My name is Steven Kolden and I've lived on Greenridge
Road since 1968 (42 years). I am very happy to call
this community my home.
Bottom of Greenridge
One of my earliest memories is waiting for the school
bus at the bottom of the hill to take us to Independent
Elementary. The busses did not come up the hill
until I was in 5th grade. The bottom of the hill
was a little different than it is today. The part
where you would make a right turn onto Crow Canyon
when coming down the hill was both the entry and
exit for Greenridge. The triangle part had a lot
of trees. One tree in particular was like a little
hut. It had a small entry like a door. When you
went inside you would see a room made of leaves.
The room was about 8 feet tall and about 6 feet
wide. The branches and leaves felt like the wall
of a circular room. We had great fun playing in
that tree. We used to try to get to the bus stop
early just to have more time to play there.
had no problems walking to the bus stop every day.
It was the walk back up the hill after school that
we dreaded. It was very common for neighbors to
stop and give you a ride up the hill for which I
will always be grateful.
The Cow Pasture
Some of you may not know where the Cow Pasture was.
Lomond Way was a dead end. There was no Cavendish
Drive. It was only cows. In fact, the dead end was
different in that it had a small corral and ramp
for loading cattle onto trucks.
you were really brave you would go to Canyon High
School (now Canyon Middle School) through the Cow
Pasture. You would be brave because the cows were
accompanied by a bull. This bull was not known for
its good manners. This is where I learned the lesson
that there is a distinct difference between bravery
and foolishness. I don't know of anyone who got
gored but there was always a fence to jump over
if you walked near the houses.
remember that whenever I wanted to be alone I would
walk to the dead end. I would sit on the fence of
the coral and watch the cows and enjoy the sunsets.
It was a very peaceful spot.
top of Greenridge was not up by the park but down
lower. The last house was just past Mountain Lane
where the Eichlers stop and the newer houses start.
I guess they were planning on building houses there
all along because someone had already leveled out
the areas leaving what we called "Ramps"
between where the houses would go. It may have been
Joseph Eichler himself thinking of future expansion
of the Eichler tract. The Ramps were there for many
years and we enjoyed riding our bikes down them.
Another brave/foolish thing to do was to ride your
bike down one particularly steep ramp. Most of the
bigger kids could do it. The one time I tried it
I regretted it. My parents weren't happy with me
either after we got back from the hospital. Oops.
nothing like the fresh smell of skunk in the morning.
Well that hasn't changed. But not for the lack of
wanting. Our dog got sprayed once. Not a happy time
in our household. We've always had possum, raccoons,
deer and fox. But there have been some shifts in
the wild life of the area. I never saw wild turkey
until the past 8 to 10 years. We never had a squirrel
in our back yard until about 5 years ago. The geese
that were around Cull Canyon were all white. Now
they are all Canadian Geese. We also seem to have
increased the population of newts in the past few
One day I was working in our garage and heard a
cry for "Help!" from our front yard. I
came running out only to find a peacock. A family
used to raise peacocks at the bottom of the hill
and this one liked to travel a bit. Unfortunately
it travelled into our atrium and I had to figure
out how to get it out. After going in circles for
a few minutes I decided to rush it a bit in hopes
of scaring it out the front door. I didn't know
they could fly. I had to go but that peacock sat
on the peak of our roof like it now owned the house.
remember one year all of Castro Valley and especially
the hills were covered in spider webs. The spider
webs were floating in the wind. People were getting
covered in them as well. It was a very strange sight.
Apparently there is some phenomena called "ballooning"
where young spiders spin a web in the air and the
wind makes them take flight. It's an effective method
of relocation for them. It's a very rare event but
it was fun to watch as a kid.
park has gone through two changes. The first park
had a pretty cool wooden fort with little play guns
on it. There was nothing down where the basketball
courts are now. The second park turned the fort
into a small, wooden maze. It never was that much
fun to me and I really missed the fort. It did have
a cool wooden bridge that was fun to jump on even
though we weren't supposed to.
a parent, I'm happy with today's park. It's much
safer than the previous two and the addition of
the basket ball courts, picnic tables, barbeque
pits, gazebo on the ridge and the restrooms are
all wonderful additions. The one thing that has
remained constant at that park has been the view.
It really is nice to see the Bay Area from that
I was a kid, Greenridge Road was known as the most
integrated community in Alameda County. That was
something we were proud of at that time. I no longer
know if we still hold that title but I don't think
anyone is analyzing this anymore. I think what matters
is that we have a nice neighborhood with nice people.
I'm happy to have been a part of this community's
history and am excited about its future.
- Steven Kolden - 6/25/10