Congratulations to Berkeley High School Jazz “Combo C,” which has been named the top small high school combo in the country by DownBeat magazine in its June issue.
There was no ribbon-cutting when the enterprise that grew to become Adachi Florist and Nursery, straddling the border of a new city called Richmond and an unincorporated portion of West Contra Costa that would become El Cerrito, was established in 1905. But by the time it closed and was torn down to build The Home Depot in 1992, the venture was among the oldest businesses in the West County region, dating to just three years after the opening of the Standard Oil refinery in Richmond in 1902.
The business was founded by brothers Isaburo and Sadajiro Adachi with a single greenhouse a year before the great San Francisco earthquake. It grew to 12 greenhouses and survived challenges such as state exclusion laws directed at Asians and the Japanese internment during World War II. Extension of the Eastshore Freeway and construction of the new BART line claimed portions of the Adachi property.
Some of the family greenhouses were razed during a mid-1960s remodeling that modernized the business as it is now remembered by most who saw it in its commercial heyday.
The remainder was finally torn down in 1992 for a joint retail project by El Cerrito and Richmond.
A suspect pursuit through Richmond and El Cerrito on Saturday concluded in Albany when the subject vehicle became disabled on San Pablo Avenue. El Cerrito police issued the following statement regarding the pursuit, attempted carjackings and hit-and-run collisions they say took place:
The El Cerrito Police Department assisted the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office after a traffic pursuit of a subject wanted for a dangerous felony. Sheriff’s deputies trailed the suspect using a helicopter. The pursuit ended on San Pablo Avenue near Brighton Avenue in Albany. During the pursuit, the subject attempted to carjack two victims in El Cerrito, but was unsuccessful in both attempts. The subject also was involved in several hit and run collisions. The El Cerrito Police Department is grateful that no citizens were injured during this incident. The suspect was taken into custody and is no longer a threat to public safety. If you were the victim of a hit and run collision and have not yet reported the collision, please contact the El Cerrito Police Department at (510) 237-3233.<a
Check back at http://www.eastbaytimes.com/ for updates.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner —
Here is the ID of the once-familiar building in El Cerrito and its background, which we asked about last week. The building is best known (see photo above) from its decades attached to El Cerrito Mill & Lumber, with the lettering growing more faded as the years passed.
The building originated around 1929-30 as Mammy’s Place, a plantation-themed attraction for travelers on the newly rerouted Lincoln Highway (San Pablo Avenue), just south of Cutting Boulevard, “near the large Carquinez Bridge sign,” according to the menus given out to customers as a souvenir. The proprietor was Harry Bottger, who may have also operated the food concession on the Richmond-San Rafael ferry.
Mammy’s Place boasted a “fine hardwood dance floor and music,” though the establishment once ran afoul of the authorities over the use of its jukebox, according to news accounts of the day.
Bottger later opened another restaurant on the southern end of San Pablo in El Cerrito and Mammy’s closed.
With demand for housing at a peak during World War II, contractor Elmer Freethy purchased what was then El Cerrito Lumber at 1206 San Pablo Ave. (now 10812 San Pablo Ave.) from John Carrick to secure a supply of building materials. At some undetermined point, he also purchased the abandoned Mammy’s Place building and had it moved and attached to El Cerrito Lumber. There was a sentimental attachment. Freethy, in a 1990 interview about the “chicken dinner” building, referred to it as “the chicken shack,” and said he had purchased and moved the building because he used to take his future wife dancing there.
Elmer and Marjorie Freethy were married in 1930 and he started his contracting business the next year, according to an El Cerrito Wall of Fame profile in the city newsletter. One of his early big contracts was construction of El Cerrito High School from 1939-41.
The old chicken dinner building was torn down when El Cerrito Mill & Lumber underwent a major remodel by Elmer’s son, Jack Freethy, in 1996 as noted in this earlier post. The business, which had grown over time to include major portions of several blocks, closed in 2000 and the remodeled original El Cerrito Lumber building, redesigned in Victorian style, was moved across San Pablo and is now the Vitale Building.
Mammy’s Place is long gone and even though original owner Bottger was of European extraction, those free menus once given out to travelers are now rare and prized pieces of black Americana. A menu listed on eBay about in 2011 sold for more than $120.
Elmer Freethy died in 1998. Marjorie Freethy, a native of Point Richmond, died in 2013 at age 105.
The long-awaited work on the interchange at Interstate 80 and San Pablo Dam Road is described in a video from the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, which says:
The Interstate 80/San Pablo Dam Road interchange will offer improved access between residential areas north and east of the interchange and Bay Area employment centers. Improvements will address current major delays and limited room for pedestrians and bicyclists, and the project will improve access for everyone. Phase 1 will be completed by in Spring 2017.
Learn more: http://www.ccta.net/sanpablodamroad
The first phase of work is expected to be completed by spring 2017, according to CCTA.
Something to keep in mind if you’re out on a morning walk or jog, or even just rolling you collection bin down to the curb. An El Cerrito resident reported in an online neighborhood group that she saw a mountain lion while walking her dog a little after 6 a.m. on March 15 at Stockton Avenue and Balra Drive. The location is in the hills, but only a block (as the crow flies or the lion prowls) from Cerrito Vista Park and Korematsu Middle School, and about four blocks from El Cerrito High School.
Deer and turkeys are common in the area and could be attractive game.
The spring bands concert at El Cerrito High School, 540 Ashbury Ave., is set for 7:30 p.m. March 25.
The evening will include performances by the ECHS Concert and Symphonic bands, and Wind Ensemble, and will feature special guest guest conductor Jesse Leyva, director of bands at Kent State University.
Admission is $6.
Doors open at 7:15 p.m.
Via Bay City News Service:<img src="http://www.ibabuzz.com/westcounty/files/2016/03/interstate-80-300×197.jpg" alt="Traffic moves along Interstate 80 in Richmond. Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group)
There will be rolling lane closures today on Interstate Highway 80 in Contra Costa County due to repair work, according to the California Department of Transportation.
The rolling lane closures will occur from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. between El Cerrito and Crockett.
The work is to repair potholes on the highway in both the eastbound and westbound lanes.
Crews anticipate working on the highway between the Carquinez Bridge and the Alameda and Contra Costa county line near Central Avenue in El Cerrito, according to Caltrans.
Multiple lanes of traffic may be closed at a time, and Caltrans plans closures to be in the non-commute direction outside of commuting hours.
This building was once a familiar sight for a long time in El Cerrito, first at its original location and even longer at the property where it was moved and attached to an existing building and given a new use. By then in rundown condition, it was ultimately torn down during a major remodeling of buildings on the property that became its second home.
Can you identify its original and/or later locations, as well as its original name and use from this photo detail?
Feel free to click the comments button above and post guesses or memories of the building.
Our thanks to the El Cerrito Chamber of Commerce for sharing this photo from its archive.
Priscilla Elder, a Pinole resident and one of the group of original women war workers who relate their experiences each Friday at the Rosie the Riveter WWII/Home Front National Historical Park visitors center in Richmond, turned 96 today and was acknowledged by Richmond Mayor Tom Butt and other dignitaries at an event with National Park Service officials today at the Craneway Pavilion.
“I had a very busy morning” at an event that brought fourth grade children to the park for a presentation of National Park family passes as part of the national “Every Kid in a Park Initiative” being coordinated with the White House.
“It turned out very nice. They let everybody know I was 96,” Elder said. Mayor Butt, who shares the same birthday, presented her with a rose, and she was also given a bouquet of roses.
“I had all kinds of congratulations and kisses. I have people say ‘You don’t look 96,’ and I say ‘But I feel like it,'” she said.
Elder and the other Rosies who volunteer at the center keep busy.
They will be at a naturalization ceremony on Thursday at the Craneway and back at the visitors center for their regular time on Friday.
Earlier this month they went to Sacramento to meet Gov. Jerry Brown, the Women’s Legislative Caucus and other elected officials. There they had brunch with the governor and were honored by both houses of the Legislature.
Rosies at the State Capitol in Sacramento in early March: (Standing) Marian Sousa, Marian Wynn, Kay Morrison, Agnes Moore, Mary Torres, Phyllis Gould. (Seated) Margaret Archie, Priscilla Elder. Photo courtesy Rosie the Riveter Trust.