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.


‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’
our February 12, 2016 program

The Pinole Historical Society will kick off its 2016 series of programs with a sports focus.

Mike LeFebvre (photo, right), longtime high school and college coach and current Guest Services representative for the San Francisco Giants, will chronicle the history of baseball in Pinole in Take Me Out to the Ballgame, on Friday, February 12, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in Conference Rooms 2A and 2B of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Office Building, 1301 Pinole Valley Road. Refreshments will be served.

With baseball Spring Training camps opening in Arizona and Florida the following week, we thought this would be an appropriate time to feature our city’s participation in our National Pastime.

Four players who attended Pinole Valley High School have played Major League baseball. They are:
Dale Sveum, a coach for the World Champion Kansas City Royals, who enjoyed a 12-year playing career as an infielder with the Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Oakland A’s, Seattle Mariners, Pittsburgh Pirates, and New York Yankees;
Chris Singleton, who played six seasons as a centerfielder for the Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Oakland A’s, and Tampa Bay Devil Rays;
Jeff Harris, a right-handed pitcher for the Seattle Mariners for two seasons;
Nathan Haynes, an outfielder for two seasons with the Anaheim Angels and Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Major League teams have drafted 16 players from Pinole Valley High School and one Pinole resident, Kenny Burrow, a catcher who played for De Anza High School before PVHS was built. Burrow didn't play Major League baseball, but he played five seasons as a wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League.

In addition to these baseball players, Pinole has produced several all-star softball players, including Anne Walsh and Stephanie Tamayo, who will also be profiled during this program.

Many PVHS athletes were coached by Mike LeFebvre, who taught math and physical education at Pinole Valley High School, where he coached softball (15 years), football (10 years), and basketball (10 years).

He later coached softball at Contra Costa College for 10 years and baseball for three years at Will C. Wood High School in Vacaville.

Mike's father, Lawrence “Big Red” LeFebvre, founded and managed the Pinole Merchants, one of the Bay Area’s best semi-pro teams, in the late 1930s. He returned to Pinole after serving in World War II and resumed managing the Merchants.

Mike works part-time for the Giants, where “I mostly talk about baseball with the fans,” he says. “But I also show you where to get garlic fries, where the bathroom is, and if somebody is in your seat, I’ll throw them out for you.”

For more information, call (510) 724-9507.

‘Pinole Through Time’ on sale
via mail order PHS meetings

The latest book by the acclaimed new America Through Time series published by Fonthill Media, Pinole Through Time contains 192 old and new comparative photographs showing how Pinole changed through the 19th and 20th centuries and into the 21st century.

There are detailed and extensive captions packed with historical information accompanying each photograph.

We will resume selling Pinole Through Time and all of our other history books about Contra Costa County cities at the Pinole Farmers’ Market in April (we are taking the first quarter off).

Until then, CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOUR BOOK(S) and we will mail them to you. We now accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover charge cards

2016 PHS programs at
Kaiser Permanente

Friday, February 12: “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Join longtime coach and current San Francisco Giants Guest Services representative Mike LeFebvre for a program on the history of baseball in Pinole. There will be lots of fun stories and great photos. The public is invited to this FREE event. Refreshments will be served.

Friday, May 13 (Annual Meeting): The Contra Costa County Historical Society (CCCHS) operates a major archival collection documenting the history of the county at its Contra Costa History Center at 724 Escobar Street, in Martinez. CCCHS representatives will describe the collection, consisting of letters, diaries, manuscripts of writings, legal records, photographs, maps, newspapers, periodicals, and books. The public is invited to this FREE event. Refreshments will be served.

Friday, September 9: Beverly Lane, former mayor of Danville and curator of the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, will speak about the history of the San Ramon Valley, which has many parallels to the history of West Contra Costa County. Beverly is the author of the recently published book, “San Ramon Chrinocles: Stories of Bygone Days.” The public is invited to this FREE event. Refreshments will be served.

Friday, November 4: Program to be announced

PHS programs on the City of Pinole website

These Pinole Historical Society programs may now be viewed on your computer via the city’s website. To watch these programs on your computer, go to the City of Pinole’s website. Scroll down to PINOLE HISTORY. You’ll find these and other programs about Pinole’s history.

They include:
• 2012 Veterans Day Memorial/Flag Retirement
• 2013 Veterans Day Memorial/Flag Retirement
• 2014 Veterans Day Memorial/Flag Retirement
• Japanese American Internment (2012)
• Old School bell dedication (2013)
• February 7, 2014, program: ‘Bars, Barbers and Characters of Early Pinole.’
• November 7, 2014, program: ‘Maritime Contra Costa County.’

Pinole featured on KGO radio

KGO radio reporter Jennifer Jones Lee interviewed PHS Vice President Jeff Rubin to discover the origin of the word “Pinole.” Listen to the segment here.

Wells Fargo Bank history mural
dedicated, open to the public

Wells Fargo Bank unveiled its mural of Pinole’s history on July 25, 2013, 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.

Historical videos 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.

Historic Walking
Tour on
Google Maps

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.

Public welcome
at monthly PHS
board meetings

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 and programs.

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.

Two library
exhibits celebrate
Pinole’s history

Through the generosity of the Pinole Library, the Pinole Historical society has two 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.

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.).

Police department
history page
is on the
city’s website

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!