Reflections of San Francisco

Alcatraz “The Rock” Federal prison of 1934 was first a lighthouse in 1854.

Juan Bautista de Anza (on horse by mission) is credited with settling San Francisco in 1776 with 34 Spanish families. Named the Bay after St. Francis, town later adopted Bay’s name. De Anza established the Presidio and the Mission.

Mayor Willie Brown voted into office for 2 terms to lead San Francisco into the new millennium.

Cable Cars invented in San Francisco in 1873.

Herb Caen (in Cable Car) in memory of the beloved San Francisco Chronicle columnist, poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner.

California Palace of the Legion of Honor (Lincoln Park) major West Coast Art Museum (left corner) and home of the Thinker by Auguste Rodin.

Californios – under Mexican rule, lived a carefree life with frequent fiestas and sporting events.

Castro Theater of Noe Valley, heart of the largest gay community in the world.

China Clipper popular seaplane used at Treasure Island in the 30’s and 40’s,
Chinatown once had the largest population of Chinese outside of China.

Chinese came in 1848 in search of gold and struck it rich in the laundry business. The Dragon Chinatown gate was erected in 1970.

City Hall opened in 1915 and is referred to as “The Crown Jewel” of American public buildings. Remodeled 1995 – 1999.

Civic Center, Gates of Gold and Black (San Francisco’s official colors).

Coit Tower on Telegraph Hillcompleted in 1933 as legacy of Lillie Coit.

Conservatory of Flowers 1879.

The Dahlia, blossom of infinite variety and color, voted Official Flower of San Francisco in 1926A fitting representation of San Francisco’s ethnic, cultural and lifestyle diversities.

Dewey Monument at Union Square 1898 Spanish American war Naval War Victory.

The Ferry Building 1898 gateway and symbol of San Francisco. The Ferry Building clock stopped at 5:16 A.M. reminds us of the April 18, 1906 Earthquake.

Fisherman’s Wharf began when Italians of 1850’s turned from gold mining to fishing.

Fort Point 1861 Civil War fort, under the Golden Gate Bridge.

Ghirardelli began making fine Italian chocolate on the waterfront in 1852.

Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area is the nation’s largest urban National Park.

Golden Gate Park construction started in 1870 of this woodland oasis in an already congested city.

Grace Cathedral, cornerstone laid in 1910 sits atop Nob Hill, hill of Palaces and Opulent hotels.

Japanese Tea Garden Torii Portal and Moon Bridge 1894.

William Leidesdorff, from the Virgin Islands, came to San Francisco in 1841, became American Vice-consul and a beloved social, commercial and political influence.

Levi Strauss & Co. began jean fashion in 1853 for gold miners.

Lombard Street on Russian Hill is the world’s crookedest street.

Mission Dolores Established in 1776, the well loved chapel was built by Indian labor in 1791 and is the oldest surviving building in San Francisco.

Emperor Norton self proclaimed Emperor of San Francisco, arrived in San Francisco in 1849, was popular for his thoughtful considerations.

Ohlone Indians have lived throughout the Bay Area for over 4,000 years. Their abundant, peaceful life, in the natural richness of the Pacific Coast, was decimated by the intrusion of new cultures.

Palace of Fine Arts a wonderful place for quiet contemplation or a tranquil walk, was built in 1915 for Panama Pacific Exposition.

Mammie Pleasant from Louisiana Swampland, became wealthy, powerful and famous for her San Francisco business dealings beginning in 1849.

Presidio of San Francisco since 1776 has served Spanish, Mexican and American militaries.

The 1806 unrequited love story of the Russian Chamberlain Rezonov, of Fort Ross, and Conception Arguello,“La Beata”, the blessed one, for her good works with the poor and establishing schools. (couple at center fountain)

St Francis Hotel a tradition of the elite. The present building at Union Square remains one of the City’s most fashionable hostelries.

Old St Mary’s Church, 1854, brought around the Horn, survived the 1906 earthquake.

St. Peter & Paul Cathedral dedicated in 1924 serves an Italian, Cantonese and English congregation.

San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridgeopened in 1936.

Sea Lions at Pier 39 number as many as 600.

Sutro Towers tallest structure in San Francisco.

Temple Sherith Israel began in 1849, present synagogue built in 1904.

Transamerica Pyramid, built in 1972, most recognizable structure of the skyline.

Treasure Island, man made island for 1939 Exposition, became a Naval Base and is now a popular housing development.

Twin Peaks 2nd and 3rd highest hills in San Francisco.

Union Square in the midst of San Francisco’s exclusive shopping district, named for a Pro-Union demonstration during the Civil War, was once surrounded by churches.

49 mile Scenic Drive do-it-yourself sightseeing tour.

Gold Rush

California Gold Discovery
1848 – 1998

The colorful border depicts California golden poppies (the state flower) wild roses, lupines and California Valley Quail (the state bird). There’s still gold in them thar hills which is depicted by the large gold piece behind the quail. This nugget was mined in 1992, and is one of the largest uncovered in California history; it can be seen today at the IRONSTONE Vineyard Museum in Murphys, Calavaras County.

Much has changed from the early days of the gold mania. The season of ‘48 began as a small, localized phenomena compared to the frenzied 1849 gold rush. A few of the buildings that remain are preserved and reflect the varied lifestyles and origins of their builders.

Sutter’s Mill – (right of picture) On the South Fork of the American River, Scotch mill wright James Marshall (left of picture) first found gold in the tail race of Sutter’s Saw Mill on January 24, 1848. Mormon workers, former members of the famed Mormon Battalion, were helping Marshall build the mill.

Mrs. Jenny Wimmer (left of picture) camp cook and laundress and wife of one of the workers, boiled Marshall’s find in a pot with lye soap to prove its worth. When the nugget did not melt or discolor, Mrs. Wimmer declared the “yellow stuff” as gold!

Sutter’s Fort – Back at the fort, Captain John Sutter, (right of picture in cap and blue coat) born in Germany of Swiss parents wanted the news of gold to be kept secret. He wanted everyone to keep working the land given to him by the Mexican government. The adobe fort had workshops and huge wheat fields, vineyards, and orchards surrounding it. He called his settlement New Helvetia or New Switzerland. As Sutter’s settlement grew, it became an important stopping place for explorers and settlers. Boats traveled up the delta from San Francisco to the fort (now Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park) and many pioneers who set out for California in covered wagons as part of the epic land migration found refuge at Sutter’s Fort.

Within six weeks after Marshall’s discovery, workers at New Helvetia had quit their jobs and headed for the hills.

His idle settlement and fields would eventually be taken over by strangers who would realize Sutter’s dream, but without him.

By May, news of gold exerted an hypnotic hold on San Francisco townspeople. Men, women and children headed for the hills. The same effect happened when news spread to Monterey and San Jose. The crews from whaling ships and merchant vessels sitting in the bays abandoned their ships. Great ethnic diversity existed from these ships which included Asians, Polynesians, Hawaiians, Europeans and African Americans. Local Indians were used by many of the above people as mining crews. Soon the American River ravines were crowded with an ethnic diversity of miners working side by side using simple, low level mining technology.

One of Sutter’s partners, Isaac Humphry, an experienced Georgia miner, introduced the cradle, which was soon copied by others.

The site surrounding the historic area is now preserved as Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. Tourists can learn of historic mining methods at this park which is located on highway 49 in the town of Coloma, in El Dorado County.

The Northern Mines – From Auburn in the south to Trinity County in the north, the Northern Mines are scattered through spectacular scenery of mountain canyons and free flowing streams.

Auburn – of Placer County proved to hold some of the richest diggings in all of the California gold rush country. The three story red and white striped Hook and Ladder company fire house was established in 1852.

Grass Valley – of Nevada County is home of the beautiful grounds of the Empire Mine State Historic Park, one of the largest hard-rock (quartz) gold mines in the world, with 367 miles of tunnels.

Downieville – of Sierra County appears much as it did during the gold rush days and is among the prettiest towns in California gold rush country, nestled in a forested canyon at the confluence of the Downie river and the North Fork of the Yuba River. Their Methodist church, may be the oldest Protestant church in continuous use in California, since 1852.

Marysville – of Yuba County is the site of an old Chinese Temple, which once looked down on the Yuba River.

The Southern Mines– range south from Auburn to Mariposa County, where the most colorful show of spring flowers in all of the gold rush country can be seen.

Placerville of El Dorado County, once known as Hangtown, is peaceful among apple orchards and vineyards. Large quantities of gold were found in the creek running through town. The town also boasts a large bell tower.

Amador County has many interesting and quaint gold era towns nestled in the Shenandoah valley wine country that reflect much of its ethnic diversity. In nearby Jackson are the Kennedy Mine and its giant Tailing Wheels which dominate the landscape.

Calavaras County is known through out the world because of the famous story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calavaras County, written by Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, but told by the Hotel keeper of the Angels Hotel of Angels CampMurphys, known as the Queen of the Sierra, retains its original charm.

Tuolumne County is a major locale for western theme movies, including Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven. Columbia State Historic Park preserves the old town City Hotel , restaurant, shops and old stage coach, in which the Wells, Fargo & Company building dominates the old ‘dry diggin’ town. From Columbia to Knight’s Ferry in Stanislaus County a number of mines operated very successfully. The town of Knight’s Ferry, in Stanislaus County, was an important Stanislaus River crossing on the road from Stockton to Sonora and the southern mines. The general store has been operating since 1852.

The Mariposa County Courthouse – was the site of a number of famous cases arising from disputes in the mines. It is an excellent example of gold rush era architecture and is the oldest courthouse in continuous use west of the Mississippi river.

Oakhurst of Madera County is where the Fresno Flats Historical Park showcases a double log cabin similar to that of Mrs. Wimmer of Coloma.

The story of California Gold Discovery played an important role in the story of the California Indians. In remote areas, early miners may have seen the traditional culture of the Miwok Indians who lived in the central mountain area and the delta(left border) or the Maidu Indians from the northern mountain area (right border). The Maidu and Miwok were just two of the many Indian cultures that occupied the land of the gold rush.

Mission San Jose

Mission San Jose

Old Mission San Jose 1797 – 1997
Watercolor painting by Nancy Pratt

Commissioned by the Committee for the
Restoration of Mission San Jose

The Spanish brought the culture of their European traditions to California’s East Bay when Padre Lasuen and Sergeant Amador established Mission San Jose in the middle of the Ohlone village, Oroysom, on June 11, 1797.

The Ohlone Indians flourished in their culture and this bountiful area for thousands of years. They lived in tule reed thatch houses, called ruway, and they ate acorns, sunflower seeds, nuts, berries, grapes, honey, salmon, abalone, duck, and geese. Note the boy in the right column holding a duck decoy he made. Also note the woman in the left corner making acorn mush in large woven baskets for a festival. Other festival activities include the boys playing the stick and hoop game and the men dancing with painted bodies using white chalk, red cinnabar, and charcoal. Yellow ochre was another commonly used color. This is a scene of Ohlone Village life at the point of European contact.

The girls in front play with the beads the Padres gave them. Padres gave gifts of beads, ribbons, blankets and tools to befriend the Indians. Little did anyone realize the resulting inflation to the Indian economy and the beginning of the decline of the Indian culture. Indians were very interested in the technologies of the Europeans although their own were serving them well.

Sergeant Amador, a well known Indian fighter, and his soldiers built the wooden church and a wooden stockade roofed with tule rushes. Within three years several hundred Ohlones were baptized and came to live at the mission. Thousands of cattle roamed the ranges and ate or destroyed much of the traditional sources of Indian food. The mission Indians planted acres of wheat, vineyards and other crops. The outlying Indians were much attracted to the provisions the mission could offer them.

A flood washed away the stockade and the adobe mission was erected in a safer and permanent location in 1809. The Indian men engaged in the building while only the stronger girls would carry adobe bricks (weighing 55 lb. each) to the men. Women were mostly assigned to weaving, dress making, laundry, and cooking; while the men did a variety of jobs such as leather tanning, rope, soap and candle-making, shearing sheep, and weaving rugs and clothing from wool.

By 1834 the Mexican government brought the mission system to an end. Jose de Jesus Vallejo, brother of the famous General Mariano, another known Indian fighter, was appointed the civil administrator of the mission lands. Fulgencio Higuera, a loyal soldier, was granted the Agua Caliente (Warm Springs) for his “rancho’ of mission herds (pictured in the upper right). Former mission Indians worked for him. “Vaqueros” were usually mission Indians trained in horsemanship that managed the cattle.

By the 1830’s Mission San Jose was the most prosperous of the northern California missions. They were a self sufficient institution. The Padres supervised a mill for flour and grains on what is now Mill Creek. Padre Duran acquired small sailing vessels, such as the Russian “sloopka” pictured, to export hides and tallow to San Francisco and trade for such things as band uniforms for his famous 30 piece orchestra!

Social activities followed the 6 hour work day that included a two hour siesta. However, the female children over the age of five and all older unmarried females were separated from their families and guarded in their barracks.

Some Indians became disillusioned with the mission system and would escape only to be pursued by Sergeant Amador’s soldiers. The Padres believed that “they” were responsible for the souls of the Indians and felt that the runaways would fail to practice the new religion so wanted the soldiers to return them. Soldiers may not have been as concerned for the spiritual lives of the Indians as they were for the thrill of conquer and defeat. Nevertheless, the Indians were excellent swimmers and archers, able to challenge the extremely poor rifle marksmanship of the soldiers.

One skirmish, in the fall of 1828, began unexpectedly with the shocking defection of a trusted and highly respected Mission San Jose Alcalde, who was an elected Indian mayor. His name was Estanislao of the Northern Yokuts. Disenchanted when Mexican taxation on missions resulted in harder work for Indians, he joined with Santa Clara Mission neophytes, (converted mission Indians), in refusing to return to their respective missions.

The fugitives openly challenged authorities to try and capture them. The defiant Estanislao sent a taunting note to the Padres: “We are rising in revolt. . . We have no fear of the soldiers, for even now, they are very few, mere boys, and not even sharp shooters.” The Indians were overcome and Estanislao was returned to the mission. After the revolt Estanislao’s friend, Padre Duran, sought and received a pardon for him from the Mexican authorities. Today a county, river and national forest are named after him (Stanislaus).

The worst enemies for the Indians were diseases brought in by the Europeans, such as measles and influenza. Epidemics wiped out whole families living in adobe barracks attached to the mission. The Indian population was decimated.

The mission population reached a maximum of 1,886 in 1831. However, between 1797 and 1833, 4,683 burials are documented in the mission registers. Beginning in 1811 Christianized Indians were allowed by the Padres to be buried at the Ohlones Cemetery, about one mile west of the mission.

“The Great Pathfinder,” John C. Fremont (pictured in upper right), made three explorations to California and mapped the American West for the U.S. Topographical Engineers. Kit Carson often guided the explorations and assisted him during the “Bear Flag Revolt” of 1846. As many as 60 ragtag mountain riflemen camped with Fremont near the mission. Together with their cannon, the Fremont battalion was considered a hostile presence by the Californios. Later, after Fremont helped the annexation of California to U.S. territory, he sought to buy what is now the Palmdale Estate, but was discouraged because of speculation of mission secularization lawsuits.

Many Mormons from the “Brooklyn” clipper ship landed in San Francisco in 1846 and immigrated to this area. Among them was John Horner, who purchased lands adjacent to Mission San Jose. These were mission fields that grew wheat ten feet high. Horner later laid out the original town of Union City.

The Gold Rush of 1848 with it’s explosion of immigrants changed the sleepy adobe mission town into a boisterous provision center and gateway to the southern mining districts, such as Sonora.

H.C. Smith, “Father of Alemeda County,” opened a general store in the mission wing in 1849 called the CHEAP CASH STORE. This era was the “wild west”. A hard-looking set of customers would stand half drunk at the entrance of grog-stores eyeing newcomers scheming how to steal their horses and supplies. Prices were high, shovels sold for $100 each!

The Portuguese from the Azores immigrated to the area after 1850. Europeans who suffered from great famines in their native countries came in large numbers to find land to farm.

The 1868 earthquake devastated the adobe mission structure because side buttresses were removed for “beautification.” The Victorians built the wooden French Gothic style St. Joseph church on top the mission tile floor. The church continued to be the spiritual and cultural center for the area for over 100 years.

In 1980 the old St Joseph church was gently relocated and restored in San Mateo to make room for the reconstruction of the original mission. The beautifully restored Victorian rectory (circa 1890) was relocated to Anza street south of the mission.

Plans for the reconstruction of the mission church began in 1973. On June 11, 1982, in a festive ceremony, descendant Phil Galvan, great-grandson of the last Ohlone chief, Chief Tarino, laid the cornerstone for the reconstructed church, completed and dedicated in 1985.

The padres living quarters, the oldest building in Alameda County, now houses a history museum, Plans are currently under way to seismic retrofit this building.

The original Bell Wheel in the upper left hand corner still rings in the sanctuary of the mission. It was used to call the Mission Indians to services.

The original Baptismal Font in the upper right hand corner remains a special treasure in the mission. A hammered copper basin sits in a painted wooden base and was used to baptize 6,500 Indians between 1797 and 1834.

The bottom border depicts the mission quadrangle buildings used as padre’s quarters in the front, mission women’s quarters under guard in the back, and workshops in between.

The flowers show off the lilies of St. Joseph, the Rose of Castille (Father Serra’s favorite) and the California Poppy, native to California.

The top red border shows off the Ohlone Indians and their animals first sighting the Europeans coming with their animals. The grapes were brought by mission fathers although green grapes were growing in the area as a native plant.

City of Fremont

Reflections of Yesteryear
remembering the five villages that became Fremont, California
by Nancy Pratt
Commentary by Nancy Pratt with Jan Southworth and Randy Power

The Ohlone – culture flourished in the area for thousands of years. They knew of the great beasts that roamed the earth eons ago such as the sabre tooth cats that are fossilized in the Irvington Fossil Pits. A practical life of survival made the Ohlone respectful of the bay waters’ supply of oysters and the lands rich soil’s production of acorn yielding oak trees. The abundance of marshes provided tules used in building ruways and reed boats.

  • Ruway – This tule reed thatched house is one type of home used for thousands of years by the Ohlone people. Several peaceful villages composed of ruways, shade shelters and sweat houses once dotted the landscape where Fremont stands today. Abundant wildlife and a mild climate encouraged a thriving native culture.
  • Reed Boat -Tule Balsas were the most common form of water craft on pre-historic San Francisco Bay and its surrounding lakes and marshes. Spanish explorers first observed Indians paddling these buoyant well-built boats in the 1700’s. In shallow conditions the Indian tule boats could out-maneuver and evade Spanish longboats. Excellent craft for fishing and hunting waterfowl, tule boats skillfully plied the waters of Stivers Lagoon long ago.

Mission San Jose-In 1797 the Franciscan Fathers established their 14th mission along the El Camino Real and nestled under the watchful eye of Majestic Mission Peak. Its compound provided the living quarters, workshops and storage areas of Franciscan Fathers and 1900 Ohlone converts. The Mission prosperity included 15,000 cattle, 14,500 horses, and 16,000 sheep that grazed in valleys extending to the present city of Pleasanton. Their enormous stores of grain, hide, tallow, wine and salt supplied the Russian colony of Fort Ross and Yankee sailing ships anchored at Yerba Buena (now San Francisco). The little hills area, today known as Coyote Hills, marked the Mission embarcadero on a navigable slough. Gold Rush steamers came through here if they didn’t go up the delta. The Mission Pass (near 680 and Mission Blvd) was a main route to the Gold Hills. The town of Mission San Jose still has many shops and a hotel that accommodated travelers to the Gold Country.

Alameda Creek – flowed as a major river before reservoirs. Plentiful salmon and steelhead ran up the creek and made great fishing for the Ohlones. Later, settlers made ‘Sneak Boxes’ to slip through cattails and tule reeds to hunt and fish along the creek.

Niles -first known as Vallejo Mills, the town developed after Jesus Vallejo, who was granted the Mission property, built a water-powered flour mill on Alameda Creek in 1841. In 1869 the Central Pacific Railroad came through the canyon and the last ‘golden spike’ was driven at Vallejo Mills to complete the transcontinental railroad to Alameda. Locomotive 171 was the first single engine to pass through on that transcontinental journey. In 1883, the small railroad town that sprang up was named Niles, after judge Niles, a Central Pacific major investor official. As many as 20 trains a day once passed through Niles. The 1904 Victorian columned depot of the Southern Pacific Railroad still remains. Following the railroad, the motion picture industry enlivened Niles. The Essany Studios produced 375 ‘Bronco Billy’ Anderson western films and made the hit movie The Tramp with Charlie Chaplin.

Centerville – first known as the “Wild West” town of Hardscrabble. Sea Captain George Bond established a general store in 1852 for unsuccessful gold miners who took up farming in the area. They worked hard cultivating the rich soil and soon became the breadbasket of San Francisco during the Gold Rush. John Horner began the areas first produce ranches and the east bay’s first school. Today’s Washington High School, built in 1924, evolved from those beginnings. The first Protestant church of Alameda County, Centerville Presbyterian recently burned and is scheduled to be rebuilt exactly the same as when first built in 1853.

Irvington – known as Washington Corners evolved from a boarding house and tavern (established by two freed slaves) for travelers during the Gold Rush. Irvington enjoyed a prestigious reputation for Washington College of Science and Industry which began in 1872 (the same time as UC Berkeley’s South Hall). Clark’s Hall, built by the Clark Brothers in 1879, served as a general store and post office downstairs and a town hall with a dance floor and stage on the second floor. The Irvington Monument, now in a little park across from Clark’s Hall, welcomes visitors to the town just as it did after the First World War, when it also functioned as a traffic barrier.

Warm Springs – the Ohlone Indians came to Warm Springs area for the medicinal benefits long before the arrival of the Spaniards. In 1850 Clement Columbes established a vineyard and built his famous Warm Spring Hotel and spa, which eventually became a fashionable resort for wealthy San Franciscans. In 1853, American scholar and traveler Bajard Taylor wrote about Warm Springs “The national flag, which floats over a clump of sycamore and live oaks, announced a hotel, a pleasant retreat. A shady verandah opens upon a garden of flowers in midst of which a fountain played.” Later, Governor Leland Stanford bought the area and established an extensive vineyard to supply wine for his railroad and resorts.

Lake Elizabeth – a natural flood water ponding basin for the area provided a great bed of tules and hunting marsh for the Ohlones. Simeon Stivers, an early pioneer, settled near the lagoon and shot ducks and geese for San Francisco restaurants

Patterson House – This elegant Queen Anne style Victorian home, completed in 1889 is today part of Ardenwood Historic Park. Begun in 1857 as the modest farmhouse of George Washington Patterson, the house grew in size as farmer Patterson expanded his land holdings and wealth. Once 3,000 acres in size, the Patterson Ranch was on of the major 19th century farming enterprises in the south bay and the life of pioneer George Patterson is a colorful rags-to-riches story. Tours of the house are conducted Thursdays to Sundays, April to mid November.

  • Gazebo – the lovely Victorian Gazebo representative of those elaborate structures prized by wealthy Victorians in the last century, stands picturesquely in the garden of the Patterson House at Ardenwood Historic Park. Although gazebos such as this one were often the scene of afternoon tea service, small concerts or romantic rendezvous, the Patterson Gazebo today is most often utilized as an elegant outdoor wedding site.
  • Peacock – these vibrant blue and green birds with their 60 inch tails can be seen strolling the grounds and lending historic ambiance to Ardenwood Farm. In the last century peacocks and hens (native to India and Sri Lanka) were the popular ornamental pets of upper class Victorians.

Golden Eagle – with a wing-span of 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 feet this spectacular eagle is a striking site when observed by the lucky hiker as it soars over Mission Peak. Named for the rarely seen light golden patch on the back of the neck, the adult Golden Eagle is commonly a deep uniform brown in color.

Pacific Tree Frog – the smallest frog on the west coast, no larger than a quarter, can be seen clinging to cattails and tules at Central Park.

The Fremontia californicum – the common flannel bush, was chosen as the official city flower. It was named in honor of General John C. Fremont. It has five petals symbolizing the five communities incorporated into the city.

The City of Fremont – in 1956, these five villages were incorporated. The city was named after John C. Fremont who had camped near the Mission when exploring and charting California before the Gold Rush. His wife wrote, ‘From the ashes of his camps will rise great cities,’ a fitting epitaph for a bustling city of 187,000 people.

Masonic Home

Celebrating the Centennial of Masonic Homes of California
Original Watercolor by Nancy Pratt

Both Masonic Homes of California, at Union City and Covina, are showcased in this beautiful watercolor montage using an early Italian architectural style. The five arches and columns of the old and new entrance to the Union City Home provide the perfect design for the painting to give the viewer glimpses of indoor and outdoor scenes of the Victorian treasure. The flowered borders show off the flora and fauna around the home, including gladiolas from surrounding hillsides, roses, deer, the California State flower, the Golden Poppy and the California State bird, the Valley Quail.

Completed in 1898, the Home at Union City was called the Masonic Widows and Orphans Home in the old town of Decoto. The care for the residents was provided in Sacramento up to this time. Forty-one Masons, widows, and orphans were admitted during the first year. Their new home occupied 268 acres, purchased in 1893 for $33,093. The site was selected with great foresight for it’s easy access to San Francisco and nearby rail transportation to Oakland and San Jose. There was a self-sustaining water and power supply on the property and fertile land for farming, producing ample crops to take to the markets of San Francisco. The residents helped with farming, ranching, cooking and preserving to make their home self-sufficient.

Donations and support came from all 251 Lodges of that year to beautify the grounds. The local Lodge in Centerville, now the Centerville district of Fremont,

Alameda Lodge No. 167, planted 10 acres of fruit trees and cultivated them the first year. They also built the Memorial Arch at the entrance to the grounds as well as planting the date palms. In 1912 the ladies of the Eastern Star initiated Jam and Jelly Day, to help provide for the needs of the Home. At first by preserving the fruit that was grown at the Home, and today by a picnic and donations by the East Bay Past Matrons Association, Order of Eastern Star.

After 100 years, residents of the home in Union City still enjoy the fresh balmy air from the surrounding bay waters and delight in observing deer coming down from the hills in the evening. Today the lower fields on both sides of the security gates are leased to a commercial flower grower and the upper hills are leased for cattle grazing.

The original building is now the Main Administrative Building. The focal point of the lobby is the main staircase with the magnificent stained glass window at the head, donated by the Ladies Club, Golden Gate Commandery No. 16. The lobby has a parlor filled with many beautiful antiques. A wonderful library is down the hall with pictures on the wall of former United States Presidents who were Masons.

The South Antique Room, (right center of painting) boasts oriental furniture, donated by a resident who was a distant relative of General Douglas MacArthur. Shown in the painting is General MacArthur’s desk and chair. Also shown is a chair from the Siminoff Temple originally erected in 1903 and reconstructed in 1989.

The North and South wings of the Administrative Building was added in 1914 and 1928 respectively. There are 10 buildings altogether on the site. Assisted Living Residences are in the Adams and Wollenberg Buildings Apartments. The Lorber building is for Skilled Nursing care. The newest addition to the Home is the Grider Health Care Center, which provides

physical therapy, occupational and speech therapy and an exercise center. Included in this state of the art building is a large hydro-therapy pool and a Jacuzzi pool for the residents use.

The Masonic Home at Covinaoriginated out of the 1905 Masonic Widows and Orphans Home in the Old San Gabriel Hotel. The hotel housed up to 150 people. By 1909 the San Gabriel Home became a residence exclusively for children. The adults were transferred to the Decota Home and the children were brought to San Gabriel. The orphans of San Gabriel had a good life until 1915 when storm waters washed a path through the grounds and the property was determined to be unstable. A tract of 35 acres was purchased two miles east of the City of Covina and a temporary building was erected until permanent quarters were established. In 1989 a lovely new complex for the addition of adults to the Home in Covina was opened. The Masonic Home at Covina now provides care to both children and adults on the same campus.

Today with the beautiful and serene setting of the Home at Covina, and the stately grandeur of the Masonic Home at Union City, Masons can be exceedingly proud of the contributions they have given to build and support these two Masonic Homes. They are a tribue to the Masons who have given and continue to give their help and support for the betterment of their fellow man.

The Home has a professional, caring staff to provide for all health care, social needs and recreational activities. There is an Arts and Crafts Center and a wonderful Ceramics Department. Beautician services are offerred for both men and women to take care of their grooming needs. Two chaplains provide counseling for the residents as well as studies and learning. Non-denominational services are held in the lovely chapel in Siminoff Center.

City of Newark

Historical Images of Newark
by Nancy Pratt
Commentary by Bruce MacGregor
In a single mural, all of the 19th century themes that made Newark, California great are gathered together.
Each element of the mural has its own story to tell:

The Baldwin Locomotive – This colorful Baldwin Locomotive Works beauty is South Pacific Coast Railroad engine number 2. The South Pacific Coast was a narrow gauge railroad that started the town of Newark in 1876 to serve both as its backshop – where engines like number 2 were repaired – and as a real estate development to sell lots for homes. The narrow gauge line ran as far north as Alameda, and as far south as Santa Cruz. Engine number 2 was tiny compared to modern locomotives, but could go faster than 60 miles per hour.

The Pavillion – The railroad also built a great wooden hall for public dances, picnics and gatherings. It was built in 1877 and named the Pavillian, and it was located where the Pavillian of today is located. In the 1870’s and 1880’s, the railroad would rent the hall to large groups from as far away as San Francisco, and get them to their dance or gathering by narrow gauge passenger train.

Carter Brothers – The railroad attracted support industries. Carter Brothers built nearly all the freight and passenger cars for the South Pacific Coast in a factory in Newark, and there they built many of the cable cars that still run in San Francisco. Carter opened their factory in 1877 and finally closed in1902.

The James Graham Foundry – opened in Newark in 1884 to make railroad parts for the backshops and for Carter. When the 1906 earthquake

wrecked San Francisco, Graham Foundry made storm drains and manhole covers to help rebuild the ruined city. But their most famous product was the “Wedgewood” stove. When first manufactured about 1910, the Wedgewood stove burned wood, but eventually became modernized to burn gas, and became a famous brand name throughout the western United States.

The Newark Ferry – was built by the railroad and named after its new town. At first, the railroad wanted to operate the ferry for commuters to San Francisco directly from a dock near Newark – and to increase its speed, the ferry was built with the largest paddle wheels of any ferry on San Francisco Bay. The trip was still too slow, and in 1877 the railroad extended its track north to Alameda, so the speedy little narrow gauge locomotives could make the trip in less time.

St. Edward’s Catholic Church – In many ways 19th century Newark was a railroad town, and even the first church, St. Edward’s Catholic Church – was built with a $5,000 donation from the railroad’s president.

The Horse-drawn Railroad – Probably the most famous piece of railroad history in Newark was the branch line that ran to Centerville, today known as the Centerville District of Fremont. What made the branch line unique were its locomotives – all horses! The horses hauled not only the small, light-weight horsecar shown in the mural, but full-size heavy freight cars as well. Two horses pulled as many as seven loaded cars on this three mile line. The line was operated by Henry Burdick, who became famous as a one-man conductor, brakeman and engineer. Today, at Ardenwood Regional Preserve, a restored version of this old branch line still operates for the public to ride. And it still uses horses to pull its trains.

Watkins Hall – was built in 1889 and had a saloon downstairs, and a large dance hall or community meeting room upstairs. On its roof was what the owner claimed was the only flagpole in Newark in the early days before the turn of the century.

Coyote Hills – A background for Newark in Victorian times as well as today, the Coyote Hills were a sheltering area for Ohlone Indian villages, and protected them from wind and weather coming off San Francisco Bay. Today Coyote Hills Regional Park contains miles of hiking trails for the public, with views of both the bay and of Newark.

Nature’s Beautys – In order to make the new town attractive and shaded, the South Pacific Coast Railroad planted thousands of seedling Eucalyptus trees, most of which grew to over a hundred feet tall and many of which survive today. They provide a home for the Monarch butterfly on its winter migration from as far away as the Dakotas and Canada. Eucalyptus trees are sometimes called blue gums, or gum trees.

Surrounded by marsh and baylands, a familiar site in Newark’s past and present, is the snowy egret, which has adjusted to today’s large population so well it is often seen feeding where natural waterways come close to roads and freeways.

The Scow – was a flat-bottomed freight vessel that pioneered transportation in the Newark area before the railroad came. It navigated shallow sloughs to Mowry’s Landing or Mayhews Landing near Newark, where it would pick up loads of hay or grain. Powered by sail, the flat bottoms helped insure that the socws wouldn’t get stuck in the mud at low tide!

Salt – Next to agriculture, the first American industry in the Newark area was salt – easily manufactured by letting bay salt water evaporate in large shallow ponds. The Plummer Brothers ran one of the early salt works near Newark, and used wind mills to power machinery that ground the salt they scraped from the shallow ponds.

The Hoop and Stick – a favorite kid’s game in the 19th century, can still be played today at special events in Ardenwood Regional Preserve.


Historical Collage of
by Nancy Pratt
In a single mural the significant historical themes that make Carmel, California great are gathered together.Each element of the mural has it’s own story to tell.

Carmel River Bay and Point Lobos – First sighted in 1542 by Cabrillo and again fifty years later by Vizcaino and 3 Carmelite friars. They called the valley, river and bay “El Rio Carmelo” from which the name Carmel is still known. Point Lobos hems the bay with wonderful tide pools and walking paths. It still preserves a 19th century whaling station.

The Mission – founded in 1771 by Father Junipero Serra as ‘Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo’. It’s church served the spiritual needs of the Spaniards and the Rumsen Ohlones who had been converted to the Catholic faith, while the mission compound provided comfortable living quarters, workshops, and storage areas. Father Serra, presidente of the chain of Missions headquartered at Carmel Mission, was buried in his beloved Mission and his bones are their today. The mission is beautifully restored and was made a Minor Basilica by Pope John XXII in 1960. Could that be the spirit of father Serra proudly looking on?

Mission Ranch – named so by John Martin, a Scotsman who acquired the surrounding Mission lands in 1850 for a dairy farm after the Mission was secularized. This lovely ranch overlookiing Carmel River Bay operates today as an inn and restaurant owned by actor Clint Eastwood. Maybe the aussie is Buddy DeVoe with Clint’s sheep.

Village of Carmel by the Sea – was conceived when Frank Devendorf , a San Jose developer, took a ride along the Seventeen-Mile-Drive from Pacific Grove in the 1890’s. The natural beauty of the white sandy beaches, now bounded by Monterey cypress and sloping forests of Monterey pine jeweled with California poppies, and lupines, brought Devendorf back in 1902 to file for the first subdivision map of Carmel-by-the-Sea. A tiny village sprang up as Devendorf and his partner Frank Power formed the Carmel Development Company. Carmel’s first school Sunset School is now Sunset Center of Art and Craftsand annually hosts the Bach Festival with a gala of flags.

Art and Carmel – have always been synonymous. The Bohemians of the 1906 earthquake and fire of San Francisco contributed to the empetus of Carmel’s art colony. Could that be Xavier Martine at the easel? George Sterling and Mary Austin often pondered at the beach, together with his beloved ‘Skeet’. Many of the newcomers became famous in the fields of the arts and added renown to the name of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Hawk Tower – Tor House – towers over Carmel Bay Bluffs, now lined with planted Monterey Cypress. One of America’s most famous controversial poets, Robinson Jeffers, rolled stones up from the beach for the construction of his writing tower and house. The red-tailed hawk from Point Lobos inspired Jeffers as he built. Could that be Jeffers’ big white English bull, Winnie, look-alike for Winston Churchill?

Forest Theater – among the Monterey pines off Mountain View Avenue. The local literary folk co-operate in producing plays on the first open air stage in the west.

Sand Castle Contest is held September or October each year on the stretch of soft sand depsoited by the calm summer sea. Will this little intense architect of sand win ‘The Grand Sand Award’ for her version of the Sunset Cultural Center?


The Golden Bough – sign projected from a tree and marked the entrance to Carmel’s famous theatre, before it burned. In classic myths the branch was key to the world of imagination and fantasy. Could the spirit of Mary Austin be inspired to write under the bough?

Carmel Kite Festival – each March shows that youngsters enjoy good old fashioned kite flying. Could this Chineese kite remind us of the first Chineese?

The Doll’s House – or ‘Hansel and Gretel’ style of architecture became a trademark of Carmel. It all started when Mayotta Comstock made her clever ‘Otsy-totsy’ rag dolls. The dolls needed a home of their own. Hugh Comstock’s unique fairy-tale style houses for the dolls became the dream houses and shops of Camelites.

The Tea Room – known as the Tuck Box, was one of those Comstock animated shops, now a landmark of Carmel on Dolores and 7th Avenues.

Pal – just a dog, often called Carmel’s Dog. He was the friend of all who knew and loved him.

Raccoons of City Hall – are only and indication of the number of raccoons in Carmel’s woods! City Hall conducts business in the once hallowed atmosphere of All Saints’ Episcopal Church. It runs Carmel just like a town with a mayor and everything!

Chimney Sweeps – in the European tradition can be seen on Carmel rooftops.

Morrison Memorial Library – is attributed to famous architect Bernard Ralph Maybeck whose plans were interpreted by contractor M. J. ‘Roch’ Murphy who build many of the bat and board houses of Carmel. The library has outstanding facilities, wonderful service, and a valuable collection of Carmel history in paintings and books.


Old Monterey, California
by Nancy Pratt

Natural History – The importance of Monterey Bay may have first been recognized by Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo, a Portuguese Navigator for the Spanish in 1542 (Ship in upper border). The bay is a natural harbor for moorings. The secret of Monterey is the offshore canyon as large and as deep as Arizona’s Grand Canyon. Scenes shift dramatically to allow plants and creatures of almost every marine character to adapt and survive here. Giant kelp are the favorite food of the purple sea urchin and these spiny animals are sought by the furry sea otter. Elegant sea slugs, snails, crabs, starfish, and other giant kelp forest fish appear in the borders. Bay to shore travelers include Leopard sharks, sea lions and harbor seals. Western Gulls, Brown Pelicans also travel from the water to the shores where Coast Live Oak and Monterey Pines are abundant.

Cultural History – Wonderful cultures of people have come and gone from Monterey. First were the Rumsen Ohlone, a local group of Indians, who lived off the land and sea. They gathered shellfish like the abundant abalone and hunted game with bows and arrows and could walk up next to the deer as they wore deer heads.

Around the time American colonists on the Atlantic coast would struggle for independence from England the Spanish were fearful of encroachment of the English and Russians on the Pacific coast and wanted to protect their Acapulco – Manila silk trade. In 1770 Gaspar de Portola’ succeeded in establishing the Presidio of Monterey and Father Junipero Serra founded Mission San Carlos Borromeo, mother of the Franciscan missions in California (Serra’s monument in upper right corner stands on a hill of El Castillo overlooking Fisherman’s Wharf). The mission moved to Carmel in 1771, but the building became the Royal Presidio chapel. It is said that Father Serra’s favorite flower was the Rose of Castille (bottom in the border).

In 1775 the Spanish viceroy in Mexico made Monterey the capitol of California, Imperial Spain’s northernmost province in the Americas. Even after Mexico’s independence from Spain in 1822, the capitol of California province remained in Monterey. However, Monterey was never the Civil Capitol of California under American rule after 1846. It was the military capitol for awhile though..

Typical homes of the period were adobes with a half level above for sleeping. The Casa Serrano is an example of a “one and a half” with side stairs.

The sport of bear and bull fighting was loved by the Spanish as well as quitar serenading.

The Custom House – Custom duties were collected here and ships traded goods for the hides of cattle brought to the Custom House on carts. Cattle hides were called California bank notes. The ‘Californios’ wealth was their cattle hides rather than money in their pockets. The building was also used for balls, banquets and other public festivities. In 1846 U.S. Naval Commodore John Sloat landed and raised the Stars and Stripes on the flag pole of the Custom House and claimed California for the USA. Many parties were thrown for the officers of Sloat’s fleet

Colton Hall – (upper right corner) Built by Walter Colton who came to California as a U.S. Navy Chaplain under Commodore Sloat and became the American Alcade (governor) of Monterey. Today the second floor has been restored to its appearance in September 1849 when California delegates drafted, debated and approved a constitution for the State of California.

California’s First Theatre – (upper right corner) In 1850 Seaman Jack Swan produced some plays in his tavern and sailors quarters, 19th century melodramas are presented in the old theatre to this day.

?As the gold rush was beginning full force in California all but nearly 400 residents left Monterey to be a sleepy village.

Portuguese Whalers – came around 1855 via San Francisco from the Azores Islands. They were a novel sight to view on some exposed headland where they practiced offshore whaling, flenching the blubber off whales at the beach rather than on the open sea. The sails and the boats belonging to different vessels often had peculiar markings. Whaling around Monterey lasted into the early 20th century, longer than other American whaling site.


Chinese Fishermen – first came in the early 1850’s directly from China by sea, on the same currents that carried the Spanish Acapulco – Manila traders. They developed abalone, Salmon, squid, and fish fertilizer industries.

Robert Louis Stevenson – During Monterey’s sleepy village period in 1879 Stevenson roamed the shores for his future story ‘Treasure Island’, and wrote an essay ‘The Old Pacific Capitol’ before a vast change came to Monterey. Other artists retreated to Monterey from San Francisco.

Hotel Del Monte – (top left) was the first of California’s grand resort hotels. The famous golf greens and the scenic Seventeen Mile Drive began here. Today the hotel serves as the U.S Naval Postgraduate School. The hotel’s chapel, St. Johns Chapel, is still in use.

Cannery Row – Monterey’s economy really began to expand when sardines were fished and canned in the early 1900’s. Sicilian fisherman came with lampara nets and felucca sails. The ‘Monterey Clipper’, motor powered boats replaced the sail boats and then larger boats were needed when purse seine nets were introduced. Monterey sailed through the depression as the ‘Sardine Capitol of the World’. By the 1950’s the sardines had been fished out.

John Steinbeck – Through his best-selling novels, Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday, John Steinbeck made Cannery Row world-famous. One of his story characters was based on his good friend and mentor, marine biologist Ed ‘Doc’ Ricketts.

Fisherman’s Wharf – developed first as a stone pier from the Mexican Custom House. Since then the Monterey Boating Club and later the German immigrant, ‘Pop’ Ernest who introduced the abalone to his restaurant menu, made the Wharf famous.

Monterey Jazz – is a tradition and is world-renowned through the Monterey Jazz Festival, Dixieland Festival, and the Blues Festival.

Monterey High School – (top right) old High School.

St. James Episcopal Church – first Protestant church in Monterey holds the Mayo Hayes O’Donnell library and still conducts small services.

Santa Rosalia – is the patron saint of Sicilian fishermen and is celebrated in a yearly September festival.

Pacific Grove

Pacific Grove, California
by Nancy Pratt

Pacific Grove – named after the Pacific Ocean and the groves of pine and oak trees, Pacific Grove was established in 1875 as a seaside Christian resort for religious retreats of the Methodist Episcopal Church. It was enclosed with a high fence and a stile and a gate locked at night to prevent the “intrusion of interlopers”. It was a dry town until 1976.

A city of 3 square miles, the citizens of Pacific Grove consider the preservation of the natural habitat as important as other city concerns. With protection laws enacted, the city is home to Monterey pines, blacktail deer, raccoons, woodpeckers, monarch butterflies, endangered plant and animals, and a marine refuge.

Point Pinos Lighthouse – Guarding the southern entrance to Monterey Bay, the Point Pinos Lighthouse first shined its light in 1855 and has the distinction of being the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the west coast. It boasts of having had two women lighthouse keepers in its history, Charlotte Layton in the 1860s and Emily Fish at the turn of this century. Its interior is open to visitors today as a lighthouse museum.

Gosbey House – became the Grove’s first boarding house in 1886 for the Methodist summer retreats and today is a beautiful Bed and Breakfast on Lighthouse Avenue. Other wonderful boarding houses and hotels came along which matched the grace of Monterey’s Del Monte Hotel, such as the Centrella Hotel and the El Carmel Hotel.

Green Gables – an 1888 Queen Ann Victorian with one gable used as a chapel. One of many beautiful bed and breakfasts overlooking Monterey Bay.

The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History – Established in 1883 by the Methodist Church’s Chautauqua movement, the Museum is located at Forest and Central Avenues. Now a City of Pacific Grove museum it houses collections of over 400 Monterey County birds and features exhibits of Sea Otters, Monarch Butterflies, and other flora and fauna of Monterey County and the Monterey Bay. Exhibits also feature local Native Americans

Hopkins Marine Station – Originally established at Lover’s Point in 1892, moved in 1917 to China Point (now called Cabrillo Point), it was the first marine laboratory on the Pacific Coast. Associated with Stanford University it specializes in the study of intertidal life.

Chautauqua Hall – (upper left corner) on Central Avenue was built in 1879 and named after a New York religious retreat on Lake Chautauqua. Assembled religious retreats, entertainment and cultural activities were, and still are, held here.

Tent Campers and Tent Cabin Residents – (left side of painting) were “uplifted, entertained and instructed” at daily church services at the Christian summer retreats.

Architecture of Pacific Grove – A unique microcosm of architectural traditions has survived in the restoring of homes in Pacific Grove. The most popular is the Victorian architecture which is characterized by asymmetrical form, irregular roof lines, turrets, pinnacles and towers, high chimneys , and surface detailing.Miniature Victorian Mansions emerged from humble tent lot size beginnings, as the pink Victorian on the left side illustrates.

Feast of Lanterns – the founding of Pacific Grove is celebrated during a week long schedule of events culminating in a Saturday community Barbecue at Lover’s Point featuring a nighttime parade of lantern-lit boats and a traditional reenactment of the Feast of Lantern Pageant, ending with a fireworks display.

St. Mary’s by the Sea – was the first structure of church type architecture erected. In 1887 the Episcopalians, who previously shared the Chautauqua Hall, were donated land by the Pacific Improvement Company. Later came many beautiful churches such as the Assembly Hall of the Methodists and the Mayflower Congregational Church.

Lover’s Point – Old Bathhouse, Japanese Tea House, Feast of Lanterns, Glass Bottom boats. Now a park at the beach with large green lawn area, sand volleyball court, swimming pool and sandy beaches.

Lighthouse Avenue – once a trail cut by the lighthouse keeper through the forest in 1874, grew to become a lovely row of Victorian business which are still preserved today.

Old Chinatown – (wood shack at the beach) started in 1863, destroyed by fire in 1906. Nothing remains today of a thriving fishing village composed of rude shanties and maloriferous smells of drying fish

Asilomar – meaning “refuge by the sea,” Asilomar was founded by the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) in 1913 as a conference and summer camp facility. Noted San Francisco architect Julia Morgan designed the original buildings and structures in the famed Arts and Crafts style. Designated a state part in 1956, the grounds are open to overnight guests and meetings. Asilomar State Beach is a one-mile stretch of sandy beach and rocky shoreline.

Dunes – In 1985, the eroded sand dunes of Asilomar were restored to its ‘pre-European influence” condition by creating a self-sustaining native landscape. Today this living museum thrives with 35 species of California’s native dune plants. Menzies’ wallflower, Tidestrom’s lupine and beach gilia are endangered flowers that survive in the protected dunes.

Tidepools – The fragile spender of tidepools among the intertidal ecosystems along the Pacific Grove shoreline abounds with creatures. The Pacific Grove Marine Refuge laws protect all plants, animals, rocks and sand from being collected.

Monarch Butterfly – “Winged jewels” as they are often called, migrate by the thousands from Canada to Pacific Grove each fall, clustering in the Monterey pines and eucalyptus trees.

Monterey pines – Thousands of years ago, Monterey pine forests grew along much of California’s coast. Due mainly to climatic change and more recently, to urban agricultural development these majestic pines are now one of the rarest forest ecosystems in the world.

Sea Otter – The playful antics of the otter are a constant attraction to the coastline of Pacific Grove. Once believed to be extinct, a small population survived along the Big Sur coast. Now protected by national laws, the population numbers over 2,000.

Kelp – Also known as seaweed, these marine plants abound in the tidepools and open waters along Pacific Grove’s shoreline. Giant kelp grows several inches a day developing into an underwater forest.


Commentary by Amador Livermore Valley Historical Society

First Presbyterian Church – Pleasanton’s first church was the quaint colonial revival building at the corner of Neal and Second Streets built in 1876 on property purchased from Joshua Neal for $250. The church with a seating capacity of 250 was built for $2500. Rev C. W. Anthony served as the first pastor with 19 charter members. In 1884 new benches and a pulpit were intalled and the aisles carpeted. In 1888 the church was moved back on the lot and set on a brick foundation. A complete remodeling was undertaken in 1923 and in 1929 a combined Social Hall and Sunday School Building was added at a cost of $10,000. This building was sold to Amador Valley Baptist Church when the Presbyterian Church moved to a new larger site in 1979.

Pleasanton Hotel – Built by John Kottinger in 1864, the hotel was originally named The Farmer’s Hotel. A general store was located in the front of the original building. In 1893 Board and Lodging at the hotel was $5 per week, and single meals went for $.25. The hotel has had several owners over the years. In 1898 the original Farmer’s Hotel burned to the ground. Reimers who owned the hotel at the time immediately began the erection of a new building. In 1915 a second fire destroyed the rear area of the hotel which at that time was a dining room. In the late 1920’s the name of the hotel was the Riverside Hotel. The name Pleasanton Hotel was taken sometime in the 1940’s after the original Pleasanton Hotel (at another location on Main Street) burned. For many years the hotel has been a restaurant only with offices upstairs. In 1983 the business portion of the hotel was purchased by Bill Laube.

Hacienda del Pozo de Verona – (now Castlewood Country Club) The fifty room Spanish-Moorish Hacienda del Pozo de Verona designed by Oakland archetect Julia Morgan for Phoebe Apperson Hearst was located on 500 acres outside Pleasanton. It was named for the 15th century wellhead which son William Hearst had shipped from Verona, Italy. The well was used as a fountain in the large courtyard entry. Elaborate metal gates, crafted by Italian artisan Cellini led to the banquet hall overlooking the valley below and Mount Diablo to the north. The approach to the Hacienda was up a long palm lined driveway that curved around a hill beautifully landscaped by Luther Burbank. Phoebe Hearst moved into the Hacienda in 1899 and made it her home til her death in 1919. Fire destroyed it in 1969.

Pleasanton Town Hall – Designed by William Binder, The Old Town Hall was built in 1914 at a cost of $10,000 on land donated to the City of Pleasanton by the Pleasanton Women’s Club who raised money by having socials, music recitals, and suppers. The building originally housed the entire City of Pleasanton staff, City Council Chambers, Women’s Club meeting room, and the Public Library. As the City expanded, the Police Department took over the building. In 1984 the Amador Livermore Valley Historical Society leased the building from the City and spent a year and a half restoring it. In 1985, The Amador Livermore Valley Museum opened at its new location.

Kottinger Adobe Barn – Built by John Kottinger in 1852, Kottinger’s adobe barn is the oldest building in Downtown Pleasanton. While Kottinger served as Justice of the Peace for Murray Township in the mid 1800’s, court was held in his house and prisoners were jailed in the corner of his adobe barn. To handle prisoners, he constructed a tunnel from his home to the jail. When Kottinger retired in 1870, he sold the house and barn which was later rennovated to house the Kottinger Barn Antique shop.

Pleasanton Sign – The Pleasanton Women’s Club held fundraising events – card parties, raffles, box socials – to raise $532 to purchase the Pleasanton neon sign which originally had a blue background. The City of Pleasanton purchased the iron support poles for a cost to taxpayers of $91. The “electrified sign” as many referred to it was wired by Samual Elliott. A double set of horns and lights perched atop the sign were added later and were used when there was only one policeman on the beat. When he was out of the station and there was a telephone call, the horn would blow until he got back to the station and answered the call. At night the lights flashed to avoid waking sleeping townspeople. During World War II, the horns were used to signal an air raid, and in the 1950’s they called volunteer firemen to duty. The Pleasanton sign is an important community symbol with the long standing tradition of hanging banners from the steel framework to advertise local events and bring local residents together to enjoy community acivities and events.

Hansen-Orloff Dairy – As hop growing declined in the early 1900’s, the hop fields were replaced by large dairies. The Hansen-Orloff Dairy operated two dairies from 1919, one at the corner of Black and Santa Rita and one on Hopyard Road, providing milk for Bay Area residents. In 1947 the dairies were divided into two separate operations by the partners. Both dairies eventually ceased operation and were sold for development.

Railroad – The arrival of the first train in Pleasanton in 1869 guaranteed that this tiny village would become a principal center of commerce and culture like many other towns serviced by the railroad. In the early days some people commuted to work or school in Oakland or San Francisco by train. The “paper train” arrived at 1:00 a.m. delivering the daily newspaper. The coming of the railroad was a boon to agricultural enterprises who shipped their products by rail and resulted in new growth in the community.

Roses – From 1946 to 1964 Pleasanton was home to Jackson Perkins who claimed to be “The World’s Largest Rose Growers.” Their headquarters was located on Main Street, and a rainbow of fragrant blooms graced the fields outside of town where the company raised rose bushes. Pleasanton’s City Flower is the red Don Juan Rose developed by Jackson Perkins.

Grapevines – The first commercial vineyards and winery in Alameda County were established in the 1850’s by J. W. Kottinger at Pleasanton. On part of his land, which is today the Vintage Hills housing subdivision, he planted grapevine cuttings from his native Austria. The planting was very successful and in a few years, wine was being sold at his winery. When Joseph Black purchased the last portion of El Rancho del Valle de San Jose from Bernal, there was a vineyard on the property. Black, wishing to subdivide and sell the 7000 acres he had bought, planted vineyards, and in a short time he sold large tracts to vintners.

Hops – At one time Pleasanton was one of the world’s largest hop producers. In 1893 the Pleasanton Hop Company (located at the corner of Black Avenue and Santa Rita Road) purchased 300 acres for hop culture and built the most modern processing facility of the time. Hop fields lined what is now Hopyard Road until World War I when the European import market declined.

Quail – An abundance of wildlife including the California Quail make their home in the foothills around Pleasanton. A covy of quail can often be spotted parading from under the brush of the oak studded hills; some have even taken up residence in residential areas.

The Pleasanton Race Track, one of the oldest in the state, was laid out by the Bernals in the 1860’s as a training oval and a recreation area for local Spaniards. The track soon became recognized as “the place to race”horses. In 1876 Joseph Nevis took over the racetrack and built the first grandstand. In the early 1900’s George Hearst was an active breeder and racer of trotting horses and often raced at the Pleasanton Trotting Park as it was known then. In 1940 the track was sold to Alameda County and became part of the Alameda County Fairgrounds with racing held annually each summer.

Kolln Hardware – The “White Corner” as it was known in the 1890’s, has been a Main Street landmark since the late 1800’s when it was built by Charles Bruce for Charles Wise who had started a tinsmith shop on the site in 1869. The original tinsmith building was moved around the corner to Division Street and still stands adjacent to the back of Kolln Hardware. The Lewis brothers bought the hardware store in 1891 and operated it until 1905 when it was purchased by Cruikshank and Kolln. In 1933 Herman Kolln became the sole owner and later his son John C. (Jack) took over. The business was sold in 1983 when Jack retired.

Mission San Jose Chapel

History to come soon!

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