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.