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Barry Schrader
Columnist

 

I currently have columns running in 3 newspapers;

  • Tri-Valley Herald : Do You Remember?
  • Valley Times : Looking Back
  • the Independant : Do You Remember?

The Articles appear in the Herald and Independant on Thursdays,
and Sundays in the Times.

They will also be found on this page each week as well.

 

If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.

Archive Page

Touring State Historic Landmarks

By Barry Schrader..................................November 18, 2004

How many state historic landmarks do you think exist in the Tri-Valley? This does not include Bicentennial markers, local monuments or even National Historic Sites or Landmarks (like Tao House in Danville).
This valley has enough to make a nice Saturday afternoon drive for those interested in local history.
Dublin-San Ramon area is still void of any, so lets start with the solitary one in Pleasanton. Sadly, the adobe on Old Foothill Road is in disrepair, is missing the State Historic Landmark Plaque #510, and is fenced off so you can’t get close to it. The original plaque inscription stated: “Francisco Solano Alviso Adobe. This building, erected in 1844-46 by Francisco Solano Alviso, was the first adobe house to be built in the Pleasanton Valley. It was originally called Alisal—The Sycamores. Following the Battle of Sunol Canyon, General John C. Fremont withdrew to this building, which became his headquarters for several days.” When the plaque was erected the building was part of the Meadowlark Dairy Farm. As you drive south on Foothill, watch for a turn to the right, then an immediate left onto Old Foothill Road to 3465 on the fence on your left. The adobe stands forlorn and neglected in the field there.
After that you can head over to Livermore where you will find a block-like cement monument on Portola Avenue in the park near North Livermore Avenue. Just beyond it is the historical Duarte Garage and Lincoln Highway Museum. You are now on the original cross-country route known as Lincoln Highway. The monument pays tribute to Robert Livermore, the city’s namesake. Plaque #241 says in part: Livermore was born in England in 1799… He settled on this rancho in 1835. Next to the Mission fathers he was the first (white) man to engage in the culture of grapes, fruit and grain. He died in 1858….” The monument is a far cry from the original stately stone bench with high back constructed by the Native Sons of the Golden West, down the road a quarter mile on Chester Anderson’s property. Back in the early 1970s the city, at Anderson’s request, demolished the monument, which had been made from native stone and rock collected from all counties in California. The plaque was removed, along with the small time capsule, and relocated in an unsightly cement slab in Portola Park.
Next you can drive south on Livermore Avenue out of town where it becomes Tesla Road. On the left you turn into Concannon Vineyards and find the beautiful plaque (#641) embedded in the wall of the winery, complete with mission bell. It states that in 1883 James Concannon, the first, founded the vineyard. Of course you won’t want to pass up the opportunity to taste a little….
Then continue down that road another mile to Wente Estate Winery on the right. Just outside their modern tasting room you will find the plaque by the flagpole. The inscription, written by historian Gary Drummond, tells you that this is the “oldest, continuously operated family winery in the state” started in 1883. The Wente family is now in its fifth generation as winemakers there. Be sure to stop in their tasting room or ask for a tour.
To find the third winery marker, backtrack north on Tesla Road to Wente Street, turn left and it becomes Marina Avenue, then runs into Arroyo Road, where you will turn left again. Heading south out of town you will find the luscious green Wente Golf Course on the left. Then turn into the gate to the winery restaurant and visitor’s center. Just outside the visitor’s center on the right is the plaque (#586) for the old Cresta Blanca Winery that used to occupy that site as early as 1882. Founded by Charles Wetmore, Cresta Blanca became the first California Winery to win the highest honors in the Paris Wine Exposition of 1889, putting the state on the map as a major wine region in the world. Of course you will want to visit the tasting center while there. And if you are hungry, they can provide sustenance as well.
Now if you have daylight left, go back to Tesla Road and about 15 miles out in the country is the site of another state landmark (#740), Carnegie, a town of 3,500 people from 1895 to 1912. Sadly, there is nothing left of it, not even a ghost town. Unfortunately the plaque was stolen in the 1960s and never replaced. But it is a nice (winding, hilly) scenic drive anyway. Further on is Corral Hollow (State Landmark #755), but that will be the topic of a future column. (You can learn more about these sites at your local history center and museums.)

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Now for the “history mystery” question for next week: How many public time capsules are buried in the Tri-Valley (excluding churches and schools) and where are they? The first correct answers by email and snail mail will win golden time capsule bolts with certificates of authenticity signed by a mayor no less.
If you remember, Cathie Brown, then you’re much older than I….

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The columnist can be reached via email at :

Historian2sbcglobal.net

or by snailmail at:

Barry Schrader
PO Box 446
Livermore, CA. 94551

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