Above, is an early 1939 promotional aerial view/map of Richmond and its surrounding area. Much of the Richmond shoreline in the foreground has yet to be reshaped for the Kaiser shipyards, including leveling a large hill.
In the background (below) are the West County towns past Richmond on two-lane Highway 40 and San Pablo Avenue, including the forgotten heavy industry company settlements, such as Giant (dynamite manufacturing), Oleum (oil refinery) and Selby (metal smelting).
Click on each photo for a larger view.
Police are circulating this flier explaining “skimming” and how to avoid falling victim to a thief when using a debit card at an ATM or a store checkout counter.
An incident involving a “shoulder surfer” was reported in Hercules last week.
Fairmount School crossing guard in front of Amerio Drugs on San Pablo Avenue.
Posted here are excerpts of home movies of El Cerrito in the 1940s and 1950s that the family of Arthur Lorenzo Hopkins shared with the El Cerrito Historical Society that show slices of life in a city was still early in its development and in many ways still rural. Living just a few doors north of El Cerrito High School, the Hopkins family raised crops and livestock in the double-deep back yard of their home on Pomona Avenue, including cows, chickens and turkeys.
A team of horses is seen plowing a vacant lot across the street (still there) to plant a World War II victory garden and student crossing guards from Fairmount Elementary School stop traffic on San Pablo Avenue (look for Amerio Drug Store and the old Bank of America location).
Home movies that seem to be of little interest to anyone outside the family that took them can be an invaluable to historical societies trying to record what life was like in different eras. They add a dimension different that complements still photographs and written records.
Maybe you have a reel of film or an old VHS or Beta tape tucked away somewhere that could be digitized and shared with future generations (the original returned, of course). Historical societies would love to find out.
Contact the El Cerrito Historical Society at email@example.com, the El Sobrante Historical Society at firstname.lastname@example.org, the Pinole Historical Society at email@example.com, or the Richmond Museum of History at 510-235-7387 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WriterCoach Connection is seeking volunteers for its upcoming training:
Volunteer Writing Coaches Needed for Teens: Free Trainings Start January 14
WriterCoach Connection volunteers help teens develop confidence and gain
competence in their thinking and writing skills. Our volunteers work with students
on their classroom writing assignments providing one-on-one support for every
student in a participating class.
No prior experience is necessary; you bring the commitment and we’ll provide the
training and ongoing support that you need to work effectively with students,
including your own.
If you can commit to a regular 1-2 hour time slot, 2-4 times per month during the
school day–we especially need coaches for 8:00 and 9:00 am class periods in some
locations– we invite you to join over 600 volunteers, many of whom feel this is
”the highlight of my week!”
We currently need coaches at: Albany Middle School; Life Academy and Fremont High
in Oakland; El Cerrito High and Portola Middle School in El Cerrito; Berkeley High
and King and Longfellow Middle Schools in Berkeley.
New coach trainings begin January 14. Join us now for the best opportunity you’ve
ever had to learn to help teens think critically and find their voice.
For more information about our program, and to register online, please go to
It’s red flag weather and the El Cerrito Fire Department issued the following notice:
The National Weather Service has declared that there will be a Red Flag Warning in place from 1800 hours (6:00 pm) tonight through 0600 hours (6:00 am) Saturday morning. This is the most dangerous point in the fire season when cool temperatures and sparse amount of rain can lead to complacency. A north wind (off shore) event with the predicted wind conditions, critically low humidity and low fuel moisture is a very serious condition.
The Fire Department will be placing signs in the Parks to notify the public against the use of the BBQ’s or any open burning. Please report any signs of smoke and in the event of any type of fire or downed trees, assume a power line is involved until proven otherwise. Insure all your co-workers and personnel maintain their Situational Awareness, keep a lookout in the hills and surrounding areas when outside, call or report any problems and maintain a safe distance from any incident.
The following weather report is from the National Weather Service:
EAST BAY HILLS AND DIABLO RANGE-…RED FLAG WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING (Thursday) TO 6 AM PDT SATURDAY FOR GUSTY WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITY FOR THE EAST BAY HILLS ABOVE 1000 FEET…
* AFFECTED AREA: FIRE ZONE 511 EAST BAY HILLS AND DIABLO RANGE. THE HILLS OF CONTRA COSTA…ALAMEDA AND INTERIOR SANTA CLARA COUNTY ABOVE 1000 FEET INCLUDING MOUNT DIABLO AND HENRY COE STATE PARKS.
* TIMING: THE STRONGEST OFFSHORE WINDS WILL DEVELOP TONIGHT INTO FRIDAY MORNING WITH VERY LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY VALUES FRIDAY AFTERNOON. CONDITIONS WILL ONLY SLOWLY IMPROVE OVER THE WEEKEND.
* WIND: NORTHEAST WINDS 15 TO 25 MPH WITH FREQUENT GUSTS 35 TO 45 MPH AND LOCAL GUSTS IN EXCESS OF 50 MPH ABOVE 2500 FEET.
* HUMIDITY: 20 TO 30 PERCENT TONIGHT…DRYING TO 10 TO 20 PERCENT BY FRIDAY AFTERNOON
* IMPACTS: THE COMBINATION OF DRY FUELS…STRONG WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITY WILL CREATE CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS WHERE ANY NEW IGNITIONS COULD SEE RAPID FIRE GROWTH.
A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EITHER OCCURRING NOW…OR WILL SHORTLY. A COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS…LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY…AND WARM TEMPERATURES CAN CONTRIBUTE TO EXTREME FIRE BEHAVIOR.
The community is invited to attend Music Montage, an evening concert by 14 local musicians performing a mix of styles, at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Hope Lutheran Church, 2830 May Road in El Sobrante.
The concert will feature instrumental and vocal ensembles that will include a flute and cello duet, an organ solo, a vocalist accompanied by piano, a flute sextet, and a trombone quartet.
Admission is free and any donations will go toward the purchase of mosquito nets for families in malaria-prone areas.
The performers will be Antonia David (flute), Ellen DeCarlo (flute), Megan Delvanthal (flute), Lisa Dwiggins (cello), Jean Fisk (organ), Michele Friedman (flute), Debbie Grisso (piano), David Hemphill (trombone), Toni Link (flute), Carolyne Melson (voice), Justin Mar (bass trombone), Curtiss Mays (trombone), Pat Mullan (trombone), and Rosanna Stephens (flute).
The members are also planning a concert in December and welcomes interested musicians to audition. For more detail email Ellen DeCarlo at email@example.com.
It’s nice to have an authentic antique carousel right in our own back yard, available for riding and reminiscing just a short trip away in Tilden Regional Park. The classic 1911 Herschell-Spillman wood carousel at Tilden, in fact, is one of a number of working merry-go-rounds open to the public in the Bay Area and a favorite for family outings both during summer and the Christmas holidays alike.
But we may be more fortunate than we realize, according to this article on smithsonian.com, which states that “the ornate, well-made carousels of the past are in danger. They’re deteriorating and being sold off piecemeal, horse by horse, or sometimes even for parts.”
Carousels were not hard to find from the 1890s to the 1920s, with 3,000 or so in operation in locations around the United States at the height of their popularity.
Today there are about 150 antique carousels left, including the Tilden merry-go-round.
The National Carousel Association has compiled a map showing locations of antique, metal and new carousels that remain in operation across the 50 states and you can see a nice concentration in the Bay Area and Northern California.
“San Pablo Reservoir Behind the Scenes” is a tour offered by the group SPAWNERS and led by former EBMUD Ranger Bob Flasher and author and historian Don Bastin, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Aug. 7. To join the outing RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-665-3538 and then meet at Kennedy Grove, 6531 San Pablo Dam Road in El Sobrante.
Contra Costa County –Caltrans has scheduled ramp closures on eastbound and westbound Interstate 80 for construction activities for the Interstate 80 Integrated Corridor Mobility Project.
· The eastbound I-80 San Pablo Dam Road on-ramp will be closed Monday night, June 10, and Tuesday night, June 11, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Detour: Travel east on San Pablo Dam Road, left on El Portal Drive, and right on eastbound I-80; or travel west on San Pablo Dam road, left on San Pablo Avenue. Follow detour signs. Turn left on Barrett Avenue, right on San Pablo Avenue, and take the eastbound I-80 on-ramp.
· The westbound I-80 San Pablo Dam Road on-ramp will be closed Wednesday night, June 12 through Friday night, June 14, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Detour: Travel west on San Pablo Dam Road, left on San Pablo Avenue, left on Solano Avenue and take the westbound I-80 on-ramp; or, travel south on Amador Street, turn right on Solano Avenue and take the westbound I-80 on-ramp.
This work is weather dependent, and if delayed due to weather conditions will be rescheduled. Please drive cautiously through the construction zone and leave a safe traveling distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you. “Slow for the Cone Zone.”
The I-80 Integrated Corridor Mobility project will provide safety improvements for the traveling public; mobility and efficiency during commute hours; automated, integrated technology to manage traffic efficiently; real-time traffic information for travelers; with tax dollars funding SMART solutions.
Follow us on Twitter @CaltransD4. Follow the project at #80ICM. For more information, please visit the webpage at http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist4/projects/80icm/
A 1938 ad for the Contra Costa County Horse Show and Rodeo, starring famed cowboy and trick roper Montie Montana.
The organizers of the the Contra Costa County Horse Show and Rodeo at Castro Ranch in El Sobrante, a benefit for the county recreational summer camp, pulled out all the stops by featuring star cowboy attraction Montie Montana, the famed rope trick artist who had already started a movie career in Hollywood.
Montana’s acting credits include “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” (1962) and “The Man From Frisco,” a fictionalized story based on Henry J. Kaiser that was shot at the Kaiser Richmond shipyards in 1944.
Montana, who died in 1998, was well known for his rope stunts, with the most infamous coming when he roped Dwight Eisenhower during the 1953 presidential inauguration (below). According to his biography on imdb.com, the Secret Service was not happy about the stunt. At bottom is a video of Montana in the 1953 inaugural parade.