ALAMEDA -- The first day of fall, Sept. 22, will be a special day for community residents hoping to visit some of the Island's most historic and well-preserved homes. That's when six Victorian era homes open their doors to those buying tickets for the Alameda Legacy Home Tour.
Builders turned architects "flourished during the railroad era, when trains and ferries transformed a farming village into a stylish suburb of San Francisco, and they're well represented on this year's tour," said local historian Woody Minor in the guidebook for this year's tour.
In addition, Alameda's proximity to San Francisco meant that professional architects designed a high percentage of the town's buildings, and many lived here.
"The result over time was an upping of the architectural ante in Alameda -- an accumulation of notable works unusual for a small suburb," Minor wrote.
For those on this year's tour, one stop will be one of the city's first Queen Anne homes, which was built in 1886 and designed by A.W. Pattiani. The San Antonio Avenue residence has been through plenty of thoughtful restoration recently.
There are also two homes on Grand Street. One is a Queen Anne residence dating from 1895, which features a footman's niche and a variety of stained glass windows. The other is a home, devised by David Brehaut in the Transitional Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles and built in 1897, which has restored wooden floors, a unique circular glass window and stairs with posts carved in an Art Nouveau floral design.
On Central Avenue, tour participants can visit an 1895 Colonial Revival residence designed by Felix Marcuse and Julius Remmel, who were responsible for building more than 500 homes in the 1890s in the Bay Area. Another home that's part of the tour and on the same street is an 1895 Queen Anne designed by Fred Fisher. It features a wrap-around porch, double doors with beveled glass panels, oak flooring and a ceiling with unique appliques.
Community members also can stop in at a San Jose Avenue residence built in 1893 in the Queen Anne style and designed by architect Charles Shaner. Tour organizers say it is one of Alameda's most famous homes. Some of its highlights are a tradesmen's door with new leaded glass, exquisite wallpaper, a front parlor, butler's pantry, library, foyer and much more.
This year's tour is sponsored by the Little House Café. It includes light refreshments at the Meyers House & Garden on Alameda Avenue. Tour proceeds benefit the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society and Alameda Museum.
Tickets can be purchased at some stores in town or online at http://alameda-home-tour.org. Tour passes and the guidebook can be picked up at the Alameda Museum, 2324 Alameda Ave., from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Sept. 18-20 and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 21. On Sept. 22, buy tickets at Franklin Park (San Antonio Avenue at Morton Street) or at the museum.
What: Alameda Legacy Home Tour
When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 22
Where: Start at Franklin Park or Alameda Museum
Cost: $30 to $35
Information: 510-521-1233 or alameda-home-tour.org