Monday, December 29, 2008

Local Retiree Discovers Long-Abandoned Military Base on Alameda

A major archeological discovery was made quite by accident last Friday when Florence Templeton, 78, a retiree living in the Shady Oaks community, found herself at a large, long-abandoned military base on the westernmost end of the island.

"I was driving North along Main Street," reported Mrs. Templeton, speaking of the boulevard previously thought to be at the far edge of the island, "and I guess I wasn't paying attention because I missed my turn-off onto Tinker avenue to get home. Suddenly I realized that the road had curved to the left, and then I reached a dead-end in the road. I found myself at an unguarded and long-abandoned gateway to what appeared to be a large military establishment."
Word of the unprecedented discovery travelled quickly at Shady Oaks, in spite of Mrs. Templeton's hesitation to tell anybody about the discovery. "I was worried that news of this, if it fell into the wrong hands, might mean more opportunities for the Developers to come in and build more houses on the Island." The Shady Oaks residents quickly banded together to get a court injunction against any development of the historical region.

"It's the discovery of a lifetime," said Dr. Eugenia Phelps, a Professor of Archeology at U.C. Alameda who is leading the expedition to uncover the area's secrets. "The base, or 'Naval Air Station' as the inhabitants called it, is simply immense, and full of astounding sights."

"We found some real treasures right away," Dr. Phelps described.
"Giant bird-like sculptures, perhaps built as a religious offering; An old gymnasium called the 'Bladium,' perhaps named in jest after the radioactive substance which may have been newly discovered; There's an old officer's club in amazing condition that by all indications appears to have been named in honor of a grandfather, perhaps a great-grandfather of the late vice Mayor, Al DeWitt."

"I wish he had been alive to see this beautiful discovery," added Phelps, reminiscing about the popular Alameda resident who passed away several years ago.

Despite the interesting finds, Phelps assessed the overall condition as dismal: Primarily dilapidated buildings, with "who knows what kinds of toxic substances" underground. Primitive aircraft machines that had apparently crash-landed on pedestals when the ancient civilization was crumbling. Houses with no signs of life other than the ubiquitous Squirrels. Cracked roadways sprouting weeds in defiance of the traffic that ended long ago. And large, grassy fields that today would probably be useful only for playing soccer.
"But really, most of it is just buildings with broken windows," Dr. Phelps concluded.
Some birds spotted nesting along the barely-recognizable airfield runways led to a "discovery within a discovery:" that a bird species called the "Least Tern" (Sternula antillarum), long thought to be extinct, is actually thriving in the flat, grassy area, having been spared encounters with human beings for untold generations.
Florence Templeton is delighted that her discovery has made such a splash. "I never thought my life would be meaningful," she mused. "Now, people will remember my name in the history books as the one who discovered this place."

She added, "I wonder what the people who lived here were like? Was life so different for them, or were they just like you and me? I guess we'll never know."

12 comments:

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Anonymous said...

I understand there's also a theater downtown, did you hear any noose about that?

-- Coho Jerkins

Anonymous said...

My dad was in the Navy and worked at that base.We lived in the housing section for the base and what a great time we had as kids, never a dull moment.We moved away in 77 and I often try and locate some of my friends that I knew back then.Some of my best memories are from living on that base.

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