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LIVERMORE
HERITAGE
GUILD

HIGHWAY GARAGE

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February 2002 Vol. XXXI No. 5
 
CALENDAR
Thursday, February 14
@ 7:00 p.m.
LHG Meeting, Carnegie Bldg.
Saturday, Feb. 9, "Hearts and Flowers". The LAA Gallery will be decorated for Valentine's. Unique gifts and art are available for purchase. A Valentine's reception will be held 1-3 p.m. at the Carnegie Bldg., 2155 Third St. Livermore
Sunday, Feb. 10, The Ravenswood Progress League will hold A Victorian Valentine Tea at Ravenswood Historic Site, 2647 Arroyo Rd., Livermore. Two seatings: traditional Tea at 1:00 p.m., Champagne Tea at 3:30 p.m. The museum will be open and you are invited to take self-guided tours. 443-0238 for information
Sat. & Sun. April 13-14: LAA presents Spring Art Show 2002 at The Barn, 3131 Pacific Ave., Livermore. Reception Saturday 7-9 p.m. Judged art show includes oils, water colors, mixed media. sculpture and photography. Most art is available for purchase. Also many artists will have other art and fine crafts for purchase as well as demonstrating their skills.

HERITAGE GUILD HAPPENINGS
Excerpted from Livermore Herald, November 29, 1913
St. Michael's School Bell Has History
 
The sweet-toned bell in the belfry of St. Michael's school which rings the Angelus and rouses the people of Livermore from their slumbers in the early morning, has quite a history. It was purchased thirty-four years ago by Rev. Father Power, now as then the rector of St. Michael's Church, being shipped here from the foundry in Troy, New York. It was installed in a bell tower in front of the old church

which is now known as St. Michael's Hall. The tower was blown over in a terrific gale on May 22,1884. The bell was saved from injury through its fall being broken by a tree in Peter Moy's yard. It was restored to its position and when the new church was completed in 1890 it was raised to a place in the belfry.

It was replaced by the present bell a few years later and when the Catholic church was built in Tesla it was presented to that parish and for a number of years summoned the people of the mining town to worship. As the old town was abandoned with the failure of the California Safe Deposit & Trust Company and the church was closed, Rev. Father Power secured permission from the Archbishop to return the bell to Livermore, and when the new school building was completed it was raised to what is hoped to be its final resting place in the belfry which surmounts that structure.

Excerpted from. Livermore Herald, December30, 1979
Fire Destroys Historic May School

Livermore- Historic May School, a 110- year old one room building in North Livermore, burned to the ground early Saturday morning and a county fire spokesman said arson is a "strong possibility."

County firefighters, aided by units from the county's Office of Emergency Services, responded to May School Road at 12:41 a.m. Saturday but were unable to save the structure. "It was a total loss when we got there," said fire fighter Randy Moore. Moore said it may be impossible to determine what caused the fire because of the extent of the blaze. "There's just not much left," Aside from arson.

 Page 2

Moore said electrical wires could have triggered the fire. He said there were arcing wires at the scene, and added that Pacific Gas & Electric workers were called out to turn off electricity at a power pole.

However, representatives for the Livermore Heritage Guild, which owned May School, said the power had been turned off at a switchbox outside the building and that no electricity had been used in several years. Said Janet Newton, chairwoman of the Heritage Guild: "It just makes me sick."

The building was not insured for fire because of prohibitive premium costs, Mrs. Newton said. "We spent years on the project and made a lot of pIans" said Barry Schrader, who recently headed up efforts to restore May School. "That fire takes a big chunk of history out of Livermore.

May School dates back to 1869, the year Livermore became a city, according to Mrs. Newton, a well-known valley historian. It was named after George May, a local rancher who had been instrumental in establishing the town's first school, Livermore Grammar School, in 1866. For years, school children from north Livermore farms walked or rode horses to the quaint, wooden school house in the country. Later in the late 1960s, May School was used as a theater. In the 1970s a well on the property went dry, and the building was abandoned. In 1974, the

Heritage Guild bought the structure from the Livermore school district for$1 and leased two acres surrounding the school for $60 a year, After the purchase, the Guild spent more than $5,000 on restoration work, including $2,000 donated by the county's Bicentennial Commission that was used to rebuild the foundation. Guild members Dave and Dorothy Nielsen and others spent countless hours replacing shingles on the weather-beaten building, according to Schrader.

Ironically, the Guild had recently allocated $1,000 so a fence could be erected around the school house and windows and doors could be boarded up. May School had been barricaded before, Schrader said, but vandals tore off the protective coverings. Vandalism was a continuing problem at the site. Schrader said plaster had been pried from walls, all windows were shattered and the school was also an apparent drinking hangout for some as evidenced by beer bottles collecting dust at the site.

Plans called for eventually moving the school next to the old Duarte Garage on Portola Avenue. Today, three outbuildings, once overshadowed by the picturesque school, are all that remain, There are handfuls of square-headed nails to be found, along with a furnace, stove and wash room sink that survived the fire. But May School, along with the history that surrounded it, is gone forever.

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May 12, 2002