The Cleveland Cascade is not in Cleveland, nor even in Ohio. The Cascade cascaded (and soon will again) in a wonderful city on the San Francisco Bay: Oakland, California.
Oakland stretches from coastal hills in the east to the shores of San Francisco Bay. Berkeley — home of the Free Speech Movement and the world-class University of California — is adjacent to the north. The wine country, high-tech Silicon Valley, and the Sierras are all close by.
Oakland’s population of 400,000 is ultra-diverse — speaking more than 100 languages and dialects — and fuels the city’s rich cultural heritage and vibrant, cohesive neighborhoods. The Port of Oakland is the nation's fourth-busiest containerport. Architectural gems abound.
Lake Merritt, at the foot of the Cleveland Cascade, is deservedly acclaimed as the Jewel of Oakland. At 155 acres, Lake Merritt is the nation’s largest urban saltwater lake. Many mosey, walk, or run the lake’s 3.2-mile perimeter for relaxation and exercise.
Way back in 1870, the State of California designated the lake as a wildfowl refuge — the first wildlife refuge created by any legislative body in North America. The lake is a bird’s paradise, both as a permanent home to many and as a way-stop on the Pacific flyway for migratory species during the winter. To provide more-comfortable accomodations, the first of five “bird islands” was constructed in 1925. You can find herons, egrets, geese, grebes, cormorants, ….
If the shore isn’t close enough to the water for you, you can row or sail on Lake Merritt. If you prefer a cushier nautical journey, you can be chauffeured in a gondola! In April 2004, the lake was host to U.S. Olympic Team trials for flatwater sprint canoe and kayak.
The stairs of the Cleveland Cascade provide a pedestrian connection (easier down than up!) between the area known as Haddon Hill, and earlier as Peralta Heights, and the lake below.
Though laid out before 1914, by famous landscape designer Mark Daniels, development of the hill didn’t take off in a major way until the time of the construction of the Cleveland Cascade. (Just coincidence?) About 70 percent of the neighborhood was developed between 1923 and 1928. During this between-the-wars hiatus of hostilities, Period Revival style was broadly popular, with Haddon Hill focusing on Mediterranean styles such as Italian Renaissance and Spanish Revival.
Haddon Hill’s most-famous resident is undoubtedly industrialist Henry J. Kaiser. Haddon Hill’s most-famous overnight guest is, equally undoubtedly, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who stayed at Kaiser’s home at the corner of Haddon Road and Hilgirt Circle during a trip to California to inspect shipyards.
The foot of the Cleveland Cascade is on Lakeshore Avenue, between 2250 and 2300 Lakeshore Avenue. You can park on either side of Lakeshore Avenue. There's a pedestrian crosswalk at the Cascade's entrance.
The top of the Cleveland Cascade is on Merritt Avenue, between 395 and 407 Merritt Avenue. This is a densely populated residential neighborhood; parking can be tough.
Your opportunity for major, long-lasting impact
If you are a philanthropically inclined individual or organization or a public-spirited company, and if the restoration of the Cleveland Cascade is a project that might align with your interests, values, and goals, please email.
There are exciting opportunities for you to have a major, long-lasting impact on Oakland, its residents, and visitors — by simultaenously honoring Oakland’s past and enriching its future — and for you to receive the recognition you deserve.
Cleveland Cascade at The Organic City
Our big thanks to filmmakers Seamus Byrne and Sarah Mattern, creators of TheOrganicCity.com, an awesomely creative interactive site chronicling the stories of the Lake Merritt area. It’s open source, so you can contribute your own stories.
Directions to the Cascade
Go to the top between 395 and 407 Merritt Avenue
Go to the foot between 2250 and 2300 Lakeshore Avenue