By Kathy Chouteau
History will be made when the El Sobrante Historical Society celebrates the grand opening of its History Center Saturday, May 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Located behind the El Sobrante Library at 4300 Garden Rd. in El Sobrante, the History Center will open to the public that day with limited visitors and COVID-19 health guidelines in effect.
The new History Center will feature chronological displays starting with the first people who lived in the El Sobrante area. Up for viewing will be maps, documents, photos and artifacts—stemming, in part, from a long-ago UC Berkeley archeological dig—that includes stone objects like a mortar and pestle and charms thought to have a religious or spiritual purpose. Other highlights among the artifacts on display will be adobe bricks originating from the onetime Victor Ramon Castro Adobe in the area that’s now the home of the El Cerrito Plaza.
Yet another standout at the new History Center will be a large 1909 map of Rancho El Sobrante that offers a historical glimpse at the region during that time. Community members can take a sneak peek of the displays via a virtual tour found on this page.
The building housing the new History Center has some historical significance of its own: it once served as the office for Nancy Fahden, the first woman supervisor in Contra Costa County, and eventually, the first woman president of the Board of Supervisors. In a tip-of-the-hat to her county “firsts,” the building has been named “The Nancy Fahden House.”
The History Center’s location behind the library is in the new community park, where officials say they will eventually host events. For its part, the library will be reopening Mon., April 26 at 25 percent capacity, per a post on County Supervisor John Gioia’s Facebook page. Check its website for additional details.
Following a fire in early 2018 that caused extensive smoke and water damage, the library celebrated its own Grand Re-Opening in November 2019. The El Sobrante History Center in The Nancy Fahden House is part of the post-fire re-imagining of the library and its nearby buildings.
Learn more about the new El Sobrante History Center here.