The Oak Knoll Naval hospital complex opened in 1942, serving veterans wounded on the Pacific battlefields. The modern hi-rise building opened in 1968 to serve Vietnam vets. The site covered over 200 acres and contained 90 buildings.
The entire complex was decommissioned and abandoned in 1996. It sat, mostly forgotten, in a quiet fold of the densely populated Oakland hills for 10 years and was finally scheduled for demolition and subdivision in 2006. The economic meltdown stopped the project cold, even to the point where the developers lost their budget to hire security. Suddenly there were dozens of holes in the fence. The place was wide open for a few months in the summer of 2009 when most of this work was shot.
Weeds and trees had taken over the entire base, and the overgrown WWII-era wooden buildings were tinder-boxes. In the heat of summer, The Knoll was a fire bomb, just waiting to go off.
Pressured by the outraged residents of the surrounding high-density, high-rent neighborhoods over the possiblity of another “Oakland Firestorm of 1991” starting here, funding to re-secure and raze the entire installation was finally found. The hospital hi-rise was imploded in April 2011 and the rest of the site has now been cleared.