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

Neptune Gardens Avenue remembers railroad baron James Fair’s resort that once graced the San Francisco Bay shoreline not far from Webster Street and Central Avenue. While Fair was completing construction of his narrow-gauge South Pacific Coast Railroad through Alameda, he realized the value of opening a resort on his railroad line. Patrick Britt had already sold his beachfront farm to a party that planned to build “The Long Branch Swimming Baths.” Britt invested $6,000 of the $21,000 he received for the sale in a handsome hotel across from Long Branch (“What’s in a Name, Britt Court,” Nov.

The Alameda Museum and the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society (AAPS) present their annual Legacy Home tour this on Sunday, Sept. 22, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. 

In all, ticketholders will enjoy visits to eight homes on Lincoln and Central avenues, on Everett Street and Gibbons Drive. However, there’s more to this year’s tour than visiting unique East End homes. Contained within this year’s keepsake guidebook is a walking tour composed by historian Woody Minor. 

A curse, a failed land grab and murder played roles in an important end game

Tomorrow marks the 150th anniversary of an event that took place in the little town of Woodstock on Alameda’s West End that changed the history of our country. 

On Sept. 6, 1869, a train with Leland Stanford aboard rolled into what would become the City of Alameda three years later. Aboard that train sat one of the Central Pacific Railroad’s “associates.” We remember these men — Stanford, Charles Crocker, Collis Huntington and Mark Hopkins — better as the “Big Four.” 

Last week’s article announcing the release of Bay Farm Island: A Hidden History of Alameda (“Bay Farm History Book Released," July 4) resulted in a surprising amount of orders after just four days of being available to the public. According to author and publisher Eric J. Kos, this initial set of orders will be shipped out before the end of this week. 

Not one, but two lines define the border between California and Nevada. One is the official boundary that the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (USGS) laid out in 1893. Twenty years earlier, Alexis W. Von Schmidt, who lived out his days in Alameda, had surveyed that “other” boundary, appropriately called the “Von Schmidt line.” 

Much like sailors of his day, von Schmidt used the stars to define his position while surveying his version of the boundary. USGS used more accurate information about longitude not available to von Schmidt.