Monday, March 19, 2012

TBP2: Alameda (Postcard History Series)

[Note: I did finish this book in February (and even started writing this post then!) but have just gotten around to taking the "Now" photos below. Cross country moving is kind of putting a damper on my free time!]

Dear Jenny,

This one off the TBP list was a quick one, which is good because February was both short and hectic. As I went through this book, I was constantly seeking out places I knew, and there were plenty.

Reading this book, I discovered that City Hall used to have a tower. Here it is in 1906:

But it was removed in 1937 due to "instabilities." Here it is today:

This church:

Looks almost exactly the same, except for the streetlight out front and a bit more folliage:

One of my favorite non-Victorian Alameda homes was featured. Here it is in 1934:

My photo today doesn't do it justice... mostly because I felt creepy spending too much time hanging around in front of someone's house, taking photos. But it's a really lovely house, sitting on a pretty cool piece of property:

And, of course, the Alameda Theatre -- this photo was taken in 1933:

When I moved here in 2000, it looked like the photo above and the theatre was not open. They have since restored it, tacked a multiplex on the side, and re-opened.

They did a pretty good job of the architecture of the mulitplex -- it blends in well, and does not obscure the original structure. You cannot see much of it here, but it's in the left portion of this photo (taken today):

Here's a random cute Victorian -- I wish I had set up my "now" shot better, but it was another one of those awkward moments where I did not want to spend too much time taking a photograph of someone else's house. Here it is in 1910:

According to the caption in the book, it's still around today "minus some of the front porch gingerbread and the cat on the roof." Love the reference to the cat -- I might have missed him otherwise. I drove by today and snapped this shot (sneakily, out the window of my car...):

I think a large part of Alameda's present-day charm is its connection to its past and reading this book really reminded me of that. Here is a photo of the Elks' Club from 1911:

Over 100 years later, here's the photo I took today:

Here's a close up of the front doors from 1910:

And the 2012 shot:

Kind of cool, right?

There was some interesting information surrounding a lot of the cards, and sometimes there were humorous editorial asides, which I didn't mind in a little history/postcard book. I particularly liked reading the text of some of the post cards -- perhaps that's the allure of reading someone else's mail?

I wish I hadn't felt like such a creeper taking these photos -- I would love to see an "Alameda Then and Now" book that really lined up some of these shots better than I did on the fly.

Just for funsies, here's a photo I took of our house when I finished this book last month. I'll miss it. (sniff!)

We do have another book around here that shows the original owners with the house, circa 1890s. Need to dig that up!

For March, I'm going to stick with California while I'm still here and hit the Bechtle book. It was between that and East Bay Then and Now, but I'm a little worn out on "New vs. Old" photos right now.



  1. K,

    That's amazing! I love the fact that Alameda is still so picture postcard fabulous. I'm definitely curious about the "instabilities" in City Hall, though, right? And the cat on the roof! I totally would have missed that. Meanwhile, how in the heck did that cat get *off* the roof?

    Great shot of your house with the purple flowers on that tree--so vibrant! I bet you are sad, but I am going to remain HAPPY! I will see you in 3 days! (sorry about all the exclamation points. I'm excited.)


  2. Re-reading this post today, I am *so* happy I went around and took those photos yesterday. Is that totally goofy? If so, I'm okay with it. ;)

    I feel almost certain that the City Hall tower "instabilities" were caused by earthquakes (cause that's what it's all about in CA, right?) I never thought that the building didn't look quite "right" until I looked at the original photos of it, though -- it kind of misses that tower, doncha think?

    I'm glad the writer of the book mentioned the cat on the roof -- I'm sure I never would have seen it! As for how it got off... well... cats. They have their ways. ;)

    Of course, I am also SUPER HAPPY to be moving close to you. And I'm super excited about the move! But there are also things here I will miss. (It *is* California, after all. There's a reason housing is so expensive here! ;) I'm sure I won't start crying until I get on that plane, but then I'll have 5 hours to work it out (when I moved to California, I cried all the way through Alabama.) And I am super excited to see you in THREE DAYS! Wheeeee!