ALAMEDA — The upcoming Legacy Home Tour promises to transport visitors back in time. The Sept. 24 event includes six homes and one commercial building, most based in the center of Alameda and all built from 1894 to 1917.
The tour is organized by the Alameda Museum and the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society, which will share the proceeds and use funds for their educational and other activities.
“There are some spectacular houses to see this year,” said Jim Smallman, an event volunteer, former board member of both organizations and assistant to tour director Conchita Perales. The event typically attracts over 500 guests, he said.
While the buildings are attractive “eye candy” for visitors, the structures also can aid homeowners “looking for inspiration on what to do with a Victorian or other historic home,” Smallman said.
“It’s very helpful to see what folks do with authentic restoration,” he said.
As part of the event, visitors can enjoy refreshments and tour the Frank Bette Center for the Arts, which was built in 1894 in the Eastlake Queen Anne style to house a business and family. It remains one of the most intact commercial structures in town.
“The original living area upstairs is pretty much as it once was when the (William Gunn) family ran a grocery store there on the first floor,” Smallman said, “so you get a sense of what living was like back then.”
Overall, this year’s Legacy Home Tour includes neighborhoods at the center of the Island, “a richly diverse area with a history stretching back to the Gold Rush,” said historian Woody Minor, who wrote part of the tour’s guidebook. “The homes on the tour span four decades, displaying the breadth of our architectural legacy.”
The seven buildings “showcase the work of architects and builders from the Victorian heyday to World War I,” Minor added. Large local firms completed many of them, serving as the architect, builder and real-estate agent at the same time.
One home on the tour is an 1894 Queen Anne built by John Marquis on San Jose Avenue and later bought by newspaper advertiser Theodore Lotter and his wife Gladys, who taught piano lessons to generations of Alamedans. Later homeowners expanded the kitchen and added a sunroom.
The nearby 1881 Stick Eastlake residence on Grand Avenue was part of the Oak Park subdivision, which led to the Alameda’s Gold Coast development. Originally an Italianate building, the home got a Craftsman/Prairie makeover in 1918-1919.
Over the past three decades, the current homeowners have furnished it with Victorian pieces. Their attentive restoration work and improvements — including the reintroduction of an Eastlake-style wraparound porch — earned them a 2017 Preservation Award from the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society.
Located near the Frank Bette building is a 1904 Transitional Colonial Craftsman home, which blends the Colonial Revival tradition with Arts & Crafts rusticity and Queen Anne whimsy, according to the tour program. It was first owned by an Irish-born tobacco executive whose daughters became noted California artists and later bought by plasterer William H. Nelson. The dining room contains the original working fireplace, while its rear porch has been enclosed to expand the kitchen.
Over on the lagoon, visitors can tour a 1904 Colonial Revival on Clinton Avenue built for Robert Harrison Blake, an executive of the Kohler & Chase musical-instruments maker, whose family owned the property until 1995. The new owners remodeled the kitchen and bathroom, converted the attic to a living space and rebuilt the rear cottage — but otherwise have left the house intact, tour organizers say.
On Alameda Avenue, an 1895 Transitional Queen Anne Colonial was built by Marcuse & Remmel to serve as a rental home for the widow of editor and politician Edwin G. Waite. (The nearby Waite mansion was razed for apartments in 1968). It features a Romanesque arch, parlor with a fireplace, rear parlor, dining room, three bedrooms and “meticulously restored” fine woodwork, the program guide notes, which visitors should find appealing.
The last home on the tour is close by on Central Avenue. George H. Noble, who produced over 250 such residences on the Island, built the 1917 Prairie Bungalow. Its first owner was Canadian Pacific Railway agent Fred Lowell Nason, whose family lived in the home through 1970.
The house’s streamlined form, low-pitched hip roofs and open Arts & Crafts plan — which includes a unified living and dining rooms enhanced by natural wood trim, a fireplace and various built-ins — showcase architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence. Fortunately, a painter/designer who appreciates the Arts & Crafts movement has nurtured the residence since 1980.
To buy tickets in advance or for details on how to purchase them on Sept. 24, go to http://alameda-legacy-home-tour.org.
IF YOU GO
What: 2017 Alameda Legacy Home Tour
When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24
Where: Begin at Franklin Park or the Frank Bette Center for the Arts
Cost: $30 to $35
Published at Wed, 13 Sep 2017 13:05:01 +0000