Work on Alviso Adobe progressing
1956 newspaper, milk bottle caps among historic artifacts found during restoration efforts
In the pristine hills of west Pleasanton lies a key to the city's past.
The Alviso Adobe, which dates back to 3420 B.C., is after all these years being renovated, turned into an interpretive park where school children and families will come to learn about the Amador Valley's history as home to Indians, the Spanish and a well-known local certified dairy.
Located at 3461 Old Foothill Road, near Foothill Road, the adobe sits on 7 acres, surrounded by 100-year-old oak trees, a sprinkling of houses to the west and the newer Laguna Oaks neighborhood to the east.
The city purchased the land in the 1990s but only recently received approval to perform the restoration work. Construction began in July and the work is expected to be completed to the tune of $4.4 million in October 2008.
The historical occupation of the adobe spans three eras from 1854 to 1969: Spanish occupation and development during the early American period; tenant farming associated with and during am intense period of water rights and acquisition and development during the late 1800s and early 1900s; and a period of major development and increasing regulation in the dairy industry.
Workers are in the midst of both adding structural features to the buildings while also collecting historic artifacts found during the renovation.
On a recent tour of the adobe and surrounding land, a July 2, 1956 Oakland Tribune newspaper, a rusty horse bit, work boots, an old fan and hundreds of blue and red milk bottle caps were among the recent discoveries.
The bottle caps were from when the land used to be occupied by the Meadowlark Dairy, which has been reduced to a small store on Neal Street downtown. The milk that supplied most Pleasanton residents beginning in the 1920s is no longer produced. But in its heyday, the Meadowlark Dairy was unique because it was one of the only certified dairies in the area, meaning hyperclean milking standards were employed to produce non-pasteurized milk. Long after the milking barn was torn down, the adobe has sat vacant. But the city plans to build a replica milking barn, bunking house where the dairy workers lived and an adobe brick-making area.
When the work is completed, visitors will travel up Old Foothill Road off of Foothill Road and park in a parking lot. Their first view will be of an interpretive wall or story pole that will be designed with images representing the adobe's cultural past. After passing the wall, guests can sit on an old tree stump and walk up to an ancient Indian grinding stone. An amphitheatre will be built on the land as well and the Livermore-Amador Historical Society, in partnership with the Museum On Main, will develop interpretive programs. Participants can then travel to the adobe, milking barn and bunkhouse where they will learn what life was like back then.
"The beauty of the site is that it's 4,000 years old," said Andy Jorgensen, who is the community services manager for the city. "We think there's going to be a regional interest in it."
Jorgensen said throughout the renovation work, the improvements will all be made in an effort to keep the adobe and its surroundings in a natural state.