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Historical Society Centennial Schedule

All events are free and open to the general public.


January:

Cerrito Creekside History and Natural History Stroll. Presented by El Cerrito Historical Society, El Cerrito Trail Trekkers, Friends of Five Creeks and Environmental Quality Committee. Dave Weinstein and Susan Schwartz lead an easy walk along Cerrito Creek, discussing the natural and social history of the area. Learn about plants and animals, creek restoration, Native Americans, Chinese dynamite plant workers, and early days in El Cerrito. Noon to 2 p.m., Saturday January 21, meet at Creekside Park, on Cerrito Creek at Santa Clara Avenue.

El Cerrito: City of Sin to City of Homes. Dave Weinstein describes El Cerrito’s growth from the earliest days of the 20th century, focusing on gamblers and entertainers, the real estate boom from the 1920s through the 1950s, and the city’s evolution into a relatively sedate place. El Cerrito Historical Society annual meeting. Wednesday, January 25, EC Community Center, Garden Room. Business meeting, 7 p.m. Program, 7:30 p.m.
Click Here for printable flyers for each of our Centennial Events.

February:

El Cerrito: A Mid-Century Modern Mecca. Presented by El Cerito Historical Society. Visit one of the most striking mid-century modern homes in El Cerrito, the 1955 Lawlor house designed by architect David Beverly Thorne. Thorne was known for building with steel – and for designing a home for Dave Brubeck. Thorne’s son, landscape architect David Thorne will speak about his father’s work. Dave Weinstein will show images and discuss El Cerrito’s legacy of modern architecture. 7 p.m. Wednesday, February 8, at a home whose address will be supplied to people who rsvp. Reservations are required, davidsweinstein@yahoo.com

Movers and Shakers: Business People who Helped El Cerrito Prosper. Presented by the El Cerrito Chamber of Commerce and El Cerrito Historical Society. Join us for a lively evening focusing on the many stores, restaurants and other businesses that have helped El Cerrito prosper. A panel of longtime El Cerrito business people, including Clyde Figone, Jack Freethy, Paul Grunland and Dave Pryde, will lead the conversation. Come and share your own thoughts. The Chamber will display hundreds of historic photos and scrapbooks. Many of these photos show people who are unidentified. Help us put names to faces. Wednesday, February 22, 6:30 p.m. socialize, 7 p.m. panel, Veterans Hall, 6401 Stockton Ave. Free refreshments.

Click Here for printable flyers for each of our Centennial Events.

March:
El Cerrito’s Gambling Past. Presented by the El Cerrito Historical Society and Bayview Fraternal Order of Eagles. Chris Treadway, author of a forthcoming book about the days when El Cerrito was a gambling destination, will discuss the gambling halls, prizefighting, the dog racing track, and the El Cerrito gangs that tried to dominate gambling throughout Northern California. Thursday, March 9, 7 p.m., Bayview Eagle’s Hall, the former Wagon Wheel nightclub, 3223 Carlson Boulevard.

El Cerrito Architectural Walking Tour – One: The Flatlands. Dave Weinstein. Trail Trekkers, Historical Society. Let’s walk past and perhaps visit some of the more interesting historical homes in the city’s flatlands ranging from the early 20th through the mid 20th century. Saturday, March 18, 1- 3 p.m., meet by the historic Rodini house, 1715 Elm Street.

Click Here for printable flyers for each of our Centennial Events.

April:

El Cerrito High Athletics: A History of Victory. El Cerrito Historical Society. Longtime El Cerrito high coach Larry Quirico runs through the many El Cerrito high school athletes whose success have made sports in our town so exciting over the years, focusing on those who made a mark both as professional athletes and as part of great Gaucho teams. April 19, Wednesday, EC Community Center, Garden Room. 7 p.m.

Click Here for printable flyers for each of our Centennial Events.

May:

Hillside Festival. Presented by El Cerrito Trail Trekkers, the Environmental Quality Committee, Friends of Five Creeks, the El Cerrito High School Mountain Bike Team. Historical and natural historical talks and hikes and displays by Trail Trekkers, the National Park Service, Friends of Five Creeks, the Boy Scouts, the Northern California Geological Society, and others. Sunday, May 21, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Hillside Natural Area, main gathering on the meadow above the Schmidt Lane entrance.

Camp Herms: History and Tour. Sponsored by El Cerrito Historical Society and Mt. Diablo Silverado Council Boy Scouts of America. George Fosselius, a retired teacher and longtime Scout, will delve into the history of this rugged, 85-year-old camp. It is home to a restored historic lodge, camp buildings, stone walls built by the WPA and a historic swimming pool built in a former quarry. A short tour begins at 6:30, followed by a program at 7:30. Bring your walking shoes or just enjoy the talk and a stroll! 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 30, Camp Herms, 1100 James Place, uphill from Arlington Park.

Click Here for printable flyers for each of our Centennial Events.

June:

When Gamblers Ran Our Town: A Walking Tour. Presented by El Cerrito Historical Society and El Cerrito Trail Trekkers. Dave Weinstein will lead a two-hour walking tour, starting at the Bayview Eagles Hall, 3223 Carlson Blvd. near Central Avenue, to see buildings and sites once made lively by gamblers, prostitutes, legitimate entertainers and classy restaurateurs. Saturday, June 3, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Victor Ramon Castro and His Family at the Castro Adobe 1839-1928.  The Castro Adobe, built at the southern end of the Rancho San Pablo between 1837 and 1839, was destroyed by fire in 1956. Hear about the family headed by Victor R. Castro and Luisa Martinez Castro who owned this home. What was El Cerrito like in 1839? What was the Castro Adobe like inside and out? Who were their first neighbors? Joanne Rubio, a historical society board member, will give a talk and slideshow. A scale model of the Castro Adobe circa 1860 built by Charlie Moran will be on display as well as a brick from the original Castro Adobe. Thursday, June 22, 7 p.m. City hall Council Chambers, 10890 San Pablo Ave.

Click Here for printable flyers for each of our Centennial Events.

July:
Where Recycling is a Pleasure: History of the El Cerrito Recycling Center. Presented by the Environmental Quality Committee and El Cerrito Historical Society. Dave Weinstein leads a panel discussion about the history of the city’s innovative recycling centers, one of the earliest in the country, one of the longest-lasting and certainly one of the best. Speakers will include people who helped found the center and made it the great place it remains today. Wednesday, July 19, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the recycling center, at the end of Schmidt Lane.

The recycling event will be accompanied by an event put on by Stege Sanitary District, directly across Schmidt Lane:

Stege Sanitary District, Historical Display and Presentation. The public sanitary district that serves El Cerrito, Kensington and part of Richmond is more than 100 years old and has emerged as a leader in its field. Learn more about its history and current challenges. Sponsored by Stege Sanitary District, to run in conjunction with the Recycling Center event. 7500 Schmidt lane, at the Offices and yard of the sanitary district. 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Click Here for printable flyers for each of our Centennial Events.

September:

Centennial Celebration at the Cerrito Theatre. Presented by Friends of the Cerrito Theater and El Cerrito Historical Society. The Cerrito Theatre, today Rialto Cinemas Cerrito, became an important community institution when it opened Christmas Day 1937. Film scholar Joanne Taylor will discuss the history of the theater. A feature film, from circa 1937 or 1938, will soon be annojnced. People will come dressed in costume, a band will play period tunes, and historic cars will park outside. September 14, 2017 at 7 p.m. at Rialto Cinemas Cerrito, 10070 San Pablo Ave.

Click Here for printable flyers for each of our Centennial Events.

October:

Remembering Our Local Japanese Heritage. Presented by the El Cerrito Historical Society. Tom Panas, who has curated an exhibit and booklet about the Japanese Americans of our area, will discuss the community from its origins circa 1900, through the prosperous years where many pioneered the important East Bay flower growing industry, though the dark days of World War II internment, and beyond. Thursday, Oct. 12, Arlington Clubhouse, 1120 Arlington Blvd.

History of Hillside Natural Area. Presented by El Cerrito Trail Trekkers, El Cerrito Historical Society, Friends of Five Creeks and the Environmental Quality Committee. Dave Weinstein, Mark Miner and Ralph Boniello lead a hike focusing on the natural history and human history of this 100-plus acre open space within our city. Saturday, Oct. 21, 10 a.m., to noon. Meet at the Schmidt Lane Trail head, on Schmidt Lane near the Recycling Center.

Click Here for printable flyers for each of our Centennial Events.

SPEAKERS BUREAU:
The El Cerrito Historical Society will provide speakers to schools and community groups, upon advance request, on the following topics:

Railroads in El Cerrito. A talk by Tom Panas. The right of way where BART runs through El Cerrito was at one time a busy Santa Fe route with many passenger and freight trains scheduled each day. Earlier this right of way had been the California and Nevada Railroad, whose trains first passed through El Cerrito in 1885. It all ended in 1980. Tom Panas will review almost 100 years of freight and passenger railroading in El Cerrito.

Taming the Wild West in the Late 1940s: The Making of Modern Day El Cerrito. Author and San Francisco State lecturer Chris Sterba will describe how a group of reformers transformed El Cerrito from a "wide-open town" known as "Little Reno" into the bustling, middle-class Bay Area community we know today.

El Cerrito: City of Sin to City of Homes. Dave Weinstein tells a tale of El Cerrito’s growth from the earliest days of the 20th century through today, focusing on gamblers and entertainers, the real estate boom from the 1920s through the 1950s, and the challenges facing the city today.

To schedule a speaker, please contact Rich Bartke, Historical Society president, richbartke@aol.com. Please request a speaker at least one month in advance.