Russell City, blues and foam lightning-bolt headwear

In case you missed this year’s Russell City Blues Festival, here’s our story. The online version has photos that didn’t make it into print, and it’s worth a look-see.

One interesting thing that didn’t get mentioned in the print version was the fact that not only was Calpine the major sponsor of the event, but they set up a booth to pass out information about the company, as well as crazy lightning-bolt-through-the-ears headpieces.

They looked like those old gag items with the arrow through the ears, but it was a yellow foam lightning bolt instead. I guess it’s better than the finger…

Eric Kurhi

  • Are those the same ones that there were given at the June Street Party?

    I like how they moved the Farmer’s Market that day. I didn’t go the Blues Festival this year but I took some pics through the fence.

  • J. W. Kyle

    Russel City, oh what a town! Never Incorporated !

    Created in early 1900’s when California Real Estate law permitted filing maps as well as sales of the ‘paper’ lots shown on the Maps. Trouble was that no paving, sidewalks or utilities were included in the sale.

    There were three such ‘sub-divisions in the Easr Bay.

    The one in Richmond was notorious for the fact that it flooded out due to lack of adequate drainage. Some say the floding was caused by high tides during rainy season to compound the problem.

    The one in Newark was the last to be removed from the records even though the Thomas Bros Maps showed the Street names where no ghousing was ewver built except the chicken hutches and horse stalls which were few in number and widely scattered.

    In Russle City the county built a school and the Catholic Church had a small ‘Chapel’which became a utility buildiing after being moved to St. Joachijm’s Church. HARDLY RECOGNIZABLE DUE TO A SERIES OF REMODELINGS AND ‘ADD-ONS’. There was some housing IN RUSSEKL CITY, built TO LOW QUALITY STANDARDS but water apparently came from wells and there were a few with power and telephone lines. When I moved here in early 1961 I was amused by the fact that the houses started burning doen and/or the poles were burning. The County fire engine came from the east side of Hayward and you could hear the engines coming down Kelley to reach ‘B’ Street on it’s way to Russell City.

    T recall the ‘Russell City Country Club’, a low quality marketb selling liquor but the amusing part was the blanket spread upon the dirt ‘apron'[ and the regular dice games observable on my way to the refuse dump now closed.

    I was amused by the fire engine which apparently was a device used by someone who wanted ‘redevelopment’ to occur.

    There is a photograph which apparently will be seen in a book being put together by Maria Ochoa reciting the history of Russell City.

    The interesting part is the scene in the photo, taken from the Ferry building tower which depicted a ‘sales’ office with signage adverising “Russell City” lots for sale. The promoters were giving away,with each sale, ‘pots and pans’ for use in the kitchen if ever built. Actually they were useful for tent camping in the era when famiilies spent time in orchards during summer vacatio\, earning and extra $0. $0.50 perday for each man woman and child. Porelainized tin Materials)

    Pots and Pan lots described Russell City….. when did the blues arrive? Must of been when they shut down the crap game?

    The Richmond ship yards were built over the ‘pots and pan’ lots…. caused a problem for Henry Kaiser who just took possession if unable to buy from an identifed owner. Very few folks paid the real estate tax on those undeveloped lots during the depression…. hell they were all 25 feet wide and 100 feet deep…… pretty narrow houses if develop4ed…? Never thje less some he3irs filesd suit and Henry ‘paid off’, probably charging this sma;ll expense to the Gov’t under the cost ‘plus’ concept then in vogue.

    So, how did the blues slip into the description of Russel City, considering the late arriving of ‘Blues’ music ers? Beats me! I would have thought that a few Alleluias would have been more appropriate. Or peryhaps music from the ‘tin pan alley’ era?

  • I saw a guy in a chicken suit and protesters against the plant at todays street party. I took some photos. I’ll post them on my flickr page soon.

  • Eric Kurhi

    I saw them too, Alex. I’m hoping to have some pics posted on the blog by day’s end.