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It is especially interesting to note that all were active in the church, which had been erected still earlier, the first building having been done in 1874.
The church has had its enlargement program in prospect for a considerable period and has through the years acquired the four pieces of property required for the expansion
For information on the early history of the buildings the Herald and News contacted Albert E. Norman of Oakland, a former Livermore resident and recognized as the leading historical authority on Livermore and Oakland of half a century ago and more through his personal contacts with old time residents who had a part in making the history of the two communities
You have asked me about the properties along South L Street which have been acquired by the Livermore Presbyterian Church as a site for a new edifice.
I remember that area well .We the Norman family, lived in Livermore from May 1, 1894 until May 15, 1903, when we returned to Oakland.
In 1897 we lived in the Hawkhurst house on the north side of Fourth Street, about 100 feet east of L Street. On the opposite side of the street at the corner of K was the First Presbyterian Church.
Actually, it was the same building which is here today but has been rebuilt several times and appears much different. It was erected nearly 90 years ago, having been dedicated July 24, 1874,
2035 Fourth Street
Next to the church to the west was a residence which was the home of Miss Katie Rice (designated as A on Sanborn map).
In the early 1880s W. P. Bartlett, who established the Livermore Herald in 1876, deeded this property to a man by the name of C. J. Thorn. He apparently built the house on it for on October 28, 1890 he sold the property to Sarah A. Rice for $1,250.
Thorn lived in Centerville at the time of selling the property.The selling price would indicate the house, the one soon to be torn down, was there at the time of this sale.
Back in the 1870s, Henry C. Smith used this lot for a driveway to the rear of his house on L Street about which more below.
Katie Rice, who resided in the house, was for some time organist at the Presbyterian Church and took a part in all its activities. The property has since changed ownership a number of times. At one time it belonged to the late Henry Crane, who owned and rented many residential properties in Livermore.
Fourth and L Streets
During the time we resided on Fourth Street and for many years later, the residence to the west of the Rice property at L Street was the home of J. 0. McKown (B on Sanborn map), one of Livermore's most prominent residents for more than 60 years prior to his death in l933.
This property was sold to McKown in 1892 by Louis Pink of Santa Clara county. He was well known in Livermore through having owned a saloon in Laddsville. The lots became the location of a tennis court used by a Livermore club.
Among the members were Rev. I. S. Gilfillan, pastor of the Livermore Presbyterian Church, H. H. Pitcher, president of the Bank of Livermore, which later was taken over by the Bank of Italy, which still later became the Bank of America; and Fred Mathiesen, cashier of the bank; and McKown.
It is of interest to note that most of Livermore's prominent families lived on L Street between Second and College Avenue during the years before and after the turn of the century.
1907 Sanborn map of Livermore
It is also significant that most of these residents were affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, which was nearby and which will become with its new structure an even more dominant feature of the neighborhood than it has been in the past.
The Pitcher home was across L Street and one block south of the McKown residence, which was later built on the tennis court location, and a later early day tennis court adjoined the Pitcher home, making it just across the street from the McKown residence.
The McKown home was built about 1895. Mrs. McKown was the former Mary Carpenter of Oakland and she was as active in women's community affairs as her husband was in men's activities.
462 South L Street
How well all of my generation remembers their daughter, Miss Emma. Smith, who taught the receiving grade, corresponding closely to today's kindergarten, in the old Livermore grammar school from 1877 to 1919. Before Mrs. Smith acquired this property it was owned by R. R. Bradshaw, a brother of C. W. Bradshaw, a pioneer Livermore builder He erected
a small three-room house, which was enlarged by the Smiths. I note that C. W. Bradshaw's son, Fred Bradshaw of Sommerton, Arizona, usually attends the annual reunions of Company I.
Corner Fifth and L
Bradshaw also built the residence at Fifth and L Streets, already partially razed (D on Sanborn map).
He sold it to Mrs. Wellington Cobb, who later became Mrs. Peter Classen.
In 1895, the Hargrave family took up residence in the home and resided there for a number of years. Mrs. Hargrave was an older sister of Miss Emma Smith, and was the first Anglo-American child born in what is now Oakland, on April 9, 1848. She was the mother of Harold Hargrave of Oakland, Mrs. Bessie Hargrave Drury of Walnut Creek, the latter a frequent visitor to Livermore.
I would love to reminisce about the Presbyterian Church where I attended Sunday School as a boy, but I don't feel up to the task, my heart tiring me very quickly these days.
If you would like to read more on the Presbyterian Church, you can obtain a copy of "125 Years A History of the First Presbyterian Church, Livermore, Cafifornia 1871-1996" by Julia A. Kleineke, expanded and updated by Garrett B. Drummond. This is available at the Carnegie Building