The houses many of us live in have long and fascinating histories. Some are architecturally distinguished, some have been moved from other locations, some are the former homes of important people. For those of you interested in finding out more about your house, a trip to the Oakland History Room (OHR) may answer your questions.
A first stop should be to OHR's Map Room where patrons can find their houses in tax assessment block books (1877-1925) and Sanborn Fire Insurance maps (1882-1951). There you can find out names of previous owners, property values, physical information about the house, and prior street names. Another important resource in the Map Room is the Oakland annexation map. The city grew by five annexations; knowing when your neighborhood became part of Oakland helps facilitate your search. Researchers can then consult Oakland city directories (in OHR's Main Room) to find out more about the owners. Some, for example, were contractors, possibly the builders of their properties.