Albany in 1940 looks different, but very familiar

The cover of the brochure shows the familiar entry way to the Veterans Memorial Building.

The charm of Albany on display in this Chamber of Commerce promotional brochure is the same charm the city has today.
There have been substantial changes since — condos at Albany Hill, the freeway, wartime housing on the Gill Tract, home expansions — yet many of the scenes here are easily recognizable and it wouldn’t be hard to make reasonable duplicates of many the photos.
The USDA lab was brand new when this was printed and the Golden Gate Turf Club was still under construction.

The racetrack, USDA lab and largely empty Gill Tract are visible in the aerial view of the “Gateway to Northern Alameda County.”

The proximity of the University of California and the still-new East Bay Regional Park District, including the Tilden Park golf course, are cited.

So is the city’s proximity to neighboring communities and San Francisco.

Other than the lack of bicycle helmets, this scene wouldn’t be out of place today.

Any guesses as to the make of car or where the house was/is?

A closer look at the aerial view shows the vacant Gill Tract and incomplete racetrack, with no garbage dump alongside yet.

Chris Treadway

  • A 2-color brochure, set in Memphis Bold. Linotype typography of the era. Today, it’s rare not to run full color. But then halftones were on zinc plates made by photo engravers.

    If this is 1940, then the Richmond Shipyard Railway had yet to be built. It came from Berkeley on Ninth, ran through the village (of wartime housing), crossed the SP on a hook-shaped trestle, then on to the shipyards. It ran from 1942-1945; then was dismantled.

    Interurban Electric Rly. Ninth Street line visible in photo which operated until 1941. It would be fun to examine a higher resolution copy of this brochure.

    Look at HistoricAerials.com for various overhead views by year.

  • Chris Treadway

    I think it’s quite eye-catching without all the color and I like the clean “Albany” logo.