Get Up Close with Neptune Beach History

Oakland History Room

The spectacular Neptune Beach complex was built partly on landfill paid for by the Strehlow family. In the picture above, the Moorish tower (center, left) marks the intersection of Webster Street and Central Avenue.


Gary Lenhart

Like the price of admission on June 22, 1937, the cost of this Sunday's walking tour is free. Learn about Neptune Beach's rides, the swimming pool and the other attractions the McMarr Beach Party enjoyed.

Local historians Eric J. Kos and Dennis Evanosky will lead a walking tour this Sunday afternoon

Alameda was once home to the Coney Island of the West. Neptune Beach with its rides, beach and swimming pool attracted vistors from all over the country.

On March 31, 1917, Neptune Beach opened its doors at Webster Street and Central Avenue, A tall Moorish-style tower welcomed visitors. For just 10 cents they could enjoy, among other treats, swimming pools, a dance hall and a merry-go-round.

Rides included a speedway, a roller coaster and a Ferris wheel.

Neptune Beach was also the venue for sporting events like boxing and wrestling from 1919 to 1939. On July 4, 1920, the crowd set an alltime attendance mark with more than 40,000 visitors passing through the gates.

Neptune Beach finally closed in October 1939. The opening of the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island and the coming of the Golden Gate and Bay bridges gave people more freedom to move beyond public transit's limitations.

George Whitney purchased Neptune Beach's merry-go-round and set it up in San Francisco's Playland at Ocean Beach.

The closing auction did not go well. It only brought in only about $10,000 for $500,000 worth of in equipment. A junk dealer carted off the Red Devil Roller Coaster for just $60. Alameda Sun publishers and local historians Dennis Evanosky and Eric J. Kos will lead a walking tour around the Neptune Beach environs.

The duo has been leading walking tours for the city of Alameda Recreation and Parks Department's Alameda Walks program for the past three years.

The Neptune Beach Community Celebration will mark the first time Kos and Evanosky discuss the topic of the West End baths that preceded and coincided with Neptune Beach. (See the story on page 3.

The tour begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7.

Gather in the Croll's building parking lot near the foot of Webster Street at Central Avenue.

The tour will last until 3:15 p.m.

The tour is not recommended for those who have problems with mobility.