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November 6, 2012 > Museum of Local History honors Dillon Family

Museum of Local History honors Dillon Family

By Jessica Noel Flohr

Fremont may be a rapidly developing residential hub connecting the North Bay to the South Bay, but remnants from its earlier days can be found around every corner. Mission San Jose, the Rix House, Ardenwood Historic Farm, the Bay Street Cafˇ building, and Niles all speak of a rich history of the Fremont area. One local group believes that Fremont's history is worth preserving and has been doing just that for the last 20 years.

Since 1992, the Museum of Local History has been teaching Fremont's citizens about the treasures of what was once known as The Washington Township. Over one hundred years of history is contained in the cozy Mission Fire Station located at 190 Anza Street in Fremont, just across from Ohlone College. The Museum, run by volunteers, offers tours on Wednesdays, Fridays, and the second weekend of every month from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A small donation is accepted to support operating costs.

Its main focus is the history of the Washington Township between the mid-1800s and the early 1900s. At that time, Fremont consisted of unincorporated districts comprising eight individual towns. Local citizens are still familiar with Warm Springs, Alvarado, Irvington, Mission San Jose, Centerville, Niles, Decoto, and Newark. It was the building of a high school, Union High School 2 (now known as Washington High School) first established in 1892, that began to truly unite the various towns. Members of all eight towns sent their children to this school and it became a center of social activity. In 1956, five separate small towns were incorporated into the City of Fremont; Newark and Union City incorporated separately.

This month, the Museum of Local History is hosting a Memory Lane Reception in honor of one of Fremont's historic families-the Don Dillon Family who purchased a large plot of land in the Mission District in 1956. For over 50 years, the Don Dillon Family has run the Four Winds Growers nursery, specializing in dwarf citrus trees. Floyd Dillon, a former Carmel resident during World War II, wanted to produce a smaller citrus tree that bore full-sized fruit. He relocated with his family in the 1950s to Fremont and purchased the land for his dream orchard. With many years of success behind them, they are now branching out with growing locations in Watsonville and Winters, California.

Floyd Dillon's son, Don Dillon, Sr., has carried on the family's dream. The business now involves four generations of the Dillon Family. Don Dillon, Sr., further contributed to Fremont's history by serving as a City Council member and the Mayor of Fremont between 1962 and 1978. For his work with Four Winds Growers, he received the Professional Nurseryman Award in 1987.

The Dillon Family represents living history for Fremont's citizens. At the reception, Don Dillon, Sr., will share early memories of the founding of Fremont. New exhibits will be on display at the Museum of Local History, featuring the Dillon Family history and that of the Four Winds Growers. The exhibit will remain on display through the winter season. The Museum invites interested guests and history buffs to join them for the reception on Saturday, November 10 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Come and meet some of Fremont's early citizens and learn more about local history!

Memory Lane Reception
Saturday, Nov 10
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Museum of Local History
190 Anza Street, Fremont
(510) 623-7907

Free, donations welcome

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