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.
Getting National Historic Register recognition
By Barry Schrader.................................February
Dublin recently joined the other cities in the Tri-Valley plus Tracy
in getting two of its most significant historic sites added to the National
Register of Historic Places. The side-by-side landmarks are the Old St.
Raymonds Church and Pioneer Cemetery on Donlon Way.
Dublin Mayor Janet Lockhart explained to me that it is not only an honor
but may have some financial benefits as well. She said it will make it easier
to apply for federal grants for restoration and maintenance. The 150-year-old
Murray School, now the citys museum, falls into a different category
since it has been moved from its original site, but she thinks that is worth
pursuing as well.
Looking at the National Park Services National Register of Historic
Places website it is curious that a smaller community like Tracy has six
registered sites, while Livermore has three and Pleasanton only two. Sunol
ranks right up there with the bigger towns with two of its own. In Contra
Costa County, San Ramon claims one and Danville two.
It should be pointed out though that some historical locations are already
designated State Historic Landmarks, like three winery sites outside Livermore
and the long-neglected Alviso Adobe outside P-town. It was exciting to hear
that the Pleasanton city council put the adobe on their priority funding
list at their Tuesday night meeting.
Lets take a closer look at the National Register listings. Tracy
takes the prize by having sixthe old Bank of Italy at 628 Central
Avenue, the Bank of Tracy at 801 Central Avenue, the John Ohm house at 31524
Kasson Road, the Tracy City Hall and Jail at 25 W. Seventh Street, the Tracy
Inn at 24 W. Eleventh, and the West Side Bank at 47 W. Sixth Street.
Then lets credit Sunol next for having two in their tiny hamlet,
up Kilkare Road outside of town. The estate of the old riverboat captain
Henry Ellis, now known as Elliston Winery, was built between 1885 and 1890.
I have fond memories of that stone mansion in the 1980s, a hundred years
later, when Ray and Amy Awtrey turned it into a beautiful antique-filled
home and hosted many a fine dinner party there for wine lovers and even
the Alameda County board. Sunol also has the Thomas Foxwell Bachelder barn
at 1011 Kilkare Road, a stone building constructed in 1888 by a Maine lawyer
who bought 2,100 acres of land in the area. Unfortunately his home is gone,
but the historic barn survives, now used as a residence.
Livermore has the highly visible former Bank of Italy at First and South
Livermore, now home to the Livermore Independent, the Ravenswood Estate
out Arroyo Road which is open to the public weekends with docent tours and
one building available for private parties and public events. The third
one is the rather obscure D.J. Murphy house at 291 McLeod Street.
Pleasanton has the Kottinger Barn at 200 Ray Street, an adobe structure
built in the 1850s just before John Kottinger became the valleys first
Justice of the Peace. He used a corner of his barn as the jail and conducted
court in his house, now gone. But the barn survives as a gift shop. I first
remember it as a tasting room for the Stony Ridge Winery back in the mid-1980s.
Also on the historic register is the Heathcote-MacKenzie House on the county
fairgrounds. This early ranch house was the focus of a major battle to save
it from destruction 20 years ago and has survived to become the office for
our First District County Supervisor as well as work space for the fair
Danville has the most significant National Historic Site in the East
Bay, the picturesque Eugene ONeill house and grounds. It can be toured
through an arrangement with the Park Service. The town also has the Southern
Pacific Railroad Depot at 355 Railroad Avenue now used as the San Ramon
Valley Historical Societys museum.
San Ramon has its Forest Home Farms at 19953 San Ramon Valley Boulevard
where you can see some antique farm equipment and learn how farming was
done in your grandparents day.
Now that the almond trees and daffodils have blossomed, you should be
ready for a Spring outing, so make it an historic trek and select a few
of the public sites for a visit and study their origin. The local historical
societies in each area can help you learn more about these treasures that
have been preserved.
Now for the latest in the geodetic benchmarks saga. Sandians Joanne
Lombardi and Steve Bunn did not give up hunting those little brass disks
after finding the initial one at the LLNL South Café lot, but by
the end of last week had crawled atop the ridge south of the Sandia firearms
training range to uncover another lost disk, the important Tesla Station
marker that has two disks directly north and then south of it so surveyors
could use it for siting. All three benchmarks were placed there in 1947
when it was still Livermore Naval Air Station property. Now others have
told me about disks at the northwest corner of Greenville and East Avenue
and even outside the (northwest corner) rollup door of Building 511 inside
Lawrence Labs secure area. This may never end, so get your own GPS
unit, log on to www.geocaching.com and begin a new adventure in your life
The columnist can be reached via email at :
or by snailmail at:
PO Box 446
Livermore, CA. 94551