The Pinole Historical Society promotes awareness and appreciation of history through preservation and education, and chronicles the city’s heritage for current and future generations.

The Pinole Historical Society is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Tax ID: 23-7441316

Pinole History Museum to honor
former Councilman and Mayor
Pete Murray at October 14
fundraising dinner

Pete Murray, longtime Pinole City Councilman — and seven-time Mayor — will be honored for his contributions to the city and its history at the Pinole History Museum Fundraising Dinner Saturday, October 14, from 6-10 p.m. in the Family Life Center of Valley Bible Church, 1477 Willow Avenue, Hercules.

“Back to the Rancho” is the theme of this year’s fundraising dinner, commemorating the 200th anniversary of the 1823 El Pinole Grant to retired Mexican soldier Ygnacio Martínez, who built his Rancho El Pinole adobe homestead on what is now Pinole Valley Park.

The event will feature a scrumptious sit-down catered dinner by Back Forty Texas BBQ and a fabulous raffle and silent auction.

Pete served on the Pinole City Council from 1992- 2020. His 28 years of service is the second-longest tenure of a council member in the city’s history, tied with Edward M. Downer, founder of the Bank of Pinole, who served from 1910-1938. Louis Ruff, a mid-20th-century merchant, served 33 years (1922-1955).

We look forward to seeing you on October 14 to celebrate the history of our city and honor a man who has been an integral part of that history. Tickets are on sale on the Pinole History Museum website —

San Pablo Historical & Museum Society
will present program at September 8
Pinole Historical Society meeting
at Pinole Sportsmen’s Club

Pinole is not the only city commemorating the 200th anniversary of its modern heritage this year.

San Pablo, our neighbor to the west, shares an equally interesting history with Pinole, benefactor of the 1823 El Pinole Grant to Mexican soldier Ygnacio Martínez, which began the early modern history of our city.

This year San Pablo is commemorating the bicentennial of the 1823 Rancho San Pablo land grant, gifted by Governor Luís Antonio Argüello to Francisco María Castro (1775–1831), a former soldier at the San Francisco Presidio and one-time alcalde (chief administrative and judicial officer) of the Pueblo of San José.

On Friday, September 8, historians Roxy Miraválle and David Anaya from the San Pablo Historical & Museum Society will present a program about the 17,939-acre grant that eventually encompassed the city of San Pablo, as well as what is now Richmond, El Cerrito, and Kensington.

The public is invited to attend this FREE Pinole Historical Society event at the Pinole Sportsmen’s Club, 201 Piñon Avenue. Refreshments will be served.

Pinole History Museum installs
Ellerhorst exhibit at Mechanics Bank

While the long-term goal of the Pinole History Museum is to establish a permanent home, one objective that’s always present is to stay true to our mission, which is to “enhance the preservation and collection of artifacts that represent Pinole history and culture.”

It’s with great pleasure that we announce the installation of our first pop-up history exhibit at Mechanics Bank in the Pinole Valley Shopping Center.

This exhibit explores the history of one of the most significant families of 20th-century Pinole — the Ellerhorsts.

It’s the first of several exhibits the Pinole History Museum plans to install in schools and businesses throughout the community.

Please stop by Mechanics Bank to view the exhibit, and let us know your ideas about future exhibits as we continue to fulfill another part of our mission: “to educate and inspire Pinole residents’ community affiliation and civic pride.”

Our email is We hope to hear from you.

Thanks to Belinda Espinosa, Diane Dyer, Jo Ann Gannotti, and Jeff Rubin, volunteer board members of the Pinole History Museum and Pinole Historical Society, for setting up this exhibit. And to Matthew Pourabedin, who sold us the display case when he closed his El Sobrante gift shop, and showed us how to fit the glass shelves.

George Vincent receives
Lifetime Historian Award
at Pinole History Museum dinner

George Vincent wrote in Images of America: Pinole about the cycle of life in Pinole in the early part of the 20th century:

“A person was brought into the world by Dr. Manuel Fernandez, attended Pinole-Hercules School #1, married a local sweetheart, worked at the Hercules Powder Company or Union Oil Company, and left the world via undertaker Charlie Ryan.”

What he left out is that most people who lived in 20th century Pinole – and for that matter, many in the 21st century – were taught by someone in the Vincent family. First, it was his mother, Emily Scanlan Vincent, who taught for 40-plus years, and then by George for 42 years.

Here we are, all these years later, and we are still being taught by George Vincent – whether it’s by reading one of the magnificent local history books he’s written, participating in one of his walking tours of historic downtown Pinole, been a fourth-grade student in a Pinole school and listened to one of his Pinole history programs, or reading his thoughtful, melodic stories in the PHS newsletter, Newsbriefs.

George is a master storyteller, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that Pinole would have little recorded or written history if it were not for George Vincent.

It was a pleasure, and an honor, to present George with the society’s Lifetime Historian Award at the Pinole History Museum’s September 24 Fundraiser and Dinner.


The combined boards of the Pinole Historical Society and Pinole History Museum worked for months preparing for the museum dinner, soliciting raffle and silent auction prizes, assembling the prizes, selling tickets, distributing flyers, doing publicity, and planning every aspect of the onsite event.

We are already discussing improvements and enhancements for the 2023 dinner so we can make it a signature event for Pinole.

Anyone who has worked on producing an event of this size knows how much work is involved. I am extremely grateful to the all-volunteer board members for the many hours they devoted to making the dinner a success – and helping the museum raise more than $10,000, after expenses:

Pinole Historical Society Board: Jo Ann Gannotti, Mary McMains, Carol White, Pete Murray, Norma Martínez-Rubin, and Jeff Rubin. Pinole History Museum: Belinda Espinosa, Cyndie Sprinkel, Diane Dyer, and Jeff Rubin.

Watch Pinole Historical Society
programs on PHS YouTube channel

Looking for a good local history program to watch? Look no further than the Pinole Historical Society’s YouTube channel, created by Pinole History Museum board member Alec Jason.

Alec reformatted more than a decade’s worth of PHS programs and uploaded them to the society’s YouTube channel.

To view these videos go to YouTube and enter PINOLE HISTORICAL SOCIETY in the search bar, or CLICK HERE

Among the most recent additions is the very popular Zoom program architect Mike Woldemar did for the society last July. Mike designed many buildings in Pinole during his long career, including the Pinole Youth Center, Del Monte Shopping Center, Pinole Depot Plaza, Crocketts Premier Auto Body and the Contra Costa County Animal Shelter, Pear Street Bistro, and Heritage Park, including site improvements and the rose garden for the Faria House.

Among the 40-plus videos include:

GEORGE VINCENT’S two walking tours of historic downtown Pinole.
THE PINOLE MURAL: Wells Fargo Bank produced this video about the history of Pinole. The mural hangs on a rear wall in the bank ’s s Pinole office on Fitzgerald Drive.
FIESTA DEL PINOLE 1962, 1963, 1964, and 1965 parades, courtesy of PHS member Jim Payne
AN INTERVIEW WITH TWO MAYORS: Former mayors Jack Meehan and Tom Cutino spin political tales and how they saved Fitzgerald Drive —and the sales-tax dollars its shopping centers produce — for Pinole.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?: How Pinole streets got their names, and the characters behind those names.
THE LOST CITIES OF THE EAST BAY, presented by author, historian, and college professor John Robinson.
THE HISTORY OF 610 QUINAN STREET, presented by Linda Lopes Rosedahl, the third generation of her family to live on Quinan Street.
THE PRESIDENTIAL ROSIES: Former Rosie the Riveters recount their World War II experiences at the Kaiser Shipyards and their 2014 visit to then-Vice President Joe Biden at the White House to get national recognition for the women who worked in the World War II ship-yards and factories.
VETERANS DAY Memorial and Flag Retirement Ceremonies from 2008 to 2019.

We’d be grateful if you give our videos a THUMBS UP! Thank you.

PHS photo
archives online
via our
collections management system

Many of the nearly 1,000 photos in the Pinole Historical Society archives are now available for online public viewing and purchase via CatalogIt, the society's cloud-based Collections Management System. We hope to complete the upload our our entire photo collection, and include images of our artifacts, in 2023.