Strolling Through Historic Downtown Alameda - Part 1

 

Sometimes, “what’s old” is more interesting than “what’s new.” That’s the case with the great buildings on Park Street.

Prior to 1864, Alameda was home to just a few small farmhouses scattered around the peninsula. With improved railroad transportation came hubs of commerce along the train routes, including the historic Park Street District. By 1905 more than 150 ornate commercial buildings lined the downtown streets. But, as time progressed, many of the older buildings were either torn down or converted into something else. 

Today, 30 of the historic structures are still standing. Here’s stories about two of them. Watch this section for future stories about marvelous, historic downtown buildings.

1327-1333 Park St. Old Masonic Temple
The stately structure located at 1327-1331 Park St. is the last monumental Victorian-era building in the downtown district to retain its original form. It was completed in 1891 in a style that is essentially Italianate with Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival elements.

The construction contract of $31,250 went to local brickmason James H. Cory. Originally bid to be a three-story structure, plans were altered when construction bids exceeded budget. 

The Masons’ final meeting in the Temple was in 1927, when a new temple was dedicated next door. 

What’s there now? 
Its ground-floor spaces are currently leased to various retail businesses: All Good Living, The Local, Supercuts and Salon One.

1402-1410 Park St. Savings Bank Building
The commercial building located at 1402-1410 Park St. is noteworthy not only for its distinguished architecture, but for its historic integrity. The building was completed in 1910 and its exterior has remained mostly unchanged. Built by the Alameda firm of MacRae & Swenson at a cost of $30,000, the building served as income property for the Alameda Savings Bank, which was located next door at the time (the space is now occupied by The Star on Park).

An interesting note…the stuccoed north wall is adjoined by a fragment of the Artesian Waterworks Building, which was demolished in 1955.

What’s there now? 
The building’s facade is recognizable with Toy Safari, The Watch Hospital, and Alameda Ballet Academy lining Park Street. There are separate entrances in the back of the building for additional commercial spaces: Ushakiran Khade, MD; Jazzercise and MGH Discovered Art.

The Downtown Whiskey Stroll will be bringing more than 400 people to Downtown streets tomorrow evening for this sold-out event. As ticketholders stroll through the historic district, they’ll be be able to catch glimpses of the older days as they visit participating businesses along the route. 

About Downtown Alameda
Find all the great food and drink establishments, charming shops, friendly services and fun things to do in Downtown Alameda! To learn more about the businesses, events and history in Downtown Alameda, go to www.DowntownAlameda.com.

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