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January 19, 2016 > Time capsules bridge 60 year gap

Time capsules bridge 60 year gap

Submitted By Kelsey Camello

It was sixty years ago when the City of Fremont first incorporated. At the time, the population was somewhere around 22,000. By 1960 it had already jumped to around 43,000, and today the ever-growing city boasts a head-count of more than 226,000! Population aside, the intervening years have also seen immense changes in ethnicity and race, the overall employment profile, as well as housing and real estate.

Despite all the differences between the Fremont of 1956 and that of 2016, there are remarkable similarities as well. In 1956, City officials were working out of their temporary City Hall Ð the former Mission San Jose Grammar School, leased to the City by Ed Huddleson (some of whose land later became Ohlone College). The one-time schoolhouse was an improper building for the job. Regardless, it housed much of FremontÕs governmental staff for a solid thirteen years.

Between 1956 and 1969 the City underwent an extensive campaign to raise funds, locate a site, and build a proper facility for a new City Hall. After much hard work, the new Civic Center opened in 1969, following a weeklong dedication filled with events and open houses designed to showcase the new building to the public. A significant element of this dedication week was the sealing of a time capsule, intended to reflect the Fremont of 1969. Materials had been collected the two prior years, and it was placed within the new Civic Center site.

It was later determined that the building lay directly on the Hayward Fault. In the early 1990s City staff relocated to temporary offices offsite and the building stood vacant for many years. In 2004 the Civic Center building was demolished, and today the land serves as a public memorial to Gladys Williamson, a longtime Oakland Tribune reporter who covered stories about the Tri-City area from 1934 to 1962.

On Saturday, January 23 citizens and leaders of the City of Fremont will once again congregate to celebrate the cityÕs past, present, and future. The date is significant as it was on this exact date in 1956 that much of the area that was once known as Washington Township became the City of Fremont. Mayor Bill Harrison and other City officials including Senator Bob Wieckowski, Senate District 10; Gus Morrison, Former Fremont Mayor; Assistant City Manager Jessica von Borck; and Sonia Sachar, City of Fremont Youth Advisory Commissioner, will be in attendance, and as in 1969 there will be a time capsule ceremony. The capsule will be filled with items curated by the CityÕs Youth Advisory Commission that represent the Fremont of 2016 and buried on the future Civic Center site. The time capsule will be opened in 40 years, January 2056, at FremontÕs 100th anniversary celebration.

In 1969 City staff were excited to unveil a brand new Civic Center site to the community. Today the City is focused on a planned 110-acre Downtown, which will include a new City Hall and administrative offices for City staff. Inside Fremonts 1969 time capsule was a copy of the site plan for the new Civic Center and park (Lake Elizabeth). Thus, it is likely that the 2016 time capsule will include a copy of FremontÕs new Downtown Community Plan.

Citizens are invited to celebrate FremontÕs history and to look toward the future of the city by meeting at Capitol Avenue after the capsule ceremony for a community picnic featuring food trucks and live music.

The Washington Township Museum of Local History will be participating by displaying a selection of items from the 1969 time capsule. This exhibit will later be expanded and viewable for the month of February in the Museum, located in the old Mission San Jose fire station at 190 Anza Street, Fremont. Visit for additional information and hours.

FremontÕs 60th Anniversary Celebration
Saturday, Jan 23
11 a.m. Ð 2 p.m.
Capitol Ave & State St, Fremont
(510) 284-4025

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