What’s That Building in Downtown Oakland?


I used to be quite the walker when I first moved back to the Bay. I had an active social life and no car to support it. One of the things I would almost always see and wonder about on my walks is this building at 1100 Broadway in Oakland.

Luckily, Jonathan Haeber, a local urban explorer, was also curious about the building and dedicated one of his urban explorations to uncovering what the building looks like now and what the history of the building is.


Turns out the building used to house the privately owned company Key System.[link] Key System provided mass transit to most of the Bay Area from 1903 to 1960.

According to Wikipedia, Key System was dismantled around 1958. Declining ridership and lobbying by National City Lines [link], an affliate of General Motors ended much of the company’s rail ways.  In 1949, National City Lines, along with General Motors, Firestone Tire, Standard Oil of California, and others (Phillips Petroleum, Mack) were sued by the United States for conspiracy to form a “transportation monopoly, and conspiring to monopolize sales of buses and supplies to companies owned by City Lines.” [link]


To find out what else Haeber discovered –like rave flyers from the 80s on one of the floors, and see more photos, check out Haber’s post on Bearings. [link]

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