As the West was settled, newcomers brought with them ideas of amusement facilities they had enjoyed in the East. In the 1880s, the Alameda West End was known as one of the finest beach resort areas in Northern California. One of the most famous of these resorts was Neptune Beach. Visitors enjoyed prize-fights, professional baseball games, beauty contests, zoos, a carnival midway, and rides including the Whoopee Rollercoaster (which ran along what is now McKay Avenue.)
Neptune Beach midway 1933. Courtesy of the Alameda Historical Society
The main attractions were the large swimming pools with fountains, diving platforms and a long sandy beach for sunbathing. The Strehlow family, who acquired the resort around 1923, sponsored a variety of special events at Neptune Beach, including the annual “Around the Island Swim,” a 14-mile race.
Aerial view of Neptune Beach c.1930. Courtesy of the Alameda Historical Society
As the Great Depression of the 1930s deepened, crowds at Neptune Beach got smaller until the resort went bankrupt in 1939. A public auction was held to dispose of the rides and many props. The beautiful carousel was sold to San Francisco’s Playland at the Beach.
Old Neptune Beach c.1925
Courtesy of E. A. Rogers, Oakland Tribune Staff
Click here to watch a short film about Historic Alameda/Neptune Beach.
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