the concord historian - Concord Historical Society

the concord historian - Concord Historical Society

T H E CO N CO R D H I S TO R I A N “PRESERVING THE PAST TO PROTECT THE FUTURE ” A Quarterly Publication of the Concord Historical Society Concord, CA...

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A Quarterly Publication of the Concord Historical Society Concord, CA Volume 44, Issue No. 1 February 2015 BUILDING A FUTURE THAT PRESERVES THE PAST By Brad Morimune, CHS Development Committee

View Looking South

MASONIC TEMPLE RELOCATION & GALINDO PROPERTY MASTER PLAN I have had the privilege of serving on our Concord Historical Society Board of Directors for the past three years, but I am also writing this article as a fellow Concord resident. Some of you have lived here all your life, some have lived or worked here and have moved away, and others may have moved here recently, but at some point in our lives, we considered Concord our home. My family moved to Concord in 1957, and like many of you, I have seen changes over the years, and have wonderful memories growing up here. My two children were also raised in Concord, but they moved away to attend college and did not return home after graduation. Most of their knowledge of Concord’s history is somewhat limited to the stories they would hear when I got together with my family or high school classmates (Mt. Diablo High School Class of 1970). This is what may have brought my attention to the Concord Historical Society a few years ago and inspired me to become a board member. Continued on page 4

Inside This Issue: Building a Future that Preserves the Past ................................ 1, 4 President’s Message .................... 2 New Members ................................ 3 Announcements/Events ................. 3 Spring Tea at the Galindo Home ... 5 In Memory of James P. Blank ....... 5 Editor: John Carlston

Donations................................... 6, 7 Volunteer Opportunities ................. 6 ‘The Port Chicago 50’ ................... 7 Farms, In Concord? ....................... 8 Business Members ......................... 9 Membership Application .............. 10 © 2015, Concord Historical Society

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Board of Directors

As we begin 2015, you will have a lot to look forward to with your Historical Soci- President: ety. Board elections are fast approaching. I Carol Longshore am very please that the Board is remaining First Vice President: enthusiastic about the Concord Museum and Vivian Boyd Event Center Project and all the work we still Second Vice President: have to do. Jim Trolan Secretary: Elections are over and you will have the Carole Kelsch same Board with the exception of Jan Trolan Treasurer: taking the Treasurer position and Lind HigLind Higgins gins moving to Director at Large, where she will be our Parliamentarian and Resource At Large Members: Center Director. John Carlston Lloyd Crenna Some of our funding comes from the Barry Cunningham Betty Barnes Trust. Betty Martin Barnes Evelyn Cunningham was the daughter of Floyd Martin of Martin Brothers Construction—an early ConJoanne Fryer cord construction company. Betty was his secretary for many years during the Chuck Gabrysiak 1940s—1960s. The Concord Historical Society has been very grateful over the David Gagliardi years for the generosity of Betty Barnes’ legacy. At our annual dinner coming up John Keibel on March 19, you will be able to see a picture of our benefactress, along with renTerry Kremin derings of the proposed museum grounds that depict the future appearances of the Karen Mangini Galindo Home, a gazebo, a well house and the Museum and Events Center (what Marv McKean formerly was the Masonic Temple building). There will also be charts to see the Brad Morimune progress made since acquisition of the land, Galindo Home and the former Masonic Larry Prosper Temple building. Martha Riley As you can well imagine this is a monumental step for our Society and the hisBarbara Strehlitz tory of Concord. I want to impress upon all of you just how significant these Tom Wentling achievements have been—going from an organization that operated no museum to an organization that now operates a museum and plans to open a historic museum and event center—and encourage you all to help in any way you can. Each and Board Member Emeritus: every one of you know someone who wants to join the Society either with financial Paul Larson support or spreading the membership word so we continue to grow and thrive as an Kay Massone (1937-2014) integral part of the Concord area. The Society will having an Ice Cream Social on June 21 at the Galindo Home and Gardens. Our biggest event planned for this year will be a Dinner and Auction (live and silent) to be held on October 17 at the Concord Senior Center. We are planning this to be a grand annual fundraising event. The organizers will have more information on this event later in the year, but please mark it down on your calendars and give us leads as to auction items. Information from our treasurer indicates that the Holiday season at the Galindo Home was quite successful with over $800 in donations, and $900 generated from the Bazaar. For all of 2014, the society raised nearly $148,000 for the renovations and restoration of the Concord Museum and Event Center. As always, we appreciate your support and involvement. Without it there would be no society. I look forward to seeing everyone at the upcoming Annual Meeting and Dinner, and at other upcoming events throughout the year. Your President, Carol Longshore

Concord Historical Society’s Resource Center 1700 Farm Bureau Road Concord (925) 827-3380 Open Tuesdays 1:00 to 4:00 PM Visit us on the web at:

February 2015


Honorary Board of Directors Willard Ballenger Horse Rancher/Breeder and World War II Veteran Dave Brubeck (1920-2012) Musician/Composer

WELCOME NEW MEMBERS David Martin Gordon & Donna Monroe William Zerkle/Emrys Lloyd-Roberts Nancy Henderson

Richard A. Cuneo Winery Executive Joseph L. Campbell Pres. - Contra Costa Water Dist. Hart Fairclough (1924-2013) Educator/Athletic Coach Judith Morgan Author/TV Writer/Painter James Serventi Colonel, U.S. Air Force (Retired)

UPCOMING EVENTS: Annual Membership Dinner & Meeting Thursday, March 19, 2015 at Oakhurst Country Club, Clayton

Spring Tea at the Historic Galindo Home Museum and Gardens Friday May 1, 2 and 3 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), 2015

Summer Social at the Historic Galindo Home Museum and Gardens Sunday, June 21, 2015

Dinner and Auction Concord Senior Center Saturday, October 17, 2015

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February 2015


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Continued from page 1

Concord is now the most populous city in Contra Costa County, and has been for a few years now. We have a rich history that spans 150 years and more; and simply put, we are a community that needs and deserves a history museum. It is wonderful to acknowledge what our non-profit organization has accomplished since acquiring the Galindo Home and Gardens property from the city in 2010. We could not have done it without the participation and support of our membership and benefactors. Since 2011, we have completed what I will refer to as Phases I and II of our Galindo Home and Gardens Museum Project. During Phase I (2011-2012), we completed the renovation of the Galindo House and Gardens at an approximate cost of $320,000. During Phase II (2013-2014), we acquired the lot adjacent to our Galindo Home and Gardens property for our new museum site; installed a new foundation and earthquake retrofit bracing, relocated the old Masonic Temple building to our new site; and repaired and installed new roofing, vents, gutters, and downspouts, at an approximate cost: $730,000. I want to make a specific point. While we have made reference to the Masonic Temple renovation in the past, our goal is not to restore the building to its original use. We saved the building for its historic significance to our city, but the renovated building will serve as our Concord Museum and Event Center. This building will include our Museum, Education and Resource Centers, as well as to provide a venue, along with our Galindo Home and Gardens property, for future Concord Historical Society and community events. While we are excited to see our long term vision develop over these past four years, we know we are only half way there. Our project managers, Chuck Gabrysiak and Lloyd Crenna, have worked diligently to keep us moving forward, and while we have a major ‘fundraising’ challenge ahead of us, the Board is committed and motivated to proceed with Phase III and IV of our project. We will present our ‘Capital Campaign Kickoff’ at our Annual Membership Dinner on March 19, but I would like to provide a brief summary for those of you who may not be in attendance.


Phase III is scheduled for 2015-2016 with an estimated budget of approximately $194,000. Work will include preparation work on the Galindo Home and Gardens property, including drainage, new utility connections, a 40 car parking lot, exterior lighting, installation of a well pump & water storage tank, and gazebo. Additional restoration work on the museum building will continue through the year. Phase IV is scheduled for 2015-2017 with an estimated budget of $875,000. It will focus oncompletion of the Concord Museum and Event Center, which will include a three level addition (Basement, catering kitchen, ground floor lobby, elevator and stairway, and CHS office space). Regarding the funding of Phase III, the Betty Barnes Trust, a major benefactor, has agreed to provide the Concord Historical Society with a $200,000, twenty year loan at 1.0% annual interest. This loan is subject to approval from the City of Concord, which is a condition of our original grant deed. In addition, the society has approximately $225,000 in the museum fund to begin work on Phase IV in 2015. Our goal is to raise the additional $650,000 in funds necessary to complete our project over the next three years. We hope to have our Concord Museum and Event Center fully operational by 2018, but cannot complete this project without the commitment of our membership, local businesses, community and city government. This is an incredible opportunity to leave a lasting legacy to our community and we appreciate your support.

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SPRING TEA AT THE GALINDO HOME By Joan Reed The Tea Committee members are busy planning this year’s Spring Tea. The dates are May 1, 2 and 3, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with sittings at 11:30 AM and 2:00 PM on all three days. Serendipity, Mt. Diablo High School’s student-run restaurant and bakery, will cater the tea again this year. The restaurant, located on the MDHS campus, has a reputation for excellent food and service. What will be served with the tea? Scones of course, served with lemon curd, clotted cream and homemade jam, a variety of delicious sandwiches and the desserts - oh, my! People are still talking about the desserts served last May! The Tea sold out early last year so be sure to make your reservation soon by calling Kathie at (925) 686-0430. You will enjoy both the beautiful setting and the delicious food. The cost is $30 per person. Funds earned from this event will be used to maintain the Galindo Home and for the renovation fund for the Concord Museum and Event Center.

IN MEORY OF JAMES P. BLANK (1934—2015) By John Carlston Former Concord High students, faculty and staff lost a wonderful teacher, colleague, role model and friend with the passing of James P. Blank on January 14, 2015, at age 80. James Blank was a Spanish teacher at Concord High from the time it opened in 1966 to his retirement in 1994. Mr. Blank (commonly referred to as Señor Blank) was one of the most genuinely positive and encouraging teachers I had during my years as a student at Concord High. Always a perfect gentleman, he shared his love and mastery of the Spanish language and Spanish literature with his students in such an up-beat way. Mr. Blank had a deep, rich, clear and emphatic voice, which was perfect for teaching students proper pronunciation and grammar. In an alternate reality, that voice could have propelled him to a career as a radio announcer—it was that smooth. Never a forceful or abrasive teacher, he had the knack of applying just enough pressure, or elevating his voice ever so slightly as the situation demanded in order to encourage performance in students. However, he was by no means a pushover. I had him as a teacher for two years for different levels of Spanish, and in that time I only remember him losing his cool with a student once or twice—they had clearly crossed a line and the offense must have been egregious. He began each of his classes with the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag, in Spanish. James Patrick Blank was born in 1934 in Winona, Minnesota, and while a young child moved with his mother and brother to Cleveland, Ohio following the death of his father. He graduated from Bowling Green University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Foreign Languages. After graduation he served in the US Army in post-World War II occupied Germany. Following his military service he began his teaching career in Ohio, and then received a grant to work towards a Master’s Degree in Spanish at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. It was at New Mexico that he met his wife of 51 years, Nadine, also a Spanish teacher. Mr. and Mrs. Blank together taught Spanish to Peace Corps trainees bound for Latin America. Mr. Blank was the director of the Peace Corps Spanish Language training program as well as an instructor. After the program ended, the Blanks settled in Walnut Creek, CA in 1966, at which time he began his tenure at Concord High. Mrs. Blank went on to be a Spanish teacher at Monte Vista High School in Alamo for many years. Mr. Blank was awarded teacher of the year seven times. I last saw Mr. Blank a couple years after his retirement, running into him at the shopping mall where he was enjoying lunch out with his daughter and young grandchild. We traded our respective stories of ‘life after high school.’ After being so dedicated to educating scores of students for decades he had settled into retirement and his role as a devoted grandfather perfectly. Mr. Blank also enjoyed gardening, which was evidenced by a sizeable landscaping project he undertook at his home in the early 1990s. He was proud of his labor and shared photos of the project with his students at the time. James Blank is survived by his wife, Nadine, son Patrick and his wife Michele, daughter Lara Nelson and her husband Eric, and son Theodore, as well as grandchildren Amanda, Stephen, Ashley, Hannah, Tyler and great grandson, Cole. James Blank had such a profound impact on the lives of so many young people. I will always have fond memories of time spent in his classes, and made lifelong friends with some of my fellow students. In the four years I spent at Concord High, and in all the years since I have never heard anyone criticize or say a bad word about James P. Blank. He will be truly missed by his loving family, his colleagues, and his students.

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DONATIONS Donations—Financial Contributions Museum Building Fund George Baldocchi Catalina Wright Richard & Cheryl Buscaglia Laura Hoffmeister Karen Mangini Jill Lee/Concord Iron Works G. R. Sargent Rhonda Bartlett Bill & Lynette Holly Beverly J. Ginochio Phillip Scott Mr. & Mrs. Gene Dirks Dean McLeod Dick & Wrenetta Dortzbach Jill McKinnon Endicott Carol Gallegos Alice Woodhead Gloria Sears Anthony & Lura Dymond Daniel Campos & Nancy Pratt Peter & Judy Vasconi Willard Ballenger Brad & Jennifer Morimune Gordon & Donna Monroe

Bruce & Joyce McKorkle Jan Cabral William & Jean McDaniels Susan Barclay David & Vicki Maggi George Darrow & Roberta Keeble Vasconi-Belka Realty Tom & Rosamund Wentling Quentin M. Sweeny John & Cornelia Hume Charitable Trust Betty Barnes Trust

In Honor of the Trebino Family Joseph & Meryl Trebino Thomas & Michele Parisi John & Janet Bruno

In Honor of James & Gayle Serventi Catherine Serventi/Eugene Wilson

In Memory of Elmer Carlson Lloyd Crenna Marv & Sandra McKean

In Memory of Kay Massone Margaret Flaugher

In Memory of Jean Allen Myron Allen

In Memory of Armin Keibel John Keibel and Marion Keibel

In Memory of Carl & Ruth Rood, and Richard and Ruth Claussen Bill & Virginia Rood

In Memory of Thomas & Alice Riley, Alice Mary Riley, and Mark J. Sorem Martha Riley

In Memory of Warren “Bud” Anthon Jim & Virginia Villa In Memory of Charlie Rafter

Jim & Virginia Villa

THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY AND CONTINUED SUPPORT WANTED: Volunteers familiar with Illustrator and.or InDesign to design Concord Historical Society banners. The Concord Historical Society would like to create banners with the society’s name, especially for use at the entrance to events such as our annual dinner meeting, various community events, and for ultimate use within our Concord Museum and Event Center. Contact: John Keibel at (925) 686-0525.


Manage the CHS websites.

Be a docent at the Galindo Home to show the Home on Sunday afternoons and by appointment.

Work at the Resource Center Tuesday afternoons or other days as arranged. Lind Higgins at 925-827-3380.

Be our handy man or woman at the Galindo Home and Resource Center. Task includes minor repairs and maintenance.

Assist with gardening at the Galindo Home Gardens. Includes some flower bed care, light weeding and pruning. Make the Garden the beautiful space it can be. (All major work done by a professional gardener.)

Please call the Concord Historical Society’s Resource Center at 827-3380 if you are ready and willing to help.

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DONATIONS Donations—Photos, Artifacts, Library Materials Dan Campos - Concord Jazz Festival tee shirts, 1985, 1986, 1987 Barbara Gabrysiak - Photos, B&W, (6) Class photos Clayton Valley School, 8 th grade 1949 perhaps at the Masonic Temple; 1950, 1951 Mr. Davis, 1952 Miss Dann & Loma Vista Intermediate 1953 7 th grade & 1954 8th grade. Social Security Cards for Henry Neidenbach 1935 & 1937 (her grandfather) Chuck Gabrysiak - Bandanna, Concord Parks & Leisure Services for Lime Ridge Open Space; Paperweights produced by Redevelopment Agency w/miniature documents Encapsulated: Concord Redevelopment Project Tax Allocation Bonds Series C, June 25, 1984; Central Concord Redevelopment Project Tax Allocation Bonds Series A, April 25, 1977. Dishes from City Hall dedication 1967 (2 plates, small bowl) John Keibel - Papers re Bethany Lutheran Church: clippings, history, participation in 1968 Centennial Exposition; bulletins/programs for October 6 & 13 1968; Concord history, clipping, Centennial Commemoration flier, Chamber of Commerce Centennial Issue Marion Keibel - Crown Colony Poultry Seasoning can, cost 19 cents Sandra Kerr - Mt. Diablo High School quilt, signed (& embroidered) by faculty and office staff Beverly Lane - Clipping CC Times April 16, 1989, “Slow sales put auto buyers in the driver’s seat” with photo of Erv Lehmer; correspondence w/Irma Dotson about his father, Lewis E. Lehmer, and his work as a Southern Pacific ticket agent and telegrapher William T. Larkins for Tillie Larkins - 2 boxes of memorabilia primarily about Cowell; including photos and copies of photos, framed, unframed, color & black & white, clippings, newspapers, programs, scrapbook, VHS tapes, sacks from Mt. Diablo Cement, History of Cowell Portland Cement Company, Mt. Diablo 1High School yearbooks, The Diablo, badges, program for Concord’s 4th annual 4th of July Celebration, aerial photos of Concord streets Masonic Temple items removed (by Chuck Gabrysiak) from Masonic Temple prior to refurbishing the upstairs: Nameplates: Mt. Diablo 448; Concord Chapter 384 Order of Eastern Star; Maximum Room Capacity Assembly 418. Cards: Masonic Ode Third Degree; introducing Donna Bennett, Grand Worthy Advisor in Rainbow; candleholder, peep-hole covers (2), keyhole cover, name plate for Mt. Diablo Lodge 448 Louise Turrin - Decorative thermometer from Charlie and Nellie Shoe Repair Shop Tom Wentling - Original 1969 painting by Evelyn Musser for City of Concord seal used on Concord’s flag, No. II of 2 designs

BOOK REVIEW OF ‘THE PORT CHICAGO 50’ By Vivian Boyd It is unusual to write a book review for the Concord Historian, it is even more unusual to write a book review for a Young Adult (YA) novel, but last year an award wining YA book was written, titled the Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights. Researched and written by Steve Sheinkin, it tells the tale of Port Chicago and the explosion that ripped through the town on July 17, 1944, killing 320 service men and injuring many more. Beyond the telling of a terrible military disaster, it describes, in captivating language, the fate of 50 of the surviving sailors who were court marshaled for mutiny because they refused to go back to work loading ammunition at Mare Island in Vallejo without proper training after the explosion that completely destroyed two ships at Port Chicago. Thurgood Marshall becomes involved with their defense; and the face of the military, civil rights and the on-going struggle to exonerate the 50 continues today. Filled with pictures of Port Chicago and the men involved, this rich non-fiction text makes for compelling adult reading. This book helps to put the Black Lives Matter movement into historical perspective. A National Book Award Finalist and a Newbery Honor Winner, The Port Chicago 50 is a ‘must read’ for anyone interested in the compelling history of the area, Civil Rights in America, military history, or the early career of Thurgood Marshall.

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FARMS, IN CONCORD? By Lloyd Crenna Before homes were the primary “ crop” in Concord, fruit and nut orchards, vineyards, wheat fields and cattle ranches covered the land. In fact, beginning in 1868, except for the merchants who had received their land free from the Pacheco family adjacent to Todos Santos Plaza, Concord was primarily populated by farming and ranching families. The town limits were 19 square blocks surrounding the central Todos Santos Plaza. The rest was farms and ranches. The Farm Bureau Hall, now owned by the Concord Historical Society and housing its Resource Center, was built by the farming and ranching community as its meeting hall in 1919. They formed a corporation they called the “Concord Farm Center Club House.” Many informational meetings, pot lucks and socials were held in the Club House. At that time the Club House was about a mile from Todos Santos Plaza and in the middle of orchards. In about 1931, it was purchased by the Mount Diablo Woman’s Club and used as their clubhouse until they disbanded and donated the land and building to the Society in 2010.


What crops were grown in Concord? Apricots, pears, plums, grapes, walnuts and almonds were the primary crops. When most of the Valley’s wineries were closed by their owners following the passage of the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution (The Volstead Act, a.k.a. “Prohibition”) in 1920, the nuts replaced the many vineyards that were in the Walnut Creek, Concord and Clayton valleys. Beginning in 1919 the California Prune and Apricot Growers Association, formed in the Santa Clara Valley in 1917, was joined by several Concord farmers. It soon became a State wide cooperative organization by which the farmers were able to obtain bank loans to plant crops and buy equipment and to engage in concerted publicity, marketing and merchandising under the brand name “Sunsweet.” After each harvest the loans would be repaid. In 1921 the co-op’s bank was the Bank of Italy (later to become Bank of America). The co-op still exists as the Sunsweet Corporation. It claims to be the largest handler of dried fruits in the world. Some of the Concord members of the co-op in the 1920’s were: G. M. Wescott, John F. Busey, Wilhelm J. VanHuckeren, Elizabeth M. Whitman, Pauline A. and Charles Whitman, W. H. Penniman, H. C. Grissingher, E. P. Sweafer, Blonding & Molenard and S. Garaventa.



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CONCORD HISTORIAN NEWSLETTER AD APPLICATION One Year – Four Issues $100.00 Business Card reduced to fit (2 ½” x 1 ¼”) Double size (2 ½” x 3 ½”) $200.00 Date ___________________________ Name _________________________________________________________________________ Company Name _________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ City State Zip Code Business Card Enclosed________

Amount Enclosed_____________

Non-Profit Tax ID No. 23-7094512

PLEASE CONSIDER ADVERTISING WITH US The Concord Historical Society has a steady regular circulation to its membership. Also, we hand out copies of our newsletter at all of our events, as well from our booth at special community events such as those held in Todos Santos Plaza. When it comes to advertising for your business, please consider advertising with us. Thank you.

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CONCORD HISTORICAL SOCIETY MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION NAME (please print): Mailing Address: E-mail Address: Telephone: Annual Membership Categories: Supporting: $30.00; Nonprofit: $30.00; Business: $105.00; Benefactor: $155.00; Life Membership: $505.00 Additional Tax deductible donation: General Fund: Museum Fund: Archive Preservation Fund: Landmark Plaque Fund: Total Amount Enclosed: If you would like to volunteer, please select your choice: School Programs Fund Raising Newsletter Administration Docent Documentation Membership Oral History Walking Tours Research Please clip or copy this membership form, and mail it to the Concord Historical Society at P. O. Box 404, Concord, CA 94522

MISSION STATEMENT The Mission of the Concord Historical Society is to discover, preserve and display objects and materials of significant historical interest, importance and value in relation to Concord and its vicinity, to identify and preserve Concord’s historical structures and to discover, preserve and disseminate knowledge of Concord’s history.

DONATIONS APPRECIATED The Concord Historical Society (CHS) welcomes gifts of funds, stock or property, and bequests in Wills and Trusts or in honor or memory of someone. Because CHS is an all volunteer organization, 100% of your gifts goes to its projects. Unspecified gifts will be placed in the General Fund. All gifts are tax deductible and will be acknowledged personally and in the newsletter unless you request otherwise. Checks should be made out and mailed to: Concord Historical Society, P. O. Box 404, Concord, CA 94522. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.