Old Oakland

The photos and captions above are excerpts from the book "Images of America: Oakland" written by Kevin Heffernan and John Madden.

“History gives us a perspective….it imposes a sense of guardianship, of trust, a reason for proper care of the resources which served our forefathers and must also serve our heirs.”  -Arthur Vervaet, Mayor, Oakland, NJ 1952

Thus from the author’s comments is the context of the recently released pictorial history of Oakland by John Madden and Kevin Heffernan through Arcadia Press. It celebrates the history of our community from roughly 1860 to 1964. The work is 128 pages containing over 200 photos and text weaving a multi-faceted portrait of a people who lived here and who founded a community. Its story is a fabric of ordinary people who sought their independence to form their own destiny and whose residential descendents celebrate their accomplishments. In a sense it is a miniature of the American experience: men and women wanting betterment and to be free of remote government willing to risk their destiny and that of those who follow. 

In a recent interview on WGHT 1500 Radio, the authors were asked why they wrote this book. Their answer was stark. “Because no one was doing it and because it needed to be done.…to honor those who came before us, to help the residents of Oakland better appreciate our small community and to assist future generations know and appreciate Oakland’s roots.”

Madden and Heffernan have developed 9 chapters in pictures and text serving as a canvas to create their portrait of this historical walk into Oakland’s past.

Chapter 1 - Vistas, Views and Maps
Chapter 2 - A Valley of Homes
Chapter 3 - The Page Estate and the Van Allen House
Chapter 4 - Business and Industry
Chapter 5 - A Stroll Down Main Street
Chapter 6 - The Ponds Church
Chapter 7 - Oakland On The Move
Chapter 8 - Oakland As A Tourist Town
Chapter 9 - Serving Oakland with Pride and Distinction

Each chapter recalls important people, places and buildings of Oakland’s heritage and recounts sadly that many no longer exist. While serving as a lament to what has been destroyed by '‘development'’ the authors equally hope that it inspires a renewal of the appreciation of Oakland’s heritage and a public demand to preserve the remaining historic buildings.

Madden and Heffernan pointed out that the book is an excellent fundraiser for every school and civic organization. Organizations and school groups can generate $8.00 per book profit when ordered directly from Arcadia Press at 1 (888) 313-6225.

The book is available at the Oakland Public Library as well as many retailers in Oakland including:

Cafè L'Amore
Deli Sensations
Elm Street Grill
Oakland Pharmacy
Pete and John's Paint Store
Oakland Shop Rite
Valley Pub

These retailers, catching the community spirit, will be donating their profits to the Oakland Library Building Fund.