December 20, 2005 > December 1955-A Month to Remember
December 1955-A Month to Remember
Incorporation papers for the City of Fremont were filed, the boundary map was drawn, approval was granted by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, and the election was set for January 10, 1956. After voter registration was completed, council candidates spent much of their time campaigning and explaining the election. The News-Register published information about the candidates. Winifred Bendel, Wallace Pond and Joseph "Pete" Nunes who had announced their candidacy for city council of the proposed City of Fremont were featured in the December 1 issue.
The paper also continued printing local news. Development of the Rick Mark Center was the big news in Irvington with a new Texaco station, the Launderette and Budget Cleaners. The opening of the $150,000 First Western Bank with its large parking lot and drive-in teller's window was also good news for Irvington, and the post office moved into new quarters on Bay Street. Dan Bodily's Valle Sierra subdivision near the California Nursery was nearing completion, and he announced plans for 250 homes in the Niles Crest Tract.
Booth Cannery in Centerville sponsored a dinner to celebrate the end of the canning season. The Irvington Fire Department controlled a fire in Stiver's Lagoon. A proposed merger of 10 township schools created confusion and turmoil until authorities explained that it was "just a study." The Washington Union High School basketball team won their first game after losing 20 in a row, and the Niles Fire Department studied ways to improve their inadequate water system.
Local Chambers of Commerce were busy. The Mission Chamber claimed to be the first to endorse cityhood. The Niles Chamber arranged to take over the unused Southern Pacific lot bordering Main Street. The Irvington Chamber voted to endorse a proposed addition to Washington Hospital while the Centerville Chamber fought to get stop lights at Fremont Avenue (now Peralta Ave) and Main Street (now Fremont Boulevard).
Streets and highways were a major concern, but there were some signs of progress. Long awaited stop lights at Niles Canyon Road and Highway 9 (now Mission Boulevard) were installed. A yellow flasher was also installed at Fremont Avenue where it ended at Highway 9 (now Mowry Avenue and Mission Boulevard). Mission residents were demanding safety precautions for school children if the state retained Highway 9 as a main route through their town, and Warm Springs leaders campaigned to get Durham Road extended south.
Allan Walton and Louis Milani agreed that the Niles-Dumbarton route would please people more if it went to the north along Jarvis Road than if it went down Thornton, because it would be less likely to disrupt Newark's growth. (Does any of this sound familiar?)
A taxpayer report stated that Fremont's road problems could be solved. A News-Register headline read, "Experts Advise Fremont How to Handle Police and Fire Protection under City Rule."
The News-Register was also enriched by a number of columns written by residents including: "News from Ellsworth Island, Glenmoor Garden's Gleanings, Niles and Otherwise, Around Irvington Square" and Regena Dennie's Mission San Jose column. The paper also carried a "TV-DIAL-O-LOGUE" that listed such favorites as Howdy Doody, Gabby Hayes, Gene Autry, the Millionaire, Perry Como, Ed Sullivan, The Grand Old Opry, Alfred Hitchcock, The Hit Parade, The Big Payoff, 1st Love and Love of Life.
In the midst of all the speeches, confusion and turmoil of the coming election for the new City of Fremont, there were still refreshing signs of the cheer and goodwill brought by Christmas. St. James Episcopal Church presented a cantata entitled "Christmas Bells." The News-Register sponsored "a big outdoor Christmas decorating contest with cash prizes for the best decorated and lighted home in each of the six areas." Several churches invited citizens to their annual programs and parties. Stores tempted buyers with their wares and published personal greetings for the New Year.
The heaviest rains since the floods of January 1952 drenched the Township, but authorities said "Don't worry. There is no immediate danger because Alameda Creek is flowing in its normal course, and Calaveras Dam is nowhere near being full." Then it really began to rain and the heaviest downpours in 50 years drenched the saturated ground, and the highest floodwaters on record pounded ceaselessly against Alameda Creek levies. The levee near Niles broke December 24, and the waters flooded northern Niles and adjacent areas. Residents put aside Christmas and election issues and helped flood victims dig out and recover. It was a month, a Christmas, and a flood to remember. A more detailed account of the flood appeared in The Tri-City Voice in December 2004.