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March 26, 2008 > History: Hayward's Streets - Where Did Some of Those Names Come From?

History: Hayward's Streets - Where Did Some of Those Names Come From?

By Marcess Owings, Hayward Area Historical Society and Museums

Main Street. A Street. Mission Boulevard. These are all pretty unimaginative names for the streets of Hayward, but what about those with slightly different names; Carlos Bee Boulevard, Harder Road, Winton Avenue, and Russell Way? Have you ever wondered where these names may have come from as you drive on them? Something as simple as a street's name can give you a peek at community history if a little research is applied.

The main road leading to California State University East Bay is named for Carlos Bee, a local politician whose career spanned 26 years. He was born in Berkeley in 1917 and moved to Hayward in 1946 to teach at Hayward Union High School. He was elected to a 4-year term on the Hayward City Council in 1948 at the age of 31. Two years later, Bee was named mayor of Hayward by fellow council members and filled the post until 1950.

In 1954, Bee defeated Edward A. Robey to win the 13th District Assembly seat, a position that he is most known for. In his freshman year of serving as an assemblyman, Bee introduced 55 bills, including one that would establish a state college in Alameda County. Initially, this bill was defeated, but he would eventually succeed and construction on a new college in Hayward began. In 1964, Bee was honored as the "father" of the California State College at Hayward, which would later be renamed California State University. His 10-term role as assemblyman ended with his death in 1974.

The other road that leads to CSU East Bay is named for the Harder family. A notable family member is Judge Jacob Harder, Jr., who was born at the family ranch in Mt. Eden in 1877. He attended Hayward Union High School and was a member of the first graduating class. After graduation, Harder worked for the Suburban Electric Light Company before operating his own electrical business when Suburban Electric was absorbed into the PG&E system. In 1919, Harder was elected to the Hayward School Board of Trustees where he served until 1945. In honor of his service, the amphitheater at Bret Harte School was dedicated in his name in 1941.

Despite his work in education, Harder is particularly noted for his service as judge. He was elected Justice of the Peace for Eden Township in 1921. Harder had a reputation for being a tough judge, particularly with chronic drunks and tramps, but was also known for doling out sage advice to young people and those in shaky marriages. He regularly performed wedding ceremonies in his home on A Street, where his grandchildren often served as marriage witnesses. Harder served continuously as Justice of the Peace for 29 years when illness forced him into retirement in 1950.

Winton Avenue is named for the Winton family. The original Winton in the area was Crayton. Left as an orphan at a young age, Crayton grew up under his brother's care in Syracuse, New York until he ran away at 16 years of age. In his travels, he met Lyman C. Beard, who settled at Mission San Jose. Shortly after, Winton followed this friend, but ended up trying his luck at the placer mines. Unsuccessful, Winton returned to Mission San Jose in 1851 and seized an opportunity to squat along the San Lorenzo creek for several years. In 1855, Winton married Lydia J. Buckall and purchased 400 acres of land near Russell City. Winton built his family home on separate 40-acre piece land near the former location of the Hunts Cannery. He rented out the larger Russell City plot until 1876, when Winton and his eldest son Frank took over management and laid out fruit orchards, vegetable fields and currant bushes. Frank married Julia Strobridge of the Castro Valley railroad family. They lived on Winton Ranch between Winton Avenue and Jackson Street until 1952. The plot was subdivided in 1954.

Prior to its current namesake, Winton Avenue was known as Russell Road after Judge Joel Russell. Russell Road had been the path from Hayward's Landing to downtown Hayward, via Russell City which was named for the same man. Russell was one of the early pioneers in the Mt. Eden area. Born in 1822, Joel Russell lived on the east coast until he came to California with a few friends in 1849. A well-traveled man, Russell moved from Stockton to the Sierra, to the North Coast of California, to Oregon and Washington before returning to San Francisco in 1852.

A year later, he staked out a squatter's claim on the marshland between Johnson's and Robert's Landing. This claim was disputed by Guillermo Castro, who was acting on behalf of his sister Barbara Soto, the land's rightful owner. Russell finally purchased the land after the 1856 United State Land Commission found the Soto claim to be legitimate. He sold 700 acres to other eager settlers and kept 320 acres for himself. Around the same time, he married Caroline M. Bartlett and purchased an 80-acre plot in Hayward that stretched from Foothill Boulevard and A Street up to Hazel Avenue. As early as 1860, Russell began to sell off more of his original holdings to settlers. Many of these settlers were of Danish decent and the area became known as "Little Copenhagen."

Russell is best known for his service in law and political ambitions. In 1854, Russell was elected Justice of the Peace for Eden Township. While serving, he studied law under Judge A.M. Crane and was admitted to the Bar of the State of California. His dealings in law led him to political ambitions. He was an early advocate for freeing slaves and supported prohibition. Russell was nominated for Governor of California in 1866 at a local convention, but he only received a small percentage of the votes cast. He was then elected Hayward City Attorney in 1876 and helped lay out the original city limits. Russell continued activity in city developments until his death in 1888. After the 1906 earthquake, the original Russell holdings in Mt. Eden were subdivided and advertised as a utopian community named Russell City in his honor. Today's remnant of the honorable judge is Russell Way, which stretches from the former site of the 80-acre plot on Foothill up to 4th Street.


Marcess Owings is a curatorial assistant at the Hayward Area Historical Society and Museums (HAHS). To learn more about Hayward's diverse history, visit the downtown museum at 22701 Main St. in Hayward. For more information on current exhibits and programs, visit their Web site at www.haywardareahistory.org.

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