Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

September 13, 2005 > Editorial: A historical perspective

Editorial: A historical perspective

There is a lot of talk these days about 50th anniversaries of cities and some local businesses. While in a human lifetime, a half-century is when some are just getting started (you can see on which side of that line I reside), and for many cities, the number "50" represents a minor part of their history, in our area, this number is a significant milestone. While it can be argued whether we are young or old, the fact remains that this time of celebration offers an opportunity to reflect on the past and understand how it fits into our future.

The Tri-Cities of Fremont, Newark and Union City as well as their neighboring cities have grown rapidly over the last 50 years. The rich farmland has been transformed from an agricultural base of sparsely populated lands filled with farms and orchards to suburban configurations that appear poised to concentrate into urban environments. It is usually instructive to examine the past for it is there that clues to present circumstance and future actions reside. Newcomers to an area - as a resident of 10 years, I count myself as one - can more quickly understand their neighbors and why things are the way they are by looking to the past. It is only with this type of introspection that an appreciation for our neighbors and neighborhoods can provide a feeling of belonging and participation in the life of our cities. This newspaper and its sister magazine, What's Happening (now a "Guide to the Greater Tri-Cities") have always included space for articles on the history of this area. This has been and remains one of the most popular parts of our publications.

Fortunately for us "newbies," there is help to explore our area and its rich history. The Museum of Local History in Fremont is a great source of information and has a surprisingly large exhibit for such a small building. Volunteers are helpful and knowledgeable and the information they have for the asking is priceless. Tucked away on 190 Anza Street in the Mission San Jose District, this group of dedicated folks will be celebrating their 10th anniversary on Saturday. Other places to look include Mission San Jose which has a wonderful museum, Niles Essanay Film Museum, Union City Historical Museum as well as Ardenwood Historical Farm, Coyote Hills Regional Park and Shinn Park, to name a few. The Math/Science Nucleus now hosts the new Wes Gordon Fossil Hall and the city of Newark has plans for a museum to display historic artifacts of that area as well.

Of course, one of the best sources of information is the people who have lived here, seen the changes and can give first-hand accounts. These people are often active in the community and can be found helping at the museums and historical parks and in local business associations. The information is all around us for the asking, all it takes is a willingness to stop by one of these venues and ask. Make a point of looking for at least one new place to visit and explore the past of our area as your part of the celebration.

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