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Rottenest City on the Pacific Coast

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Originally established as a “pleasure town”, Chief Justice of the US, Earl Warren, dubbed Emeryville as “the rottenest city on the Pacific Coast” in 1927. It seems fitting that local residents refer to it as Eville and themselves as Evillains. The city lines were redrawn numerous times to exclude any churches, as gambling parlors, brothels, and speakeasies were the lawless epicenter of the city. Despite being known for big box stores, corporate HQ’s, and most notoriously for Swedish-made home goods, Emeryville still holds on to it’s rotten roots as it was a city built on underdogs, rebels, and hard workers with a certain edge.

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The Townhouse is a vestige of this tempestuous time. A fella named Blackie ran the wooden shack as a speakeasy during Prohibition. Today the building retains its old-timey charm, but instead of moonshine, expect an upscale meal by Chef Ellen Hope Rosenberg.

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While the Townhouse holds onto the rotten past, Rotten City Pizza hangs onto it by name only. Though their thin crust New York pizza by the slice style is anything but rotten: they view their pizza as habit forming and an addictive indulgence, paralleling the hedonistic roots.

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Grab a slice of Rotten City’s pizza (or two!) and head across the street to devour it at Prizefighter. This city has dozens of hidden bars in converted spaces. Prizefighter is just that. Located in a part of town that was once known as Butchertown, the industrial brick building was once an old salmon cannery. It has been transformed into a craft cocktail bar, which also serves a wide selection of mezcals and sour beers, without a lick of pretentiousness. Hidden in plain sight, this neighborhood bar is marked only by a faded handpainted sign and fenced in patio – a great place to hang with your pooch or your pals.

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If classic cocktails are your vice, the Mai Tai doesn’t get any more original than at Trader Vic’s. Legend has it that Vic “The Trader” Bergeron created the Mai Tai in 1944 when making it one afternoon for some friends who were visiting from Tahiti. One friend tasted it and cried out “Maita’i roa ae!”, literally meaning “very good”. And thus, the Mai Tai was born right here in the East Bay at one of the first tiki bars ever.

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Get back to the rowdy and raucous roots at Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe, which is named after a Clash song and is co-owned by punk rocker Mike Dirnt of Green Day. Rudy’s has recently been voted Best Breakfast/Brunch, Best Diner, and Best Late Night Munchies by Oakland Magazine’s readers choice poll. Offering a bit of everything in a friendly environment for everyone, Rudy’s simply can’t fail!

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The biggest addition in Emeryville? Caffeine. The smell of freshly roasted coffee emanates from the headquarters of Peet’s Coffee and Tea, Roast Coffee Co. and Highwire Coffee. But the only place you can walk in and get your fix: Farley’s on 65th. The joint serves up De La Paz coffee alongside made-from-scratch pastries and sandwiches. Sponsoring a local non-profit a month, it’s the perfect place to find community in a cup. Plus, all that outdoor seating is rather pleasurable!

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Just around the corner from Farley’s is the office of Lauren Geremia, a Forbes 30 under 30. Initially attracted to the raw industrial space that Emeryville provides, Lauren has made a home here in an amazing space that doubles as her interior design office. When she’s not busy designing some of the best SF bars and company HQ’s (Churchill, Dropbox, Instagram, and Lumosity…just to name a few!), she’s lounging poolside in her converted auto body shop.

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With the abundance of abandoned warehouses in Emeryville, artists have been flocking here for some time. And luckily, the city supports the community. The Art in Public Places Program, established in 1990, requires commercial and large residential spaces to contribute a percentage of building costs to public art. The city also hosts The Annual Emeryville Art Exhibition that shows 100+ pieces by artists who live or work in Emeryville.

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And where there are artists, there is bound to be a cooperative. The 45th Street Artist Cooperative is home to more than 50 artists, who also work here. Founded in 1973, it has launched many artist’s careers by providing the space and support needed. Now don’t worry, this is no hippy-dippy living situation! It’s a space that fosters a sense of partnership and collaboration amongst neighbors and friends.

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TBW Books, an independent photography book publishing company so close to the Emeryville/Oakland border that it has two mailing addresses. Founder Paul Schiek published his own book, Good By Angel, in 2005 and has continued publishing the work of his friends and peers since. The subject matter is always a bit edgy, outsider, and rough with a working-man’s handmade quality to it. TBW Books publishes an annual subscription that includes 4 photo books by both established and up-and-coming artists that is always pushing for experimentation and always bad ass.

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In a city rooted in deviant and counter-culture attitudes, the local residents here thrive in a non-conformist way with burgeoning small businesses and the ability to create in an open environment. Come across the Bay and experience just how pleasurable Emeryville is. (And for goodness sake, if you go to Ikea and have to eat the meatballs, at least enjoy the view from the cafeteria!)

Announcing the Findery Public API

At Findery, we love sharing interesting stories about places around the world. Up until now, the only way to join the party was through or our apps.

Now there’s a backstage pass with the Findery API.

Using the Findery API (v.2, if you were around for v.1), developers can integrate with Findery. Create Findery notes for any location, gather notes into collections (we call them notemaps), and discover interesting places nearby. The Findery API is free and includes endpoints for notes, notemaps, comments, users, following, and more.

What can I do with the API?

With the Findery API, you can take advantage of our great content, near and far. Get nearby notes for local discovery, tourism, or the awesome tidbits you won’t find in history books. Display notes about your business to show how much customers love you. Create a notemap full of hidden treasures to visit. We look forward to finding new uses for Findery!

How do I get started?

The Findery API is free and easy. If you have experience with APIs, you should feel right at home. The Findery API implements the OAuth 2.0 standard for secure authentication and authorization and uses SSL for communication.

Get started by registering your app. It only takes a few minutes.

Learn more about the Findery API at And please feel free to ask us questions on Stack Overflow.

Three Great Notemaps: Spite, Delight & Nostalgia


I was staring at the three notemaps I’d chosen trying to figure out a theme, and all I could could come up with was that there’s a little bit of myself reflected in each of these. So I guess the theme here is narcissism, and I’m just going to embrace that.

Spite Houses by staycurious

I’d never known about “spite houses” until I came across them on Findery, and now I kind of can’t get over them. I mean, it’s difficult enough to build or maintain a house, you know? It takes a fair amount of planning, money and patience. But to build one (or resist tearing one down) out of spite? Incredible. Does the spite help? Is it like fuel? Does it last all the way through to the completion of the house or the demise of the owner? Is a spite house a spite house forever? So many things to consider! I’m not generally a spiteful person, but I can appreciate a juicy irrational obsession, so I’m a big fan of this notemap.

Travel Surprises by chicagoing

This notemap represents my absolute favorite thing about traveling: finding the unexpected. Both good and bad, big and small. I love all the misadventures on this notemap, but I can totally picture myself in a “Snookum Bear” situation.

Brat Pack America by smokler

This one hits me in two spots. I’m a softie for John Hughes’ movies, and my wife and I lived in Chicago for over a decade, so I actually recognize some of these locations. I’ve also got to admire Smokler’s dedication here—this notemap has 50 notes! (And they’re all great.)

Laurel is a Findery rock star. Our designer, that is! When she’s not doing designery at Findery, she’s petting a cat and leaving humorous Findery notes.

Follow her: @hechanova

Are you ashamed of where you grew up?

If you’re ashamed of where you grew up, you shouldn’t be. Some of our greatest heroes and most famous celebrities came from humble backgrounds. And all of these places are worth a visit.

Elvis Presley
Image via Wikimedia Commons

Born: January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi in the house above, which was built just in time for Elvis’s birth.
Context: He had a twin brother, delivered stillborn 35 minutes before him. As an only child, he was close to his parents, especially his mother. They attended the Assembly of God church, the source of his musical inspiration.
Life Achievement: The best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music.
Legacy: One of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. You aren’t called the King of Rock and Roll for nothin’!
Visit: The Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum is open 7 days a week, so stop on by!

Abraham Lincoln
Image via Wikimedia Commons

Born: February 12, 1809 in Hodgenville, Illinois
Context: He was raised in a one-room log cabin, like the one pictured. His parents were strict Baptists, opposed to alcohol, dancing, and slavery.
Life Achievement: 16th President of the United States
Legacy: Portrait on the penny and $5 bill. Ranked in Top 3 Presidents. Abolishing slavery might have something to do with it!
Visit: The Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Park is open daily.

Andrew Carnegie
Image via Wikimedia Commons

Born: November 25, 1835 in Dunfermline, Scotland
Context: The above house is a typical weaver’s cottage, with only one main room. It was shared with another family.
Life Achievement: American Industrialist Worth More Than $310 Billion
Legacy: He gave away almost 90% of his fortune to charities and foundations, making him one of the greatest American philanthropists.
Visit: The Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum is open daily.

Oprah Winfrey
Image via Flickr

Born: January 29, 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi
Context: Her single, teenage mother raised her here. They were so poor Oprah wore potato sacks as clothes.
Life Achievement: The most influential TV talk show host of all time, as well as the richest African American of the 20th Century.
Legacy: “Queen of All Media”
Visit: The house no longer exists, but many make a pilgrimage to the site.

Leonardo da Vinci
Image via Flickr, by Pat Morris

Born: April 15, 1452 in Vinci, Republic of Florence (present-day Italy)
Context: Leonardo was born to unmarried parents, Piero da Vinci, a notary, and Caterina, a peasant woman. Not much is known about his early life, but he spent his first five years in the house pictured with his mother. Then in 1457, he moved in with his father and grandparents, and received an informal education.
Life Achievement: A leading artist in the Renaissance, he produced around 30 paintings, many of which are considered masterpieces.
Legacy: An artist genius bar none, still taught in schools around the world today.
Visit: See the gorgeous Tuscan town and his house all year long.

Babe Ruth
Image via Authentic Baltimore

Born: February 6, 1895 in Baltimore, Maryland
Context: The apartment pictured is located in Pigtown. Looks nice now, but it was a rough area of town at the time. His parents were German Americans. His dad had a series of jobs: streetcar operator and lightning rod salesman among them.
Lifetime Achievement: He played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball, during which he established many batting and pitching records. One of the first five inductees in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Legacy: According to some, the greatest baseball player of all time.
Visit: See where he grew up and exhibitions featuring historic artifacts belonging to the Great Bambino himself.

Leif Eriksson
Image via Findery, by Firda Beka

Born: 970 or 980 in Iceland and possibly in the house pictured, which his parents lived in for some time.
Context: His father was Erik the Red, known for founding the first Norse settlement in Greenland. In other words: he was an explorer. And an outlaw.
Life Achievement: The first European to set foot on North America.
Legacy: Commemorated on October 9 in the United States as one of the most important explorers ever.
Visit: Not a museum, and a bit of a drive, but see the gorgeous Icelandic countryside while you make the trek.

Hackthon at Findery

On Thursday and Friday last week, the Findery team had a Hackathon, which, for the uninitiated, means that team members work on projects not in the usual scope of their work for about 24 hours. We started at 10AM on Thursday and presented what we’d built at noon on Friday. Amazing things were made, some of them ongoing projects we’ve been hacking on for a while, and many new ones. We worked on:

  • Public API, which has been under development for a while, but has made tremendous progress in this iteration
  • Trip Planner V1 (Android), in which a user enters a start and finish for a road trip, say from Santa Cruz to San Francisco, and highlighting the best routes along the way
  • Trip Planner V2 (Web)Same as the above, except for the web
  • Quick Capture, in which photos and audio are captured and translated into Findery note instantaneously
  • Findery AR, an Augmented Reality view of notes, which you can swish around and see the stories on the places in your immediate vicity, AR style
  • Collaborative Notemaps, that is, making it possible for a notemap to have many authors

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A screenshot of the Collaborative Notemaps and AR version for now, more coming. And be sure to let us know if you have any amazing ideas of things we should build at our next Hackathon, coming in December.

Findery in the Wild


Findery: Now available on Android and iOS

Have you tried Findery in the wild? If not, download Findery on Google Play or on iTunes. With Findery mobile apps, it’s easy to discover the world and explore places near and far. Roadtrips, vacations and walks around your neighborhood are more fun with with Findery. It’s like a travel companion full of inside information and great stories. Show the world the places that are meaningful to you- all from your phone.

What will you find on Findery?

3 Great Notemaps: Hooked on Findery


Findery has me utterly hooked. One of the things I enjoy most is seeing people find new and fun ways to use it. My favourite notemaps are those that surprise me with new ways of collecting ideas and places, like these ones…

My Trip Around the World, Book Four
Such an ingenious collection of notes! @gregapan bought a girl’s travel diary from 1926 at an estate sale, and is sharing it with us an entry at a time. I love the way it reveals that while a lot has changed about travel since then, so much remains the same: the little disappointments when things don’t quite go to plan; the day-to-day chores that still have to be done; the comfort of having your loved ones with you; the delight in the unexpected.

We all know that smell is such an important part of memory – we’ve all caught a scent on the breeze and been immediately transported to our past. @Samilsman has put her life’s significant smells on the map, and it’s a delight to read them.

Names on the Land
@ministerofculture is fascinated with the origins of place names, and it’s infectious. Every time I go back to this notemap, I get sucked down a rabbit hole of history. There are some great Aussie spots here – places I’ve visited many times – and now I know how they got their names!

Kate Andrews leaves fascinating notes all around the world, but she calls Sydney, Australia home. With 1444 Findery notes, we can safely say that she is as much a Findery fan as Findery is a Kate Andrews fan.

Follow her on Findery: @keandrews

3 Great Notemaps: Travel Inspiration


I love Findery as source of daydreamy travel inspiration and my favourite discoveries have been the smallest details from places around the world that show little slices of regular, everyday life: a family wearing Kurdish clothes, the view of rainclouds from a bridge in Lagos, the snails spotted on a walk in Liverpool … I learn so much from you all!

In that vein, here are three of the many favourite notemaps that capture random, delightful moments around the world:

Listen In: Japan by Greg Friedman | @gregapan – Delightful sounds of every day life in Japan: here is the sweet potato vendor’s call, here is the friendly security guard’s morning greetings to office workers, here is the grocery store checkout clerk.

Saltillo by Oscar Falcon | @oscarfalcon – Our guide shows us many snapshots of daily life in the state capital of Coahuila, Mexico: what the sky looks on a foggy morning, a beautiful mosaic frog fountain, and even the highway crews hard at work painting the road.

Pemilu 2014 by Caroline Zenia Ivana | @caroline_z – Fascinating to read Caroline’s first-hand perspectives and emotions during the election in Indonesia.

Jennifer Jamieson is a Canadian expat, who recently lived in Dubai, but now lives and works in London, England. She is one of Findery’s oldest contributing members.

Follow her on Findery: @ECWC

9 Places That Will Freak You Out

Remember when you were a child and there were stories that kept you up at night? For instance: Bloody Mary will appear in the mirror when you say her name three times. Teenagers in a parked car heard scratching on the door… Here is a collection of spooky stories to raise the hair on the back of your neck, and to tell others as you’re driving down a remote country road late at night. Some are based on real-life events, and others are tales of uncertain origin.

The Screaming Tree
Image via Panoramio

Many ghost stories feature the screams of a woman. Raven Rock, a key location in Ichabod Crane’s Sleepy Hollow is home to a specter who shrieks before a snowstorm, having died in one herself. Fort Mifflin has another such haunting. And on the outskirts of San Diego, there is a certain tree at the end of a dirt road. Legend says if you drive your car as close as you can and honk three times, the ghost of a girl will scream at the top of her lungs.

Suicide Bridge
Image via Colorado Bridge

Such a lovely architecture, such a bloody past. At least 100 people have committed suicide by jumping off this bridge. The most famous story tells of a construction worker who fell off…and landed head-first in wet concrete at bottom. Assumed dead, he was left entombed in the cement below. Listen for his cries! But he is not alone. In the 1930s, a woman jumped off the bridge with her baby in arms. The baby miraculously survived by landing in a tree branch. The mother did not. She spends eternity searching for her baby. Some have seen a woman in a flowing robe jump off, disappearing into thin air, again and again.

The Ghost Light
Image via YouTube

On a rainy night in 1867, a flagman named Joe Baldwin was in the rear car of a train in North Carolina. The train suddenly jolted, and Joe realized that the car had become detached from the rest of the train. Terrified, Joe knew that a train was following close behind. He began waving his lantern back and forth to signal the oncoming train. Despite his efforts, the engineer did not see the stranded car in time. Joe was decapitated in the collision. Not long after the tragedy, people began seeing a light near the tracks even though no train was scheduled. Some say he was still warning the next train. Others say he was looking for his head. The tracks were removed in 1977, and the Ghost Light has not been seen since.

The Greenbrier Ghost
Image via West Virginia Encyclopedia

Zona Heaster Shue, a woman who lived in the house pictured with her husband, Erasmus Stribbling Trout Shue (what a name!), died in 1897. The surrounding community presumed her death natural, and she was given a proper burial. Four months later, Zona’s mother stepped forward, claiming that her daughter’s spirit had appeared to her. Zona told her mom the truth about her death: Erasmus had murdered her. He was put on trial, and Zona’s body exhumed. Her neck had been broken. Erasmus was convicted. It is the only known case in which testimony from a ghost convicted a murderer. And all this in the little unassuming county of Greenbrier, West Virginia.

Ghost Hands
Image via Flickr

In this ghost story, you drive your car to a gravity hill, put it in neutral, and…it will roll uphill. Sprinkle baby powder on the hood and trunk of your car, and start it again. Get out and there may be dozens of handprints on the surface. Those are from the ghosts of the schoolchildren, guiding your car to safety. On some unknown date, their school bus driver lost control of the bus. It crashed and everyone aboard died. Now, these ghosts guide others from the same fate. There are several iterations of this story, occurring in different parts of the country.

Resurrection Mary
Image via WGN Radio

On a wintry night in 1927 a young couple at the Oh Henry Ballroom in Justice, Illinois got into an argument. The woman, named Mary, stormed out and started walking home in the bitter cold. She was heading up Archer Avenue when she was suddenly struck by a car and left on the roadside to die. If you drive by Archer Avenue, stay on the lookout for a hitchhiker in a white formal dress with blond hair and blue eyes. Many drivers have picked her up. She sits quietly until the car approaches Resurrection Cemetery, where she asks to be let out and disappears.

Diverting Spirits
Image via calisphere

Sarah Winchester built the Winchester Mystery House when she was widowed. Her husband, William Wirt Winchester, who died in 1881, was born into the famous Winchester family, of the rifle with the same name. Distraught from the loss of her husband, and their only child fifteen years previously, Sarah consulted a medium. She was told that she was cursed by the many souls who had died by the firearms her husband manufactured. And she would soon befall the same fate. The medium advised her to build a house where she could appease the angry spirits. With no master plan in hand, Sarah oversaw the construction of the Winchester Mystery House, continuously for 38 years. Around the clock. These numbers will help you understand: There are 160 rooms, 40 bedrooms, 2 ballrooms, 47 fireplaces, and 10,000 window panes.

Calls from the Dead
Image via Field Logix

One of the worst train disasters in commuter history occurred on September 12, 2008. The train engineer was busy texting, and missed a red signal. A minute later he looked up and saw a freight train heading straight at him. The damage: 25 people dead, 135 severely injured. Among the dead was a man named Charles Peck. His family, not sure whether he was alive or not, gathered together. As they were waiting for news, one by one, each family member started receiving phone calls from Charles’s cell phone. When they picked up, all they heard was static. When they called back, it went directly to voicemail. His phone made 35 calls that night. The rescue crew traced the calls to the car Peck had been riding. He had died on impact.

Lived Once, Buried Twice
Image via Cult of Weird

In the small town of Lurgan, Ireland, a woman named Margorie McCall died of a fever in 1705. As it was a time when widespread illness was greatly feared, she was buried swiftly. And because so, her husband could not remove a valuable ring from her swollen finger. The next night, her body was dug up by robbers. They tried to get the ring off her finger, but finding it impossible, decided to cut her finger off. As the knife cut into her flesh, Margorie suddenly awoke, sat straight up and screamed. The terrified robbers fled. A weak Margorie managed to pull herself out of her grave and made her way home.

For more spooky stories, enter here if you dare.

3 Great Notemaps: Light Sources

Lately I am finding that whether I’m designing a graphic at work, taking a photograph to post on Instagram, or doodling a sketch, the viewer is increasingly drawn to one thing: a source of light. And, I too, am finding myself gravitating to light sources in all places. And most recently, on Findery.

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen


Neon Signs by @OnTheRoad
The entire point of neon lights on a storefront is to get your attention. The broader purpose is to pull you in. We can all agree though that their 21st century beauty is based largely the sense of history that they provide. After all, modern neon is sort of an oxymoron. Whether lighting the sky with fluorescent light or dressing a quiet sidewalk with a throwback to a different way of marketing, the design and function of neon tubes are a story in and of themselves. And I am always fascinated.

As a designer, this notemap reminds me to consider longevity when I am designing anything.

Sunsets Sunrises and Moons by @Jessica
If there is a sunset, a sunrise, a moon or a supermoon, a bright star, a milky way or a galaxy, an Earth shot of the space station or a meteor shower, or if there is any other cosmic wonder remotely in my vicinity, you can bet that I am finding a way to photograph (or gaze at) it. I work in human space exploration, so this is kind of always on my mind already.

…but never recreated exactly is our sky – like snowflakes, or line drawings, or sand castles – each moment beyond Earth’s horizon is totally unique.

This collection reminds me not to be greedy and not to squander the wonder of our skies and galaxies, always visible from Earth. And when the sky is really special, I don’t even bother with a camera, I just watch.

Lighthouses by @parksandrec
What I love about this notemap and lighthouses in general is that they have one purpose and that is to provide light to sea vessels trying to venture safely to shore. Yet on land, we photograph them incessantly giving off no light at all. We capture them and their beautiful construction in the daytime and at dusk, with a sunset behind or cast down upon them, but so rare it is to capture a lighthouse in its intended state: giving off light.

This collection reminds me that while a lighthouse is a truly beautiful construction in its basic form, a lighthouse providing light into the seas is miraculous. And so now, I shall look for that.

Stefanie is a writer, traveler, and photographer based in Washington, DC. Also: she’s a professional outer space geek.

Follow her on Findery: @stefanie


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