At the tower overlooking San Leandro Bay in the Martin Luther King Shoreline park, you can see the confluence of five Oakland creeks in four outlets, Peralta Creek on the north, followed southward by the combined mouth of Lion Creek and Arroyo Viejo, then Elmhurst Creek, then San Leandro Creek. Little Elmhurst Creek doesn’t get a lot of love, but this is it.
It runs past the south side of the Coliseum complex—did you know that the Coliseum is nearly surrounded by streams?—and it emerges from underground culverts just west of San Leandro Boulevard near 81st Avenue. What strikes me about that spot is that it’s the truck stop where sits the colorful Estrellas de Sinaloa diner, which appeared like a mirage on the gray day in 2008 when I walked the length of Oakland from the San Leandro BART to the Berkeley line on Shattuck Avenue.
The Oakland Museum’s watershed site has little to say about the creek, only that its headwaters were a willow thicket at International Boulevard whose drainage has now been diverted to its bigger neighbor, San Leandro Creek. Looking at the contours on the map, I can surmise that the spot was somewhere between 90th and 98th avenues, right where the historical town of Elmhurst once sat. Imagine the little farming village that Elmhurst used to be in the late 1800s.
Now I must eat at Estrellas de Sinaloa (how’s the food?) and walk to the corner to pay my respects to the creek.