Central Electrical Substation (former) – Alameda CA


The Public Works Administration (PWA) funded the central electric substation for the City of Alameda, which has its own municipal electric power system.  It cost over $200,000, a considerable sum at the time.  It also served as the central fire alarm switching center for the city.

It is a steel-reinforced concrete building in Moderne style, rather narrow and high.  It has two large plaques on the front, one honoring the city’s board of public works and one the PWA (which was originally called the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works).  

Short & Stanley-Brown (1939) provide more detail about what the building contained: “Housed in the substation are banks of 4,000 to 11,000 volt transformers, high-velocity blowers and cooling radiators, voltage regulators, master-metering panels, and cubicles for incoming and outgoing feeders. The fire-alarm headquarters provides a junction point for all fire alarm circuits of the city.”

The building is still there but has been gutted of all its old equipment (no doubt, long since obsolete) and, regrettably, its west side is open to the elements.  


Project Details

Federal Cost Local Cost Total Cost Project #'s
217671 217671 1407

Source notes

Short, C. W. and R. Stanley-Brown (1939), Public Buildings: Architecture Under the Public Works Administration, 1933 to 1939. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office. 

Project originally submitted by Gray Brechin on June 10, 2011.
Additional contributions by Mike Metz, Richard A Walker.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

Grand St. and Eagle St.
Alameda, CA 94501

Coordinates: 37.775752, -122.2527

2 comments on “Central Electrical Substation (former) – Alameda CA

  1. The electrical substation and fire alarm headquarters are still here! The complex is on the southeast corner of Grand Street and Eagle Avenue. I am e-mailing some current photos.

    • Paul,
      Thank you for the photos. Unfortunately, a hacker stripped out many of our photographs in 2020, including 3 of yours. I have replaced them with my own, but if you see this message, please send me yours again.

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