2. Neptune Beach: Coney Island of the West

Walk down the path beneath the trees and follow the path to the right.

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.)

Historical photo of Neptune Beach midway
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.

Historical aerial photo of Neptune Beach
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.

Historical photo of Neptune Beach c.1925
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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