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Crown Harbor Homeowner Association

Fun Facts

Here are some fun facts about the history of the area near Crown Harbor.

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Crab Cove

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 building is named after the Glory of the Seas clipper ship designed by Donald McKay for whom the adjacent street is named. 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]

The aerial shot was adapted from a photo originally taken by user FlyingKite and published on Flickr.

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Neptune Beach

  • Crab Cove is the site formerly known as Neptune Beach (see map), 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.

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Public Baths

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]

  • Established in 1936, Purcell's Plunge is where many long-time Alameda residents first learned to swim. Paden School also occupies the location today.

The baths map was adapted from maps from the Alameda Sun.

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Railroad

Though Central Avenue provides the entrance to Crown Harbor for automobiles today, it was originally a railroad line:

  • The portion of Central Avenue west of Sherman Street was originally called Washington Avenue.

  • In the 1800's, Southern Pacific Coast Railroad trains traveled along Central and Washington Avenue.

  • "One local train in each direction passed the [Fifth Street Station] every half-hour between 6:00 am and midnight."[Alameda by Rail]

  • Rail was a popular mode of travel to the ferry terminal so passengers could continue their journey to San Francisco by boat.

The railroad map was adapted from an 1887 map in Alameda, A Geographical History.

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Namesake

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Construction

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

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

Thanks to realtor, Steve Sorensen, for the image of the map.


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