“KABOOM: Secret Stories of the
Hercules Powder Works, the World’s Largest Explosives Factory,”
our May 8 quarterly program
Author and Hercules Historical Society historian Stephen Lawton
will provide a glimpse into the interesting history and stories of
this more than 100-year-old explosives factory that gave the city its name.
Though the powder works sometimes went boom in the night (and day),
the facility played a significant and decisive role in the U.S. Army’s
containment of fires started by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and
produced much of the explosives used by Allied forces in World War I and World War II.
The public is invited to this FREE event on Friday, May 8, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in
Conference rooms 2A and 2B, Kaiser Permanente Medical Office Building,
1301 Pinole Valley Road.Refreshments will be served.
Also, directors of the society will be elected at this meeting, our annual meeting.
For more information on Pinole Historical Society activities and
the history of Pinole, please visit the PHS website at www.PinoleHistoricalSociety.org,
or call (510) 724-9507.
2015 PINOLE HISTORICAL SOCIETY MEETING DATES
(All at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Office Building from 6:30 to 8 PM)
• Friday, May 8, Conference rooms 2A and 2B
• Friday, September 11, Conference rooms 2A and 2B
• Friday, November 6, Conference rooms 1A and 1B
Recent PHS programs added
to 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.
• 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 students competing in
2015 history essay contest
Flyers announcing the 2015 Pinole Historical Society essay contest have been
distributed at all Pinole schools.
Students are being asked to write an essay of no more than 250 words answering this question:
“How would you describe an American?” Students at Collins, Ellerhorst,
Shannon, and Stewart elementary schools, St. Joseph School, Pinole Middle School, and
Pinole Valley High School are participating.
The essays will be collected the first week in March and Mayor Peter Murray will present certificates grand prizes
to students who wrote the best essays at each of the schools.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.).
is on the
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!