The Temescal neighborhood of North Oakland was Oakland’s little Italy in the first half of the twentieth century, and though only a very few vestiges of this colorful past remain today, there is still evidence of the Italian-American influence on the development of the neighborhood if one looks closely.
The home we feature today is an important piece of that history. It was the long-time family home of the Girolas who owned a successful auto repair shop called Girola Bros. at the end of the block in the building which now houses Reed Brothers Security. The Girolas built themselves an impressive Mediterranean home, which is much larger than most of the other homes in the neighborhood, and bears witness to the success of their business venture at a time when the automobile was new.
The home is still impressive today, with its wrought iron fence and balcony, Corinthian columns, and strict symmetry. Inside, the finishes are not overly ornate, but they are well preserved, and there is ample space for a large Italian family. On top of that, in a neighborhood where few homes originally had garages, this home has a multi-story garage structure in the rear of the house as testament to its previous owners’ vocation.