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

The ferry Oakland waits for her passengers in a 1969 painting by Alameda painter L. E. Nelson. The painting hangs in the Alameda Museum today near the reception desk.

In the painting the Alameda Mole served Nelson as a backdrop. Looking at the history of both objects of Nelson’s interest brings something interesting to mind. Both the Alameda Mole and the side-wheeler Oakland fell victim to fire.

Nelson’s painting shows the 1902 Mole that replaced the one that burned that very same year. James Fair and Alfred Davis built the first Alameda Mole in 1884

Main Street. The words evoke a thoroughfare with shops, a park and maybe city hall or other municipal building. Alameda’s Main Street boasts no such amenities.

In fact, the Island City’s Main Street runs nowhere near the center of town but skirts its periphery. Alameda’s Main Street has something in common with another Main Street arcoss the bay.

San Francisco’s Main Street and Alameda’s Main Street both bear Charles Main’s name.

In an effort to reduce Alameda’s electric costs and thereby lower greenhouse gas emissions, Alameda Municipal Power (AMP) has been converting more than 3,000 high pressure sodium street lights to energy efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs). These lights last longer — 20 years as opposed to 5.5 years — which helps reduce the utility’s maintenance costs.

On Oct. 27, 1849, the sidewheel steamer Senator entered San Francisco Bay with Charles Minturn aboard. Over the next 25 years until his death in 1874, Minturn left his mark on the transportation industry all around San Francisco Bay.

The Senator had left New York more than seven months earlier on March 10, 1849, with just one paying passenger, Jack Anderson, aboard. Credible word of the Jan. 24, 1848, discovery of gold had not reached the East Coast until President James K. Polk’s December 5, 1848, message to Congress.

About 500 people attended a ceremony aboard the USS Hornet that honored participants in the April 18, 1942, Doolittle Raid. Hornet trustee Bob Fish provided an overview of the daring raid.

Richard Nowatzki, a Hornet CV-8 crewman, who watched the B-25 aircraft take off from the flight deck provided an eyewitness account of the Doolittle Raiders aboard. He also accepted the medal awarded to USS Hornet officers and crew. He presented it to Hornet Museum CEO Scott Lindeman for permanent display at the museum.