I wrote these columns for the following 3 newspapers;
- Tri-Valley Herald : Looking Back
- Valley Times : Do You Remember?
- The Independent : Do You Remember?
The Articles appeared between November 2004 and May 2006.
If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates
to catch up.
Columnist bids farewell
By Barry Schrader.................................May
All good things must come to an end, they say. My love affair
with the Livermore-Amador Valley and its history has lasted over
35 yearsculminating with the writing of this weekly column
since November 2004. I must commend The Independent for signing
up Anne Homan, an excellent writer and historian, to take over
My wife Kay and I have decided to move back to our roots
in Illinois this summer, once I have retired from my other
job at Lawrence Livermore Lab. Health issues and a desire to
be near Kays family drove the decision. It is a transition
from Earthquake Country to Corn Country-- DeKalb,
Illinois being in the Midwestern Farm Belt and also the home
of my alma mater Northern Illinois University.
But Livermore and the Tri-Valley have been our home most
of the time since 1967, so it is not easy to pull up stakes
and go back to where it actually thunders, snows and has something
called a Wind Chill Index.
Over the past three decades I have been involved in some
exciting projects and organizations formed to preserve
our past for the future. They include saving the Southern
Pacific Railroad depot in Livermore which was the inspiration
for the formation of the Livermore Heritage Guild. Then there
was the threat of extinction of viticulture in the valley about
1980 so we formed Save the Vineyards, later renamed Friends of
the Vineyards, and fortunately visionary vintners dug in their
heels and stopped the takeover of more land by housing subdivisions
and industrial parks in the South Livermore area, as well as
in scattered other agricultural parcels around the Tri-Valley.
During these preservation battles I had the privilege of
getting to know some of the unwavering advocates in historical
and viticultural preservationpeople like Dagmar Fulton,
Janet Newton, Marie Cronin, Jim Concannon, Ed Campbell, Barbara
Bunshah, Ed Kinney, and Barbara Stear. These people and others
devoted years of their lives to fighting for what they believed
inand I salute them.
Not all of our efforts have been successfulthe shocking
destruction of the Livermore boyhood home of Jack London on Alden
Lane by a developers bulldozer, the accidental burning
of the Jeremiah Fallon house in a fire department drill, and
the senseless arson that consumed the one-room May School.
A long-running effort to build a wine education center and
museum was abandoned in recent years when the funds for its start
were given away by the Vineyards group to the Livermore Area
Recreation & Park District. Now the best we can hope for
are two private museums on the grounds of Wente and Concannon
While the cities of Pleasanton, Dublin and Danville have
provided the desired quarters and staffing and/or funding for
their historical societies, Livermores Heritage Guild has
to operate out of a tiny history center in the Carnegie
Building, but the city may be on the verge of helping them find
Three significant preservation efforts need to be nurtured
at this timethe restoration of the Alviso Adobe by Pleasanton,
the salvaging of the 1836 Hagemann house and barn on Olivina,
and the preservation and eventual moving of the only one-room
country school left in the eastern end of the valleyMidway
School. There is also the threat of loss of the Southern Pacific
depot if the new owner of that commercial parcel isnt required
to move it to an appropriate park.
But I have faith that people will come forwardjoin
with their local historical societies and see that these valuable
reminders of our past are preserved for the generations to come.
Our heritage and history isnt just about saving old
buildingsthere is a people side as well. I
still look forward to helping out with the Heritage Guilds
traditional Memorial Day weekend auction, announcing one more
Livermore Rodeo Parade plus attending the Worlds
Fastest Rodeo this June, working the antique printing press
at the fairgrounds during the annual Alameda Country Fair, and
attending the resurrected Summerfest June 24th at The Barn. These
are some of the fondest memories that Kay and I will take with
us from this lovely valley.
But as the poet Robert Frost once wrote: I have promises
to keep, and miles to go before I sleep
The columnist can be reached by snailmail at:
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115