A unique location and rich historical background make Alameda one of the most interesting cities in California. Located between Oakland and San Francisco in the county of the same name, the city of Alameda occupies its own separate island on the edge of the San Francisco Bay. While a relatively close proximity to Oakland, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley means residents have access to numerous major modern urban areas, the city itself is best known for its Victorian houses and small town feel.
Lay of the Land
Located on the eastern edge of the San Francisco Bay, Alameda is home to approximately 76,000 residents. The majority of the city is located on Alameda Island with a small portion also located on the northern edge of Bay Farm Island. Alameda is just off of mainland Oakland, connecting via several bridges on the south end of the island and the Posey Tunnel on the north end, and directly east of San Francisco across the Bay. The median household income for the city is $75,212 and median estimated median home value is $630,300. Both of these figures are well above the average for the state of California.
Ground transportation in Alameda is limited to several bridges that connect Alameda Island to Oakland. These include Park Street, Fruitvale, and High Street Bridges in addition to the one-way street tubes that lead directly into Oakland’s Downtown area.
Public transportation is provided to the city by both the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District and the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. This includes a multitude of bus lines and shuttle services into both Oakland and the San Francisco area. There are also several ferry services available to transport residents and visitors alike.
Alameda is a city that is dominated by its rich cultural and architectural history. Recent estimates indicate that the city retains over 10,000 buildings and houses constructed prior to 1930. This includes numerous homes constructed in the classic Victorian style popular before the turn of the century. The city identified these locations as not only one of the defining characteristic of the city but of general historic importance, leading to the adoption of a Historical Preservation Ordinance. This in turn led to the creation of a Historical Advisory Committee in 1975. The committee eventually became a board whose focus is on identifying historically significant buildings and locations around the city in order to maximize the preservation movement.
In addition to the historic locations scattered around the city, Alameda is also home to the Historic Park Street Business District. This area has numerous buildings that date back to the early 1800’s and is in fact registered on the National Register of Historic Places. This is one of the more commercially driven sections of the town, housing numerous shops and restaurants as well as the renovated 1932 Alameda Theater & Cineplex.
Alameda is also a city with a rich nautical history. This includes a close relationship with the Navy via the Naval Air Station Alameda. Though decommissioned in 1997, the former station has a rich history on the island and has since been converted into a museum and historic location. Plans have recently been approved to build over 800 residential units and 60,000 square feet of commercial space on the previous military location.
Alameda also has a storied history with The United States Coast Guard. The Coast Guard has been operating in the estuary in some capacity since 1926. Over the years, this has included numerous Coast Guard command designations operating in Alameda. Additionally, many Coast Guard ships have called Alameda their home port. As a result of this history, Alameda is one of only 12 cities in the nation that has been designated as a Coast Guard City. This particular designation is intended to acknowledge the historical support that the city and the community has provided to members of the Coast Guard and their families.