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July 12, 2011 > History: Union City 1900-1959

History: Union City 1900-1959

By Myrla Raymundo

1900 - Decoto Volunteer Fire Department founded.

1902 - Alvarado Bank founded by I. V. Ralph. Washington Township's first bank was established at Alvarado with a capital of $25,000. I.V.Ralph was president, F.B. Granger, vice-president and F.P. Hellwig, treasurer.

1905 - Alvarado Fire Department founded.

1906 - Alvarado volunteer fire department founded. Before the Nimitz freeway was built, Alvarado Blvd. and Union City Blvd. were part of Highway 17.

1907 - Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church founded.

1909 - Western Pacific Rail Line built in Decoto.

1910 - Decoto population reached 950. Decoto Branch Library opened. Decoto Chamber of Commerce formed.

1912 - Henry May elected President of the Decoto Chamber of Commerce.

1920s - Betting parlors, salons and prostitution flourished in Alvarado.

1924 - New Alvarado School built with 13 classrooms.

1925 - New Decoto School built. Decoto volunteer fire department and Decoto Fire District formed, providing fire service to a major portion of what is now called Union City. The Decoto Fire District was transferred to Union City in the late 1970s. Holly Sugar Corporation purchased Alvarado Sugar Company.

1929 - Alvarado Pioneer Newspaper founded.

1930 - "Little Tijuana," site of Old Alvarado/Cesar Chavez Park, burned down. Marlo Cannery founded in Decoto.

1932 - The Socieda Hispana De Decoto was founded to help raise money during the Depression to help Spanish families pay funeral expenses.

1936 - Mary Janeiro George appointed Decoto Postmaster.

1937 - Pacific States Steel founded in Decoto. The New Holly Sugar Factory completed (operated until 1967). Salz Brothers warehouse in Decoto.

1938 - The Decoto Discussion Group was organized for Library study at the Decoto Branch of the Alameda County Library and has met monthly for 22 years. The group's objective was to bring women of the community closer together and broaden their lives intellectually and socially.

1945 - The first Chinese farmer, Wah Sing Cheng, purchased land in Union City.

1946 - World War II Memorial dedicated.

1949 - Elva Mae Rose Borghi selected as Alameda County Fair Queen.

1950 - American Pipe Company founded (aka U. S. Pipe).

1951 - United Airlines flight No. 615, en route to Oakland from the East Coast, crashed above the hills of Decoto; all 44 passengers and six crewmembers were killed.

1952 - Dr. Harold Schoenfeld appointed superintendent of the Decoto Elementary School District.

1953 - Newspaper "Decoto Messenger" started.

1957 - Interstate 880 opened.

1958 - Alvarado population reached 1500. Decoto population reached 3500. Alvarado and Decoto Citizens Committee formed including Tom Kitayama, John Ratekin, Oscar Dowe, Kenneth Garcia, Elvin Rose and others. Committee petitioned for incorporation to keep Hayward from annexing Decoto and Alvarado.

1959 - Frank Borghi, Jr., a trustee of the Washington Union High School District and the New Haven Unified School District and director of the Alameda County water district for 32 years, was the Chairman of the Steering Body of the Union City Incorporation Committee in 1959.

Union City voted to incorporate (837-220 vote). Union City population reached 6,000. City area covered nine square miles. The City of Union City council duties began in the Alvarado Fire Department building, now the Union City Historical Museum. Councilmembers were Joseph Seaone Jr., Joseph Lewis, Tom Kitayama, John Ratekin and Oscar Dowe. "Shorty" Garcia chosen as City Treasurer.

Population Count: 6,143. M. Deane Seeger first city manager; Jim Garcia chosen as city attorney. The City of Union City hired its first Fire Chief, Kenneth Garcia. The first City of Union City budget approved at $300,013.00. Union City's Council veto's Cal State Union City site, College (Cal State East Bay) ended up in Hayward. City of Union City leased first City Hall at 309 H. Street. Local newspaper Union City Leader first edition came out; Dick Folger publisher.

The first Police Department was on H Street and Decoto Road and then moved to Whipple and Central venue. In April 21, 1979, the department moved to Civic Center at Alvarado-Niles Road. In July 2000, Chief Randy Ulibarri was sworn in as the new Police Chief.

Tom Kitayama was unanimously elected mayor of Union City by the City Council. Union City operated under a "Council-Manager" form of government.

The Fire Protection Districts of Alvarado and Decoto merged and became an integral part of Emergency Services for the City of Union City. Under the direction of Chief Kenneth Garcia, the Fire Department expanded and a new fire station in the central district became a reality.

The City of Union City leased its first City Hall at 309 H Street. Decoto and Alvarado post office opened. Mary George postmaster.

Washington High School Board of Trustees named the new high school in Union City, James Logan High School, after James Logan, long time rancher of Alvarado and Decoto.

Author Myrla Raymundo

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