ALAMEDA -- In 1915, advertisements proclaimed that it took just $50 down to become part of Waterside Terrace, the East End area with 160 terraced lots near High Street and Fernside Boulevard and along Bay Vista, Fairview and Monte Vista avenues.

Property prices have risen considerably since that time. On Sunday, community members can get a taste of the area's rich past and enticing architectural details from local historian Woody Minor for only $5. The talk is free for those who are members of the sponsoring group, the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society.

"It's a special area because the site planning incorporated ideas used extensively in the early 20th century," Minor said. "For example, its curving streets, concrete entrance pedestals that stand at the corners with the street names on them, and the shoreline access paths were all pretty radical at that time.

"Waterside Terrace introduced modern concepts of subdivision planning to our Island city," he explained. "It was really above average and foreshadowed what was to come."

What came next was the Fernside neighborhood, which planners laid out in 25 lots with curving streets.

Waterside Terrace includes "a very interesting collection of architecture, he said. Developers completed the first home in 1912 and the last in 1925.


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"Touring the neighborhood allows you to observe the evolution of the single-family house in teens and early '20s" of the last century, the historian explained, "especially the evolution of the bungalow, which was the dominant, most popular house at the time."

Waterside Terrace has the best collection of homes inspired by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in Alameda, Minor said.

"They're what you'd call Prairie houses, which are a bit eccentric in terms of ornamentation," he said.

Those joining Sunday's walking tour will "get a good view of how houses evolved in teens and '20s and what cutting-edge Modernism --- inspired by Wright -- was all about," Minor said.

The tour starts at 1 p.m. at the main entrance to Lincoln Park, near the intersection of High Street and Santa Clara Avenue, where Minor will discuss the neighborhood's history during and after the Gold Rush. Next, the group will walk several blocks through the subdivision and learn about its architectural origins.

Call 510-479-6489 or see www.alameda-preservation.org for more details.

if you go
What: Woody Walk at Waterside Terrace
When: 1 p.m., Sunday
Where: Meet at Lincoln Park, Santa Clara Avenue at High Street
Cost: $5; free for members of the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society
Information: 510-479-6489, www.alameda-preservation.org