One of the distinctive features of the expansive East Bay city of Oakland is the amount of churches that dot its wide landscape from Deep East Oakland to North Oakland, and of course West Oakland. Churches are everywhere --every few blocks in most parts of Oakland it seems there's a church building.
What's so wonderful about these churches is how they range so widely in architectural styles and types.
Each church boasts its own unique structure and they vary from the fancy to the functional.
If time allows, it's fun to leisurely travel Oakland's streets and take in their beauty.
Click on this website for a list of many (not all) of the churches of Oakland. But really, you don't need a guide to find them. Go anywhere in Oakland and you'll pass a church within no time.
West Oakland (the red part in opposite map of Oakland) is a good place to start where there's a church on every second or third block. As a result the churches of West Oakland play a key role in defining the image of this East Bay neighborhood. However, with the fast advancing gentrification that's been going on in West Oakland in recent years, many longtime residents may be forced out due to rising real estate value.
Hence economics would dictate that many of these little West Oakland churches, most of which draw a steady but small congregation every Sunday, will in short time become an endangered species, so if you want to see them in all their beauty do it now.
Best way to see the churches of West Oakland is on bike and best day is Sunday, when you can either go inside the churches for the services or just linger outside to hear the gospel music or the preacher's amplified voice.
These photos, which represent only a small sampling of the churches of West Oakland, were taken this past hot Sunday afternoon on several Oakland streets, including Myrtle, West, 14th, and Pine where the top photo of St. Luke's Missionary Baptist Church was taken-- right where the sprawling freeways begin and the houses end, and not far from the West Oakland BART station.
This is part one in a two-part series on the churches of West Oakland.
Part two will focus largely on the signs outside the churches. If you've got any images or videos or tips to add, hit up the comments box below. Thanks.