Here we go again

Courtesy photo. Last Saturday night the person behind the wheel of this SUV drove his vehicle into the historical fence at High Street and Santa Clara Avenue.

Here we go again

Dennis Evanosky

Just after 11 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20, a driver of an SUV heavily damaged the fence that defines the entrance to Lincoln Park.

This marks the third time in the last two-plus years that a driver inflicted damage on this fence, which a local architect designed 142 years ago.

In 1879 R.R. Thompson built a palatial home in today’s Lincoln Park. Alameda Museum Curator George Gunn writes that Thompson hired Alameda architect and builder Charles H. Foster to design the fence. Foster later built the Carnegie Library on Santa Clara Avenue with his son.

He employed a pair of Oakland blacksmiths, Leopold Frauneder and William Morck, to fashion his creation. The pair also worked as locksmiths and bell hangers, Gunn says.

The fence complemented Thompson’s residence, pictured below, and survived the fire that destroyed the home. (See picture below and story on page 12.)

The palatial mansion burned in a spectacular fire that started just after 2 p.m. on Aug. 18, 1884.

Alameda historian Woody Minor relates that the property lay vacant until the city stepped in, purchased the land and created Lincoln Park in 1909. Since then, the fence has welcomed visitors to the park.

It stood undamaged for 140 years until July 17, 2019, when an alleged drunk driver was attempting to turn from Santa Clara Avenue onto High Street (“Lincoln Park Fence Damaged in Crash, July 30, 2019).

The driver took the turn too widely and crashed into the fence. The driver fled from the vehicle, but witnesses pursued him through the park. They called 911 and Alameda Police Department officers arrived and placed the driver under arrest.

The city contracted Williams Welding to make repairs. The collision damaged not only the fence but the retaining wall and its cast iron covers as well. Pete Calahen repaired the fence on-site because it was so heavy — the damaged portion of the fence weighed some 1,700 pounds.

Earlier this year, on Feb. 22, a pickup truck met up with the fence (“Historic Fence on High Street Takes Another Hit,” Feb. 25). The fence was down for a second repair job, and now it’s time for a third.

The city has now installed concrete barriers where three drivers have managed to climb the sidewalk in their vehicles and damage the fence. The cause of the latest catastrophe remains under investigation.