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Alameda History in Gingerbread — the Croll Building

The gingerbread version of the Croll Building is on display throughout the holidays at the 1400 Bar & Grill.

The gingerbread construction crew: Donna Eyestone and daughter Emma, 9, with their edible version of the Croll Building. Photo courtesy of Donna Eyestone.
The gingerbread construction crew: Donna Eyestone and daughter Emma, 9, with their edible version of the Croll Building. Photo courtesy of Donna Eyestone.
There are gingerbread houses — and then there are Alameda resident Donna Eyestone's gingerbread houses, marvels of local history sculpted from flour, sugar, ginger and icing.

This year Eyestone and her nine-year-old daughter Emma have recreated the historic Croll's Building at the corner of Webster Street and Central Avenue — where it will be on display throughout the holiday season.

A hometown tavern since the 1880s, the building had fallen into disrepair but came back to life in 2011 when Alamedans Mike Cooper and Yanni Placarakis opened the 1400 Bar & Grill.

Their renovation came complete with two of the tavern's original Tiffany-style hanging lamps they found and repaired. (See photos of the interior and read more about the restoration in "Alameda Business Spotlight: 1400 Bar and Grill.")

Taking pride of place this month is the gingerbread version of the building, showcased in the bay window on the Webster Street side.

This is Eyestone's fifth "historic" gingerbread house. Previous creations were the Alameda Main Library, the Alameda Theater, City Hall and the Park Street shopping district.

The 1400 Bar & Grill is located at 1400 Webster St.

For a look at some of Eyestone's previous historic gingerbread houses:

Alameda Theatre Replica Made of Gingerbread

Alameda City Hall in Gingerbread

Park Street Never Looked So Delicious


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Donna Eyestone December 06, 2013 at 11:39 AM
Hi Annabella -- We started the day after Thanksgiving -- so it was about a week (on and off). And the house is fully edible --though after a month on public display -- we typically take it home and display it on our holiday table, but we never eat eat it. Sometimes it is February before we have a smashing party.
Anabella Maria Fontini Della Rossa La Bellissima December 06, 2013 at 12:33 PM
Thanks for answering. Another question, do you build it over a frame or support, like styrofoam? I guess you could find a pig to feed it to, a non-diabetic pig. Film Bosco the pig destroying Alameda building by building.
Donna Eyestone December 06, 2013 at 12:37 PM
There's no sub-structure -- except for the horizontal roof (in this one anyhow). Anytime there's horizontal gingerbread -- it typically isn't strong enough -- so when we do a building that has a pitched roof, that's gingerbread -- but flat roofs are foam core.
Donna Eyestone December 06, 2013 at 12:38 PM
Go check it out in person (and smell it!) and you can see inside the structure and see it's just sheets of gingerbread.
Cheryl December 06, 2013 at 10:09 PM
well now! Let's see what happens next year with the Carnegie and West end libraries, the cinema, any of the Victorians or really special craftsman or deco-era houses we have...

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