Alameda history

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

Over the past several years, Ron Cowan's Harbor Bay Isle Associates has offered several proposals to add additional homes to Bay Farm Island. The most recent bids to increase development there are only the latest in a series of development cycles that have transformed Bay Farm from marshland into Alameda’s own little suburb.

Alameda has been an incorporated city for well over a century. As the center for the Island's government, city hall falls in line with the age and history of the city: Alameda has been recognized as having one of the oldest active city halls in the state of California.

Anyone who has spent time touring Alameda, whether by car, bike or foot, will notice a series of red signs with black trim placed around the city depicting a group of people standing next to a steam engine. Many residents – or even longtime visitors – know that these signs are more than just a monument to a bygone era of travel by steam trains, but they mark the locations of Alameda’s many train stations. These signs, along with the train trestle that still stands crossing the estuary at Fruitvale, are the only remaining remnants of the network of rails that once inhabited the city.

Click the photo to view the slideshow.

Shakespeare noted the transitory nature of life with these words: “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.” People anywhere in the world can verify this by remembering the famous and the notorious that walked the same streets that we do. In some parts of the world, these collective memories go back hundreds of years. In Alameda it is more current than that.

Consider three people who lived just two generations ago.

Seventy–six years ago Alameda politics reached a crisis point embroiling City Hall, the schools, the local district attorney and the community in public controversy noted far beyond the Island. The issues were resolved only after a massive student strike. Here is the story.