Today we know them as districts, sections or areas of our larger cities – Fremont, Newark and Union City, but they were once individual towns. Independent of each other in many respects, the towns and the people who inhabited them also came together as one place, known as Washington Township. Now commonly referred to as the Tri-City Area, the southern portion of the East Bay, and the lowest geographic section of Alameda County, these eight towns still have much history left standing. Explore each place in turn and learn about some of what stood “then” and remains to this day.
Have a place in mind that you’d like to see featured here? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to add your historic place suggestions to this ongoing “then and now” project.
This project is supported by California Revealed and administered in California by the State Librarian. The program is made possible by funding from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act.
An ode to the places in Washington Township
Written by Rev. J. Durham (Resident of Irvington)
from the Special Edition Washington Press, September 1898
(see page 8)
Where tracks and wires and clicks abound,
You going North or South or East or West
Then from Niles you must go and do your best.Quiet Decoto with her shades of green,
Her Endeavor Church, the first to be seen,
A town of order, progress and good will
With Masonic Home on its sunny hill.There’s our Mission too, on the mountain side,
Where the uplifted cross will ever abide,
With its sparkling streams and its olive trees
Where the shady peak greets the summer breeze.There’s busy Newark, with her buzzing saws,
A people of business, order and law.
The car makers shop and all trades abide,
All tempered by the breath of the ebbing tide.But there’s Alvarado, it beats them all,
For day and night workers and chimneys tall,
With her cottage homes and busy street
Where beets are a tender, if sugary sweet.
But better still it’s our High School town,
Where our girls and our boys of highest grade
On foot, cart and wheel seek Academic shade.There is Warm Springs too, a rural retreat,
A first-class school, equipped and right complete,
A church and good people along the road,
Who are happy in home life and doing good.There is pretty Sunol down in the Glen,
But we only hear of her now and then,
She’s like her neighbors in Picturesque hills
Full of orchards and vines and rippling rills.For Pleasanton and Livermore, noted afar
With Vesper brightness as the Shining Stars.
Their beautiful valleys and busy streets,
Their schools of learning and homes complete.But Irvington is above them all
For Seminary Park and Curtner Hall,
With her hundred girls from mountain and dell
In happy Curtner Home, in learning dwell.
The town is lively and every house blest.
Kel Kanady, Photographer
Kel was born and raised in Fremont, so “labor of love” accurately describes her work for the Tri-City Towns: Then & Now Project. Working with the Washington Township Museum of Local History has provided her the opportunity to revisit places from her childhood while discovering hidden gems along the way. Her interest in history overlaps with her love of baseball. Ms. Kanady is considered to be an authority on the history of baseball up to 1947.