Latitude / Longitude:
Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
Temescal is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Oakland, California, located in North Oakland, and centered on Telegraph Avenue. The neighborhood derives its name from Temescal Creek, a significant watercourse in the city.
Temescal was originally a separate village that had built up around the estate of Vicente Peralta, which was located near the modern intersections of Telegraph Avenue and Claremont Boulevard. (Vicente’s estate was part of the larger Peralta Grant that spanned 44,800 acres of land in the East Bay.) In 1897, the residents of Temescal voted to join the City of Oakland in an effort to gain access to higher quality public schools and police services. At the time that the City of Oakland annexed Temescal, Temescal was considered to consist of all land north of 36th Street (the northern bound of the City of Oakland at the time) between the Emeryville city limit to the west and Broadway to the east.
Temescal is home to one of the few tool-lending libraries in the Bay Area—indeed, in the U.S. (The Berkeley Public Library also has a tool-lending library at their nearby South Branch.) The Temescal branch of the Oakland Public Library operates this facility, which lends tools, free of charge, to library patrons for repairs and home-improvement projects. The Tool Lending Library also has instructional materials (books, videos, etc.) and gives “how-to” workshops.
The word temescal derives from the word temescalli, which means “sweat house” in the Nahuatl language of the Mexica (“Aztec”) people of Mexico. It is surmised that the Peraltas or perhaps one of their ranch hands (vaqueros) had seen local indigenous (Ohlone) structures along the creek similar to those in other parts of New Spain which were called temescalli.