Alameda history

Alameda’s Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach was renamed in 1973 for the state Assemblyman who championed its state public park status and use – preservation for all Alamedans to enjoy year-round. Crown died at the age of 51 after being struck by a car while jogging. But his memory and accomplishments for our city are kept alive here.

A symbol of the Island’s shipbuilding past is set to be demolished. An 86-foot-tall shipyard crane built during World War II and located next to the Main Street ferry terminal awaits the wrecking ball. Tonight, the City Council will consider a contract to remove it.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your two-sentence weekly news review. Here’s what happened this week.

Dave LeMoine was inspired by our recent column on the first families of Bay Farm Island to offer his own personal history on The Alamedan.

Dating back to the last two centuries, Alameda’s history has included farmers who worked the land. At Ploughshares Nursery, that history has come full circle.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly, two-sentence news review. Here’s what happened this week.

Some of today’s younger Alamedans may be familiar with Neptune Beach through nostalgically named organizations and events like the Neptune Beach Pearls baseball organization and the Neptune Beach Community Celebration, the great annual block party event held along Webster Street, along with some landmark signs at Alameda South Shore Center that pay the old amusement park tribute. But what was Neptune Beach, and was it really known all over the world?

Philosopher and cultural critic George Santayana said: “To successfully navigate your future, you must know your past.” And Alameda, thankfully, has had several prior generations pass on knowledge and links to the Island’s celebrated and remarkable past.

There are several great family dynasties still in evidence here, including the amazing and diverse Ratto family, one of Alameda’s first families. After last month’s article on Bay Farm Island’s original homes and history, one of the Rattos I’d reached out to finally got in touch.

This month, I met with Bay Farm Island historians Bob Perata, John Olivera, George Anthony, Bud Soares (descendant of Alameda’s Silva family) and Robert Cumming. They all helped tremendously with the following story.

What do the co-founder of Alameda’s Scandinavian Club, the Island’s first African American school board member and the late actress Phyllis Diller all have in common?

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your two-sentence news review. Here are your headlines for this week.

With all the changes in media and news outlets in this modern era, it can be interesting – not to mention fun – to reminisce by looking back at newspapers from yesteryear.