The self-guided walking tour is a staple of local preservation educational efforts. It has been around for so long that back in the dark ages, when I was in college, I was on a team of students that developed one for my neighborhood, the East Main Street corridor in Murfreesboro.
In close to 50 years as a preservationist, I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of historic and architectural walking tours. So when Claire suggested that we stretch our legs on Saturday afternoon and take the walking tour of her new neighborhood in Alameda, California — an area known as the Gold Coast — I was all in but a little unsure as to what we’d discover. Since the town is known for its “seasonal celebrations,” I figured that at least we’d see some interesting Halloween home decorations.
And we weren’t disappointed. In the first couple of blocks we encountered a skeleton doing a cannonball into the kiddie pool as well as an ABBA-themed bare-bones band.
However, I’m delighted to report that the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society has a top-notch tour, beginning with a great app that provides useful information and descriptions. Alameda architectural expert Denise Brady provides commentary that is informative, and the mix of current and historical photos is a nice touch.
It helps that the Gold Coast neighborhood is a gold mine of architectural styles, from the 1880s Victorian era through the mid-twentieth century. The range of architects involved in designing these homes is just as impressive, and our family was especially pleased to see several designed by the trailblazing architect Julia Morgan in the mix.
To give you a sense of our afternoon of touring, I hope you will enjoy my photos of a few of the almost 60 houses included in the tour.
We’ll end with this sweet little English Cottage-style 1921 home at 824 Paru Street by an unknown architect. These historic European styles were popular after the end of World War I.
Thanks to the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society for producing such a great tour for residents and visitors alike. It certainly made for a satisfying afternoon for our family on what turned out to be a crisp fall day.
More to come…