Leona Heights is a neighborhood directly above Highway 13 from Redwood Road to just past where 13 and 580 meet.

Leona Heights may also refer to a wider area of the hills, including the Leona Canyon Regional Open Space Preserve and some historic mines and quarries including the Alma Mine and Devil's Punchbowl. It first got its name as part of a resort-and-residential development scheme in 1896 in the southern part of the neighborhood, the former Laundry Farm. The name was inspired by the name of Lion Creek, the former Arroyo de Leon, which drains the area.

Horseshoe Creek (now mostly underground) provided the water for the Laundry Farm which slid down the hill and ended business at that location in 1857 and moved to West Oakland. The name stuck and the area continued to be a popular park. A hotel was built on the site. It burned down for the second time in 1892 and wasn't rebuilt.

The northern part of this area was part of the operating areas of the Alma and Stauffer pyrite mines, starting with ocher excavations in 1981 and pyrite production in 1900. The area was redeveloped for residences starting in the late 1940s, but acidic groundwater pollution from the old tailings affects the area, staining the streets and etching concrete. The central part of this area is affected by acid drainage from the former Leona (or Leona Heights) Mine.

The Realty Syndicate began developing and advertising the area after the heyday of mining, in the 1920s. Before the area was developed, the area south of the mines was home to mostly small farms and picnic grounds. The Realty Syndicate talked up the ability to raise chickens as a selling point.

The area was also billed as good spot for commuters: it was located a convenient walk or streetcar ride away from the Chevrolet Auto Factory or the Durant Motor Company.


Pages tagged “Leona Heights”

Links and References

  1. Alameda County: The Eden of the Pacific. Tribune Publishing Co: 1898.
  2. Mailman, Erika. Oakland's Neighborhoods. Oakland: Mailman Press, 2005.