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Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Florists of Telegraph Avenue


The Local Ecologist turns ethnographer. Georgia Silvera Seamans cruises from Oakland to Berkeley and finds flower shops going strong, gone, and converted along Telegraph Avenue.


imageA former flower shop in Oakland, now an art gallery

Photo: Georgia Silvera Seamans

Running four and a half miles, from downtown Oakland, California, to the southern edge of the Berkeley (“Cal”) campus, Telegraph Avenue is a beaten—some might even say battered—trail. Oakland’s first horsecar operated here, and in 1858 that town’s first telegraph went up along the route—thus its name.

Georgia Silvera Seamans, scholar of cities and local ecologist, made a recent inventory of the flower shops along Telegraph Avenue. Her inspired photo-essay shows some of the differences between Oakland and Berkeley and the ironies of this urban thoroughfare, which somehow manages to be both a tourist destination and a struggling commercial district, blessed and blighted at the same time.

Georgia reports:

“On Telegraph Avenue, a road that runs through Berkeley and Oakland, there are several flower shops.  The ones in Oakland are big stores while the ones in Berkeley are small, edge of the sidewalk shops.


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Posted by Julie on 11/13 at 03:32 PM
Culture & SocietyFloristsPermalink