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Barry Schrader

What you will find here are the answers to the past history mysteries, as soon as we find them....

History Mysteries


  Now for the "history mystery" question for next week: How many public time capsules are buried in the Tri-Valley (excluding churches and schools) and where are they? The first correct answers by email and snail mail will win golden time capsule bolts with certificates of authenticity signed by a mayor no less.
Cathie Brown, do you remember? Then you're much older than I….

   The answer to last week’s “history mystery” question is that there are at least nine time capsules buried in public places around the Tri-Valley with a 10th due for sealing in 2005.

  So now the history mystery question for this week: What two things do Sonny Barger, Sandia's Mim John and Blitz Krieger all have in common? Send in your answers to the address below and the winner(s) will receive another one of those golden capsule bolts (I have a box of them left).
Tim Hunt, do you remember the Altamont (he was just an innocent young sports reporter at the time, and did not inhale)? Then you're much older than I….

The answer to last week's "history mystery" question is that Ralph (Sonny) Barger, Miriam (Mim) John, and Harold (Blitz) Krieger all had nicknames as adults, and they all worked at a DOE national laboratory at one time or another. Sonny's work as a subcontractor at LLNL was shortlived, however. Jay Davis won the prize this week for coming up with clever but different answers to the question.

  Now here's the "history mystery" for this week: Hirst revealed that he made an executive decision and vetoed a donated item from Amador-a 1976 Playboy magazine. Now the multiple choice question: Was the magazine (a) sent to the Museum on Main archives along with his other files, (b) returned to the Amador boys, (c) left in the bottom right hand drawer of his desk, or (d) loaned out to Ed Kinney? Send in your answer to the address below and the winner will get a copy of another popular magazine of the day-Mad. For the complete lists of capsules' contents in P-town visit the Museum, or in Dublin see Ms. Isles at the Old Murray School.
Bernie Billen, do you remember? Then you're much older than I…

Speaking of P-town, the man who put the "P" in P-town, (meaning "Pleasant with Personality Plus,") Ed Kinney, is facing an uphill battle back to health after more than a month in intensive care. When I first wrote in this column that he might have borrowed a 1976 Playboy that was yanked from the Century House time capsule, I didn't even know he was hospitalized. But now I understand he is smiling and recognizing people. I wonder if that "famous" grin comes from the fact that there is a certain magazine hidden under his hospital bed mattress that the nurses haven't found yet….Only Ed will have the answer to that question-and I can't wait to hear his wonderful repartee again. Hang in there, Ed, and keep winking at Roberta!

The "history mystery" question for next week is: Who played Santa Claus in the Pleasanton and Livermore Christmas Parades this past Saturday night, and who used to play Father Christmas in Danville?

Last week's history mystery answers are: (1) Frank Brandes represented the jolly old gentleman in Pleasanton's parade, (2) Pete Conley did the same for Livermore, and (3) in Danville, Carmen DeVivi used to fill the role of Father Christmas and loaned his costume to the Museum of the San Ramon Valley where it is displayed today. Leading the guessing so far in that contest is Chris Miller from P-town.

Here's the "history mystery" question for this week: Whose picture appears on every page of the strange new website: www.historydetectives.info and the first person to solve that will get an autographed photo!

 The answer to last week's history mystery was so easy I had to turn off my email for awhile. But Bob Butler from P-town, Janet and John Pearce from Livermore, plus Pei Gu and Joe Bishop from the local Heritage Guild got their answers in first-so they win the time capsule bolts this time. (The answer was B. Schrader.)
History mystery question for next week: Why and when was the Sunol Water Temple built? You may have to read that book I recommended two columns back to find out, unless you recall those features in the newspapers a few years ago when it as renovated and re-opened to the public. Take a drive down there and see it for yourself--one of the Seven Wonders of the Tri-Valley to behold! We'll talk about the other six in a future column. It was first guessed successfully by both Kathy Engel of P-town and Bill Nale of eLivermore.com who responded that the temple was built in1910 by the Spring Valley Water Company, designed by Willis Polk (the inspiration was the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli), and the purpose was to enhance the dignity of the water company as a public utility. About 15 percent of San Francisco's water supply still flows through that tunnel. Bill even offered a photo of its inscription on the web at www.elivermore.com/photos/water_temple.htm if you have a computer (or get your local librarian to show it to you).
This week's question is: Which service club chapter is the oldest in the Tri-Valley and when was it founded? Answers are not accepted from the few remaining souls still paying dues in that club (I have a listing). Hint: If you remember Charlie Fracisco, then you're much older than I. The history mystery question last week may have been a bit misleading because I used the word "service" when asking which club was the oldest still meeting in the valley. Most people overlooked that word and guessed the International Order of Oddfellows chapter in Livermore was by far the longest surviving group, but that is a fraternal organization, not a "service" club. The answer should be the Livermore Lions Club, which celebrated its 80th birthday this past August. I was gong to write the column on them this week, but Renee's untimely death changed my plans. Tilli Calhoun will still get a prized time capsule bolt for calling and clarifying what I meant, having gone to the trouble of researching the Oddfellows' history and giving me information that I didn't know. I was quite surprised that Charlie Fracisco's daughter Barbara Mertes didn't come up with the correct answer, but maybe she is too busy being the new president of the Chabot-Las Positas College District Board of Trustees to read my column….
 Next week's history mystery question comes from Jeri Long of P-town, a fellow journalist turned public relations person like myself. She reminded me that we both worked for the same newspaper back in the early 1970s. Her suggested question: The Pleasanton school district has had offices in how many locations back in time and where were they? And for bonus points, who were the various superintendents over all that time? Dorothy Laird, do you remember? Then your memory's much better than mine! Now the answer to last week's history mystery question about the locations of the Pleasanton-Amador district office, and the superintendents who have served that district. Both Lisa Loretz and Sue McKinnon of P-town had the right answers, so get the cherished time capsule bolts. Pleasanton district office locations have included the site of the current Blue Agave restaurant on Main Street; 123 Main Street, now the site of the Pleasanton city offices; and 4665 Bernal Avenue, their present home. The superintendents going back even before unification in 1988 were Frank Lucas (1950-53), Taylor D. Edddie (1953-58), Ray Haskell (1958-71), Rudy Gatti (1972-74), Bruce Newlin (1974-78), Bill Berck (1979-84), Bill James, then Mary Frances Callahn, and now John Casey. Juanita Haugen, do you remember all these?

Next week's question ties in with the upcoming inauguration of our President on January 20th. How many US Presidents have visited the Tri-Valley, either before or during their terms?

6? To be confirmed. Read next weeks column. ---It was rumored that President William McKinley visited Phoebe Apperson Hearst at her Castlewood home in 1901. Bill Jamieson, can you verify that rumor?
---In 1903 President Teddy Roosevelt went through the valley by train enroute to San Francisco. We don't know if anyone came down to the station to wave at him.
---Another unsubstantiated report has it that President Warren Harding's funeral train passed though Livermore in August 1923, but neither historian Barbara Bunshah nor I could find any newspaper accounts about that.
---Then-Governor Ronald Reagan visited Lawrence Lab in November 1967 for a briefing and tour. I covered his visit for the Herald and remember him speaking at the auditorium. Lab director Dr. Michael May was his host.
---In February 1990 President George Bush (the senior) also visited Lawrence Lab and was hosted by director John Nuckolls.
---Pleasanton witnessed a wind-whipped helicopter visit by President Bill Clinton for the annual Labor Day picnic at the fairgrounds in September 1995.

---Bert Christensen, in 1928, spotted a special-looking train on the Southern Pacific tracks, which had a balcony and inside President Herbert Hoover waved at him.

---Bert Christensen, in 1940, answered a call from First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, at the Livermore airport.

---Checking the old Rose Hotel register, Charles Huff found the names of Presidents Harding and Coolidge who had stopped in Pleasanton overnight

---Charles Huff saw George W. Bush, Laura, and Sen. John McCain come through town on a whistlestop tour in 2000 when Bush was running for his first term.

---Former BART director Bob Allen, in 1964, picked up Barry Goldwater at the old Sky Ranch airport near Rincon and Portola.

---Connie Duke remembers when Hillary Clinton stopped in the valley on a campaign swing through here in the late 1990s.

Now let's give Dubloons or Dubliners a chance at this week's history mystery question. If you lived here back in the mid-1970s you may have gone to the Dublin-San Ramon Auto Movies, owned by the Enea Brothers, located between the I-580 freeway and Dublin Boulevard. Two of the high school girls working the snack bar were named Ursula and Sue. What were their last names and where are they now? I have a personal interest in knowing this, since my wife Kay and I operated a flea market at that drive-in for part of 1975 and 1976. Those two girls were very kind to our young boys plus their "best bud" Erin Cole (now Sgt. Erin Cole of the LPD) and our sons would like to know where these girls (now women in their mid-40s) went. Last week's question about the names of two Dublin-San Ramon Auto Movies snack bar workers in 1976 was first answered by one of the gals herself-Ursula (Garratt) McFarland who still lives in Dublin. Her coworker was Sue Galant but her whereabouts are still unknown at this time. Any help out there?

Now for the history mystery question for next time: What famous piece of history came through the valley in 1915?

The answer to the history mystery question last week about something famous coming through the valley in 1915 is: The Liberty Bell came through here on a railway flatcar, headed for San Francisco's Panama Pacific Exposition. The train stopped in Livermore where folks could get up close and touch the bell. The Livermore High band played patriotic numbers during the stopover. I am still awaiting a winner for this question because my email has been out for four days while we are moving our domicile to the Heritage Estate seniors complex in Livermore.
While doing research for my columns I frequently go to the new Livermore Library. Head librarian Susan Gallinger has seen me come in with a walker, then a cane, and now just shuffling along on my own. So she introduced me to a new battery-powered scooter that the Friends of the Library bought, which putts along at 3 miles per hour carrying the patron around the aisles and into every part of the building. It was so enjoyable I now look for excuses to visit the place, just so I can tool around on it. There is even a basket on the front to carry your books and tapes to the checkout desk. Anyone can use it free; just go to the front counter and ask for the key to the scooter, usually parked outside the café to the right of the front entrance.

Now the history mystery question for next week: How did Trevarno Road, the company-built housing area off First Street in Livermore, get its name? Marie Abbott, you must know the answer to this one.

Several readers nailed down the answer to the "history mystery" question on the origin of the name "Trevarno" the one block lane off First Street in Livermore, lined by company houses from the former Coast Fuse Works. In summary, the street was named after the home of George Bickford from Tuckingmill, Cornwall, England, whose estate was named after Randolphus de Trevarno in 1216. Bickford founded the first plant to manufacture safety fuse. Trevarno is a Welsh word meaning "head of the valley." It is said that Albert Merritt, first president of Coast, chose the name.
So the multiple winners are Dick Finn, Jim Street, David Huff (who worked for Coast from 1961 to 2004), Laura Julian Hannan, and Susan Canfield.

Question for next week: How did Murray Township get its name and how large an area does it encompass?

The winners of the history mystery about the origin of Murray Township are Linda Jeffery Sailors, Jeannine Happ, and Bobbie Small of Livermore (she got some help from her neighbor Mrs. Joseph Michael Murray).
A man named Michael Murray, along with his friend Jeremiah Fallon, came here from Ireland and purchased 1,000 acres in the valley from Jose Amador. The next year (1853) Alameda County was formed out of parts of Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties. Murray (and Fallon) served on the Alameda County Board, and townships were established in 1855, Murray's name being chosen for the territory now occupied by Dublin, Pleasanton, Sunol and Livermore. But in 1902 Pleasanton convinced the County Board to allow it to break off and form its own township. In the old days townships had legal authority and officers and territorial responsibilities, much like the special districts (such as LARPD and DSRSD) still do today. But that is all past history now and Livermore and Dublin still share the same township designation, until someone gets the idea to break them apart into two townships, for whatever reason….

Here's the history mystery question for next week: Whatever happened to Harold and Ruth Gabriel who drove California's covered wagon in the Bicentennial Wagon Train across country, ending at Valley Forge July 4th, 1976? Marie Cronin and Burke Critchfield, do you remember?

Harold and Ruth now live outside the town of Phlean, near Barstow. See the March 10, 2005
column on the wagon train trek in 1976 to learn more about Harold and Ruth.

. The history mystery question for this week is: What famous Livermorean (people don't like me saying "Livermoreon") will be immortalized with a life-sized statue at the new LARPD Community Center when it opens on East Avenue next month? Incidentally, the sculpture is being donated by the Livermore Rotary as a centennial year gift to the community.

The history mystery last week was like one of those Groucho Marx trick questions: Who is buried in Grant's Tomb? I asked whose statue will grace the entry lobby of the Robert Livermore Community Center. Well, of course it has to be the original Robert Livermore, carved life-size by sculptor Don Homan. The resemblance to the town's namesake is uncanny. One could just about walk up and engage the pioneer settler in conversation. So watch for his unveiling March 26. The first person to answer that tricky question was none other than Tilli Calhoun (Livermore's foremost historian-artist, also sometimes fondly known as the Grandma Moses of local painters), but she said she doesn't want any more of those golden time capsule bolts I keep offering. Sorry to let Janet Buckley down, but her answer that it must be John Shirley was not correct.

. The history mystery question for this week is: What was the original name of Dublin?

Lots of readers responded to last week's question about the original name of the settlement now known as Dublin. The correct answer is Dougherty Station, which was a hotel built in 1862 and named by James Witt Dougherty. He had been a county clerk and even a sheriff back in Tennessee before relocating to California. He became a supervisor on the first Alameda County Board and was its first chairman. He had a post office at the hotel-thus the postmark "Dougherty Station" which was later shortened to Dougherty. But the name Dublin popped up about 1878 in the Thompson & West atlas and soon became the name used by residents. Maybe many of them were from Ireland and they wanted a tie to the homeland? Anyway, in 1960 the developer Volk-McLain built San Ramon Village on part of the land that had been Dougherty's, which eventually became San Ramon (also once known as Limerick, according to Dick Finn). But south of the county line they kept the name Dublin and incorporated by a vote of the residents in 1982.
So the winners this week include Don Van Meter, Jim Street, Bobbie Small, Virginia Woy, Dick Finn, Charles Huff, plus Pam and John Scott. Other names over time that people recall were Four Corners (from Bob Philcox), Pioneer Village (from Linda Jeffery Sailors), Murray Township (from Dan Scannell), and San Ramon Village (from Max Eckert, Dave Snyder and Leslie Dent). Leslie recalls moving there in 1960, scraping together $495 as the down payment on a tract home, in which they still live. He remembers the slogan in the newspaper ad: "Live in Lovely San Ramon Village, City Close and Country Quiet." He also paid me an offhand compliment, I think, adding that "by the looks of your picture, you are probably as old as me, one day before the invention of dirt…."

My mail was delayed last week and I found a note from Virgie Jones of Alamo, also explaining the original name of Dublin. And the answer came from her very own book: "Be It Ever So Humble."

The history mystery question for next week: Atop the highest hill in Livermore, Oak Knoll (also known as Boot Hill to the inhabitants of Granada High School next door) , there once was an historic plaque dedicated to the pioneers of that town. The plaque was stolen some two or more decades ago, but what did it say? And, as an afterthought, why hasn't the Livermore Heritage Guild replaced it in all these years?

For the second week in a row Don Van Meter had the answer to the history mystery. This week I asked about the wording on the missing plaque atop Oak Knoll at the corner of Stanley Boulevard and Wall Street in Livermore. The answer could also be found in a book published by the late Dublin historian Virginia Bennett. The plaque said: "Oak Knoll Pioneer Memorial Park. The pioneers who rest interred on this knoll had the unique experience and challenge of changing a wilderness valley into a vigorous community. Their efforts have cast the present as our deeds shall mould the future."
The cemetery was the first in town back in the 1800s and had fallen into disrepair by the mid-Twentieth Century. Other cemeteries had been created, and this one was no longer maintained. Hillside erosion from the steep banks of the adjoining arroyo had caused some of the remains to be exposed, falling into the creek or taken by vandals. So in 1964 the city and park district decided to restore it. The decision was made to contact any remaining descendants of those buried there so their graves and markers could be relocated, and the remaining tombstones were moved to the city corporation yard where they would be held for a period of time in case relatives surfaced to claim them.
Some 40 years later the area is pretty much returned to its natural state, but those Livermore pioneers still deserve remembering. Lets hope we can get the plaque replaced to honor their memories.

The history mystery question for this week: What part did this valley play in the saga of Grizzly Adams?

The first readers to solve the history mystery on Grizzly Adams this week were Pam and John Scott, Jim Street, and Mindy Pringle.

The saga of Grizzly Adams has been immortalized in books and even a TV series using his name. The real Grizzly Adams was a bonafide "Mountain Man" and was also known as the "Wild Yankee." He spent time in the eastern end of the Livermore Valley, known as Corral Hollow, in 1855 and again in 1856.

(Please see the March 24th article for the rest.)

Instead of a history mystery this week, I am seeking a young girl's full name. In 1994 a third grader at Sunset School in Livermore wrote a thank you note to Tilli Calhoun who had brought the Livermore Heritage Guild's Historymobile (an RV turned into a museum on wheels) to the school for a lesson in local history. The girl signed her letter Lindsey B. Now Ann Homan would like to use that letter in her upcoming history book, but needs the girl's permission. Can anyone help us find her?

What well-known Livermore woman was on the board of trustees when the Valley Campus was founded in 1975?

It was Dorothy Hudgins, who played a key role in getting the land for the new college in the valley.

History mystery question for this week: What Livermore couple has played a combined total of 80 years in the local symphony? Hint: they missed one year while living in England.

The history mystery question last week about the couple who have a combined total of 80 years with the Livermore-Amador Symphony generated lots of responses. Those first to correctly name Arnold and Marion Clark in the strings section as that couple were Julie Gallagher, JoAnn Cox, Margy Odell, Judy Eckart and Bob Butler.
Butler also reminded me that the Pleasanton Community Concert Band just observed its 30th anniversary. He provided a list of musicians who have been a part of that group since the early days. They include him and his wife MaryAnn, Bob Williams, Bernie Williams, Bud Barlow, Yvonne Greilich, and Chuck Smith. This is another example of a wonderful tradition that people have enjoyed for many years on the local scene.

Question for this week: What was the first school built in the Tri-Valley and when?

The answer to last week's question about the first school located in the Tri-Valley comes from the pages of Virginia Smith Bennett's book, "Reflections." Dick Finn is the first reader to answer it. The first school was built in 1856 on land donated by James Witt Dougherty at what is now the intersection of Foothill Road and I-580. This was the first of three schools in Dublin named Murray School. The building was moved much later to an empty lot near Old St. Raymond's Church where it serves as a museum today. For awhile it had been used as the Primitive Baptist Church on old Dublin Road. The second Murray School was built when I-580 was constructed and the state acquired the old school site. The building was then used as a recreation building for the VCSD (now Dublin-San Ramon Services District). The third Murray School is on Davona Drive in Dublin. Do you remember the annual flea markets at the school in the 1970s?
Also, a reminder that the antique fire engines will be at the Museum in Danville Sunday afternoon from 1 to 4 p.m. Don't miss the Ablaze exhibit before it closes.

So the history mystery question for this week: Who was the first man in California to join the League when the national organization first allowed male members back in the 1970s?

The answer to last week's question asking for the name of the man who was the first in the state to join the League of Women Voters when they voted at their May 1974 convention to admit men was provided by Dale Turner of Livermore and Bob and Pat Lane of P-town. They both guessed correctly that the man was me. I had known the League was going to vote on admitting men that week and got my application form from the local League, watching the United Press International (UPI) newswire machine in our newspaper office for the news to break. When it did I drove my completed application to the League membership chair and then called UPI to report on it. The news bureau in San Francisco then checked around the state and found I was first, so issued a wire story that night. So much for my 15 seconds of fame….

So the question for this week is: How long is each piece of track and how many spikes does it take to secure the rail to the trackbed?

The answer to last week's question about the length of a rail and how many spikes it takes to secure each to the trackbed is provided by Carolyn Lord of Livermore. She wrote: "I contacted a friend from college who laid track for a year… He said rails are now welded into 1,000 foot lengths. But traditionally the rail was 39 feet long, so it could fit into the 40 foot long gondola car. The average piece of rail needs a minimum of 90 spikes and 15 ties."

The history mystery question this time is: What do Delpha Chesterman, Lucille Bruskin, Judy Bryer, and Barry Bolden have in common?

The answer to last week's question asking what Barry Bolden, Judy Bryer, Delpha Chesterman and Lucille Bruskin had in common was not answered by any of them. They must have forgotten they were all on the Livermore Peace Monument Committee in 1984 along with others-Celia Baker, Blanche Smith, Judy Johnson, Facio Burdios, Jann Mayo, Steve Pollaine, John Stein, and yours truly. Monument sculptor Don Homan also shared the names of several people who helped him with the construction-his daughter Becky, John Baker Jr., Jeff Davies, Arne Morgan, Ric Cederwall, and Mike Parsons.

The history mystery question for this week: Since the first chief of the combined Livermore and Pleasanton Fire Department is retiring, when was the first Hook and Ladder Company formed in the Tri-Valley? Stewart Gary, you should know the answer

The answer to the history mystery question about the oldest volunteer fire department in the Tri-Valley is that the Livermore Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 was organized in 1874 with 30 volunteer firefighters. Soon-to-retire Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Chief Stewart Gary didn’t send in a guess, but I bet Al Bonne or Jack Baird (two former fire chiefs) would have known the correct answer if they were still around.
This week’s history mystery question: What year was the Livermore Rodeo cancelled due to hoof and mouth disease? And for you more recent residents, who were the two National Laboratory execs that battled for the belt buckle in the greenhorn calf-penning competition back in the late 1990s? A hint is that they are both heads of national labs at this moment. The year the rodeo was cancelled due to foot-and-mouth disease was 1924 and Michelle Calleja came up with the answer first.
Now about the two riders in the celebrity calf-penning competition, no one had both names correct. The question: What two national lab execs competed for the silver belt buckle and now are heads of two Department of Energy labs? The answer is Bob Kuckuck who is now interim director of Los Alamos National Lab and Tom Hunter, the new president of Sandia National Laboratories. Kuckuck won the silver buckle that year and Hunter was runner-up. But when Tom left his post as vice president of Sandia/California a few years later the employees took up a collection and bought him a fancy western buckle so he could wear it with pride the next time he and Bob met!
The history mystery question this time: When did Abbott and Costello come to the Pleasanton fairgrounds? Since I got into the history mystery search for the dates that Abbott and Costello were in Pleasanton filming the movie It Ain’t Hay at the fairgrounds, I was contacted by Ron Palumbo, the co-author of the book “Abbott and Costello in Hollywood” regarding the period the film was being made. It was shot between September 28 and November 11, 1942. It was released in March of 1943. I did find a big ad in the Livermore paper announcing it would be shown at the State Theater beginning April 11, 1943.
The question for next week: What year marked the first ostrich races on the fair’s racetrack? Last week’s question about the first ostrich race at the fairgrounds went unanswered: It was held on June 29, 1981.

The questions for this week are also tied to the fair: What is the title of the movie being shown at the scale model outdoor movie theater as part of the Model Railroading exhibit during the fair?

And for oldtimers from the Livermore end of the valley: Who is the beloved town character in the photo included in the Keith Fraser Memorial Camera Collection being displayed in the Hobbies, Gem and Mineral Building? The photo is only 3 by 4 inches so you will have to look closely into the left side of the display case.

There were several correct answers to the question about the title of the movie classic being shown at the Model Railroading exhibit’s drive-in movie theater during the fair. It depends which day and hour you visit the display. Alan Peasley was the first to answer correctly that Casablanca was featured there last year as well as now, but when checking with the model train folks I learned they have six different movies that are shown: Beside Casablanca there are American Graffiti, Gone With the Wind, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Invaders from Mars, and The Wizard of Oz.” Iris Gan, a former news photographer in the Tri-Valley, guessed the Wizard so is also a winner.
The second question about the “beloved Livermore character” whose photo was taken by Keith Fraser back in the 1960s and displayed with the memorial camera collection exhibit at the Fair got three correct responses so far. Connie Frydendall, Jan Buckley and Gary Draghi identified the man in the photo as Harold McKenzie. Harold was a familiar figure downtown, working for his parents who ran the railway express business for many years. His trademark was a fresh flower worn in his lapel every day and he could be seen hauling the SF newspapers around in his little wagon. He also posted funeral notices around town for the mortuary since the local papers were weekly and there was no other way to notify townspeople of someone’s death in time for the funeral except by telephone or word of mouth. This I learned from Bill Junk of Livermore who reminisced about Harold. He died in 1973 and had lived 70 of his 77 years in Livermore.
Since we still have another week of the county fair to go, here are two more fair history mysteries for you to solve. What is the historic headline on the Valley Times that hangs on the wall just inside the entrance to the Agricultural Heritage Building (the one next to the Small Animals and Model Railroad building). The second question: What is the date on the old rodeo bumper sticker posted on the back wall of the blacksmith shop in Grandma’s Barn, not too far from the Pig Races? You will have to be a real sleuth to find the barn, but if you do, the fair blacksmith John Phillips may be inside tending his fire and is always happy to demonstrate ‘smithy skills to fairgoers. The last of the county fair questions finally got answered when Dona Blackmore and Jean Lerche, both of Livermore, responded that the old bumper strip in the blacksmith shop at the fair was dated June 9-10 (but no year appeared on it) and that the Valley Times’ famous headline January 25, 1980 declared “THE VALLEY QUAKES.”
The history question for this week: Who were the six Pleasanton Chamber managers Carol Bush trained and then worked for over the years? The answer to last week’s question about the six Pleasanton Chamber managers who worked with the late Carol Bush is: Michelle Houston, Chan Henderson, Scott Raty, Nancy McCaffrey, Shelby McNamara, and Al Amador.
This week’s history quiz: Who was the first person hired to man the Crane Ridge Fire Lookout and what relation was he to Carol Jean Famarris? The answer to last week’s history quiz about the first person to man the Crane Ridge Fire Lookout in 1916: His name was Richard Famariss, father of Livermore’s Dick Famariss and therefore the father-in-law of Carol Jean. The second official lookout was George Famariss, Richard’s brother. The only correct answer so far came from Lloyd Marsh of Livermore who has an even better trivia tidbit: he says the fire lookout phone number was 29F12. And he also recalls going on horseback up to the ridge top with Dick Holm when the fire phone was still mounted on an oak tree outside the lookout!
The history mystery question for this week was posed to me by Bob Williams and Bob Butler of Pleasanton Community Band fame. What was the name of the popular bar frequented by Camp Parks military and civilians located at the intersection of old Highway 50 (now I-580) and Hopyard Road back in the Fifties and Sixties? Last week’s question about the name of the bar located at Old Highway 50 and Hopyard Road back in the 1940s, 50s and 60s generated the most responses in months. It seems the bar was originally called Woods Corner when owned by Henry Woods but was best known as Cruisers Inn, renamed by Navy Chief Kenneth Slough who spent much of his career on a cruiser in the Pacific before retiring and buying the bar. But thanks to several email tips I was able to locate one of the living past owners of the Inn, Fern Harris whose late husband Buzz, plus their partner H.T. Lester, operated it for eight years serving “the best burgers west of Chicago,” Fern claims. She told me about all the hard work that went into operating the place. Owning the establishment before that was Emma McDowell, who later married Adolph Banke after she was widowed. Emma’s grandson, retired Pleasanton Fire Battalion Chief Bill Bonderud, was quick to answer, as was Emma’s niece Dottie Wiemken. Then Patty Ferrulli, whose late brother Vito tended bar there, responded. More correct answers came from Shirley Butler, Pauline Coe, Marjorie Mederios, Nancy Elsnab, Rich Cortez, Gill Cruz, David Thorne, Larry Botelho, Carter Wreden, Wayne Erven, Harold Phillips, Leona Correa, and Don Van Meter.
The history mystery to solve this week: Radio Station KWGS in Tulsa is trying to find any descendant of Glenn Condon, a radio pioneer to be honored posthumously at an event there later this month. His last known daughter in the mid-1960s was a Mrs. Herbert Green of Livermore, plus five grandchildren. Can anyone help locate her or the grandchildren?
History mystery for this week: What Cub pack formed a drum & bugle corps in 1945 to march in area parades and take part in rodeo ceremonies? The repeated history mystery about the Cub Scout Pack with its own Drum & Bugle Corps way back in 1945 finally got some response. Lou Wittkopp provided the information that it was Hayward Cub Pack 6 whose Cubmaster Bill Reno decided to organize the boys into a well-trained corps. The 35 youth, including two who later moved to Livermore as adults (Lou and Charlie Smith) where they worked at Sandia and Lawrence Lab, collected tons of newspapers to turn in for cash. That paid for the drums and bugles and started them on their way to parades all over South County. Lou recalls the Livermore Rodeo Parade as the most fun because they also got to participate in the Grand Entry to the Rodeo which meant free admission plus hot dogs and ice cream for all.
Now let’s jump forward 30 years to the formation of a Drum & Bugle Corps in the Livermore-Amador Valley in the mid-1970s. It was a co-ed Explorer Post formed specifically for the purpose of organizing the Tri-Valley Royalaires, a spinoff of the Royalaires that had folded in San Leandro. The new group lasted about two seasons, before soccer, high school band and other competing interests spelled its demise.
The question for this week is: Can you name any of the players in that corps? And the bonus question: Who was the Post adviser who organized the group? I didn’t hear from any alumni or parents of the Tri-Valley Royalaires Drum & Bugle Corps from 30 years ago, answering the history mystery question, but the Explorer Post adviser was yours truly!
Now for this week’s tricky question: What does the bizarre killing of Michael Malloy in 1933 have to do with a fellow who hangs around the Pleasanton courthouse today, some 72 years later? You may have to go on the Internet to find that tie-in. By the way, Malloy was no relation to Michael Maloney, former local press photographer now with the San Francisco Chronicle, but his mother Marian Maloney is now my neighbor.

The tricky history mystery question this past week was too difficult for anyone but friends of Simon Read, Herald cops and court reporter, to solve. You see, Simon wrote a book called “On the House: The Bizarre Killing of Michael Malloy” which is due for release in early October. The book traces the murder of a paralytic drunk who was supposedly done in by a gang called the Murder Trust in New York during the bleak Depression-era winter of 1933.

The question for this week is: How many State Historic Landmarks have been designated around Alameda County and which is the most recent?

Last week’s history mystery question was answered first by Bill Hankins of P-town who correctly guessed there are 36 state historical landmarks in Alameda County and the latest one to be dedicated was the USS Hornet which is Historical Landmark #1029. I bet Tommie Simpson also knew that answer since she is a docent on the Hornet as well as at Camp Parks’ museum

This week’s question: What article mentioned Hearst Ranch which appeared on the front page of the Pleasanton Times on January 11, 1902? It will be easy to answer as this historic issue will be on display along with a number of other newspapers at the Pioneers of Pleasanton exhibit at the Heritage Festival which runs Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m..

My attempt to get people to come and read the front page of the January 1902 Pleasanton Times at the Heritage Festival so they could answer the history mystery question didn't produce any winners. So the answer is that a story told about an employee of the Hearst Ranch (the one near Pleasanton, not San Simeon) who fell asleep in his quarters and the coal oil heater nearly suffocated him. Luckily for him, other employees smelled smoke and found him unconscious in the smoke and soot-filled room.

This week’s question: What famous alumnus of Chabot Valley Campus (now Las Positas College) has written a book about his life and included many details of his rough early years growing up in this valley? Hint: he was a commencement speaker at “Las Po” about six years ago.

The question about the famous alum of Valley Campus (now Las Positas) generated a quick response from Dottie Laird of Pleasanton whose late husband Ralph was a friend and fellow political memorabilia collector with former Congressman Jim Rogan. The congressman paid tribute to his old friend with a special resolution in Congress before Ralph’s death.
Back in the early 1970s Jim dropped out of high school, but found new direction and educational stimulation through Valley Campus and its supportive staff when it first opened in 1975. In his book, “Rough Edges, My Unlikely Road from Welfare to Washington,” he tells great anecdotes about Livermore’s Straw Hat Pizza where he worked, about his poly sci instructor Esther Goldberg, and then his encounters with Pleasanton-Livermore Democratic Club rabble-rouser Birdie Bianchi, plus attorneys Allan Grossman and Dave Harris. Then-State Assemblyman Floyd Mori also earned some ink in his chapter entitled “The Party of the Little Guy.”
Rogan has not only been a Congressman, but also Majority Leader of the State Assembly, a gang prosecutor in LA, and most recently Undersecretary of the US Department of Commerce and Director of the Patent and Trademark Office in the current Bush Administration. He will be the keynote speaker at an upscale GOP fundraiser at Blackhawk later this month and said he hopes to return to the Bay Area in November when he would like to visit his old alma mater Las Positas and address the students there.

The question for next time: What is the name of the new book just published by former Pleasanton resident and Vietnam War hero, Major Lee Basnar? He visited here a year ago to introduce his book on his Vietnam War experiences, and said he would next write an adventure story about his 16 years in the Alaskan bush country, which he has now completed. Lee was once president of the Tri-Valley Exchange Club and is remembered fondly by many club members yet today.

The history mystery answer, easily found online, is the title of Major Lee Basnar’s new book, “Northern Lights and Shadows, Sixteen Years in the Alaskan Bush.” The bookmark says it so well: “Bears, blizzards and bush flying; numbing, subarctic cold, wild neighbors…” Lee vividly describes how he and his wife Joan lived, loved and laughed through adventures and mishaps in the remote Alaskan outback. You can find more about Lee and his two books at www.leebasnar.com.

Here’s a simple question for next week: How did Eugene O’Neill’s Tao House get its name?

The weekly question about the naming of Tao House got plenty of emails, but I will just name the first two to respond. Patty Roudebush of Livermore and Kathy Engel of Pleasanton were right on the money. O’Neills’ interest in Eastern religions and culture as well as Carlotta O’Neill’s passion for oriental art inspired the name Tao House, which is usually translated as “The Way.”

This week’s history mystery: What kind of cars were the first two bought by Livermoreans in 1903?

The answer to last week’s question on the first two automobiles owned in Livermore in 1903 is: a Haynes-Apperson bought by Dr. W. S. Taylor and an Oldsmobile purchased by H.R. Crane. Both were one-cylinder models. Two readers took a guess at the answer: Marjorie Welham of Pleasanton knew her grandfather owned a Chase Model F Surrey about that time, and Bob Wood suggested they were a Star and Durant, the brands sold at the Duarte Garage in Livermore a few years later.

This week’s history mystery question is provided by my neighbor Steve Gawura: What do comedian Chic Sales and outhouses have in common?

Two readers Max Eckert and Jim Muir quickly answered last week’s question about the connection between comedian Chic Sale and outhouses. It seems Chic had a routine about being a “specialist” who designed and built outhouses. He wrote a book as well which sold over a million copies and eventually his name became synonymous with privy. If you have web access, the story of “The Specialist” can be found at www.jldr.com/specialist.htm.
So the history mystery for this week: What two one room schools in the Livermore Valley were burned down by arsonists after the schools had both closed in the early 1950s?

The correct answer to last week’s question about the two Livermore Valley country schools torched after they were closed down was: Altamont (Summit) and May schools. Randy Moore of the Alameda County Fire Department who fought both fires was first to respond, followed by Peter Bailey, Helen Washburn, and Karen Madsen Faraldo. Also, Ann Homan called to report that the Morgan Territory School north of the Contra Costa County line was burned in 1949, two years after it closed. Ann is writing a history of Livermore and is looking for color slides or prints of the commercial rose gardens in the valley. If you have one, give her a call at 443-9440.

The history mystery quiz for next week: Who were the two men chosen mayors of each city by their councils after the 1972 city council elections?

The answer to last week’s history quiz: Robert Reid was re-elected mayor by the Pleasanton City Council after the April 1972 election, while newcomer Floyd Mori was made mayor pro-tem. In Livermore Clyde Taylor became mayor and Don Miller vice mayor. No one managed to get both city mayors correct.

Now here’s a history mystery for Sandia National Lab employees to solve. According to federal records there is a benchmark disk on their site somewhere 25 feet west of Avenue A on the concrete surrounding a manhole cover. The GPS coordinates are North 37 degrees, 40 minutes, 48 seconds, and West 121 degrees, 42 minutes, 21 seconds. Will someone there be able to find it or is it long gone? It was installed in 1957, just a year after Sandia was founded in March 1956 (which happens to be 50 years ago this Spring).

Last week’s history mystery location turned out to be a surprise to everyone, but Sandians were up to the challenge. I listed GPS coordinates for a geodetic survey marker that was supposedly at Sandia, according to the old records that were last updated in 1957. It seems that at the time Sandia occupied two buildings north of East Avenue while awaiting the construction of new facilities across the street, so the marker was registered on Sandia property. In fact, the benchmark disk had first been placed there in 1944 when the Livermore Naval Air Station occupied the site, then rediscovered and recorded on the cement slab around a manhole cover in 1957. But Sandians Joanne Lombardi and Steve Bunn took up the hunt this past week and found the exact marker—just inside the parking lot fence by the LLNL South Gate where the South Cafeteria parking lot exists today. (FYI, the cafeteria that served Sandia and Lab employees in that area for nearly 40 years just closed down.) By pushing back some ground cover you can spot it—still in good condition. Joanne is a member of the international Geocaching.com adventure group that hunts for landmarks and GPS points all over the world. But that’s another story. Rich Larson from Sandia also hunted for the benchmark but confined his search to the south side of the street where I erroneously reported it might be.


Now for the latest in the geodetic benchmarks saga. Sandians Joanne Lombardi and Steve Bunn did not give up hunting those little brass disks after finding the initial one at the LLNL South Café lot, but by the end of last week had crawled atop the ridge south of the Sandia firearms training range to uncover another lost disk, the important Tesla Station marker that has two disks directly north and then south of it so surveyors could use it for siting. All three benchmarks were placed there in 1947 when it was still Livermore Naval Air Station property. Now others have told me about disks at the northwest corner of Greenville and East Avenue and even outside the (northwest corner) rollup door of Building 511 inside Lawrence Lab’s secure area. This may never end, so get your own GPS unit, log on to www.geocaching.com and begin a new adventure in your life….

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The columnist can be reached by snailmail at:

Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115