Thursday, October 22, 2009

About the "Ghosttown" District for Halloween

Our house is located at the intersection of Emeryville, W. Oakland, N. Oakland. Known as Ghost Town (sometimes spelled Ghosttown) it is the informal name of the Foster Hoover Historic District neighborhood in West Oakland, Oakland, California.

The name probably originated from the two casket companies operating side by side on Filbert Street between 30th and 32nd Streets. One of these companies, "American Burial Casket Co" (sign intact) is located at 3102 Filbert Street. The second company was located at 3104 Filbert Street. Other explanations for the name may have originated in the times when eminent domain forced hundreds of families out of their homes and the town looked like a ghost town. It stretches from 31st Street to 35th Street in the area immediately southwest of the Macarthur Maze. This neighborhood has active citizen crime patrols, including one group of seniors who walk the neighborhood weekly to get physical exercise and report blight. Jerry Brown, formerly governor of California and Mayor of Oakland stated: "Instead of an omnibus crime bill, you have to deal with shootings in Ghostown in West Oakland and sideshows in East Oakland."[6] Brown made attempts to turn around the blighted West Oakland neighborhood after 60 Minutes featured it in a television profile.[4]

The term "Ghost riding" has been attributed to this Oakland neighborhood. According to the Contra Costa Times and The Washington Post, local rapper Mistah F.A.B. popularized the term with his song "Ghost Ride It" and speculated that its origins are in Ghosttown.

The area has changed remarkably since this wikipedia entry and more regular outlets and fewer liquor stores means the area is becoming a 'ghost' of its former self. lol


  1. Are you within the historic district? If so, is your house contributing?

  2. Hi Kate. What do you mean exactly by contributing?



  3. My family and I used to work for the American Burial Casket Company in the 1960s and 1970s. The main office was at 3110 Filbert St. The company was owned by the Thompson family. My first photography 'job' was taking pictures of caskets for a catalog.


  4. Hi George,
    I'm doing a freelance investigative report on the origins of Ghost Town. Do you think you have a moment to chat with me? You may email me at