Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Croll Building

Located at 1400 Webster St., on the corner of Central and Webster streets in Alameda, California, the Croll Building was built in 1879 and is significant in the history of Alameda and Bay Area sporting events. Originally the site of Croll's Gardens and Hotel, the building was associated with Neptune Beach and the heyday of Alameda as a resort town. From approximately 1890 through 1910, the hotel housed many of the worlds best boxers as they trained for local fights. Jim Corbett, James Jeffries, and Jack Johnson all stayed here at one point or another. The building is one of the few remaining structures in the area that was connected with the Neptune Beach Resort. The stained glass, etched windows, tile floor, and carved bar are original and worth the trip to see.

The building currently houses Croll's Pizza and formerly housed the New Zealander Bar. When I went by there was construction going on in the building and it was being prepared for a new bar to open soon. The building is registered as California Historical Site No. 954, and though I looked for it I was unable to find the official plaque.

The Croll Building was also the Neptune Beach stop on the South Pacific Coast Railroad line that ran up Encinal and Central to the San Francisco ferry pier that used to be on the west end of the island.

Getting There By Bike...
The Croll Building is on the corner of Webster and Central in Alameda, CA. You could ride through the Webster Tube from downtown Oakland and come straight down Webster, but that's a pretty terrible idea. The Tube is a nightmare on a bike, and Webster has moderately heavy traffic without the benefits of a bike lane. It's a far better idea to ride over either the Park Street bridge or the Bay Farm pedestrian bridge and come up Central Ave. Central is one of my favorite streets in Alameda, with huge trees that meet over the center of the street along most of it's length.
The Croll Building is a short bike ride away from the Alameda Naval Air Station, where you can visit the U.S.S. Hornet, the memorial to the maiden voyage of the China Clipper, and the site of the Alameda Terminal, original terminus for the Transcontinental Railroad.

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