Archive for the ‘Local History’ Category

Did You Know?

(Gladys Williamson tidying the City Limit sign. From the Gladys Williamson collection.)

Did you know that Alameda County Library has a flickr account? Well, we do! Among the different types of photos posted are: The Castro Valley ground-breaking, Local History photos, and some locally created Read posters. Why not stop by and check us out?

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Social Studies Fact Cards are a series of research resources designed for quick reference for students in grades 4 through 8. The topics covered are those California, United States, and World topics included in the social studies curriculum in California.  For the past years, printed Social Studies Fact Cards have been used extensively in our libraries to help students collect information about California missions, American Indians, explorers, presidents, states, countries, early civilizations, and other topics in social studies.

Do you know you can access them from home, too?  Just go to the the Alameda County Library’s website www.aclibrary.org and click on the “Kids” tab under the banner to go to Kid’s Place.  After you are in Kid’s Place, click on Homework Help and you will see “Social Studies Fact Cards On-line” under “Encyclopedias and other special on-line information sources”.  You will be asked to enter your library card number to access the database.

The Fact Cards database is very easy to use.  From the home page, click on the big category first and you will get a list of topics.  Just click on your topic and your are there.  Here is how the database looks:


 If you need further assistance, you can visit your local library.  The librarians there will be happy to help you.  Good luck with your projects/reports!


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“John C. Fremont Bust” unveiled at the Fremont Main Library

On Tuesday, September 8, the Fremont Main Library was pleased to accept the gift of a bust of John C. Fremont. This beautifully-executed work, sculpted by the late Rex E. Smith, was donated in his memory by his wife, Barbara Smith, and family.

Rex. E. Smith grew up in Manhattan, Kansas and graduated from high school in St. Joe. Missouri. He was a Marine on the aircraft carrier Enterprise when Pearl Harbor was attacked and during the first year of the war.

Rex met Barbara while attending the Naval pre-flight school at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, They spent their first few years of marriage living in the Cordonecis Housing Project in Albany. There Rex developed an interest in John C. Fremont when he met one of his neighbors – the great grandson of General Fremont also named John C. Fremont or “Jack”. Twenty years old at the time, Jack was continuing the family tradition of petitioning the federal government over a land claim. He said “Here I am living in the projects while I’m holding the deed to the Presidio of San Francisco.”

Rex was accomplished in painting, stained glass and wood carving, but had a special talent for clay sculpture. The Fremont bust was sculpted in the mid 60’s. To ensure its durability as a public art display the bust was recently bronzed – a process which surprisingly revealed several additional pieces of detail in the work including the artist’s signature.

John C. Fremont, the namesake of our city, was one of the most flamboyant and controversial figures of the mid-1800’s. He was called “The Pathfinder” for his role as trailblazer across the young continent. He first came to California in 1845 and was struck by the beauty and agricultural possibilities of the Mission San Jose area. He attempted to purchase property here, but his intermediary, Thomas Larkin, bought land in Mariposa instead.

Mayor Bob Wasserman accepted the bust on behalf of the city of Fremont and shared the story of the how the name “Fremont” was chosen. When plans for incorporation were under discussion there were a few suggestions for the new city’s name including “Fremont” and “Mission Valley”. Faced with the need to make a choice or miss the deadline for filing the incorporation paperwork, Wally Pond said “Fremont.”

Tuesday’s presentation coincided with the opening of Fremont Main Library’s new Local History display area which currently features an exhibit about John C. Fremont. Library Manager, Don Nunes also took this occasion to show plans for the new Maurice Marks Center for Local and California History which is currently under development.

The bust is situated on the second floor of the library by the Local History display area. You are invited to view the sculpture and enjoy the display on John C. Fremont.

– Janet

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