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.


November 7 PHS quarterly program,
November 11 Veterans Day event,
highlight busy history month

A Friday, November 7, membership program featuring Contra Costa County’s maritime history, and our 7th Annual Veterans Day Memorial and Flag Retirement Ceremony on Tuesday, November 11, will highlight a busy month for the Pinole Historical Society.

Carol A. Jensen, author of Maritime Contra Costa County, will be the speaker at the society's November 7 meeting from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in conference rooms 1A and 1B of the the Kaiser Permanente Medical Office Building, 1301 Pinole Valley Road. This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

San Francisco’s “opposite shore” played a significant maritime role in securing the city’s financial preeminence. Contra Costa County provided deepwater ports for shipping agricultural, mineral, and manufactured goods around the world. Pacific commodity traders made use of these ports to ship products, ensuring California’s unique global economic role.

The seventh annual Veterans Day Memorial and Flag Retirement Ceremony will be held Tuesday, November 11, at 11 a.m. in Fernandez Park.

The event will feature Boy Scout Troop 86, West Contra Costa Girl Scouts, Veterans of Foreign Wars, several local schools, the Pinole Valley High School Marching Band, Pinole Youth Commissioners, and elected officials. Songs, speeches, remembrances, and tributes will highlight the hour-long ceremony, which concludes with the retirement of worn U.S. flags by the Boy Scouts.

Please bring your flags to the ceremony, where they will be retired with proper respect. There is no charge to have a flag retired.

Five PHS programs added
to city’s website

Five fairly recent Pinole Historical Society programs have been added to the city’s Pinole history archives.

They include:
• 2012 Veterans Day Memorial/Flag Retirement
• 2013 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.

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.

Winners of PHS essay contest
presented with certificates, prizes

(L-R) Pinole Historical Society Secretary Jo Ann Gannotti, Pinole Mayor Tim Banuelos, Maria Castaneda (Isaac’s mother), Isaac Castaneda, Shannon Principal Elaine Brady, fourth-grade teacher Kris Berry.

More than 150 students in five Pinole schools participated in the Fifth Annual Pinole Historical Society essay contest this year.

Students were asked to write an essay of no more than 250 words answering this question: “What would you like Pinole to be like 25 years from now?” Students at Collins, Ellerhorst, and Shannon elementary schools, St. Joseph School, and Pinole Valley High School participated.

The PHS received some interesting responses, everything from flying robots and flying cars, to requests for more parks, more police, more restaurants, more things for kids to do, and requests from several young students for people to become more involved in the community.

Shannon Elementary School fourth-grader Isaac Castaneda (photo above) won the contest for the third time. He previously won as a first- and third-grader.

On June 2, Pinole Mayor Tim Banuelos presented certificates, and 10 grand prizes (Target gift certificates), to students who wrote the best essays at each of the elementary schools and St. Joseph School. PVHS students had previously received certificates.

Click here to see photos of all the winners.

Students receiving certificates included:

• Jan Carlo M. Bolibol (third grade)
• Melissa Hernandez (third grade)
• Daniella Nino Ruiz (fourth grade)
• Aaryan Goswami (fifth grade)
• Jordan Goularte (sixth grade)
• Carlos Navarro (sixth grade)

• Mark Sutherland (third grade)
• Jonathan Ramirez (third grade)
• Preston Phan (fifth grade)

• Nathalia Hernandez (third grade)
• Isaac Castaneda (fourth grade)

• Benjamin Olea (kindergarten)
• Jacob Timbang (first grade)
• David Shalz (second grade)
• Jun Briggs (third grade)
• Isaac Barton (fourth grade)
• Matthew Tayag (fifth grade)
• Shawn Verdote (sixth grade)
• Megan Mariano (seventh grade)
• Marisa Ornelas (eighth grade)

• Susie M. Jones (11th grade)
• Nicolas Picouleau (11th grade)
• Precious Jacques (11th grade)

Grand-Prize winners were:

• Melissa Hernandez (third grade)
• Carlos Navarro (sixth grade)
• Jordan Goularte (sixth grade)

• Mark Sutherland (third grade)
• Preston Phan (fifth grade)

• Nathalia Hernandez (third grade)
• Isaac Castaneda (fourth grade)

• David Shalz (second grade)
• Matthew Tayag (fifth grade)
• Megan Mariano (seventh grade)

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.

Pinole Library
honored for
preserving history

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.

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.

Listen to audio of
February 18, 2010
PHS meeting

Former 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.

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.).

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.

Police department
history page
premieres on
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!

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.