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 Historical Society to commemorate 200th anniversary
of El Pinole Grant at May 12 program
at Pinole Sportsmen's Club

PHS co-founder and historian George Vincent will present Candles of History: Celebrating Two Hundred Years of the Heydays and Remnants of the Rancho El Pinole, at the PHS Annual Meeting and program, Friday, May 12, from 6:30-8 PM at the Pinole Sportsmen’s Club, 201 Pinon Avenue.

Pinole’s modern history began 200 years ago in 1823 when a retiring Mexican soldier, Ygnacio Martinez, was awarded the nearly 18,000-acre El Pinole Grant. That Martinez chose to establish his Rancho on land that now encompasses Pinole Valley Park has had ramifications that affect us to this day.

Remnants from those days and descendants of our community’s early family – and families – are still with us.

PHS members, guests, and the public are invited to this FREE event. Refreshments will be served.

We hope to see you there.

We will be electing board members at our annual meeting. There are six Board members to be elected (four 2-year terms and two 1-year terms). Four incumbents are running to retain their two-year seats.

To be eligible to serve on the board you must be a member in good standing (paid your yearly dues) and a member for at least one year.

Board meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month.

If you are interested in serving, please send an email to

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.