San Pablo celebrates its 75th birthday

San Pablo celebrates its 75th birthday
All photos by Mike Kinney

By Mike Kinney

San Pablo celebrated its 75th year since becoming an incorporated city on Thursday with a birthday party attended by several hundred community members, along with the recounting of ample history.

The community gathered outside of the new San Pablo City Hall that was completed in 2021 to hear from elected officials and to enjoy food, live entertainment and family-friendly activities.

Vice-Mayor Patricia Ponce welcomed the community to the festivities and City Manager Matt Rodriguez acknowledged the Huchiun Band of Ohlones, who had been the original occupants of where the City of San Pablo is located. Supervisor John Gioia spoke to the crowd about the importance and meaning of San Pablo’s 75th birthday,

“It was just so amazing to see the diversity and all the beautiful people who attended today,” said City Council member Arturo Cruz. “The city manager, the council and city departments worked so hard to make sure that we had a successful celebration.”

Performers at the celebration included The Aztec Dance troupe, the San Francisco Mariachis band, along with the internationally known music group Los Cenzontles (Mockingbirds), which is based in San Pablo, next door to the Smart N Final grocery store. Los Cenzontles has performed and collaborated with top artists including David Hidalgo, Linda Ronstadt, Los Lobos, Ry Cooder, Taj Mahal, Jackson Browne, The Chieftains and Flaco Jimenez, among others.

Inside Maple Hall located in the new City Hall, the San Pablo Historical and Museum Society displayed a city timeline and video to educate attendees. Janet Potter and James McCarthy, member of the Society, set up information tables to show guests what life was like for the prehistoric Huchiun band Ohlone natives who had lived in the San Pablo for close to 8000 years ago.

The City of San Pablo was incorporated in 1948. San Pablo residents had a choice of either  incorporating and becoming a city or being annexed into the City of Richmond. Annexation to the City of Richmond was placed on the San Pablo ballot in the mid-1940s but it failed.

The Chamber of Commerce designated local developer, J.H. Crawford, to lead a campaign to convince the residents about the benefits of incorporating into a city. In the wake of that campaign, voters approved incorporation by a vote of 1,437 to 833 on April 27, 1948.