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Oakland’s 16th Street Station: The Depot that Fueled a Population Boom

Chosen as the western terminus of the first transcontinental railroad, Oakland has a long and rich transportation history. Its 16th Street Station, built in 1912, became a major depot for western migration, fueling a population boom in the San Francisco Bay Area. An architectural gem, the station closed to travelers in 1994 and has been the subject of decades of unrealized and controversial redevelopment plans. 

In this presentation, writer and former head librarian of the Oakland History Center Dorothy Lazard will trace the history of the station and its place in the political and economic development of Oakland and the East Bay. 


Dorothy Lazard
Oakland Heritage Alliance
Dorothy Lazard began her library career at UC Berkeley where she received her Master of Library and Information Studies degree in 1983. In 2000, she joined the staff of the Oakland Main Library where she was responsible for the history, biography, architecture, and map collections. From 2009 until her retirement in 2021, she managed the Oakland Public Library's Oakland History Center, where she hosted and delivered history lectures, mounted exhibits, and wrote articles about Oakland history. She is widely celebrated for encouraging people of all ages, cultures, and educational levels to explore local history, with several authors acknowledging her for her assistance with their books. She is the recipient of the Partners in Preservation Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oakland Heritage Alliance (2022) and the Oscar Lewis Award for outstanding contributions to Western History (2023) from the Book Club of California.

Along with her busy library career, Dorothy, who holds a MFA degree in Creative Nonfiction (Goucher College), is also a writer. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications including The Public Library: a photographic essay; Oakland Heritage Alliance News; and Oakland Noir. Her book about growing up in the Bay Area in the 1960s and '70s, titled "What You Don't Know Will Make a Whole New World: a memoir," was published in 2023 by Heyday Books. 


What You Don’t Know Will Make a Whole New World: A Memoir
What You Don’t Know Will Make a Whole New World: A Memoir
By Dorothy Lazard

A Best Book of the Year, Oakland Public Library
Finalist for the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award – Autobiography & Memoir

Dorothy Lazard grew up in the Bay Area of the 1960s and ’70s, surrounded by an expansive network of family, and hungry for knowledge. Here in her first book, she vividly tells the story of her journey to becoming “queen of my own nerdy domain.” Today Lazard is celebrated for her distinguished career as a librarian and public historian, and in these pages she connects her early intellectual pursuits—including a formative encounter with Alex Haley—to the career that made her a community pillar. As she traces her trajectory to adulthood, she also explores her personal experiences connected to the Summer of Love, the murder of Emmett Till, the flourishing of the Black Arts Movement, and the redevelopment of Oakland. As she writes with honesty about the tragedies she faced in her youth—including the loss of both parents—Lazard’s memoir remains triumphant, animated by curiosity, careful reflection, and deep enthusiasm for life.


Description copied from HeyDay's website