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Gibbons Drive: Alameda’s Off-Road Adventure

Bear’s-Eye View of Alameda for August 13, 2023

Way back in July (on the 28th to be exact), The Alameda Post ran a feature on the A. A. Cohen Estate located in the Fernside District of Alameda, long before there was a Gibbons Drive. My roving reporter predecessor Bear had visited the tree lined street one year during the fall when the trees turned to the fall colors of red, orange, yellow, and finally brown before clogging up the gutters.

Alameda Post - Bear's-Eye View of Alameda for August 13, 2023 – Gibbons Drive sign

I decided to head down to the Fernside area and take a walk along Gibbons Drive to check out the wild diagonal orientation of the street. According to Dennis Evanosky, Alameda’s premier local historian, a guy named Fred Wood purchased the estate after a fire destroyed most of the buildings, and he was the one that had the road go right through the location of the Cohen house.

Alameda Post - Bear's-Eye View of Alameda for August 13, 2023 – Dick Rutter's 2010 map superimposed over the 1897 Sanborn map.

Dennis was kind enough to provide me a map drawn by Dick Rutter back in 2010 showing the current streets and where the original house was located.



I started my walk at the corner of High Street and Gibbons Drive and headed south. The first thing that needs to be pointed out is that there are sections of the Gibbons sidewalk that could be challenging if one had mobility issues. One section was particularly noteworthy, because unlike other sections of the sidewalk constructed from concrete, this one section had hard rubber squares as the walking surface which made it a little easier to walk.

With the knowledge that I needed to keep an eye on my human companion and his bum knee, I pressed on. There are some very impressive houses along the street with lots of architectural features like Spanish tile roofs, Moorish looking turrets, Mediterranean inspired wrought ironwork, and Old English Tudor trim. No cookie cutter tract housing here.

Alameda Post - Bear's-Eye View of Alameda for August 13, 2023 – flowers

Alameda Post - Bear's-Eye View of Alameda for August 13, 2023 – old fashioned hydrant

In addition to the architecture, the landscaping is worth noting along with various street elements. Check out the several swings that are hanging from the street trees and the old-time fire hydrant. Of course, I noticed it.

Alameda Post - Bear's-Eye View of Alameda for August 13, 2023 – a big lion sculpture

Alameda Post - Bear's-Eye View of Alameda for August 13, 2023 – a cat sprawled out in the driveway

You can’t miss the fake lion. The real cat in the driveway didn’t even bat an eye when I started barking. Am I losing my touch?

Alameda Post - Bear's-Eye View of Alameda for August 13, 2023 – Northwood Drive sign

Alameda Post - Bear's-Eye View of Alameda for August 13, 2023 – Southwood Drive sign

As I walked down the street, I had a Bill Murray “Groundhog Day” moment when I noticed the intersection of Northwood and Southwood. I could have sworn I had already passed this intersection a while back.

As it turns out, I had and was not experienced some kind of temporary cognitive impairment. Apparently, after Mr. Wood purchased the property, he named two streets after himself, resulting in two intersections with the exact same names. I wonder how MapQuest handles this. LOL!

Alameda Post - Bear's-Eye View of Alameda for August 13, 2023 – kids having a water fight
Alameda Post - Bear's-Eye View of Alameda for August 13, 2023 – a person riding a bicycle

This is a thriving area with lots of folks walking dogs, riding bikes, and hanging out with neighbors.

There is much more of the Fernside district to explore, so I plan on returning in the coming weeks. Look for another report soon. In the meantime, go check out Gibbons Drive in your best pair of hiking boots.

Special thanks to Dennis for the historical information on the A.A. Cohen Estate and subsequent development by Mr. Fred Wood. Keep an eye out for when he leads another history waking tour of the area!

Have a great week everyone!

Bear's paws

Mouf, Roving Reporter
Bear’s-Eye View of Alameda

Mouf and his human companion can be reached via [email protected]. Their stories are collected at AlamedaPost.com/Jeff-Cambra/. All photos by Jeff Cambra.

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