Feature Articles

Crolls Garden Court traces its name to a resort called Neptune Gardens, which later bore the name of the man who put the resort on the map, John G. Croll. 

Many talented craftspeople, authors and artists will present their wares for sale as low-cost holiday gifts this Sunday, Dec. 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the annual Temple Israel Holiday Fest.

Craftspeople will offer unique handcrafted gifts not found in stores, including: Samantha Chelouche’s crocheted octopi, Sofie’s exploding boxes and Aroma Fizz bath bombs to name a few. Locally-made treats will be available from vendors like The Jam Guy and Honour Brand. 

Brand-new centenarian Maria Rita Baca previously lived in Alameda for 60 years. On Nov. 17, Baca celebrated her 100th birthday with family, friends, a glass of champagne and some live music performed by a solo guitarist. She currently resides at Greenridge Senior Care in El Sobrante.

Baca was among the first occupants of the senior housing facility Independence Plaza in Alameda. She walked the Island daily; she has never chosen to drive.

The grandmother frequently volunteered at Alameda Food Bank and loved meeting new people every day. 

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.

Donation bins are now ready for the 2019 Alameda Firefighters Toy Program, which ensures all low-income Alameda families who sign up at the Alameda Food Bank receive age-appropriate holiday toys for their children up to age 12 and gift cards for their youth ages 13 to 17. Donors are encouraged to place new, unwrapped toys (please, no gun-style toys) in the boxes before final pickup on Wednesday, Dec. 18. Toys needed most include: scooters, remote-controlled cars, sports balls, board games, Legos and educational toys.