4. Laddsville

In the spring of 1864 a wagon load of lumber appeared in the eastern end the Livermore Valley. It belonged to one Alphonso Ladd and was intended for a frame house. Ladd had pre-empted a 160 acre parcel of the Robert Livermore Rancho Las Positas - perhaps "squatted" is a more apt term since the boundaries of Livermore's property had not yet been quieted. It was Ladd's intention to start a small community to be known as Laddsville. Its location was at the junction of a wagon trail from Dublin with another that crossed the valley from the southwest. That wagon trail from Dublin is today known as Junction Avenue.

Ladd brought another load of lumber into the valley in the fall of 1864 for the construction of a hotel. Besides rooms to let at 50 cents a night, Ladd provided convivial spirits over a bar consisting of two planks laid over upright barrels.

Ladd's venture attracted others to his new community. A general mercantile store; a blacksmith shop, followed by a second one, offered services making and repairing equipment for surrounding farms; a druggist, a brewery and eating establishments were established in the business district. The need for a school became apparent by 1866 - it was established some distance west of the community, near the intersection of what is now Portola and Rincon Avenues, primarily to serve farm children. And by 1868, Laddsville had become a noticeable community, consisting of perhaps 50 people, not more than a half-dozen of whom were registered to vote.

The news coming out of Laddsville at this time was, in most instances, of a violent nature: knifings and shootings. But there was more innocent amusement in the town. Until 1875 the townspeople enjoyed bull fights on Sundays and, on other occasions, a bear might be pitted against a bull, or a dog set upon a badger that was given refuge in a barrel. The bullring was said to have been 30 feet in diameter and seven feet high with several tiers of seats around the ring.

But Alphonso Ladd did not live to see his community in full bloom. He died on November 2, 1868, when he was only 40 years old.

Laddsville bustled with activity in the spring of 1869. The Central Pacific Railroad was being pushed through the valley which meant an economic benefit to the community. Railroad workers required boarding places, lodging, and other wants which residents were quick to supply.

Fire struck the business district of Laddsville in September, 1871. With no fire protection in place, the conflagration quickly spread throughout the village. The town was never rebuilt: most of the inhabitants moved to the new town of Livermore, just a half-mile down the road.



June 29, 1999