The Kitchener scarp

The recent walk by the Oakland Urban Paths group took us past a catastrophe I hadn’t seen before: the landslide of 15 January 1970. It removed nearly all the homes on the east side of Kitchener Court, just south of the LDS Temple, and dumped the ground into the valley of upper Peralta Creek. The land is still empty and uninhabitable. Here’s a look south over the scarp from Kitchener.


The slide wiped out the middle of London Road between a tiny stub at the top of Maple Street and the forlorn end trailing off of Maiden Lane. The Hayward fault is mapped right through the foot of the slide. The site of my photo is across the pink strip opposite the “J” on this portion of the Oakland geologic map.


I frankly can’t vouch for any of the bedrock divisions shown here, but the dashed line of the fault is close enough to reality. For orientation, here’s the equivalent area in Google Maps. Rettig canyon, where Peralta Creek cuts through the bedrock ridge of Leona keratophyre (pink) and mixed Franciscan rocks (KJf), is in the patch of green at lower center.


2 Responses to “The Kitchener scarp”

  1. Vanessa Miller Says:

    My grandparents owned 2924 Kitchener Ct. my dad bought it from them. I was born in 1962 and my grandparents owned it prior to my birth… I remember homes on the side of the street and they were sliding down the hill… I was so curious, but of course we couldn’t go in them. My grandparents lost the detached garage, but the house was fine. After my dad bought it, my room had an amazing view of the temple. I feel attached to that house and the area… super happy to have found you article! I’ve been looking for history on the place and stumbled on this article. Thank you!

    PS: just read a comment that said we were convinced the building of the temple did undermine the hill!

  2. Oakland Daily Photo Says:

    I know someone who lost their house in this slide. Neighbors were convinced the construction of the Mormon temple had something to do with the ensuing instability of the area. But there was no solid proof.

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