Dennis Evanosky

In 2007 I transformed my weekly architectural column for my former newspaper the Alameda Sun into the third book in the series "History Is All Around Us."

I enjoy teaching local history with my walking tours, my history talks, my newspaper articles, my Web site: and my blogs, which are listed in the menu under Other Links.

I am interested in the Civil War. I was instrumental in the restoration of the Grand Army of the Republic plot at Mountain View Cemetery.

Oakland's preservationists, The Oakland Heritage Alliance, honored me and my fellow volunteers for our efforts with a Partners in Preservation Award --the third of four preservation awards that I had a share in, I'm proud to say.

Twenty-two pages of my Mountain View Cemetery book feature the cemetery's Civil War denizens.

In addition to the three books available here, Eric J. Kos and I have five other published books:

  • East Bay Then & Now
  • San Francisco in Photographs
  • San Francisco Then & Now
  • Lost San Francisco
  • Los Angeles From the Air Then & Now.

British photographer Simon Clay took the photos for the East Bay Then & Now book. San Francisco photographer Karl Mondon photographed our other books. Our company, Stellar Media Group, published the Alameda, Mountain View and Laurel books.

My ninth book is in the works: Oakland's Dimond and Fruitvale Districts, which is about two districts in the heart of East Oakland.

I have embarked on a new adventure at The Alameda Post. Adam Gillet and I are putting together a fabulous paper that features news and information about the City of Alameda. We would be thrilled if you'd mosey on by and have a look at our local news paper.

This site was updated
March 25, 2022

Lives of the Dead at Oakland's Mountain View Cemetery

Price $30 ($25 for the book and $5 for shipping and handling)

Contact Dennis at (510) 772-5209 or email at for more information about book availability

Lives of the Dead at Oakland's Mountain View Cemetery

Fourth in the Series:
History is All Around Us
Lives of the Dead is the second of two books in the “History Is All around Us” series written about Mountain View Cemetery. Its title echoes the name of co-author Michael Colbruno’s popular blog. Dennis Evanosky’s first Mountain View tome covers the cemetery and its history. It explains the various styles of cemeteries and monuments. It also lets the reader in on the stories of some of the cemetery’s most famous “residents.”

This new volume looks back in time before the creation of Mountain View Cemetery. Did you know, for example that Oakland had two older cemeteries? Or that the cemetery’s famous designer Frederick Law Olmsted was managing gold mines in Bear Valley, California, when he was asked to lay out Mountain View? Or that Mountain View had its own quarry in the Sierra Nevada foothills? Are you aware that Jane Sather of Sather Gate and Sather Tower fame found a forever home with Francis Marion “Borax” Smith”?

Enjoy stories of many of the less-well-known cemetery denizens and learn the roles they played in shaping the society of their day. Meet “Little Charlie” and “Baby Maude” and others who departed this life and children. Read the touching poems that their parents engraved on their stones. Get a closer look at early photographers, painters, railroad builders, map makers and teachers.

Learn about Mountain View’s interesting connection to Yosemite National Park. Meet all the families who lived in Oakland’s Camron-Stanford House. Learn about the Pardee, Dunsmuir and Cohen-Bray families. The book will even take you on “field trip” to their homes. And don’t miss the opportunity to go “Dancin’ with Anson.”

Click here to see a sample chapter.

Alameda: An Architectural Treasure Chest

Price $30 ($25 for the book and $5 for shipping and handling)

Contact Dennis at (510) 772-5209 or email at for more information about book availability

Alameda: An Architectural Treasure Chest

Third in the Series:
History is All Around Us
Alameda: An Architectural Treasure Chest explores the history of Alameda from its settlement by the Ohlone Indians to its early 20th century development.

Alameda grew from a small settlement on its eastern end to a city rich in Victorian-era architectural gems. The book explores the three small towns: Alameda, Encinal, and Woodstock that later shaped today's Island City, and takes the readers on hikes that reveal surprises about early Alameda.

Also included are field trips off the Island City that allow the readers to explore and better understand the Victorian-era styles from the early Gothic Revival through Italianate, Stick-style, Empire, Queen Anne, and Bungalow. The book also includes pages that help even those not versed in architecture understand the styles that made the Victorian era so rich and interesting.

Featured in the book is the 1887 Alameda Semi-Weekly Argus bird's eye view map. Close-ups of this map show seldom-seen details of late 19th century Alameda.

A city bustling with modern-day shopping and businesses has tucked in its neighborhoods surprises and treasures that even those who have lived there all their lives will appreciate.

Alameda Museum curator George Gunn says, "Dennis has created a book that will appeal to all ages. It is easily read and understood. Filled with historical information and beautifully illustrated. It should be read by those who desire an introduction and appreciation of Alameda history and our architectural heritage."

Click here to see a sample chapter.

Price $30 ($25 for the book and $5 for shipping and handling)

Contact Dennis at (510) 772-5209 or email at for more information about book availability

Mountain View Cemetery

Second in the Series:
History is All Around Us

The second book in this series features Oakland, California's Victorian-era jewel Mountain View Cemetery. Renowned landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmsted, who also designed New York's Central Park, designed the cemetery in 1863. The cemetery is home to such renowned 19th and 20th century men and women as Charles Crocker, one of the founders of the Central Pacific Railroad and architect Julia Morgan designer of Hearst Castle. The book includes 22 pages of Civil War history.

Here's what they're saying:

"A remarkably lively combination of guidebook, local history and architectural handbook. Great stories accompany a wealth of historic and contemporary images. Dennis Evanosky's spirited writing presents a breathtaking range of Bay Area characters and reveals the cemetery as a gateway to history, landscape, culture and style. I expect to see visitors wandering about at Mountain View with this book in hand!"

Naomi Schiff, Past President, Oakland Heritage Alliance

"I know Dennis is passionate about the history of this important community asset. From his archival research to his leadership in restoring our Civil War Plot, Dennis has a keen mind for unlocking and sharing the story of Mountain View Cemetery. Our community is going to enjoy this book immensely and we are grateful to Dennis for publishing it."

Jeff Lindeman, CEO, Mountain View Cemetery

"Few sites symbolize more comprehensively this nation's proudest heritage than Mountain View Cemetery. Dennis Evanosky is just the person to tell its story: piercing the mythologies of the powerful elite, while giving due recognition to the legacies of the less fortunate of every economic class, ethnicity and point-of-view who all share a final resting place within a major work of a great American architectural genius."

Steve Lavoie, Librarian, Oakland History Room

Click here to see a sample chapter.

Contact Dennis at (510) 772-5209 or email at for more information about book availability

Price $30 ($25 for the book and $5 for shipping and handling)

Oakland's Laurel District

First in the Series:
History is All Around Us

On August 15, 2007, Dennis published the first in a series of books that will feature Bay Area history. This first book focuses on the neighborhood where I've lived for twenty years. In 2018, the book was expanded with 25 additional pages on neighboring areas Dimond and Allendale.

Click here to see a sample chapter.

Here's what Hills Newspapers history writer Erika Mailman had to say:

PEOPLE WHO ARE Oakland history buffs inevitably encounter Dennis Evanosky at some point. An enthusiast who created for the pure love, Evanosky firmly believes in getting history out to the people. To that end, he is the author of several local history books. His latest creation is "Oakland's Laurel District," which he released right around the time of the Laurel World Music Festival last month. "The history is conversational, like Dennis, and full of fun facts," says Luan Stauss, owner of Laurel Bookstore. "He gives you lots of tips on where to go to see what is described, and the text is peppered with all the names of people we now know of because of street names. It brings the past alive in our little community."

For instance, Evanosky writes about two early farmers in Laurel: John M. Redding and James Quigley. Today, their legacies are the streets named for them. In 1862, Redding met with Don Antonio Peralta, son of the man who was granted the entire East Bay as a gift for good soldiering. Peralta sold land to Redding to establish his farm. Next door, James and Bridget Quigley, Irish immigrants, also bought land from Peralta. With two other men, farmer George Adams and builder William Toler, the region that would become Laurel was settled.

The book is peppered with maps and includes recurring sidebars called "See for yourself," which allow you to lace up your shoes and go take a look at some of the things Evanosky writes of, such as the only surviving old growth redwood from the original logging days of the 1800s or Luis Maria Peralta's San Jose adobe.

"Oakland's Laurel District" also touches on more recent history, pointing out current businesses and what they used to be. The Goodwill Store was once the Hopkins Theater, Launderland was a Safeway, and the King Kong Restaurant was once a Piggly-Wiggly! The (former) Hilltop Tavern (next door to King Kong), Evanosky writes, "is the only National Park Service Ethnic Historic Indian Site in Alameda County . . . the American Indian Movement met here and planned the 1969 takeover of Alcatraz."

Such a neighborhood-specific book was seemingly built for the Laurel Bookstore to sell. And indeed, Stauss encouraged Evanosky to write it. She also suggested that he write a history of Mountain View Cemetery since so many patrons ask if something like that exists -- Evanosky obliged, and that book will be coming out later in 2007. The Laurel book, as a badge on the cover attests, is the first in a series of local histories Evanosky will be producing with the Stellar Media Group.

"I love to support writers and how much closer to home can you get than a book about the district where your store is? Love that. But also it gets people talking about how long they've been here, what they remember and what things were like in the past. That's a wonderful bit of unintentional community building," Stauss says.

"I have the book on both the front counter and in the window and every day someone is delighted to see the pictures of old Laurel. The people interested range from young black men to elderly white folks, all who live here and have a ton of pride in our neighborhood. Everyone loves to see what the area used to look like from the photos, the maps and the drawings included."

So is the book selling well? Like hotcakes.

"We've sold nearly one a day on average since it came in. Dennis was kind enough to get me 10 copies a couple of days before the Laurel World Festival and we'd sold all but two by the time he came to the booth that day to talk about the book," Stauss says. One book a day is an amazing statistic for an industry where most books never sell more than 2,500 copies.

I can be contacted at: