Tour Homes this Sunday

Dennis Evanosky    Joseph Knowland commissioned the building of the Honeymoon Cottage as a wedding gift to his daughter and son-in-law.

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. 

Ticket-holders are invited to stroll through, admire homes in and learn more about the 19th-century tracts on the East End like the Johnson Tract and the Liberty & Garfield tracts; early 20th-century tracts that include the Sather Tract and Lincoln Park; the Thompson Avenue Tract (better known as “Christmas Tree Lane”) and Fernside that sprang up during the Roaring ’20s from the Cohen family estate of the same name. Waterside Terrace on the northern end of High Street was developed in 1912 on what Minor calls marshy land reclaimed with excavated material. 

One of the 19th-century homes featured this year is the Knowland “Honeymoon Cottage.” The elder Joseph Knowland hired architect George Bordwell to design and Charles H. Foster to build the home. Knowland paid the tidy sum of $2,087 for the place, which he gave to his daughter Lucy and son-in-law Randolph Lipman as a wedding gift on May 17, 1893, thus the name “Honeymoon Cottage.” 

The Knowland cottage is one of two Bordwell creations on the East End. The second stands on Versailles Avenue south of Lincoln. Alameda Museum Curator George Gunn tells us that Bordwell designed this home for an engineer named John W. Brown in 1890. 

In 1935, during the Great Depression, architect Francis Harvey Slocombe designed a home that General Electric (GE) sponsored in partnership with the Alameda Bureau of Electricity, today’s Alameda Municipal Power (AMP). Slocombe had already made a name for himself by designing the Alameda Hotel in 1926. When finished, Slocombe’s 1935 home stood as one of the “many ‘New American’ homes built across the nation under the GE aegis,” the keepsake informs its readers. AMP is sponsoring not only this home but this year’s Legacy Home Tour as well. 

Alameda’s “New American” home opened to the public in May 1936. Visitors passed through the home and marveled at luxuries like an all-electric kitchen and an electrical heating system. The Alameda Times-Star called the structure “the most up-to-date machine that is possible to design.” The keepsake’s historian’s notes call this home “a bold example of Streamline Moderne” and “one of the few modern designs in (pre-World War II) Fernside.”

Advance tour tickets are $35; available online. Visit www.alameda-legacy-home-tour.org/ticket-page and click on the “Buy Tickets” tab. Day-of-the-tour tickets will be available for $40 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Rhythmix Cultural Works, 2513 Blanding Ave. and at Edison Park at Versailles and Lincoln avenues. Learn more about the tour at www.alameda-legacy-home-tour.org.