Fun Facts about Where I Live

It's a Friday, so I am not going to blog about free Autodesk technology previews that you can try. Instead, I am going to share some fun facts about where I live. Despite the glut of fake news on Facebook, I was able to unearth much of this information via a Facebook group dedicated to the city where I live. I was then able to verify it with sources from friends and the Alameda Museum.

My wife and I live in a homeowner association called Crown Harbor in Alameda.

Crown Harbor is a small gated Alameda California community of 76 townhomes nestled along Ballena Bay, Crab Cove, and Crown Beach. Crown Harbor is a quiet, well-kept community on the San Francisco Bay, close to downtown Alameda's Historic Webster Street shopping, restaurants, post office, twice-weekly Farmers' Market, and much-anticipated seasonal events such as Concerts at Crab Cove, 4th of July Parade, and Neptune Beach Community Celebration. Alameda Hospital is less than two miles away. Crown Harbor is only ten minutes away from Oakland's world-famous Jack London Square. San Francisco is a fifteen-minute ferry ride away. World-renown wineries in Napa Valley and Sonoma County are less than an hour away with award-winning Rock Wall winery less than ten minutes from Crown Harbor.

(If that sounds marketingish, it's because it's from the Crown Harbor website. I can use it because I wrote it.)

So here are some fun facts that I learned about the history of the site where Crown Harbor exists today.

Aerial shot adapted from an image posted on Flickr by user FlyingKite

  • Crown Harbor is located adjacent to Crab Cove. Crab Cove is now a tide pool/marine life education center that is part of the East Bay Regional Parks District; however, the site was originally a maritime training facility.

  • The Crab Cove site includes the Glory of the Seas building, built in the 1940s as part of its training center for U.S. Maritime Service officers. The second story of the building that faces the Bay is cantilevered and curved, giving it the appearance of a ship's bridge. Looking out the windows overlooking San Francisco Bay from that second-story vantage point on "the bridge" provides a feel for what it must be like to be on a real ship's bridge. The original throttle and wheel, used in merchant officer training, still remain.[Thingamabob]


Google Map of Crown Harbor Today with overlay of where Neptune Beach used to be.

  • Crab Cove is the site formerly known as Neptune Beach, where both the American snow cone and the popsicle were first sold in 1923. The name comes from Frank "Pop" Epperson who sold his Epperson Ice Pop known as "Pop's Sickle."

  • Neptune Beach's two huge outdoor pools hosted swimming races and exhibitions by such famous swimmers as Olympian Johnny Weismuller, who later starred as the original Tarzan, and Jack LaLanne, who started a chain of health clubs.[Wikipedia]

  • Crown Harbor is also located near Neptune Court which depicts resort life in Alameda in the 1920's to this day. It is the only part of Neptune Beach that remains.


1878-1885 Baths Map from the Alameda Sun with an approximation of where Crown Harbor exists today.

Adjacent to the site where Crown Harbor exists today were public baths:

  • Established in 1878, the Sunny Cove Baths were located at 456 Central Avenue which is now the site of Paden School.

  • Also established in 1878, the Alameda Baths were located at 448 Central Avenue which is also now the site of Paden School.

  • Established in 1882, the Cottage Baths were located at 564 Central Avenue, and its clientele included "First Lady of the American Theater" Ethel Barrymore, "The World's Greatest Entertainer" Al Jolson, Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde author Robert Louis Stevenson, and The Call of the Wild author Jack London.[Alameda Museum]


Robert W. Crown (image source: The Alamedan)

  • Crown Harbor gets its name from its proximity to Crown Beach.

  • This state beach was named in memory of State Assemblyman Robert W. Crown, who campaigned for the site's preservation as public parkland.

  • Assemblyman Crown was killed when he was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street.


Thanks to Steve Sorensen for the map.

Crown Harbor was constructed in 1980-1981. The map from 1973 shows:

  1. Ballena Boulevard
  2. Central Avenue
  3. Crown Harbor site as part of Crown Beach

Local history is alive in the lab.