The Man Behind the Mansion: Frank Delos Wolfe

By John Christian, Assistant Archivist

It may sound sacrilegious for a historian to say, but I am not the biggest fan of architectural history. Or at least that was the case before I was contacted by Krista Van Laan in February of this year. Krista was working on her book Frank Delos Wolfe: California Prairie Architecture. Turns out that Wolfe was responsible for designing two well-known homes (that we know of) in the Hayward area—the Burr House on Grove Way, and the Oliver Manson at the intersection of Hesperian Boulevard and Tennyson Road. These two homes have always fascinated us here in the Archives and not a month goes by that someone doesn’t ask us the history behind these places.

What got me so excited was the level of historical information that Krista was after. Her wonderful book not only discusses the architectural elements of a Wolfe home, but also tells the stories of the people who lived in his homes. She does an excellent job connecting these unique structures to their owners and builder. Krista sums this point up in her introduction saying, “The Wolfe Prairie houses spoke to those forward-thinking men and women who had their own ideas about what kind of home they wanted to make for themselves…”

Fascinating right? Fortunately for all of us Krista Van Laan will be coming to speak here at the HAHS Center for History & Culture on Thursday, November 20 at 5:30pm. Come and meet with the author and catch what is going to be a great presentation! You’ll get to view images used from the HAHS collection for the book as well as countless others. Best of all, the book will be available for purchase.

So please mark your calendars and bring your friends. Let’s explore the life and work of Frank Delos Wolfe and buildings only he could have created. And who knows? You might just realize how much you actually like architectural history just like I did. See you here!

We're looking for a few good...

By Diane Curry, Curator

…photos! (not what you thought I was going to say, huh?). Every museum has gaps in their collection—certain subjects or people that should be represented in the collection but just aren’t because the museum hasn’t looked for them specifically or the items haven’t been donated yet. We have a gap in our photography collection that show people, businesses, and activities in Mt. Eden and especially Chabot College. We need your help to fill that gap!

On November 15th, from 11 am to 3 pm, we’re partnering with Chabot College to host a Photo Day here at the HAHS Center for History and Culture. A Photo Day is where you bring your photos to share with us, in this case Mt. Eden and Chabot College photos. We will do one of two things with your photos: one, we’ll scan your photos and make digital copies to add to our digital collection while you get to keep the original photos. We ask a few questions while the photos are being scanned so we have lots of information about the photos; or two, if you’d like to donate the actual photos, we’re happy to take them to add to the collection and it takes just a few minutes to fill out a little paperwork. By giving us a digital copy of your photos, we’re not asking you to give up copyright or ownership of the photos. We just ask for permission to use the images in exhibits, publications, articles, and for general research purposes.

So, if you have photos to share of your family business or farm, the home where you grew up or the school you attended in Mt. Eden. If you ever went to classes at Chabot College or sat through a performance (or in my case, your little brother’s track meet at the Stadium), then please drop in on November 15th to see us. There will also be a video camera provided by Chabot College set up in our Special Gallery where you can share your memories of Mt. Eden and Chabot College. To sweeten the deal, those who drop in to share their photos and memories with get free admission to the museum galleries. It’s really a win-win!

Oh, and by the way, we’re also doing a food drive with the Alameda County Food Bank so bring your canned goods in too! (I know we just ask and ask and ask…but hey, we’re a community organization and we have to work for our community, right?).

Hope to see you on November 15th!

Murder, Tragedy and Bad Stuff

By John Christian, Assistant Archivist

One of the best parts of my job is getting a chance to dig through our huge newspaper collection. Usually I am looking for specific information, like who was the mayor at this time? What was making the front page during the Great Depression? Or something as simple as who won the local baseball tournament? Sounds pretty straight forward, right?

The problem is when you are looking through old newspapers you can’t help but become distracted by everything you’re not looking for. The advertisements, the gossip, the politics and everything else.

What really grabs my attention is the crime, the suicides, the freak accidents and the terrible tragedies of everyday life. These stories are sad, terrible and sometimes so comical I just can’t turn away. Sadly, usually all I can do is make a note and hope that my next research request will allow me to explore these events in more detail.

Well that’s all about to change. All those gruesome, infamous, and bone chilling stories are now the subject of our new downtown walking tour “Murder, Tragedy and Bad Stuff”. Those eyeball grabbing stories have been researched and collected for your historically informed entertainment!

The tour takes us through downtown and highlights some of the strange and sad occurrences that have taken place on the streets we walk or drive through every day. Lasting about one and half hours, we will discuss an infamous kidnapping, the suicide of a young music teacher, even the tragic shooting of the first Hayward police officer to die in the line of duty. We’re even going to discuss a sick tiger, and a really angry bald eagle and a bread mixer just for good measure! Excited? Confused? Great! If you’re feeling even a little morbidly curious this is the tour for you!

Join us October 30 and October 31 at 7:00pm and explore a darker (and sometimes morbidly fun) side of our local history.

Space on the “Murder, Tragedy and Bad Stuff” Walking Tour is limited.  Tickets are $15 adults; $10 for members, seniors and students.  To purchase tickets, call (510) 581-0223 ext. 142.

Day of the Dead at HAHS

By Amanda Bateman, Exhibition Registrar

The long awaited return of the Day of the Dead exhibit to the Hayward Area Historical Society is here! It seems hard to believe, but it has been four years since we held our last Day of the Dead exhibit at the Meek Mansion in Cherryland. With the opening of our new building two and a half months ago, we finally have the space to install the exhibition here and hold different October related programs at Meek Mansion. The exhibition is in our Community Gallery where we will hold all sorts of community-curated exhibitions over the next year. For this year’s Day of the Dead exhibition, under the creative direction of the Guest Curator, Phillip Gallegos, thirty-eight individual artists and groups participated in bringing their representations of Day of the Dead to the exhibit.

The tradition of Day of the Dead influences a wide range of art. In the exhibit, altars featured range from traditional to contemporary representations of the holiday, but all carry personal themes for their creators. In addition to the altars, there are a variety of artistic representations of the holiday from photographs to paintings on canvas and leather skateboards to tattoo-style decorative plates. It’s fascinating to see the traditional altars mixed with contemporary art and how the holiday is becoming more and more mainstream.

Phillip has done a great job guiding the exhibit to simultaneously highlight a deeply meaningful holiday, while also showcasing the amazing talent within our community. All of the pieces turned out so incredible, such as the tapete made of sand and dried paint. Tapetes are sand art pieces traditionally made in the Valley of Oaxaca. The exhibit is open until November 9 and it would be a pleasure to see you here viewing the result of everyone’s hard work.

The 2014 Day of the Dead exhibit is sponsored by Macy’s, Pancho Villa Event Center, Chabot College, the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District, YCS & Associates, Hayward Councilmember Francisco Zermeño and Hayward Councilmember Elisa Marquez.

Beauty in the Details

by Diane Curry, Curator

Those who know me know that I’m a big fan of classic cars. If I could afford it, I’d have a fleet of cool, classic cars and hot rods of different makes and models. This is partly why I love the photographs by Stephen Hollingsworth in the new Community Gallery exhibition “iCarography.” The photos show some of the best classic cars around and the beauty in their details. While there are some shots of an entire car, many of the images show just a hood ornament, a fender, taillight, or hubcap, all of which are evocative elements that show not only the form and shape of the car, but gives a true enthusiast all the information they need to note the make and model of all of the cars pictured.

While the subject matter is intriguing for me, what really got my attention about Stephen’s work is that all of the photographs were taken on an iPhone and then manipulated through three or four different apps. Rather than a straightforward, documentary style photo, we have these cool, rustic, vintage, high toned images that give the subject matter of the photos a whole new feel—modern and yet…not.

You might think to yourself “Everyone takes photos with their iPhone and plays with them in an app, so what?” I would agree to some extent, as a society we are bombarded with cell phone photos on Instagram. But, it takes a true artistic eye to: 1) see the way to take the photo on a tiny screen in such a way that it will look good; 2) know how to play with the right apps to manipulate the image; and 3) know when to stop playing with the right app. I think Stephen has done a superb job in doing all three.

For me, the point of the show is not only these really great, interesting photographs of some truly cool rides, but interesting photos of cool rides that just happen to have been taken on an iPhone. Now that’s cool and timely!