Real Estate

Tragic blaze compounds widow Emilie Cohen’s woes

The fire that destroyed Emilie Gibbons Cohen’s Alameda mansion in 1897, brought tragedy home to her at Fernside once again.

Almost 10 years before the fire Emilie received distressing news from New York. Her husband and the family patriarch, Alfred, was possibly near to breathing his last. Emilie boarded a train for Chicago, where she met her ailing husband.

Pat Hathaway in Monterey, Calif. holds a treasure that had its roots in Alameda: the works of Edgar A. Cohen that include more than 2,140 images on 5"x7" glass negatives, original prints, and some hand colored prints.

Cohen was a prominent local photographer. His father, Alfred A. Cohen, sowed the seeds that became the terminus of the Central Pacific Railroad’s transcontinental line: the San Francisco and Alameda Railroad. His mother, Emilie, was the daughter of a renowned San Francisco physician, Henry Gibbons.

The California Association of Realtors recently released the results of its 2014 investor survey. In its report, C.A.R. stated that rising home prices have induced an increasing number of investors to flip houses instead of renting them.

“In 2014, 28 percent of investors flipped their property, up from 20 percent last year. Fifty-eight percent of investors rented their properties in 2014, down from 73 percent in 2013,” C.A.R. reported.

Freddie Mac’s Aug. 21 Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage stood at 4.10 percent, down two basis points from Aug. 14, when it stood at 4.12 percent.

In the third week of August 2013, this benchmark rate stood at 4.65 percent.

The 15-year fixed-rate fell a single basis point from Aug. 14’s 3.24 percent to 3.23 percent. A year ago during the third week of August, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.60 percent.

servation Society (AAPS) has annouced a program to mark Alameda’s historic buildings with an official plaque designating their significance. Plaques will come in four different designs, some of which include interpretive stories.

AAPS is currently looking for volunteers to help launch the program. Duties include: reviewing applications, historical fact checking, editing plaque text, placing orders for plaques and arranging publicity for their unveilling.