Did you know that Park Street used to have a water tower by the corner of Central Avenue? All that remains is one wall, located between the storefronts of Toy Safari and DeLauer’s Newsstand, which most of us have walked by without even noticing!
Before EBMUD was Alameda’s primary water provider, Robert R. Thompson established the privately-owned Artesian Water Company in 1879. The offices and tank building was erected on the 1400 block of Park St. in 1880, designed by William Patton, and built for a cost $42,000. The walls of the building were five feet thick to support a tank containing 240,000 gallons of water. Water to supply the city was piped from Thompson Ave. (named for the founder), which is now well-known as Alameda’s Christmas Tree Lane, where the wells were located.
Thompson remained the owner until 1900, when the Contra Costa Water Company took over the business. CCWC was purchased by the People’s Water Company in 1906, and they were subsequently acquired by the East Bay Water Company in 1917. EBMUD, established in 1923, became the owners of that company in 1928, and the building was almost completely demolished in 1955, leaving behind the one wall.
Next time you are on Park Street, keep an eye out for this remaining wall. It was recently painted — its green details set it apart from its surroundings. If you want more information about the Artesian Water Company, please visit the Alameda Museum, which is open to the public for free every weekend.