PHS planning ceremony for
installation of Old School bell
The West Contra Costa Unified School District has installed a bronze plaque on the wall behind the
“Old School” bell at Collins Elementary School, and the Pinole Historical Society is planning a brief ceremony
early in 2014 to commemorate and celebrate the restoration of the last remnant of the Pinole-Hercules School #1.
The school was in service from 1906 to 1966. It was demolished in 1968.
The school bell that rang several generations of Pinole and Hercules students to class was installed
next to the Collins Elementary School multi-purpose room by a crew of expert West Contra
Costa Unified School District maintenance workers on June 26, 2013.
The installation of the bell concluded a five-year effort by the Pinole Historical Society
Board of Directors to have the bell refurbished and placed on display in a public setting for
all Pinoleans to enjoy.
The West Contra Costa Unified School District rescued the bell from its outdoor location at Pinole
Middle School, where it had been subject to the elements for several decades. The bell, rusted and pock-marked,
was placed in storage in several locations until recently, when the WCCUSD sent the bell for restoration. The
bell was sandblasted, power-coated with a satin black finish, and sealed.
The PHS is grateful that the school district recognized the value of the bell to the Pinole community and went
to great lengths to have it preserved, restored, and placed on display. Thanks to Charles Ramsey, Dr. Bruce Harter,
Wendell Greer, Bill Fay, Luis Freese, and Jim Edward for making this happen.
PHS announces 2014 meeting dates
at Kaiser Medical Office Building
Attendance for our quarterly membership programs on Fridays was good in 2013, so we thought we’d continue
on this day in 2014. As always, we will have an interesting program for you at each meeting.
The 2014 meetings will be held February 7, May 2, September 5, and November 7 in conference rooms
2A and 2B of the Kaiser Permanante Medical Office Building. The May 2 meeting will be our Annual Meeting, at which
directors are elected and any by-laws changes will be voted upon by our members.
Wells Fargo Bank history mural
dedicated, open to the public
Wells Fargo Bank unveiled its mural of Pinole's history on July 25 in a ceremony that featured descendants
of prominent Pinole residents in the mural in a video, talking about their families and their contributions
to the city’s history.
Mike and Michele LeFebvre, son and daughter of Lawrence “Big Red” LeFebvre, manager of the Pinole Merchants
baseball team, and Susan Fernandez, great-granddaughter of Bernardo Fernandez, one of the founders of Pinole,
were featured in the video produced by the bank’s communications department. All three attended the event.
The 12-foot by 4-foot mural was installed on the back wall of the bank at 1374 Fitzgerald Drive.
Pinole Historical Society President Marcia Kalapus and Vice President Jeff Rubin, along with Councilman
Roy Swearingen, Chamber of Commerce President Dina Rosales, and Wells Fargo Bank Regional President
Micky Randhawa, made brief remarks before the nearly six-minute video was shown to attendees.
Click here to view the Pinole Mural video on your computer.
The video is also being shown on Pinole Community TV, channel 28.
The mural includes images of a map of the El Rancho Pinole land grant, the Martinez Adobe, downtown Pinole
in the 1920s, Lawrence “Big Red” LeFebvre, who managed the Pinole Merchants baseball team,
the Pinole-Hercules School (the Old School), the Pinole Fire Department (and Chief Wallace “Pepper” Martin)
in the early 1950s, the 1904 class of the Plaza School (featuring teacher Frances Ellerhorst), the original
Santa Fe depot, Hercules Powder Works employees, Bernardo Fernandez, and the seal of the city of Pinole.
Wells Fargo Bank welcomes visitors to its Pinole branch to view the mural, which is accompanied by a legend
that explains the history of each image.
This mural is one of many in Wells Fargo’s Community Mural Program, which provides a unique
visual enhancement to the customer experience in the bank's branches. Designed to be a snapshot of
Turn-of-the[Last]-Century America, historic images are chosen that convey a sense of history,
tradition, stability, longevity, optimism, and progress.
A typical mural design combines Wells Fargo images and local images that reflect the history and
diversity of the community. An accompanying legend describes each historical image used
in the mural, and credits the source. The Pinole Historical Society provided Wells Fargo with
all of the local photos and images.
In return, Wells Fargo donated $500 to the Pinole Historical Society, for which we are very grateful.
Students win essay-contest awards
Students at Collins, Ellerhorst, Shannon, and St. Joseph schools were awarded certificates of merit for their
participation in the fifth annual Pinole Historical Society Essay Contest. Awards were given June 3 and 4.
This year, students were asked to write essays about “What Makes a Community Like Pinole so Special?”
Eight students won grand prizes — a Target gift card and a copy of the book, Images of America: Pinole,
for their superior essays.
The grand-prize winners were:
• Shannon Elementary School: Madisonn Browning (second grade) and Isabelle Tehrani (fifth grade).
This was the second time Isabelle won the contest’s grand-prize. She also won in 2012.
• Collins Elementary School: Jonathan Tesfa, Andrea Perez, and Justine De La Cruz. All are in the fourth grade.
• St. Joseph School: Sabir Seth (kindergarten), Ashley Maravilla (third grade), and Carlyn Wisherop (eighth grade).
The Pinole Library was honored for its extraordinary support of historic preservation activities in Pinole on May 17, 2012,
at the Pinole Historical Society Annual Membership Meeting at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Office Building.
Librarians Ian Richards and Tim Madigan, and Friends of the Library board member Elaine Sturtevant, were recognized for their
efforts in preserving the city’s history.
In addition to allowing the PHS to use three of the library’s exhibit cases,
there are photo exhibits of old Pinole and a photo exhibit featuring images from the Pinole Police
Department’s archives on the library’s walls. The latter display was assembled by former
Pinole Police Commander Matthew Messier, who gave two wonderful presentations to PHS members in recent years.
The PHS and the Pinole Library are working on more history programs for our community.
on city's website
The city of Pinole’s website is featuring several historical videos
of interest to Pinole residents, courtesy of Pinole Community TV.
These videos may be enjoyed on your computer from the
City of Pinole’s website:
• PCTV Historic Walking Tour series
• Interview with Jack Meehan and Tom Cutino
• George Vincent’s 2010 walking tour of Historic Downtown Pinole
• George Vincent’s 2011 walking tour of Historic Downtown Pinole
• Interview with Ed LeFebvre
• Interview with Charlotte Shea
• Interview with Alex Clark
• Pinole Historical Society Book Signing Ceremony
• 2011 Veterans Day Memorial and Flag Retirement Ceremony
• 2010 Veterans Day Memorial and Flag Retirement Ceremony
• 2009 Veterans Day Memorial and Flag Retirement Ceremony
• 2008 Veterans Day Memorial and Flag Retirement Ceremony
• Growing up Pinole
Clyde Maskal made a 13-minute slideshow of the 2012 Veterans Day Memorial and Flag Retirement
Ceremony from many of the photos he took at the event.
Click here to view Clyde’s slide show.
Listen to audio of
February 18, 2010
Det. Sgt. Matt Messier of the Pinole Police Department gave a fascinating presentation on the history
of the Pinole Police Department, with particular emphasis on the 1929 murder of Pinole Constable
Arthur (Jerry) McDonald during the robbery of the Rodeo branch of the Bank of Pinole.
Listen to Det. Sgt. Messier's presentation.
Through the generosity of the Pinole Library, the Pinole Historical society has three exhibits at the library,
each giving visitors different information on the history of our city.
Our exhibits include:
• Pinole . . . Then and Now features photos from the society’s archives of buildings
that existed at the turn of the 20th century, and recent photos of buildings on those sites today.
• The National Preservation Month exhibit features artifacts, photos, and memorabilia
from Pinole’s history.
• The Early Ranches of Pinole traces the geography of rolling hills and fertile soil
that produced a ranching and farming culture that drove Pinole’s economy before
and after the town’s incorporation in 1903.
Library hours are Monday (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Wednesday (2 to 8 p.m.), Friday (noon to 5 p.m.),
and Saturday (noon to 5 p.m.).
at monthly PHS
The PHS Board of Directors meets on the second Wednesday of every month from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the
Pinole Senior Center. At these meetings the board discusses policies and procedures, receives reports, and plans events
The public is welcome at these meetings and may speak on any item on the agenda. There is also a public-comment time
at the beginning of each meeting for people to speak on items not on the agenda.
See the new Pinole Police History page on the city’s website.
You will learn about Wild-West shootouts, cattle drives downtown, 1920s gangsters, World War II sabotage,
Fiesta Del Pinole riots, and other historical events you had no idea had occurred!
Learn about Pinole’s first lawmen, like saloon-owning Constable John Collins and rough-and-tumble Arthur McDonald,
who was killed during a shootout in 1929. See how the Pinole Police Department grew from one famous, ticket-writing
motorcycle cop to a professional, modern police force. Read about the three officers who paid the ultimate sacrifice
for this community when they took on violent criminals.
The new Pinole Police History page is full of
great, colorful stories and fun pictures! You will feel like you’re walking through time!
The PHS thanks supporter Tom Parsons, who was kind enough to make
Google Map of the Pinole Historic Walking Tour.
Check out Tom’s handiwork here.