine Foods, Inc. grew to become one of the country's largest packagers of canned fruits and vegetables. In 2001, Del Monte Foods Co. bought the S&W brand.

S&W Fine Foods Warehouse has housed Cost Plus' "World Market" Headquarters since 2000. A new monumental entrance in the middle of the Fourth Street side is recessed with four large multi-paned glass block windows on the rear wall.  A landscaped entrance with plants welcomes you to Cost Plus’ “World Headquarters”.

San Francisco-based developer Carmel Partners, which specializes in building high-end and eco-friendly apartments on the West Coast, has an agreement to buy the large development site that was originally developed in 1937 for S&W Fine Foods.  The site, made up of two properties at 200 4th St. and 431 Madison St., is now a parking lot and an office building for the home goods company Cost Plus World Market.

Designer: Jesse Rosenwald 
Construction Date: 1937, addition 1946, rem. 1998 
Architectural Style: Moderne

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Business Spotlight: Beer Revolution and Annex Burger

A conversation with Rebecca Boyles - Beer Revolution and Annex Burger
March 31, 2015

Rebecca opened Beer Revolution with her partner in 2010. Beer Revolution is a popular Jack London destination with the largest selection of local and craft beers in the district.

What is your favorite local ingredient and where do you get it?

“My favorite local ingredient is bacon. We get our bacon next door at The Annex from Millers Ranch, so we actually cure it in house. Millers is located in San Leandro.”

Which restaurateur in Jack London/Oakland do you most respect?

“Chris Pastena - Definitely someone to admire. He’s got a lot of great stuff going on. Each one of his restaurants, each one of them, is amazing all the way to the simple things like salads - that’s not easy to do, and it’s not easy to execute. And to do it on the level he does, that’s some serious credit. And he’s still not too big to fill doing dishes in any one of his places, I really respect that.”

Favorite Jack London/Oakland restaurant other than your own?

“Lungomare. A close second would be Bocanova”

What's one thing about you or your restaurant that people would be surprised to know?

“Everything is local and organic and everything is locally sourced from local companies - everything is well-made even though it’s simple food - It’s the same for my bar too - there are so many amazing small breweries here that I really try to put a spotlight on.”

What’s your favorite beer on tap right now?

“Fieldwork - they have this new beer called chisel. It’s like a session IPA… It’s full of flavor, you know.”

What is your favorite thing to do in Jack London when you take a break?

“I like to go to Merchants saloon and play a game of pool, or walk on the waterfront”

What has surprised you most about your business?

“Honestly, what surprised me the most was the diversity of the clientele that come in. I mean, we get literally every kind of person you can imagine. From attorneys and city officials to hip hop kids and punk rockers to whomever. What’s really cool about that is you can watch people out on the patio when they are having beers, people that don’t even know each other are all of a sudden talking to each other.”

What is the best advice you’ve been given about your businesses?

“Just pay your bills, that’s the best advice”
“I do have one personal thing I do with all businesses, I do everything COD (cash on delivery). Even though I have credit terms with all of my vendors I just insist on COD, that way it’s just done.”

What's next for you?

“You know, Beer Rev, I don’t have any plans on ever expanding it or growing it. I know it’s a recognized brand but I feel like it’s kind of a one and only. It’s very unique even though there are places that have similar models and all -- and I feel like growing that isn’t really a possibility. It would just be fake and generic -- so why do that. Annex, however, is definitely gaining some gravity, and because it’s so simple and so salt-of-the-earth-- I think that it would fit almost anywhere, so that is something I would consider branching out.”

“I wouldn’t mind branching out and opening some more businesses here in the district. I feel like it has such potential and it’s becoming more of a neighborhood. There are so many residents now.”

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