Alameda Museum Sale Draws Crowd

Dozens of Alamedans and other Bay Area residents visited Alameda Museum this past Saturday (off Park Street on Alameda Avenue) for a special sale of items once owned by a three generations of a Los Angeles-based family that traces its roots to Southern California pioneers. 

There were also items from the museum’s own reserve of goodies.

Museum curator George Gunn eagerly shared his thoughts on various quilts, chairs, tables and other furnishings. One “crazy quilt” dated from the 1800s and included feather stitching. 

“People know we do a lot of research. And we tag items with historical information,” Gunn says. “If it costs several hundred dollars, people want to know that a piece is authentic.”

 There were several Victorian chairs for sale, some dating from 1870. And a Leopold Stickley Cherry Valley table, two leaves and four chairs were offered for just $800.

“We price to sell,” said Gunn, who notes that 40 percent of the proceeds from estate sales go to the museum.

For those looking to remodel or rework a home, there were several antique doors on sale. And a rickshaw was priced at just $65.

A couple from Berkeley admired an old adding machine, but declined to buy it as a key was missing. 

The modern-day register kept humming along, though, as visitors found items from the past to take home with them and enjoy in the future.


Another Convenience Store?

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Tonight, the Alameda Planning Board is set to vote on a permit for a convenience store at 1623 Park Street (at Pacific Avenue, one block east of Lincoln Avenue).

It will be interesting to see how this vote goes.

Flyers asking for residents to request that the permit be denied were found at the 7-Eleven at Lincoln and Oak over the past weekend. The arguments on the flyer were that the area has enough convenience stores and that more crowding on Park Street isn’t desirable.

While we don’t know exactly what the convenience store would look like, it is true that Park Street needs more business. But any business? Maybe not.

Generally speaking, Alamedans wants businesses that they are comfortable frequenting and proud to have in their neighborhood. And as is the case in many areas of town, convenience stores fulfill a very specific need and aren’t the pride or the most desirable aspect of the neighborhood.

Park Street has a great grocery shop and market area nearby — at the Marketplace. So this shop might not be very likely to stock lots of fruits and vegetables, though the market at Park and Lincoln does sell a bit of fresh produce.

More beer, wine and cigarettes? In this economy, such a store might be one of the most likely businesses that can succeed. But long term, it might not represent the grand desires of the Park Street community, which is hoping to make the area near the Park Street Bridge as interesting and inviting as possible.

With the car dealerships gone and a few used-car merchants hanging on, though, these are tough times. And without other merchants clamoring to open their doors at 1623 Park, the entrepreneur behind the proposed convenience store may get his thumbs up from the city.

Stay tuned to see how the planning board votes.


Alameda shopping: On- or off- Island?

This week’s Life on the Island, the column I write for the Alameda Journal, is about last week’s Alameda City Council decision to let the plans for an Orchard Supply Hardware at Towne Centre continue. I know there’s not universal support for the store because many who opposed it went before City Council to make their case, but many Alamedans I’ve talked to over the years are eager for more local shopping options, even if they’re not locally owned. What’s most interesting to me in the instance of the OSH, is that we’re not talking about new development. We’re talking about a filling an existing building in an existing shopping center.