Amelia Sue Marshall

Amelia Sue Marshall is a writer who lives with her family on Peralta Creek in Oakland. She worked as a journalist for five years before enrolling in the College of Engineering at U.C. Berkeley. She subsequently spent much of her career at Space Sciences Laboratory and the Lawrence Hall of Science. She is also a licensed real estate broker, and board member of the Oakland Heritage Alliance, Metropolitan Horsemen’s Association, and Friends of Joaquin Miller Park. She is a 20 year trail safety volunteer with the East Bay Regional Park District. She is the author of East Bay Hills: A Brief History (Arcadia Publishing, 2017) and Oakland’s Equestrian Heritage (Arcadia Publishing, 2008).

East Bay Hills explores the unique redwood forest region of the hills between Oakland, Moraga, Castro Valley, and Hayward. Five square miles of hills and valleys between Oakland and Moraga hold the farthest inland California coastal redwood forest. From the era of the Huchiun Ohlone and Saclan people until the present, remarkable people have lived and worked here. Yankee loggers were driven out by Antonio Peralta’s cavalry. Sea captains used the tallest trees to set a course through the bay. Oath-bawling bullwhackers rode from the redwoods to downtown Oakland to lynch livestock rustlers. Portuguese ship jumpers operated dairies and planted orchards. With the coming of the Depression years, visionary civic leaders organized to convert watershed land to a system of regional parks. The work armies of the New Deal developed the open space for the public. Advocates for every sort of recreation found opportunities to pursue favorite pastimes, while naturalists and environmentalists advocated for stewardship — sometimes resulting in conflicts.

Oakland’s Equestrian Heritage: Widely seen as an urban milieu, Oakland has historically been a paradise for equestrians. Beginning after World War I, local businessmen kept showy horses to ride in parades in the finest Western-style saddles and bridles. Mills College was the scene of a popular riding academy, from which college women teamed up with service clubs to patrol the unpaved roads during World War II, searching for invading aircraft over the Golden Gate. Dozens of stables, public and private, made horse ownership possible for citizens of all economic levels. Local horse club rolls included 900 members in 1948. Trick riders delighted crowds in Wild West shows. Mounted rangers and police officers kept order and provided public service.