History of Alameda

A collection of articles on Alameda History by Dennis Evanosky and Eric J. Kos


Alameda Chamber of Commerce postcard of Neptune Beach
Venon Sappers Collection Southern Pacific Railroad used this station on the Alameda Mole as a centerpiece for its new electric train system.

Southern Pacific Railroad Electrifies Alameda

Jun 03,2021

Part one in a series

Francis Marion “Borax” Smith, earned his nickname and a fortune dealing with sodium borate.

On Oct. 26, 1903, Smith’s Key Route system began operating with the ambitious name “The San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose Railway.”

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Courtesy Alamedainfo.com  The 1878 Oddfellows Lodge at Santa Clara Avenue and Park Street as it appeared before being replaced with the building that stands there now in 1927.

Island City Hosted Vast Collection of Social Clubs

May 12,2021

From the Elks to the Eagles and the Oddfellows to the Masons, social clubs in Alameda left permanent marks on our community. The meeting places of these clubs, many originally restricted to White men only, today comprise some of the most recognizable locations in town. Some clubs still operate.

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The Civil War? In Alameda?

May 12,2021

Historians often hear the mistaken idea that California played no role in the Civil War.

In fact, during the Civil War California furnished the Union army some 17,000 volunteers — a number that could make up just under two divisions of soldiers.

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BayAreaRailFan.org The red lines on this 1911 map depict the Alameda streetcar system under the aegis of the Oakland Traction Company, which was part of Francis Marion “Borax” Smith’s Key System. The black dotted lines show the Southern Pacific Railroad’s broad-guage tracks that would become part of the East Bay Electic Lines the year this map was created. East Bay Electric Lines carried the Big Reds. Note the absence of today’s Coast Guard Island at the word “Harbor.” The federal government did not create

Borax’ Smith Takes Over

Apr 21,2021

Dennis Evanosky

Part two in a series

Streetcar service began here in 1875, when the Alameda, Oakland & Piedmont’s (AO&P) horsecar line first carried passengers through town from the Central Pacific Railroad Station at today’s Tilden Way and Lincoln Avenue.

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William Gardiner Transportation Collection     This building stood at Atlantic Avenue and Webster Street. It served first as a carbarn and stables for Theodor Meetz’ horse-car lines and later as a power station when the lines were converted to electic-powered streetcars, like the one pictured.

Horse-Drawn Streetcars Once Plied Our Streets

Apr 14,2021

Part one in a series

Mid-19th-century Alamedans did not have a convenient way to travel to Oakland. This was especially true for West Enders who had to travel — oftentimes walk— across the peninsula to catch J. P. Potter’s omnibus that ran from Park Street to Oakland.

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