'Sparks from the Anvil' – March Missive from El Cerrito Historical Society

We're glad to have secured permission to republish "Sparks from the Anvil," the monthly announcements from the group that helps keep the community connected to its roots, the El Cerrito Historical Society.

Editor's note: Here is the March edition of "Sparks from the Anvil," the monthly email update from the . We're delighted to reprint it not only because we believe awareness of a community's history is vital to the community's civic identity but also because we believe our local history and efforts to preserve it are interesting. For those unfamiliar with the "anvil" reference, the community that became "El Cerrito" when the city was incorporated in 1917 was formerly called "Rust," after pioneering blacksmith William Rust, whose blacksmith establishment was located at what is now the intersection of San Pablo and Fairmount avenues. (See attached photo.)


Sparks from the Anvil is El Cerrito Historical Society’s March 2012 announcements

TO JOIN YOUR CITY’S HISTORICAL SOCIETY FOR $20 A YEAR GO TO http://www.elcerritowire.com/history/pages/MembershipForm.pdf

Largest Redwood Grove in El Cerrito?    The largest redwood grove in El Cerrito is in Camp Herms. Glen Bakker and Tom Panas were among those who knew the answer.  There are probably over 70 redwoods and perhaps over 80.  There are paths through the grove and a couple of picnic tables.  The easiest access is off of Villa Nueva, just above the Les Simonson monument just east of the Arlington.  It belongs to the Boy Scouts, so is private property (but they are not known to kick out law-abiding folks).

Shadi History Room     Congrats to Barbara Hill and Joann Steck-Bayat, who have successfully learned how to scan our historic photos into our computer system.  They were taught by Society member Allan Fisher. Thank you, Allan.

Artifacts    What is an “artifact”?  Who is the rightful owner?  What if you have one you don’t know what to do with?  Can anyone explain the complex laws about them?  There may be help.  The Nevada County Historical Society is hosting a symposium about artifacts on Saturday, March 31, 2012.  If interested, contact us and we’ll try to get more details.

Lincoln Highway   Thanks again to Barbara Hill for agreeing to look into the process for getting Lincoln Highway signs erected on San Pablo Avenue.  Barbara is in touch with the national Lincoln Highway Association.  Next year, 2013, will be the centennial year for that first transcontinental road.

Famous El Cerritans     The recent visit of fans from Europe to El Cerrito, the home of Creedence Clearwater Revival, got us thinking.  This town has been home to several notable individuals from Nobel winners to architects to TV personalities.  Should we honor them?  How?  What should be the criteria?  We believe the Historical Society is the correct place to start but we’re asking our members for help and ideas. Please email RichBartke@aol.com with your ideas.

Future Programs    Our program guru, David Weinstein, has a plethora of ideas for tours and talks with some good ones being outside our City limits. The Board thinks that’s okay, do you?  Consider Blake Gardens in Kensington, Rosie the Riveter and/or Point Richmond, San Pablo (church, adobe, Rockefeller Lodge), etc. Tell us what you think at davidsweinstein@yahoo.com.

Snow in E.C.   El Cerrito Byline, published by the Chamber of Commerce, recently included our 1926 photo of a snowy house on Norvell.  The last significant snow in town was in the 1970’s, when it not only snowed, but it was so cold the snow stayed on the ground in some places for three days.  That killed a number of the eucalyptus trees which had been ubiquitous in the hills.  Fire Chief Herman, concerned about the fire hazard presented by the dead trees, assembled a crew to cut them down.  He also arranged to use the quarry at Camp Herms to burn the dead ones.  How does the story end?

The Mayor, who usually is just another Councilmember, has one distinct power under state law; to declare emergencies.  The Mayor did so.

Chief Herman was cited by the Air Board for contributing to air pollution. 

Most of the eucalyptuses are gone and have been replaced with other types of trees.

Chamber Help    In last month’s Chamber Byline is a prominent and substantial ad for our Sally Rand memorabilia.  The Society thanks the Chamber.


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