Historical Papers


Adventures of Peter Decoto (PDF) — In January 1938, the Hayward Daily Review published a series of 5 articles on Peter Decoto and his adventures during the Alaskan Gold Rush of 1898. These articles have been digitized and presented in this paper.

Airfields of Washington Township (PDF) — From their start in 1911 to their final days in 2006, Washington Township had a number of airfields. Tim Swenson researched and wrote this article about the airfields located within Washington Township, Alameda County, California.

Charles S. Eigenbrodt Civil War Hero (PDF) — Charles Eigenbrodt was a Civil War hero who lived in Alvarado, Washington Township, Alameda County, California. Researched and written by Tim Swenson

Crash of Flight 615 (PDF) — The crash of United Airlines flight 615 in 1951 remains one of California’s worst air disasters. Researched and written by Tim Swenson.

Decoto Walking Tour (PDF) — A walking tour of the historic community of Decoto. Researched and organized by Tim Swenson.

Know History Brochure (PDF) — A printable (8.5in. by 17in.) brochure for our local history buffs. This document includes locations and contact information for historical groups throughout Washington Township–Fremont, Union City and Newark.

Researching & Writing Local History (PDF) — Most people research local history because they want to know more. They want to know more about who, what, and when. Once they know this, it is a short step to writing about it and documenting what was discovered. Writing it down can help organize the history that has been discovered. Written by Tim Swenson

Scandinavian Oystermen of Alvardo (PDF) — The commercial oyster industry in the San Francisco Bay area started in 1869 with the importation of eastern oysters and the establishment of oyster beds on the bay. Written by Tim Swenson

The Poppy Nymph (PDF) — Sculpture by Jo Mora.


California Nursery Company — The story of John Rock and the California Nursery Company by Newark student Nick Kirk.

California Nursery Company History (PDF) — The site of the California Nursery originally formed part of the vast grazing lands of Mission San Jose.

Driscoll Road – It’s the Berries (PDF) — Driscoll Road was named for the Driscoll brothers of strawberry fame. Donald and Richard Driscoll came to California from County Cork, Ireland, in the 1890s. They started raising strawberries in the Watsonville area and soon expanded into Washington Township. Conditions were ideal in both areas because of a long growing season.

Dry Creek Cottage & Gardens Tour (PDF) — Dry Creek Cottage & Gardens Tour: This self-guide tour covers the history of Dry Creek Cottage & Gardens, part of Garin/Dry Creek/Pioneer Regional Park, and details the different buildings on the property.

Lost Wineries and Vineyards of Fremont, California (PDF) — At one time southern Alameda County was a premier wine region of California with thousands of acres of vineyards and scores of wineries.

Shinn Family Contributions to the Community (PDF) — Pioneer agriculturalists and nursery owners, in 1856 James and Lucy Shinn were at the forefront of Alameda County early settlement after California statehood.


Alvarado Boy (PDF) — A historical fiction about growing up in Alvarado in the 1880’s. Researched and written by Tim Swenson.

Alvarado’s Chinatown / Little Tijuana (PDF) — An in-depth look at the final days of the seedy section of Alvarado as it was shutdown by the authorities. Written by Anthony Gualco.

Alvarado Elementary – History Presentation (PDF) — Slide presentation of the history of the Alvarado School District and Alvarado Elementary School.

Alvarado Elementary – History Presentation (PowerPoint)— Slide presentation of the history of the Alvarado School District and Alvarado Elementary School.

Alvarado Elementary – History Report (PDF) — History of the Avarado School District and Alvarado Elementary School, from 1850 to about 1965.

Alvarado Elementary – Study Guide (PDF) — Study guide for the history of the Alvarado Elementary School.

Alvarado in 1850 (PDF) — A detailed history of Alvarado (Union City & New Haven) from it’s beginning in 1850 until 1870.

Analysis of Census Records of Alvarado, California (PDF) — Analysis of Alvarado’s Census Records between the years of 1860 to 1930. Alvarado was one of the five large unincorporated towns in Washington Township before becoming part of Union City.

Walking tour of Alvarado (PDF) — A self-guided tour of Union City’s historic Alvarado district. Prepared by Tim Swenson.


Galiendo-Higuera Adobe (PDF) — A history of the Galiendo-Higuera Adobe prepared as a joint project by the Mission Peak Heritage Foundation, the Washington Township Historical Society and the Museum of Local History.

Homes of Vallejo Street (PDF) — From 1860 on, the west side of Vallejo Street, in Union City, was the place to own a home. This paper documents the homes and their well-known owners.

Two Courthouses (PDF) — In-depth analysis of two pictures of the Alameda County Courthouse in Alvarado.

Veterans Memorial Building (PDF) — A Museum sponsored page about the building of the Veterans Memorial Building in the Niles District of Fremont.

Union City

Early Families of Union City (PDF) — Paper detailing the early families of Union City from the 1850’s until about the 1940’s. Written by Timothy Swenson.

History of African-Americans in the Union City Area (PDF) — Report that covers the limited history of African-Americans in the Union City area, from 1850 to about 1950.

Looking Back — Early Glimpses of Union City (PDF) — What did early Southern Alameda County look like? How did its people live? Who were some of the settlers in the communities of New Haven, Union City, Alvarado and Decoto? Each chapter is a story of families or events in those communities. Published by the City of Union City, Copyright 1978

Union City History Blog (PDF) — Tim Swenson’s Union City History Blog — A year’s worth of a weekly history blog from unioncity.patch.com

Union City History Collection (PDF) — Union City History Collection — A collection of articles on Union City history. Histories of the founding of Union City in Washington Township, Alameda County, California. Researched and written by Tim Swenson.

Union City Pioneer Genealogical Database (ZIP) — The Union City Pioneer Genealogical Database is a single GEDCOM file with 340 early residents of Union City (both Alvarado and Decoto). This is a ZIP file which will be downloaded to your computer.

1868 Earthquake

1868 earthquake — Damage in the East Bay and Centerville

Hayward Earthquake — Great Quake of 1868 (PDF) — California experienced many quakes before the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. The 1868 quake was a major earthquake on the Hayward Fault that changed the history of Alameda County, California. This article was researched and written by Tim Swenson.