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Barry Schrader


I currently have columns running in 3 newspapers;

  • Tri-Valley Herald : Looking Back
  • Valley Times : Do You Remember?
  • The Independent : Do You Remember?

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

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

Livermore loses its historic entry signs

By Barry Schrader..................................February 10, 2005

After the Lions Club column, I received an interesting anecdote from historian Gary Drummond that is worth sharing. It seems that Livermore used to have distinctive entrance signs at the north end of L Street at Portola and at First and Portola-large lighted signboards that said "Livermore" strung between two brick pillars, not unlike the sign that still hangs over Main Street in P-town today. This was made possible by the Livermore Women's Improvement Club in 1916.
Then in 1931 the county wanted to widen the roadways into town and sought to remove the city entrance signs. The mayor at the time, Bill Rees, went along with the county, and this cost him him plenty. The Livermore Lions took umbrage at the mayor's condescension to the county and took "vigilante" action. They borrowed a coffin and hearse from the local undertaker, put the mayor, who was very much alive, in the hearse, then drove slowly to the west end of First Street where they had prepared a partially dug grave. People along the route solemnly removed their hats and paid their respects to the passing procession. The mayor survived the ordeal, but for some reason chose not to run for re-election.
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Once again the Museum of San Ramon Valley has a commendable display worth visiting, whether you live in Sunol, Livermore, or even Tracy.
They just opened an exhibit on the living history of the fire service in the San Ramon Valley. This SRV District covers some 155 square miles from Livorna Road on the north to Alcosta Boulevard on the south. Dublin is in Alameda County so separated from the district in 1997 and went with the Alameda County Fire Department. Roxanne Lindsay, an eight year member of the fire district board, shared some of the highlights of the latest attraction, which will be there through April. They have fire department patches, uniforms, badges, helmets, and a wall dedicated to the 9-11 catastrophe in New York City. Entitled "Ablaze" some highlights include the Oakland firestorm of 1991 and the Mt Diablo fire of 1977, which will long be remembered by many in the fire service as well as East Bay residents who witnessed those conflagrations.
They had a special day last weekend when fire trucks ranging from a modern 2003 combination pumper to a 1939 Van Pelt firetruck owned by Ed Rominger of Livermore were displayed. Each Saturday firefighters will be on hand to talk about their experiences and give kids some souvenirs, including Smoky the Bear coloring books. Another special day will be April 24 from 1 to 4 p.m. when more antique fire apparatus will be on hand.

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The 25-year-old earthquake remembrances are still coming in, and they are now loaded on the website. Most interesting so far are recollections about the January 24, 1980 shaker from Al Rothberg, Lester Knott, Marlene Dowd, Carol Vercellino, Kent Blair, Jim Adams (of Las Positas College), Jeannine Happ, Wendy Ellison Rosenkilde, Mike Feit and Diane M. All their experiences that day were more memorable than mine!
And I got word of another famous political personality who visited the valley. Linda Milanese reminded me that Senator Bill Bradley came to Las Positas College during the Presidential primaries in the late 1990s and spoke to a class there.

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Question for next week: How did Murray Township get its name and how large an area does it encompass?

The columnist can be reached via email at :


or by snailmail at:

Barry Schrader
PO Box 446
Livermore, CA. 94551

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