A Tale of Alameda Sidewalk Stamps

A Tale of Alameda Sidewalk Stamps

I have a strange Alameda story to tell. I live in Washington State. Not the “wet” side of the state, but North Central Washington, east of the Cascade Mountains. Lots of sun in the summer, snow in winter, and not many people. The Methow Valley (no “th” — pronounced “met-how”)

My parents moved to Alameda in 1978 and my sister followed soon thereafter. I have been visiting Alameda every year for almost 40 years now.

When I visit, I have little to do, and have always spent long hours walking around the Island. Because I am a contractor, I could not help but notice the date stamps in all the concrete sidewalks. 

My father explained the unfortunate fact that the trees that were planted many decades before had root systems that destroyed sidewalks. There was an ongoing business for concrete contractors replacing the broken sections. Rather than keep an inventory of repairs in case of warranty issues, the city required the contractor stamp each section with the business name and the year the work was done.

So, over the years, I had made a hobby of seeing the oldest date stamp I could find. There are many dozens of stamps from the 1950s, a few from the ’40s. Date stamps from the ’30s are very rare. I found one from 1928 on Santa Clara Avenue. It has now been destroyed in a store renovation. 

In addition to sidewalks, many curbs are stamped. I seem to remember a curb stamp from 1926, but can’t remember where it was. 

A few years ago, some work was done in the street in front of my father’s house and in the process, they removed an asphalt overlay of the driveway apron, exposing the concrete beneath. To my astonishment, the concrete apron was stamped “1923.” 

After 35 years or so of looking at sidewalk stamps, it turned out that the oldest stamp was directly in front of me, buried by asphalt. How strange is that?
I am not the only one who appreciates this stamp, because a couple of years later, the apron was replaced, but they cut around the stamp, leaving “1923” in place, surrounded by fresh concrete. 

My father’s driveway is in the 1400 block of Benton Street. I will leave it to you to find it. I can’t read the contractor’s name, but maybe someone else will recognize it. 

Can anyone come up with a stamp older than 1923? I’d sure be interested to know.




I just spotted a 1920 stamp on the 2200 block of San Antonio! Here's a link to my photo: