The Cielito Lindo Apartment complex sits across Park Boulevard from me, tucked behind some other buildings. Without knowing where it is, you probably wouldn’t find it. I’ve seen it from the outside before, but thanks to a walking tour put on by the Oakland Heritage Alliance, today I got to go inside.
These are the sorts of little gems tucked into every corner of this city that sum up why I love it so. Lots of Moorish details, wrought iron details, and a courtyard garden to die for.
Our tour guide, Phil Bellman, shared an article from 1930 by E. Kulikowska about Cielito Lindo, titled “The Development of the Group Home. Some choice quotes:
Comfort and charm are not incompatible, as Casebolt Dakin has proved more than adequately in his design of Cielito Lindo in Oakland.
It has an aire of multiplicity and yet of unity. It might be a group of little homes clustered about a common garden; it might be the country villa of an Iberian don, with generous, hospitable additions.
The surest way to know the essence of Cielito Lindo is to see it under moonlight. Here are windows darkened, windows alight, windows with curtains drawn. The lights throw slanting beams, picking out a row of brilliant tile; the moon makes roof-peaks curiously iridescent, casts strange shadows down the pallid walls. The patio is wrapped in darkness; the irregular splash and ripple of water in the pool cuts the night into sharp definition of sound and silence. A wind whispers with the gentle melancholy in the tops of the pine trees. A seemingly far-off thread of sound resolves itself into a tune. Somebody’s radio? Perhaps; but, under the spell of this compelling magic, can one deny that it is a serenading guitar?
In Cielito Lindo, Casebolt Dakin had made real the dreams of the present and set an ideal for the future.
That’s some quality florid prose!