An American named Henderson Luelling
planted the first cherry orchards, a German family named Rhoda owned the most land, but it was Hugh Dimond
, a wealthy Irish businessman, who gave the district his name when he purchased the land and settled there in 1867.
The gently rolling terrain, the views of the Oakland hills, the pleasant weather and the easy access to downtown via the trolleys drew many settlers, including many Germans, to the area once known as Upper Fruitvale. By the 1890's there were so many beer gardens along the streets of Fruitvale and MacArthur that the district could have passed for a town in Germany. Visitors from San Francisco came by ferry to pick cherries, drink beer in the summer sun and enjoy the hospitality of a number of resorts including the fanciest of the bunch, the Hermitage, which boasted dancing girls and an authentic French chef.
Soon after the turn of the 19th century the Dimond district was annexed to Oakland
and the area grew exponentially. The beer gardens were either closed by prohibition or replaced by bakeries, feed stores, banks and other businesses. Every October the people of Dimond now pay tribute to this history with an Oaktoberfest
that celebrates the Dimond beer gardens of times past.
The Dimond is a district on the upswing. Its local improvement association rallies to a resounding motto: involvement builds community. The friendly and well-organized community has attracted many businesses such as Farmer Joe's
(a locally owned market not to be confused with the chain Trader Joe's), La Farine Bakery
, Nama Sushi
, Shaan Indian Restaurant
, Two Star Market
, and Paws & Claws Natural Pet Food Store
(fun to check out on Halloween when they put on a Howl-O-Ween Parade for dogs).
The residents of Dimond's real estate
have also rallied to save its local post office branch, have a derelict motel replaced with a modern senior housing facility, and has an active litter patrol of volunteers, fueled by donations from Peet's and LaFarine, that regularly scour the area.
Some of the local schools are Fruitvale Elementary
, Oakland Renaissance
, Redwood Day
, Sequoia Elementary
, and Bret Harte Middle School
. There is also a branch of the Oakland Library to enjoy, and just east of the library is the beautiful Dimond Park
: a lovely wooded grounds in the midst of urban excitement that plays host to a great community picnic every July and a recreational center with swimming, tennis and children's activities.