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July 9, 2008 > History


1966 Progress Edition

The News Register published a special "Progress Edition" January 23, 1966 to celebrate Fremont's "decade of growth and development." The population had grown from 22,443 in 1956 to 87,000 in ten years and was now called the fourth largest and fastest growing city in California. There were now 28 major industries employing 7,800 people. General Motors 5400 employees were producing nearly 300,000 cars a year. There had been over $54 million in industrial development since incorporation. The number of houses had grown from 6,000 to over 20,000.

Fremont was a city of young people as almost one-third of the population was in the districts 41 schools, and nearly half were under age 18. Washington Hospital was recording four to five births per day in its obstetric ward.

Don Dillon was serving his second term as mayor. Councilmen were Carl Martineau, Jr., Gene Rhodes, Geoffrey Steel and William van Doorn. There were 14 neighborhood parks and community parks at Vallejo Mill, Shinn and the 12-acre Central Park.

The police department, under Clinton Wright, had expanded to 82 officers, including one woman, with 34 cars and a four-wheel drive ambulance. They also had one police dog and their own communication system. The fire department had grown from 10 hired men plus some volunteers in five district stations to 76 men in seven stations.

Cultural groups included the Fremont Art Association, Fremont Players, Fremont Philharmonic Society, and the Fremont Art Guild. Plans were being made to expand the successful Pathfinder Day celebration from four days to a week. The community center was pictured near Stivers Lagoon that "some day would be transformed into a large lake."

Transportation was an important part of the development. The Nimitz Freeway was pictured with light traffic at the Stevenson Boulevard overcrossing.

The Fremont Chamber of Commerce had over 600 members and an attractive office on Thornton Avenue. Officers were Robert Kithcart, James Perley Jr., David Patterson, Robert Stewart, Chet DiGiulio and Harold Fudenna. A chamber photo of several pretty beauty queens was highlighted with the sentence "beauty is one commodity Fremont has in abundance."

The Bank of Fremont located on Post Street next to the post office was one year old and "leading the way in imagination and ideas for banking service." Other banks included First Western and Fremont Savings.

The Fremont Fashion Square with a big Capwell's store was slated for development in late summer. It would be a ten million dollar regional shopping center, "one of the most beautiful and fashionable in California." The Hub displayed its famous sign and was featured as "an integral part of the Central Business District of Fremont." It was termed "the center of activity in the community" and was likened to "a city within a city that met just about all the shopping needs of the Fremont area."

Two outdoor theaters provided auto movies. The Fremont Auto Movie was on Fremont Boulevard just off the Nimitz Freeway and the Nimitz Auto Movie was just off the Freeway near Durham Road.

Restaurants being advertised included Fremont Ranch, the Almateo Steak Block, the International Kitchen, the Door Knob Restaurant and Pancake House, Jorge's Hofbrau, and Cloverdale Creamery. The Fremont Inn was featured as "Fremont's Fabulous New Motor Hotel with the most extensive menu in Southern Alameda County."

Besco was recognized as one of the major developers for the city. The firm received the first building permit in Fremont and started construction of Cabrillo Park and went on the develop Cabrillo and Sundale Manor centers. They began some 1200 residential and apartment units in 1965.

Mission Valley was advertised as "the newest community planned within Fremont." Homes would range in size from 1700 to 2200 square feet with prices starting at $23,500.

Other major advertisers included Pine's Trucking Service, J and F Metal Products Co., Maple Towne, George Crozier, Fremont Bowl, Steve's Super Service, Centerville Electric, Kelly's Rentals & Sales, Warm Springs Lumber, Fig Tree Service, Trailmobile, Kroehler Mfg. Co., East Bay Disposal Co., Blue Diamond, Four Winds Growers, Tallman T.V., Pauline Harmen, Lifetile Corp., Chitwood Bros., Inc., Mervyn's, Smith's Charter Bus Service, Dorn, Dean-Mark, Grande's, Centerville Saw & Tool Works and Sam Arnold Co.

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