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Welcome to Temescal, Oakland.
Once upon a time, Temescal was merely a small, separate village located where today's Telegraph Avenue and Claremont Boulevard intersect, but in 1897 the villagers voted for it to become part of the city of Oakland to get access to better schools and police service. The name Temescal derives form the word temescalli, which means sweat house in the language of the Aztec people. It is believed that perhaps the Peraltas or their ranch hands had seen native Ohlone structures along the creek, similar to those called temescalli. Should you visit this delightful neighborhood, take a trip to the old Temescal Creek, which has been restored artificially and offers a glimpse of what once was. Today, Temescal lies in the shadow of the 24 Freeway in North Oakland, and is counted as one of the city's most historic neighborhoods. Over time, this area has had many landmarks, such as the Lusk Cannery, which was the world's largest fruit and vegetable packer in the second half of the 19th century. This place was filled with blacksmiths, stables and dormitories for hundreds of employees, and it sat on the grounds of what is today the home of DMV on Claremont. There was also a Little Italy alive and well on Telegraph, born from a thriving Italian-American neighborhood that existed here until the 1960's. Up the street from there, an amusement park called Idora Park drew crowds with its wooden roller coasters and other scary attractions. The neighborhood suffered some growing pains when the freeway construction was under way, but now after several decades, it is quite revived and blooming. The main commercial district runs along Telegraph Avenue and is bustling with food spots and stores of every kind. The neighborhood is quite multi-cultural as Oakland's Koreatown blends into the southern part of Temescal, and the northern part has a ton of Eritrean restaurants thanks to the immigrant population in East Bay. Temescal is a lively blend of long-time residents and newcomers, immigrants and natives, and they all help decorate the diverse tapestry of Temescal. In the summer, you can participate in the state fair on Telegraph Avenue, which offers you a sight of what this little village is all about.
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