Telegraph Avenue is a street that begins, at its southernmost point, in the midst of the historic downtown district of Oakland, California, USA, and ends, at its northernmost point, at the southern edge of the University Of California campus in Berkeley, California. It is approximately 4.5 miles (7 kms) in length.
Among some Berkeley residents, especially Cal students, Telegraph refers mainly to a four-block section just south of the university, from Bancroft Way (which borders the campus) to Dwight Way. As a center of campus and community life, this section of Telegraph Avenue is home to many restaurants, bookstores, and clothing shops, along with street vendors occupying its wide sidewalks. Telegraph attracts a diverse audience of visitors, including college students, tourists, artists, street punks, eccentrics, and the homeless.
Telegraph Avenue originated from several separately named thoroughfares. In 1859, a telegraph line was constructed between Oakland and Martinez by the Alta Telegraph Company, and the existing roads which ran alongside it were then renamed The Telegraph Road. The segment of the Telegraph Road which ran from downtown Oakland out to the Peralta estate in Temescal was first known as the "Peralta Road".
The segment which ran to and up Harwood's (now Claremont) Canyon was first known as "Harwood's Road". The Telegraph Road followed the route of present Day Telegraph Avenue from Downtown Oakland to Temescal, then ran along what is now the route of Claremont Avenue up to the summit of the Berkeley Hills where it became Fish Ranch Road.