How "Grand" is Grand Street?
Posted by Gaylen Roberts on Thursday, March 5th, 2009 at 4:01pm.
Grand Street in Alameda passes through some of the most elegant and charming homes in the city. It bisects the island, beginning humbly at the Grand Street Launch Ramp on the Oakland Estuary, and, as it moves westward, it is lined with handsome homes on wide tree shaded lawns.
Originally it stopped at the waters of San Francisco Bay at what was once the location of the Encinal Yacht Club. Today, that spot is occupied by Wood Middle School, and the land has been filled in to make space for many hundreds of postwar homes and the original South Shore Center.
The street lives up to its name when one wanders down its spacious route, and takes time to explore the many side streets leading to it. It is a place of expensive homes. Over the latter part of the 19th century wealthy businessmen from San Francisco built here and commuted to San Francisco on the Alameda ferries. Italinate, Queen Anne, Stick, Colonial Revival and Spanish Colonial were just some of the styles of homes created to please the affluent new residents. The area soon took on the name of "The Gold Coast", and that name remains today.
Every Fourth of July, neighbors sit side by side along Grand Street as the annual parade flows past their picnic tables and flag draped porches. The street is painted with patriotic symbols, and smiles are everywhere as the bands and floats go by. This middle American flavor is truly why people come and stay in Alameda.
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