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.
Touring State Historic Landmarks
By Barry Schrader..................................November
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 cant 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 AlisalThe 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 citys namesake.
Plaque #241 says in part: Livermore was born in England in 1799
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
. 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 Andersons property.
Back in the early 1970s the city, at Andersons 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 wont 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
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 visitors center. Just outside the visitors
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
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 youre much older than I
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The columnist can be reached via email at :
or by snailmail at:
PO Box 446
Livermore, CA. 94551