Emeryville, California

From Academic Kids

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The city of Emeryville highlighted within Alameda County

Emeryville is a small city located in Alameda County, California. It is located in a corridor between the cities of Berkeley and Oakland in the San Francisco Bay Area. Its proximity to San Francisco ("The City"), the University of California, Berkeley, and Silicon Valley has been a catalyst for recent economic growth. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 6,882.


General Experience

While the actual resident population is small, as noted above, the large business presence draws many commuters and shoppers. Combined with heavy through traffic (Emeryville provides direct or indirect access from I-80, I-580, I-880, I-980, SR-24, and SR-13 to the Bay Bridge, in addition to San Pablo Avenue, the old US 40, providing access to Berkeley) this creates an area that feels much more dense than the population alone might indicate. Parking, however, is generally adequate, and overall road surface conditions are good. In general, few buildings exceed three stories in height, though the Bay Street area is currently (2005) being expanded to include additional stories on many buildings. Many of the older warehouses have been converted to lofts for use by artists, businesses and as residences. The trend started in the mid 1980s with the conversion of the Besler Building for use by artists.

While many people take advantage of the proximity to San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland for entertainment options, Emeryville does offer movie theaters, bars, clubs, and a few small parks, though the major draw is the shopping (see below).


Before the colonization of the area by Spain in 1776, this area was the site of extensive native American settlements. Mudflats rich with clams and rocky areas with oysters, plus fishing, hunting, and acorns from the local oak trees provided a rich and easily expolited food source for the residents. They would dispose of their clam and oyster shells in a single place, over time creating a huge mound— the Emeryville Shellmound.

With the late 19th and early 20th century urban development of the San Francisco Bay Area, Emeryville played a role as a naturalistic playground for the people of the bay. In the early 20th century, a large park, dance hall and fairground were built along the waterfront on the shellmound to serve as an entertainment and social spot in the area. On February 22, 1920 the first dog race track to employ an imitation rabbit opened in Emeryville. These have since been paved, with the shellmound hauled away for building materials - replaced in the early 20th century by heavy industry, including for a long time a paint factory of Sherwin-Williams, then easily recognizable for a large animated neon sign, showing a can of red paint, tilting, spilling, and covering a globe of the earth, with the slogan "We Cover the Earth". It was also once the location of Shell Development, the research arm of Shell Oil company (U.S), relocated in 1972 to Houston, Texas. The area has significantly recovered from its depressed post-industrial period. The town is now a center for various research and development companies, drawing upon the bay area's well educated and experienced scientific, technical, artistic, and business workforce. With the reconstruction of the area from industrial to technical research and development, intellectual property creation, and "Big Box" shopping, there have been opportunities for anthropologists to re-examine the lower portions of the original shellmound and to excavate, examine, and re-inter elsewhere the contents of native American burial sites in the area.


At one time, the Emeryville Mudflats were famous for their stench. This was due to the hydrogen sulfide gas resulting from the effluent of untreated sewage from Emeryville and nearby cities, particularly nearby Oakland and Berkeley.

In the 1950's the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) constructed a regional sewage treatment plant and cured the noxious problem.

The Emeryville Mudflats then became famous for public art - built from washed up timbers and boards by professional and amateur artists, skilled and unskilled, and art students from local high schools, the University of California, Berkeley, the California College of Arts and Crafts and the Free University of Berkeley.

In the late 1990s, the sculptures and materials were removed in the interest of establishing a more natural and undisturbed marshland for the nurturing of wildlife. This process continues around the bay in many other wetlands, former diked grazing fields, and salt production evaporation ponds.

Business and Industry

Emeryville is now home to the headquarters to many large and small businesses. It is home to burgeoning biotechnology, software and film industries.

Companies include:

  • Chiron Corporation [1] (http://www.chiron.com) - a global biotech leader and research company and manufacturer of biopharmaceuticals, vaccines and blood testing kits, providing therapeutics against multiple sclerosis, vaccines against meningitis, flu and rabies, and testing kits for hepatitis and HIV.
  • Pixar Animation Studios [2] (http://www.pixar.com) - a major animation and computer graphics firm responsible for award-winning short and feature films such as Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and Finding Nemo.
  • LeapFrog [3] (http://www.leapfrog.com) - a market leader of educational toys and materials geared towards children and teenagers.
  • Wham-O Toys [4] (http://www.wham-o.com) - a toy company and an inventor's workshop, home of the original frisbee, hacky sack and hula hoop.
  • Ask Jeeves [5] (http://www.askjeeves.com/) - a growing Internet search engine that survived the dot.com bust of the 1990s, which uses questions to filter the web for the most relevant articles.
  • ZipRealty [6] (http://www.ziprealty.com) - an Internet-based real estate company designed to help people sell and buy homes using the power of the Internet.

As part of a huge urban renewal project, several enormous shopping centers have opened next to the intersection of Interstate highways 80 and 580. Among their anchor tenants are the first west-coast store of Ikea, as well as more familiar merchants such as Home Depot and Toys 'R' Us. A new retail development named Bay Street Emeryville sits along Highway 80 and is home to such merchants as Banana Republic, Gap, Coach, The Apple Store, and restaurants such as California Pizza Kitchen and Pasta Pomodoro. The complex is anchored by AMC Theaters, and is located next to Ikea.


Emeryville has an Amtrak station, and also sits about two miles west of a nearby Bay Area Rapid Transit station in Oakland. To supplement the bus service provided by AC Transit, the city runs a shuttle service called Emery Go Round (http://www.emerygoround.com) (for the position of each vehicle, check NextBus (http://www.nextbus.com/emeryville/)).

As for freeway access, it sits on a key section of Interstate 80, just north of where that freeway meets Interstate 880 and Interstate 580 in a gigantic interchange known as the MacArthur Maze. Highway 24 is also accessible from Emeryville, which connects southbound to Interstate 880 via Highway 980 and continues eastward to Highway 680, where the Walnut Creek and Concord areas are located.

Emeryville also maintains a small marina with limited services.


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Location of Emeryville, California

Emeryville is located at 37°50'9" North, 122°17'14" West (37.835926, -122.287253)Template:GR.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.0 km² (1.9 mi²). 3.2 km² (1.2 mi²) of it is land and 1.8 km² (0.7 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 36.79% water.


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 6,882 people, 3,975 households, and 1,164 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,178.0/km² (5,646.2/mi²). There are 4,274 housing units at an average density of 1,352.6/km² (3,506.5/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 44.99% White, 19.46% Black or African American, 0.49% Native American, 25.57% Asian, 0.25% Pacific Islander, 4.18% from other races, and 5.06% from two or more races. 8.95% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 3,975 households out of which 10.7% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 18.0% are married couples living together, 8.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 70.7% are non-families. 55.5% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 1.71 and the average family size is 2.69.

In the city the population is spread out with 11.4% under the age of 18, 13.4% from 18 to 24, 42.2% from 25 to 44, 23.3% from 45 to 64, and 9.8% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100 females there are 100.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 100.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $45,359, and the median income for a family is $57,063. Males have a median income of $49,333 versus $39,527 for females. The per capita income for the city is $33,260. 13.2% of the population and 6.3% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 4.5% of those under the age of 18 and 8.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Fun Facts

Local employer Pixar, which produces movies using computer animation, sneaks many local references into their works. For example, early in the movie The Incredibles, a moving map is shown on the dashboard of the hero's car; it is easily recognizable as the section of Emeryville near Pixar's headquarters.

See also

Olympia Oyster for information related to this bivalve mollusc and the Emeryille Shellmound

External links

Template:Mapit-US-cityscale Emeryville Shellmound:

City of Emeryville: http://www.ci.emeryville.ca.us/

History of U.S. Route 40 (San Pablo Avenue): "Highway Nostalgia: San Pablo Avenue -- Music Row" (http://www.lincolnhighwayassoc.org/ca/traveler/2001-03/highway_nostalgia.html)

Template:Cities of Alameda County, California pt:Emeryville


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