Happy birthday to El Cerrito, which officially incorporated 100 years ago last Wednesday, and was formally acknowledged by the state on Aug. 23, 1917. The city’s incorporation was approved at an election on Aug. 16, 1917 by a vote of 158 to 131, as residents of the sparsely populated area resisted efforts to be annexed into Richmond. The name of city, which brought together the settlements of Rust, Schmidtville and part of Stege, had already been chosen.
Visitors can see the capsule, which will be dedicated at 6 p.m., enjoy light refreshments, and take a tour of City Hall! The time capsule will be stored upstairs near the History Room and will include newsletters, photos and memorabilia from the city and over 25 community groups.
The city’s incorporation was not without opposition, particularly from large real estate interests, as the Oakland Tribune reported in June of 1917.
Critics of incorporation claimed resistance to annexation to Richmond — which had already taken in the settlements of Pullman and much of Stege and the Richmond Annex — was led by saloon interests that wanted to remain outside of that city’s more stringent regulations.
But incorporation was approved by a 27-vote margin (women did not yet have the vote) and the new city at the county line, formerly known as Rust, became official.
The new City Council sided with frugality in its meeting three weeks after the incorporation vote.
Below is a link to the El Cerrito incorporation order filed with the state on Aug. 23, 1917, a date the city is celebrating with the time capsule dedication. The filing, indicates it was a city of the Sixth Class, rather than the Fourth Class as reported in news accounts at the time.
A float in the Golden Jubilee parade celebrating El Cerrito’s 50th year in 1967. (Courtesy El Cerrito Chamber of Commerce)