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Alameda Point Historical District Grows

Alameda Municipal Airport as it appeared in 1936. (From U.S. Navy historical report on Alameda Point.)

Alameda Municipal Airport as it appeared in 1936. (From U.S. Navy historical report on Alameda Point.)

At next week’s meeting, Alameda City Council will vote on a recommendation to add the Seaplane Lagoon, accompanying boathouses and other buildings and features of Alameda Point to the City’s local monument listing.

The recommendation comes in response to an updated U.S. Navy evaluation of of the historic features of Alameda Point, formerly Naval Air Station Alameda.

A 1,834 page report prepared for the Navy by JRP Historical Consulting of Davis, California, provides not only a survey and evaluation of the former base, but also a history of its transformation, including archival photographs of the west-end of Alameda.

The report, prepared in 2011, recommends adding the Seaplane Lagoon area, the lagoon boathouses, the massive Building 5, which housed repair and overhaul shops, and a number of landscaping features to the historic district.

Last month, the Navy submitted a nomination package to the Keeper of the National Register at the National Park Service. The park service is expected to approve the submission and add the expanded historic district to the National Register of Historic Places.

One of the notable contributions of Naval Air Station Alameda to America’s war efforts was support for the U.S. Air Force’s raid against Japan in 1942 led by Lt. Col. James “Jimmy” Doolittle. The Navy loaded sixteen B-25 Mitchell bombers onto an aircraft carrier at the piers still at Alameda Point, to launch a morale-boosting retaliatory raid against Japan, in response to the attack at Pearl Harbor in December, 1941.

Next week’s vote will align City of Alameda historic designations with the national register, to minimize potential confusion or mistakes as the city prepares an updated Environmental Impact Report (EIR) under California Environmental Quality Act laws.

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