Commentary by Amador Livermore Valley Historical Society
First Presbyterian Church - Pleasantons first church was the quaint colonial revival building at the corner of Neal and Second Streets built in 1876 on property purchased from Joshua Neal for $250. The church with a seating capacity of 250 was built for $2500. Rev C. W. Anthony served as the first pastor with 19 charter members. In 1884 new benches and a pulpit were intalled and the aisles carpeted. In 1888 the church was moved back on the lot and set on a brick foundation. A complete remodeling was undertaken in 1923 and in 1929 a combined Social Hall and Sunday School Building was added at a cost of $10,000. This building was sold to Amador Valley Baptist Church when the Presbyterian Church moved to a new larger site in 1979.
Pleasanton Hotel - Built by John Kottinger in 1864, the hotel was originally named The Farmers Hotel. A general store was located in the front of the original building. In 1893 Board and Lodging at the hotel was $5 per week, and single meals went for $.25. The hotel has had several owners over the years. In 1898 the original Farmers Hotel burned to the ground. Reimers who owned the hotel at the time immediately began the erection of a new building. In 1915 a second fire destroyed the rear area of the hotel which at that time was a dining room. In the late 1920s the name of the hotel was the Riverside Hotel. The name Pleasanton Hotel was taken sometime in the 1940s after the original Pleasanton Hotel (at another location on Main Street) burned. For many years the hotel has been a restaurant only with offices upstairs. In 1983 the business portion of the hotel was purchased by Bill Laube.
Hacienda del Pozo de Verona - (now Castlewood Country Club) The fifty room Spanish-Moorish Hacienda del Pozo de Verona designed by Oakland archetect Julia Morgan for Phoebe Apperson Hearst was located on 500 acres outside Pleasanton. It was named for the 15th century wellhead which son William Hearst had shipped from Verona, Italy. The well was used as a fountain in the large courtyard entry. Elaborate metal gates, crafted by Italian artisan Cellini led to the banquet hall overlooking the valley below and Mount Diablo to the north. The approach to the Hacienda was up a long palm lined driveway that curved around a hill beautifully landscaped by Luther Burbank. Phoebe Hearst moved into the Hacienda in 1899 and made it her home til her death in 1919. Fire destroyed it in 1969.
|Pleasanton Town Hall - Designed by William Binder, The Old Town Hall was built in 1914 at a cost of $10,000 on land donated to the City of Pleasanton by the Pleasanton Womens Club who raised money by having socials, music recitals, and suppers. The building originally housed the entire City of Pleasanton staff, City Council Chambers, Womens Club meeting room, and the Public Library. As the City expanded, the Police Department took over the building. In 1984 the Amador Livermore Valley Historical Society leased the building from the City and spent a year and a half restoring it. In 1985, The Amador Livermore Valley Museum opened at its new location.
Kottinger Adobe Barn - Built by John Kottinger in 1852, Kottingers adobe barn is the oldest building in Downtown Pleasanton. While Kottinger served as Justice of the Peace for Murray Township in the mid 1800s, court was held in his house and prisoners were jailed in the corner of his adobe barn. To handle prisoners, he constructed a tunnel from his home to the jail. When Kottinger retired in 1870, he sold the house and barn which was later rennovated to house the Kottinger Barn Antique shop.
Pleasanton Sign - The Pleasanton Womens Club held fundraising events - card parties, raffles, box socials - to raise $532 to purchase the Pleasanton neon sign which originally had a blue background. The City of Pleasanton purchased the iron support poles for a cost to taxpayers of $91. The "electrified sign" as many referred to it was wired by Samual Elliott. A double set of horns and lights perched atop the sign were added later and were used when there was only one policeman on the beat. When he was out of the station and there was a telephone call, the horn would blow until he got back to the station and answered the call. At night the lights flashed to avoid waking sleeping townspeople. During World War II, the horns were used to signal an air raid, and in the 1950s they called volunteer firemen to duty. The Pleasanton sign is an important community symbol with the long standing tradition of hanging banners from the steel framework to advertise local events and bring local residents together to enjoy community acivities and events.
Hansen-Orloff Dairy - As hop growing declined in the early 1900s, the hop fields were replaced by large dairies. The Hansen-Orloff Dairy operated two dairies from 1919, one at the corner of Black and Santa Rita and one on Hopyard Road, providing milk for Bay Area residents. In 1947 the dairies were divided into two separate operations by the partners. Both dairies eventually ceased operation and were sold for development.
Railroad - The arrival of the first train in Pleasanton in 1869 guaranteed that this tiny village would become a principal center of commerce and culture like many other towns serviced by the railroad. In the early days some people commuted to work or school in Oakland or San Francisco by train. The "paper train" arrived at 1:00 a.m. delivering the daily newspaper. The coming of the railroad was a boon to agricultural enterprises who shipped their products by rail and resulted in new growth in the community.
|Roses - From 1946 to 1964 Pleasanton was home to Jackson Perkins who claimed to be "The Worlds Largest Rose Growers." Their headquarters was located on Main Street, and a rainbow of fragrant blooms graced the fields outside of town where the company raised rose bushes. Pleasantons City Flower is the red Don Juan Rose developed by Jackson Perkins.
Grapevines - The first commercial vineyards and winery in Alameda County were established in the 1850s by J. W. Kottinger at Pleasanton. On part of his land, which is today the Vintage Hills housing subdivision, he planted grapevine cuttings from his native Austria. The planting was very successful and in a few years, wine was being sold at his winery. When Joseph Black purchased the last portion of El Rancho del Valle de San Jose from Bernal, there was a vineyard on the property. Black, wishing to subdivide and sell the 7000 acres he had bought, planted vineyards, and in a short time he sold large tracts to vintners.
Hops - At one time Pleasanton was one of the worlds largest hop producers. In 1893 the Pleasanton Hop Company (located at the corner of Black Avenue and Santa Rita Road) purchased 300 acres for hop culture and built the most modern processing facility of the time. Hop fields lined what is now Hopyard Road until World War I when the European import market declined.
Quail - An abundance of wildlife including the California Quail make their home in the foothills around Pleasanton. A covy of quail can often be spotted parading from under the brush of the oak studded hills; some have even taken up residence in residential areas.
The Pleasanton Race Track, one of the oldest in the state, was laid out by the Bernals in the 1860s as a training oval and a recreation area for local Spaniards. The track soon became recognized as "the place to race"horses. In 1876 Joseph Nevis took over the racetrack and built the first grandstand. In the early 1900s George Hearst was an active breeder and racer of trotting horses and often raced at the Pleasanton Trotting Park as it was known then. In 1940 the track was sold to Alameda County and became part of the Alameda County Fairgrounds with racing held annually each summer.
Kolln Hardware - The "White Corner" as it was known in the 1890s, has been a Main Street landmark since the late 1800s when it was built by Charles Bruce for Charles Wise who had started a tinsmith shop on the site in 1869. The original tinsmith building was moved around the corner to Division Street and still stands adjacent to the back of Kolln Hardware. The Lewis brothers bought the hardware store in 1891 and operated it until 1905 when it was purchased by Cruikshank and Kolln. In 1933 Herman Kolln became the sole owner and later his son John C. (Jack) took over. The business was sold in 1983 when Jack retired.