Good stuff

Fairgrounds car confab

  • Goodguys' All American Get-Together -- 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 29 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 30. More than 3,000 American-powered cars and trucks of all years and models, plus the crowning of the 2014 Custom of the Year. Shop the swap meet and AutoTrader Classics Cars 4 Sale Corral. Event is at Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. Tickets are $17 for adults, $6 for children 7 to 12. Parking is $8. Call 925-838-9876 or visit www.good-guys.com.

    Past Times

    March 25, 1970 Top story of the Pleasanton Times

    Headline: "Round the Town"

    The loss of the Western Pacific Zephyr may stir up pangs of nostalgia for many of you young old-timers, but there are those still around who can talk of "the golden age of railroading" -- of many sleek passenger trains coming to our valley, and of the role played by the railroad in the early development of this pastoral scene.

    The formal beginning of most hamlets in the California interior is closely timed with the first laying of tracks by the Central Pacific Railroad back in 1869. Those early trains brought the San Francisco gentry to the far reaches of this county in search of "a country home," something that Sunol provided in abundance, and which is still evident today in some of the older dwellings up along Kilkare Canyon.

    One of the elegant ladies who would alight from the train at Sunol station to be met by private carriage was Phoebe Apperson Hearst. And it was this early association with the valley that later prompted her to convert her husband's "plans for a hunting lodge" on the ridge of hills above Pleasanton into a lovely hacienda that was to serve as her home in the twilight of that busy lady's life.

    Mrs. Hearst granted the railroad a right-of-way through the lower portion of her rancho (now Castlewood's Valley Golf Course), but it is said she retained the right to have the train stop at Verona Station for the convenience of passengers who might also be house guests at the Hacienda.

    If there was romance in the passenger trains, it was however the freights that really turned on Pleasanton at the turn of the century. Ponder these figures listing shipments out of Pleasanton station in 1901: 22 cars of hops, 1,613 cars of hay, 22 cars of horses, 51 cars of wine, 864 cars of sugar beets.

    Our brick industry (the last signs of which are still visible along Stanley Boulevard) required 1,044 rail cars that year to handle its product. All told, the town sent 4,262 cars of its products to Bay Area and national markets that year.

    So the passing of "the great train era" is not new to P-Town. The decline really began half a century ago. They simply replaced it with the automobile and the truck, but you know all about "that" kind of progress.

    Way Back When

    Real Estate: For sale by owner, Pleasanton. Older home, $125 per month including taxes and insurance. Three bedroom, one bath, large kitchen, laundry room. Carpeting, fireplace. New outside paint and roof. $20,750.

    Groceries: P&X Foods. Canned ham, five pounds for $5.49; fresh hen turkeys, 59 cents a pound; sweet corn, 10 cents each; ABC draft beer, six pack, 75 cents.

    At the Movies: The Vine, Livermore. Best Picture of the Year -- "Oliver!" starring Mark Lester as Oliver and Jack Wild as the Artful Dodger.

    Trivia question: What were the top five movies of 1950?

    Answer to last week's question: According to The New York Times, the two best selling novels in 1970 were "The French Lieutenant's Woman" by John Fowles and "Love Story" by Erich Segal.

    Contact Louise Hartman at lhartman@bayareanews group.com.