Alameda Architectural Walking Tours: Wander, Learn, and Adore on Foot

By Julie Feinstein Adams

You may be surprised to learn that there are no "Victorians" in Alameda.

We are as guilty as anyone, talking about homes in our portfolio (in Alameda and other parts of the Bay Area) and using that term.

Central-Ave-Queen-Anne-Victorian-1-2According to historian Dennis Evanofsky, who regularly leads architectural walking tours in Alameda and Oakland, there are no Victorians.

However there are many “Victorian-era” homes, a category comprised of seven distinct styles, which are, in chronological order of appearance: Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Stick (also called Stick-Eastlake), Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and Craftsman.

Arana Pearl Ave Alameda-2530-1As a sidenote: Who knew that “Craftsman” homes are considered Victorian-era? We did not! We are, however, proud that our craftsmen and craftswomen have restored, stained, and painted numerous homes from this historic period, which was marked by a high level of skilled artisan output and attention to fine detail.

If you like to nerd out on architecture like we do, we highly recommend Dennis’s walking tours, sponsored by the Alameda Post (calendar and registration, here: He also provides this service for historical architecture in Oakland. Website:

Another option for diving deep INSIDE some of these elegant structures is The Alameda Architectural Preservation Society’s annual Legacy Home Tour. This year is the 50th anniversary of the tour, which invites folks into several local treasures that have been caringly stewarded by their current owners. Tickets are required for entry. Date and time: September 17, 2023, 10am – 4pm. Info: 


AAPS notes, “Alameda is blessed with over 4000 buildings on the Historic Study list, including many architectural styles. Our organization helps homeowners and business people appreciate the historic nature of their properties and learn restoration techniques that help bring buildings back to their original splendor.”

Central-Ave-Queen-Anne-Victorian-3The tour also features a festive gathering in Franklin Park with vendors and activities. For people who really want to go all-in on the event, you can sign up to be a volunteer docent, which also gains you free admission to the tour as well as an invitation to a special owners and docents dinner that evening at the Elks Lodge. Email AAPS lead Denise Brady to sign up:

home tour docents

Longtime readers of our newsletter may recall an article we wrote a few years ago after having painted a particularly “gingerbread” festooned Victorian-era home.

Decoration during that era was not just about beauty, but also had meaning for the designers, and sometimes a spiritualist component. Read more here:

NOTE: All homes featured in the images accompanying this article were painted by Arana

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