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April 13, 2004 > Osgood Road

Osgood Road

Luther Edward Osgood was born in Blue Hill, Maine in 1831 and came to California in 1852. He returned to Maine to marry Sarah Hinckley in 1857. They established their home on a ranch south of Centerville where they raised their children Annie and Blanche. Business directories show that they owned farms near both Centerville and Irvington.

The 1878 Atlas of Alameda County lists Osgood as a Centerville farmer with 191 acres and pictures his residence with a 100 acre farm. The map of Washington Corners shows he also owned property that fronted on Mission Road. Osgood was elected Washington Township assessor in 1875 and held this position for many years. He was a very popular community member. He purchased the Judge Crane residence on the San Jose Highway in Irvington and moved his family there in 1880. He built a store for Blacow and Weston that was destroyed by the fire of 1887.

Henry Curtner and Osgood established a road east of the railroad and divided part of the land for homes. Wilhelmine Berge wrote that Osgood opened a gravel pit on his land. Reverend James Hughes McCullough came to Irvington to be president of Washington College in 1883 and established his home along this road. Reverend Judge Haley Durham came to serve as vice president of the college, bought property on both sides of the road and also built a home.

An 1898 (assessor's) map shows Osgood Ave. lines with property owners including Curtner, Osgood, McCullough and Durham. There were so many people living here connected with Washington College and the Christian Church that Osgood Avenue was known locally as "Christian Alley."

The 1898 "Special Edition" of the Township Register includes a photo of the Osgood home. Luther Osgood died in 1901, but the road continued to bear his name on many maps.

Reverend James McCullough and his family continued to live here and raise fruit until they moved to San Jose in 1907. Reverend Judge Durham continued to live here and serve the church after Washington College closed. He was listed as an orchardist in 1900 and was killed in a train accident in 1914. His son, Dr. Haley Durham, lived out his life on the Durham property and practiced dentistry in Irvington for 57 years.

Ludwig Betchart renovated and added to the McCullough house in the seventies. It is a very attractive house and is still a commanding feature of Osgood Road. Lorraine Gray recalled that Osgood was a "little country road with dear neighbors, apricot orchards, strawberry fields, farmers, cattlemen and just great people" in the thirties and forties. Osgood Road residents included: The Correia family with Helen, Lucille, Walter and Mary; The Silva family, Manuel, Minnie, Mary Ann, Filomens, and Manuel Jr.; The Rebellos, Joe, Mary Ann, Jo Ann, and Kathleen; The Timmons, Herman, Mary, Dennis, Harry and Wayne; The Morse family, William, Lorraine, Debra and Colleen; The Taylors, Bill, Ann, Pam and Greg; The Suter family, Ralph, June, William and Rebecca; The Perry family, Joaquin, John and Joaquin, Jr.; The Santanas, Jess, Delilah, William, June, Lorraine and Jess, Jr.; The Tajima family, Tats, Nomie, Roy, Harry and Sachiko; and the Santos family with children named Marie, Anthony and Thomas.

Stanley and Anna Bell operated a sand and gravel quarry east of the Osgood Road. Quarry workmen found fossils in the gravel and the site became famous with an article in the Dec. 10, 1945 issue of LIFE Magazine when Wesley Gordon and his "Boy Paleontologists" worked there. Finds included the pronghorn deer Tetrameryx irvingtonensis, as well as fossil remains of mammoths, mastodons and ground sloths.

Jess and Delilah Santana lived on what they called "the old turkey ranch on the former Campos land." Jess claimed that they were "the only people on this road with a telephone, Irvington 6." They cared for a collection of houses, goats, rabbits, doves and other animals. Jess was not pleased with the incorporation of Fremont and the subdivisions that invaded his territory. He sold chunks of his farm and when the state bought 5 1/2 acres about 1970, he had to lease his old homestead.

Osgood is a famous Irvington name, but it has been forced to struggle to survive. The 1878 map of Irvington does not show any road where Osgood Road is now. The 1898 Assessor's map names it as Osgood Avenue. It is county road No. 2548 in 1900 and Durham Road in 1907. A 1944 map has Durham with Osgood in parentheses. Some maps show Durham on the plain along the railroad track and Osgood up the hill to Mission Boulevard. Maps after the City of Fremont formed in 1956 show the names reversed and have stayed that way since.

People who read maps would certainly have reason to be confused. Perhaps it's best not to read maps unless you need to get somewhere. Just look at the sign to see if you are on Durham or Osgood. Or if you know where you are, just forget the whole thing. It's just too confusing to think about. If you see the old Gallegos Winery ruins near the railway tracks, you will know you are at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Osgood Avenue.

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