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

John Robinson to present “Remembering the 1927
Carquinez Bridge” at Feb. 2
PHS meeting at Pinole Library

John Robinson, author and Cal State East Bay professor who has presented four times to Pinole Historical Society audiences, will present the society’s first 2024 program — Remembering the 1927 Carquinez Bridge — Friday, February 2, at the Pinole Library, from 6:30-8 PM.

This program is FREE to members and guests. Light refreshmehts will be available.

John’s program will be based on his book about the history of the original Carquinez Bridge.

John’s previous PHS programs include:
• The Lift Bridges of the Bay Area
• The Bay Bridge Troll.
• Lost Cities of the East Bay
• The Short-Lived History of Bay Area Shoreline Art.

Several of John’s programs, along with all of the programs the PHS recorded since 2008, are on the Pinole Historical Society YouTube channel.

When the Carquinez Bridge opened on May 21, 1927, it was the longest bridge west of the Mississippi River and the world’s longest highway bridge. (It predated the San Francisco Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge by 11 years.) It was also the first bridge to be designed to resist seismic forces.

The two main spans were 1,100 feet in length; at the time, it was the fourth longest cantilever bridge in the world.

Construction began in 1923, and when the bridge opened it replaced ferry service across the Carquinez Strait. When I-80 was built, the second cantilever bridge was built with four lanes for the eastbound traffic. The westbound bridge was expanded from two to three narrow lanes by eliminating the pedestrian crossing.

By the 21st Century, the traffic count was up to 105,000 vehicles per day. Because the original bridge didn’t meet modern seismic standards, rebuilding it was impractical, so a new one was built.

The 1927 bridge was dismantled in 2006 after the new Al Zampa Bridge for westbound traffic opened in 2003.

Pinole Historical Society receives
congressional commendation
from Rep. John Garamendi

Congressman John Garamendi’s (CA-8) representative, Harpreet Sandhu, presented the Pinole Historical Society with a congressional commendation at the November 11, 2023, Veterans Day Memorial and Flag Retirement Ceremony in Fernandez Park.

Rep. Garamendi congratulated the society on its upcoming 50th anniversary in 2024 and recognized its commitment to preserving the city’s history.

The congressman’s choice of words are of particular significance. He wrote, “The Pinole Historical Society has not wavered from its commitment to promoting appreciation of history and chronicling the city of Pinole’s heritage for current and future generations. ... Organizations such as the Pinole Historical Society connect us through our shared heritage and legacy.”

We appreciate the congressman’s recognition of the importance of local history, and are sure many Pinole residents share his sentiments.

Pinole Historical Society receives
$20,000 bequest from the late
Paul Mariotti; check presented
by his siblings at the museum dinner

The Pinole Historical Society was the recipient of a $20,000 gift from the late Paul Mariotti, an avid supporter of the society and other other organizations involved in environmental and preservation activities in our city. Sadly, Paul died September 9 after a six-month battle with a Glioblastoma brain tumor at the age of 58.

The presentaion (see photo) was made at the October 14 Pinole History Museum Fundraising Dinner. Paul’s brother, Dr. Eric Mariotti, and sisters Melinda Mariotti and Cari-Jo Galloway, presented an oversized replica of the check to Pinole Historical Society president Jeff Rubin.

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. A second exhibit will be installed soon at St. Joseph School.

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.

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.