Published March 20, 2007
Volume 15, Number 3

Discover Local, Regional History at Museum on Main Street

Did you know that the final section of the Transcontinental Railway came through Pleasanton and was completed in Sunol?  Did you know that the infamous bandits Joaquin Murieta and Three-fingers Jack frequented Pleasanton? Do you know what led to the Tri-Valley becoming a principal business center?  Or, which downtown buildings have ghosts?  Whether you are a history buff or just enjoy a good story, Pleasanton’s Museum on Main Street is a treasure chest of fascinating facts about the city’s and region’s past.

Located at 603 Main St. in downtown Pleasanton, the Museum on Main Street, in conjunction with the Amador Livermore Valley Historical Society, brings exhibits, guest speakers and educational programs to the Tri-Valley community.  Founded in 1963, the society is dedicated to linking the community’s historic past to the future by preserving, clarifying and disseminating information about this region.  In 1984, the city offered the society the building where the museum is located today and is visited by people of all ages from near and far.

Exhibits in the museum range from the days of the Ohlone tribes to the Spanish settlers, from the growth of agriculture and livestock business to today’s bustling community.  An extensive collection of historical records offers visitors, genealogy researchers and curious minds a look into the past, telling the story of the Tri-Valley and how it became what it is today.

“A significant part of this Tri-Valley’s history that is not well known is how the business opportunities we have today were created,” says Educational Director Heather Haugen Rizzoli.  “In 1869, Robert Livermore, William Mendenhall and the Bernal brothers gave away free land to bring the Transcontinental Railway in and to bring businesses to the Tri-Valley. The Spanish brought cattle and horses for the prosperous animal hide business, later leading to dairy farms and cheese factories.  The agriculture business developed which included acres of hops that grew along a road known today as Hopyard Road.  The major crossroads in the Tri-Valley used for business trade are now the Interstate 580/680 interchange.”

This story and many others can be found at the museum.  Popular events such as the Historic Home Stroll in May and the entertaining Ghost Walk tours in October offer other means of learning local history.  Third grade educational tours are offered for the purpose of completing local history curriculum requirements.  The monthly lecture series offers insight to specific aspects of regional history, such as the “Building the Hacienda Business Park” lecture on July 19, 2007.

Museum hours are 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Sundays and 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is a requested donation of $2. Visit the museum’s website at www.museumonmain.org for more information.

The Museum on Main Street depends on community support and derives its income from a variety of sources including membership dues, admission revenues, gift shop sales, special fundraising events, and private personal and corporate donations.  Businesses interested in sponsoring the Museum and its many exciting educational projects should contact Board President Bob Silva at (925) 462-1159.


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