History of Alameda

A collection of articles on Alameda History by Dennis Evanosky and Eric J. Kos

 

Alameda Chamber of Commerce postcard of Neptune Beach

Robert R. Thompson moved to Alameda with his family in 1877. A steamboat captain, Thompson found wealth navigating the Columbia River. 

Before plying the Columbia,  Thompson had cashed in on the California gold rush. Now he intended to do the same in Oregon by mining a new breed of gold miners on their way north. 

Native Americans made Europeans aware of gold on the Fraser River in 1857. Word spread beyond this British Columbia outpost, setting off a gold rush and raising demand for travel on the Columbia River. 

Captain Robert R. Thompson once lived in a stately mansion in today’s Lincoln Park. Before coming to Alameda he made his fortune as a principal shareholder of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company. Thompson came overland to Oregon in 1846 on an emigrant wagon train.  

His wife, Harriet, and their three daughters, Eliza, Sarah and Mary made the trip with him. Historian T.C. Eliot tells us in the Oregon Historical Society quarterly that Thompson eked out a living his first two years “doing odd jobs at blacksmithing and tinkering of all sorts.”  

Repairs needed to carriage house
At 115 years old, the carriage house at the Meyers House & Garden on Alameda Avenue is showing its age. The makeup applied to the outside of the structure and its new roof hides the fact that the fragile building is, well, falling apart at the seams.

Taaffe’s 19th-century estate is today’s Lincoln Park

Gustav Frederik O’Hara Taaffe was born on in Denmark on Dec. 1, 1825. He arrived in San Francisco in 1851 and worked at first as an agent for the Commercial Union Assurance Co. He later served as the consul for Denmark and the vice-consul for Sweden and Norway. (A consul is an official appointed by a government to live in a foreign city and protect and promote the government’s citizens and interests there.) Before coming to Alameda he lived at 2114 Mason St. in San Francisco. 

Ship captain James D. Farwell arrived in San Francisco in the spring of 1850. He had safely captained the steamboat Tehama from Panama. Farwell, who hailed from Maine, opened a chandlery on Clay Street in San Francisco. As a chandler he supplied the ships in port with their wares.

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