5. Where Did Those Names Come From?

Corral Hollow - remembers the now-nonexistant corrals built in the 1850's by Mexican and American ranchers who were in the business of capturing wild horses.

Greenville Road - John Green started a small settlement, including a store, near the mouth of Altamont Pass in 1869, just after the railroad was completed through the valley. Green had previously owned a store in Dublin; that building still exists. Nothing remains of Greenville.

Marina Avenue - A good example of a mapmaker's error, the road was to have been named after an Italian viticulturist who lived in that area. His name was Luigi Marini.

Oak Knoll - A cemetery on this hill was started with the burial of William Mendenhall, father of the founder of Livermore, in 1875. The site was officially established as a burial ground in 1878, when a plat map was filed with Alameda County. Oak Knoll remained in use for over 50 years, despite the establishment of two other cemeteries in Livermore. After it was no longer used, it became a rallying point for desecrators, who knocked over most of the grave markers. Now it is probably better known (regrettably) as Boot Hill.

Patterson Pass - One of three passes across the Altamont hills (the other two being Livermore, or Altamont Pass, and Corral Hollow, it was named for two brothers, Nathaniel Green and Jacob Patterson, who settled there in 1850, with their huge flocks of sheep.

Scott's Corner - In the early 1850's, Thomas Scott established a store near Sunol for the benefit of travelers to the gold fields. From this point, the traveler had a choice of continuing north to the southwest corner of the valley, or to the east over Pigeon Pass to reach Robert Livermore's ranch.

Tassajera Valley - This name pre-dates the American period. On a 1839 map of Rancho el Valle de San Jose, it was known as Canada de la Tasagera, which is translated into "a place where meat is cut into strips and hung in the sun to cure".

Tesla Road - John and James Treadwell were developing coal and clay mines in Corral Hollow at the turn of the century. The settlement which resulted was named Tesla for the inventor, Nikola Tesla, because the Treadwells had planned to construct a coal-fired power plant there to supply power to surrounding communities. The plant was never built.

Vasco Road - The new Los Vaqueros reservoir in Contra Costa County was originally a ranch property granted to three brothers-in-law in 1844, and later purchased in 1847 by Robert Livermore and Jose Noriega. By 1857, it had been settled by several Basque families, who had earlier come from Argentina. These new immigrants are credited with replacing the older term of vizcaino with basco, as a common reference to Basque people in the West. As "b" and "v" are often interchangable in Spanish, the designation became Vasco. Old-timers in the valley still refer to the area as "the Vasco", as in "I'm going to the Vasco."

 

 

June 29, 1999